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June 08, 2005

In Memoriam

I agree with President Bush: We should shut down Gitmo, and send the "prisoners of conscience" unconscionably detained therein to some other place - preferably to hell, but if that doesn't work, I'd settle for Anthony Romero's faboo apartment. Failing that, I'd be okay with remanding the prisoners to Israel, or perhaps Russia.

In other news, George Soros, having failed to hijack the dollar, the oil markets, and the last election, now wants to hijack the hijacked airliners that flew into our buildings on 9/11/01. Soros wants to fund a remembrance center on the site of the former World Trade Center Buildings, to explain to us exactly why it is that the world hates our steenking capeetaleest peeg guts. In his words, the center should highlight the failures of freedom. The afforementioned ACLU leader, Anthony Romero, wants to highlight the greatest abuses of freedom in mankind's history - apartheid, the Holocaust, and of course the crackdown on civil liberties in the U.S. and Gitmo, post-9/11. Coming next: The Internment of Nisei Memorial, to be built atop the hulk of the U.S.S. Arizona; the museum of misguided U.S. Imperialist Adventurism, to be built in Arlington adjacent to the Iwo Jima memorial; and the Abu Ghraib Eternal Flame, a pictorial and eternal torch of remembrance of the guy who had to wear a dog collar while naked, which will be fired up on the site where the Statue of Liberty is now located.

I know, I know, dissent is patriotic. Ergo, shitting on the memory of our war dead and the first responders who charged into the Twin Towers to save others, is the highest form of patriotism that George Soros and Tony Romero are capable of exhibiting.

Oh well, at least he didn't flat out say that the liberation of Iraq was worse than the holocaust. You'd have to be crazyto say something like that. Not jew-baiting really crazy, and certainly not delusional, off-your-rocker-that's-not-a-crystal-ball-it's-a-hand-grenade crazy*. Just ordinary crazy would do it.


*BTW, I came up with that link to Kos demanding that Howie Dean be selected for DNC chair via a google for "Howard Dean DNC." Either somebody at Google has a great sense of humor, or Kos' search engine manipulation (remember "miserable failure"?) has come back to bite him in the ass. I know of no other person who should be more closely associated with Crazy Howie's ascendancy to the DNC Chair, than Dem political consultant [chortle] Kos. I hope they ain't paying him much.

Posted by Blackavar at June 8, 2005 10:40 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
Comments

I really enjoy your smart ass tone Blackavar,

Fab apartment reference, and you smacked like a dozen or so major clowns in a fairly short piece. I usually focus on them much longer than they deserve.

Cordially,

Uncle J

Posted by: Uncle Jimbo at June 8, 2005 11:41 PM

Right on, Mr Heywood!!! But all kidding aside, it is indeed troubling to see Romero and Soros and others like them making use of our freedoms to undermine our society.

Posted by: Ronin at June 9, 2005 08:19 AM

I read Michelle Malkin's take on the same issue. I do agree that non-government organizations really have no place in the reconstruction of 9/11 whether their agenda is right or left leaning, especially if recruiting is part of the goal.

Other than that, I found the piece to be a little tainted. She notes that one of the people involved in the project, Tom Bernstein, is president of Human Rights Watch. She notes "The group opposed Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez over the administration’s preventive detention policies and has joined with the ACLU in mau-mauing the Pentagon over alleged prisoner abuse."

So is that a defense of prisoner abuse? Certainly the administrations detention policies at least deserve some scrutiny in light of Abu Ghraib and the recent Guantanamo Bay events. Are human rights a bad thing?

Bernstein may very well be a lefty activist, but that doesn't necessarily follow from the argument she's making. If she's saying he supports human rights and opposes abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, I can't say she's effectively making a good argument. Seems to me her real argument is "this guy isn't in lock-step with Bush and didn't support his nominee for Attorney General, so he must be a commie". That kind of logic and that kind of thinking are pretty absurd.

Other than that, she calls people names. It's an effective form of propaganda and one few people are willing to look past, but it makes me curious to know how Malkin got her journalistic reputation.

Posted by: Kehaar at June 9, 2005 09:35 AM

I've read the so-called torture memos from DOJ to Gonzalez. They are no different than any legal memo that a lawyer would provide to a corporate client regarding a tough area of the law. "here's the problem... here's the law... here's the line you shouldn't cross... here's other concerns... here's defenses if you screw up." The proper reaction to a tough legal question is not to wet one's pants, and stand their getting cold and shivering until one feels better. The proper reaction is to look the beast in the eye, judge it as best you can, and move on. The insanely hysterical reaction to the memos means that government attorneys will be gun shy to advise on tough issues, especially in the WOT, for fear of being held up later as war criminals, for performing the professional duty of pointing out what their clients' legal options were.

The Sanchez memos, from the CG in Iraq, come much closer to the line, but still, I believe, do not cross the line of the Geneva Conventions. A failure to provide solid legal advice in this area, means leaving government “clients” and the footsoldiers who carry out broad operational orders to do what they want, at their discretion – and we’ll clean up the mess later.

The slander laid on John Yoo and Gonzalez for those memos is highly suspect to me as an attorney. Politically, it's understandable. When you're a Bush hater, any port in a storm, right?

I will endeavor to compile links to the primary documents if you are interested, and will encourage you to read, and get back to me with questions. We should talk about this, I think we could have a useful exchange.

Granted, it’s an ugly topic. Enemy Prisoner of War (EPW) interrogation is an ugly topic, even when it is done in the most mild manner. It is by definition intensely coercive and dehumanizing. But I think it is necessary to prevent the perpetration of greater (illegal) evils – whether that involves attacks on the U.S. and others, or torture and abuse by troops who are acting to prevent attacks, but doing so in an ill-advised or illegal manner. To paraphrase the character modeled in part on Gen. Marcel Bigeard in Battle of Algiers, if the U.S. chooses to fight against Islamofascism, we “must accept all the necessary consequences.” At a minimum, this means being willing to use every legal method of getting at the enemy, even if the means used (such as very harsh but legitimate and legal EPW interrogation tactics) are intensively ugly and painful to think about.

I do not defend prisoner abuse, nor do I defend HRW or their legal allies. I would point out that while HRW make some valid points, they believe that the Constitution should apply to those we capture on the battlefield (with it’s Miranda, trial by jury and evidentiary requirements) and that the prisoners at Gitmo are “prisoners of conscience,” i.e. people with a legitimate beef against those they attack, who are proceeding by legitimate means. The problem with conceding anything to them, is it is a one-way ratchet. If you give an inch they and their media allies will take a mile. The Koran abuse allegations are a great example – a guard takes a leak outside an air vent, there’s a little splashback, and now the headline reads “URINE TROUBLE! PENTAGON [BEGINS WITH PEE!] ADMITS KORAN ABUSES!” There’s really no arguing or compromising with people like HRW, because if you don’t agree with them, you are wrong, and your concessions are only a delaying action, as far as they are concerned, on your long, inevitable march toward admitting their entire bill of particulars. There is legal import to acknowledging their positions, too. Much of what we now do under international law, is "customary" behavior. Custom forms the standard we are to observe. HRW says denying a criminal trial and any form of coersion in interrogation, are human rights violations under the Geneva cConventions. That isn't true, but if we start acting like it is, we establish a precedent, which we are later bound to follow by... Intenrnational Law.

All that said, Malkin strikes me as a jackass. She’s been manipulated for the last year or two by the Federal Air Marshals union, which has used her to bludgeon FAMS and Homeland Security. What’s it like to be a union flunky, Michelle? She has gullibly taken the bait of a number of Arab bashers, and has provided the dominant voice on the right in favor of widespread racial profiling. I could go on. Just ‘cuz she’s on the right and I agree with her sometimes, doesn’t mean her technique or professionalism is any better than the jackals on the left.

Posted by: Blackavar at June 9, 2005 10:44 AM

Thanks for the commentary, Blackavar. It's nice to actually get informed debate, rather than the assinine commentary that's unfortunately more common in the blogosphere.

I wasn't aware of the actual substance of the complaints re: Gonzalez. I was only pointing out the flaw in Malkin's particular argument. I can't say that I've read a great deal of her material, but I have seen her name in a lot of places. My understanding was that she was a reasonably professional conservative journalist. After reading her piece this morning, I question how much of a professional and how much of a journalist she might be. Party-line mouthpiece seems to be more accurate.

As far as Human Rights Watch goes, it's another organization I don't know much about. Human Rights seems to be an admirable cause, however. I did read another piece this morning outlining other issues at Guantanamo. I think the whole Quran issue is overblown and I do not think Guantanamo needs to be closed, but I do think that the Bush administration needs to adhere more closely to the Geneva conventions whether the detainees are "enemy combatants" or "prisoner's of war". I think the conventions serve as a check to potential abuses. Individual determination of what's abusive and what isn't is very subjective. You and I can see it differently. In this case, a set of conventions is at least available to provide some frame of reference for what is generally acceptible and what isn't.

Posted by: Kehaar at June 9, 2005 11:09 AM

I think we’re pretty close in outlook on Gitmo, though my views are probably a little more technically and legalistically oriented (being an ex G.I. and now lawyer, that’s predictable).

The thing nobody is willing to say about Gitmo, is it’s friggin’ Congress’ responsibility to do something about it. Congress has the power to establish “such inferior courts” as it deems necessary, from “time to time.” It can also establish administrative agencies.

Why the hell won’t Congress establish a “Combatants’ Court” to provide very limited process for those criminal / thug / terrorists captured on the battlefield, complete with low evidentiary standards, and a limited ability to dictate outcome (hold, release)?

If it’s a constitutionality question – a valid concern, since the broad discretionary power of the Executive to wage war must be preserved – why not dictate the formation of an administrative body within DOD to hear cases, and allow for appeals to a single Circuit court, then limit court jurisdiction otherwise? (Congress is allowed to control the jurisdiction of *all* courts, including the Supreme Court).

Congress has been derelict in its duties. The left side of the aisle rants and raves about Gitmo, yet produces no solutions. (Let ‘em go in Chollie Rangel’s neighborhood, I say). The right side of the aisle is just plain silent on the issue. That Gitmo poses moral and rhetorical problems that make it difficult to fight the war on terror, is unquestionable.

That nobody is willing to do a damn thing about it, except for DOD which is trying to muddle through setting up some administrative process, is shameful.

I guess Congress is too busy doling out drugs to seniors, medical treatment to Terry Schiavo, and Transportation bill pork to constituents, to be bothered with the U.S.’s standing in the world.

Posted by: Blackavar at June 9, 2005 11:54 AM

A Lawyer,

Jeez I was just starting to like you Black, now I have to reevaluate.

I am afraid the administration is going to make changes regarding Gitmo that look like we are caving to the jackals. I wrote a piece asking for tribunals to classify the detainees as either Enemy Combatants, POWs, or free men and take the issue out of the press's hands. I hope they do something similar. Rummy's comments about home countries jailing them worries me too.

Cordially,

Uncle J

Posted by: Uncle Jimbo at June 9, 2005 01:17 PM
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