Just a Refresher

Just in case you were not sure what yesterday’s bill allows, here is a quick run-down:

Included in the bill, passed by Republican majorities in the Senate yesterday and the House on Wednesday, are unique rules that bar terrorism suspects from challenging their detention or treatment through traditional habeas corpus petitions. They allow prosecutors, under certain conditions, to use evidence collected through hearsay or coercion to seek criminal convictions.

The bill rejects the right to a speedy trial and limits the traditional right to self-representation by requiring that defendants accept military defense attorneys. Panels of military officers need not reach unanimous agreement to win convictions, except in death penalty cases, and appeals must go through a second military panel before reaching a federal civilian court.

By writing into law for the first time the definition of an “unlawful enemy combatant,” the bill empowers the executive branch to detain indefinitely anyone it determines to have “purposefully and materially” supported anti-U.S. hostilities. Only foreign nationals among those detainees can be tried by the military commissions, as they are known, and sentenced to decades in jail or put to death.

At the same time, the bill immunizes U.S. officials from prosecution for cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of detainees who the military and the CIA captured before the end of last year. It gives the president a dominant but not exclusive role in setting the rules for future interrogations of terrorism suspects.

Written largely, but not completely, on the administration’s terms, with passages that give executive branch officials discretion to set details or divert from its protections, the bill is meant to provide what Bush said yesterday are “the tools” needed to handle terrorism suspects U.S. officials hope to capture.

And if you don’t like it, well tough:

Anticipating court challenges, the administration attempted to make the bill bulletproof by including provisions that would sharply restrict judicial review and limit the application of international treaties — signed by Washington — that govern the rights of wartime detainees.

Explain to me how this makes us safe from terrorists again?

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79 replies
  1. 1
    Keith says:

    I never understood how Congress could write into law that said law may not be reviewed by a court. Does this extend all the way to the Supreme Court, where they can refuse to hear a case because Congress said they can’t? How would one determine a law to be unconsitutional if the law says a court can’t hear challenges to it unless that provision itself can be challenged as unconstitutional.

  2. 2
    fester says:

    Keith — yeah Congress can restrict jurisdiction (Lawyers, Guns and Money has a good round-up on that one) Catch-22 is not a work of fiction :-)

    John — hell yeah, this makes us safer as the US will not have to listen to all of those foreign intelligence and criminal investigatory agencies that had been cluttering up their inboxes with offers of assistances and information sharing over the past couple hundred years as some of these foreign governments will start restricting the cooperating that their agents can give to the US. So really, this is an act designed to enhance administrative efficiency.

  3. 3
    jg says:

    Explain to me how this makes us safe from terrorists again?

    First expand your definition of terrorist to include enemies of the party…

  4. 4
    Tsulagi says:

    There would be a sentimental tear on Stalin’s cheek today. See, we didn’t forget you Joe.

  5. 5
    AkaDad says:

    With these new “tools” to fight terrorism, we can now start detaining and torturing all religous fundamentalists.

    Christian fundamentalists and anti-abortion activists have bombed buildings in America and should be “aggresively interrogated”, to stop further terrorist acts.

    All right-wing militia groups must now be rendered to places like Syria for interrogation, to stop another terrorist attack like the Government building in Oklahoma.

    Members of those Jesus camps must be monitored, to be sure they aren’t creating American jihadists.

    Hillary or another Democratic President, should enjoy these new banana republic powers…

  6. 6
    ThymeZone says:

    Article III
    Section 1. The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

    Section 2. The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;–to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;–to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;–to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;–to controversies between two or more states;–between a state and citizens of another state;–between citizens of different states;–between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.

    In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

  7. 7
    Proud Liberal says:

    What was amazing this morning is that I heard Republican Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon saying that it was his feeling the law that he just voted for was unconstitutional. Huh? He votes for a law that he thinks is unconstitutional? And the reporter didn’t follow up with asking him if he swore an oath to uphold that constitution?

    I am so totaly disgusted with those Dems that voted for this as well. What cowards. And if anybody needed another reason to vote for Lamont in CT this should do it.

    Oh, and one question to John, do you have anything to say to those of us that you derisively called “Bush haters” because we were astute enough to see the dangers of this administration long, long before the thunderbolt finally hit you. Are any of us owed an apology? Just wondering.

  8. 8
    neil says:

    Keith, it’s in the Constitution, Article 3, Section 2: In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

    The habeas-stripping part, at least, is probably not eligible for such an exception, since habeas is explicitly laid out in the constitution.

  9. 9
    Proud Liberal says:

    neil is right… the congress can’t pass laws that legislate away the constitution’s basic rights, as much as they apparently wish to.

  10. 10
    capelza says:

    I missed that about Gordon Smith…he’s a weird one. I have never voted for him, and never would, but he does try to reach out of his GOP/Mormon box sometimes. Mostly it just makes him look mopey.

  11. 11
    sglover says:

    Assuming the monstrosity does face a court challenge — am I supposed to believe that the likes of Scalia and Alito are going to make a sudden stand for checks and balances?

  12. 12
    Nat says:

    If I were Bill Keller or James Risen I think I’d probably be in Canada right now. After all, the administration and most of its supporters have been very vocal about how printing the NSA story “helped the terrorists.” I’m sure the Powerline crowd would love to see Keller and Risen waterboarded until they gave up their sources, and from what I can tell, that’s legal now.

  13. 13
    Proud Liberal says:

    Assuming the monstrosity does face a court challenge—am I supposed to believe that the likes of Scalia and Alito are going to make a sudden stand for checks and balances

    no, (and you can add Thomas) but fortunately I count at least 5 justices that still care about our Constitution.

  14. 14
    Jon H says:

    “but fortunately I count at least 5 justices that still care about our Constitution”

    As long as Stevens is alive, anyway. If Bush has another chance to nominate an authoritarian to the Supreme Court, we’re done for.

  15. 15
    Tsulagi says:

    If the Republican midterm election strategy is to thoroughly disgust the electorate so they stay away from the polls, they’ve brilliantly executed the disgust part. But I will vote, and will open my wallet even more.

    For the Bush/Dick/Boehner team, may your future days in Paradise be filled with the affections of 72 stud horses. Each.

  16. 16
    McNulty says:

    Does this bill specify whether or not having to listen to TO’s publicist speak for more than five seconds is considered torture?

  17. 17
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    Even the Constitution’s “habeas” rule doesn’t apply in cases of “invasion” and “rebellion” — and one can make an excellent case that sufficiently big terrorist attacks fall into one category or the other (depending on who’s doing them). In short, when habeas is allowed by the Constitution in this situation is (like the definition of “reasonable search and seizure”) pretty much a matter of personal taste on the part of individual justices.

    By the way, that passage in the Constitution allowing Congress to override the Supreme Court at any time is another relic of the Founders’ original baffling belief tht they could and should keep political parties from coming into existence at all — it was only in the last two days of the Covnention that they decided to create a Supreme Court at all, since they were relying on a non-partisan Senate to properly define the law.

    That huge blunder of the Founders regarding political parties came within a hair of destroying the US as early as 1800, and it may do so yet. The “override clause” is a surviving relic of their original stupid philosophy, and it’s always been a sapper charge planted in the very foundations of our democracy — but neither party, UNTIL NOW, has ever had the nerve to light the fuse.

  18. 18
    Tony J says:

    Well, d’oh!

    The Terrorists hate you for your freedoms, right? So all you have to do is remove those freedoms from the playing field and, voila, no more hate. Sure, these Terrorists are cunning, and they’re likely to have emergency supplies of concentrated hate stored in secret cave-complexes or something, but how long do you think they’ll last once the well-spring has been dried up?

    Before you know it – but probably within days for most of them and weeks for those close enough to the caves to get a top-up of weaponised hate every now and again – the Terrorists will be wandering around confused and lost, easy prey for your Armed Forces who can be deployed to sweep them all up and deposit them in camps for trial and execution.

    It’s a tactical and strategic masterpiece. Why can’t people see that?

  19. 19
    RSA says:

    Explain to me how this makes us safe from terrorists again?

    It means that neocons will need to change their urine-soaked bedsheets less often, reducing the probability of their contracting (more) loathesome diseases.

  20. 20
    Proud Liberal says:

    Even the Constitution’s “habeas” rule doesn’t apply in cases of “invasion” and “rebellion”—and one can make an excellent case that sufficiently big terrorist attacks fall into one category or the other (depending on who’s doing them).

    Really? You can make an excellent case that 911 can be described as an “invasion” or “rebellion” ? My, my… words no longer even have their normal meanings anymore.

    An invasion is a military action consisting of armed forces of one geopolitical entity entering territory controlled by another such entity, generally with the objective of conquering territory or altering the established government. An invasion can be the cause of a war, it can be used as a part of a larger strategy to end a war, or it can constitute an entire war in and of itself.

    The term usually connotes a strategic endeavor of substantial magnitude; because the goals of an invasion are usually large-scale and long-term, large forces are needed to hold territory and protect the interests of the invading entity. Smaller and lighter tactical infiltrations are not generally considered invasions, being more often classified as skirmishes, sorties, targeted killings, assassinations or reconnaissance in force

    A rebellion is, in the most general sense, a refusal to accept authority. It may therefore be seen as encompassing a range of behaviours from civil disobedience to a violent organized attempt to destroy established authority. It is often used in reference to armed resistance against an established government, but can also refer to mass nonviolent resistance movements.

    .

  21. 21
    PeterJ says:

    If I were Bill Keller or James Risen I think I’d probably be in Canada right now.

    As I understand it Mexico is soon getting vacant. It could then be renamed “The United States of American v2.0”.

    As long as Stevens is alive, anyway. If Bush has another chance to nominate an authoritarian to the Supreme Court, we’re done for.

    Is it ok to waterboard Supreme Judges now? And if Stevens dies during it, will anyone get charged for it? He’s obviously providing comfort to the terrorists by not agree with the president.

    And about the president…
    George III of the United States seem to have a lot in common with George III of the United Kingdom…

  22. 22
    ThymeZone says:

    The Terrorists hate you for your freedoms, right? So all you have to do is remove those freedoms from the playing field and, voila, no more hate

    It is brilliant, really.

    The GOP slogan: They hate us for our freedoms … Vote Republican and Get Rid Of Them.

  23. 23
    JWeidner says:

    Explain to me how this makes us safe from terrorists again?

    C’mon John. Ask MacBuck, Darrell or ParR…it’s all about TRUST. You just gotta trust that BushCo. et al are doing what’s RIGHT.

    Don’t pay any mind to the sly look on their faces as the foxes guard the chickencoop…

  24. 24
    David says:

    Okay, so the president can declare whoever he wants to be an unlawful combatant and locked up. But only noncitizens are subject to military tribunals. Citizens, as far as I can tell, would be tried by civilian courts.

    Is there anything in the bill guaranteeing every civilian prisoner a trial, or is that just an “if we feel like it” provision?

  25. 25
    farmgirl says:

    God, I hope the Supremes can be the dei ex machina and get us out of this mess.

    I’m a legal resident, and if this atrocity isn’t overturned, I effectively lose my rights. I’m considering registering with my consulate. Maybe I should have told the customs guy the truth, the last time I came back from an international trip, why I’m not a US citizen yet.

    “When this country gets an administration that doesn’t use the Constitution for toilet paper, I’ll consider it.”

    Pigf*ckers.

  26. 26
    Zifnab says:

    An invasion is a military action consisting of armed forces of one geopolitical entity entering territory controlled by another such entity, generally with the objective of conquering territory or altering the established government. An invasion can be the cause of a war, it can be used as a part of a larger strategy to end a war, or it can constitute an entire war in and of itself.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t find 911 too far from the definition of an invasion that a good lawyer couldn’t argue it. All you have to do is convince a (sufficently right-leaning) judge that the guy(s) you have in your custody were planning an invasion of American soil via suicide plane bombs or car bombs or dynamite to the chest and *blamo* you’ve got the right to dodge habeus corpus. Happy Birthday.

    I mean, if Bush had tried to make this an Amendment rather than a simple Act, he could have done more damage, but not by much. All the courts have to do now is agree with the President. And 4 out of 9 Supreme Court Justices have been hand-picked to do just that.

  27. 27
    SeesThroughIt says:

    Explain to me how this makes us safe from terrorists again?

    Because it gives the preisdent the tools he needs to cut taxes for the culture of life in a time of unanticipated levee breeches without a Islammyfacist warrant of supporting our troops….

    Oops, sorry about that. I think my Right Wing Talking Point-O-Matic has a glitch.

  28. 28
    Tony J says:

    Or how about Vote Republican – Because we’re always one step ahead of the Terrorists

  29. 29
    AkaDad says:

    Surrender Your Freedoms – Vote Republican

  30. 30
    RSA says:

    Vote Republicans: There is nothing you can teach us about the War on Terror.

  31. 31

    Or Don’t worry, foreigners don’t have any rights anyway. That’s how this thing got through, right? Because it only applies to non-citizens? That’s what I’ve gotten from my readings about it, but I’m not completely sure. All this bill guarantees is that subset of completely innocent people locked up in Guantanamo will remain in Guantanamo indefinitely. Right? (Not that I’m trying to excuse it, but I can see some senators thinking to themselves, “shoot, they’re all just terraists, and ain’t Merricans anyhow” and thinking that makes it all okay.)

  32. 32
    Tony J says:

    Or maybe just a random quote will do: Vote Republican – Because the Terrorists never stop thinking of ways to hurt our country, and neither do we!

  33. 33
    El Cruzado says:

    As a foreigner living in the US on an H1B visa, I’m creeped out by this in such a way that words fail me.

    Even getting a green card won’t help if The Man decides to take an interest on me. Way to go.

    (posted on the other thread too by mistake. Although it applies too).

  34. 34
    Andrei says:

    I’m still waiting to hear what drivel Darrell or Mac Buckets has to say about this. I haven’t heard the rightwing talking points yet, and am disappointed they haven’t come through to enlighten me on what the new koolaid party line is.

  35. 35
    capelza says:

    Something just occurred to me. Remeber a bit ago, the two American journalists that were captured in Gaza (I think) and they were freed when they “converted” to Islam. Then, remember the pundit/bloggers/wingnuts that were aghast that they didn’t die rather than faux convert.

    And yet, I am certain, these same self-righteous assholes think that this country and it’s values are NOT worth dying for, in that they support these bills and Bush’s unfettered trampling of our basic shared (I hope) American values. Better to give up some freedoms, because otherwise we’ll all be killed in our beds!

  36. 36

    Yeah, what is the right wing talking point defending this? I know the one about not granting rights to terrorists and blah blah blah, but what’s the talking point after you point out that many of the people at Guantanamo are “wrong place, wrong time” types?

  37. 37
    Tsulagi says:

    I’m a legal resident, and if this atrocity isn’t overturned, I effectively lose my rights.

    Geez, what country did you think you were in? That one vanished five years ago. 9/11 changed everything.

  38. 38
    ThymeZone says:

    they haven’t come through to enlighten me on what the new koolaid party line is.

    “The world is better off without Bill Saddam Clinton Hussein.”

    I think that’s basically it.

  39. 39
    Mike in SLO says:

    C’mon John. Ask MacBuck, Darrell or ParR

    It is interesting that there are no posts yet from Mac, Par, or Darrell. I’m interested in how they will justify this. I know they have no objection to Bush having this power, but I wonder how they feel about Hilary or Al Gore having that kind of power. Mehlman must be late with his Talking Points email this morning, but stay tuned… Surely one them will be commenting once the official spin is set.

  40. 40
    RSA says:

    Even odds that the word “coddling” is in any such statement.

  41. 41
    scarshapedstar says:

    I hate to say I told you so, but…

    …wait, actually, I take perverse pleasure in doing so. See you in hell, along with everyone else who cheerfully voted to enable this ghoulish presidency.

    History will undoubtedly refer to us as the Worst Generation.

  42. 42
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Thymezone and Neil, Your quote of article 3 misses something key (if I remember classes correctly).

    Reread sections 1 and 2. Section 1 defines “judicial power” as being the Supreme Court. Therefore, section 2’s first paragraph says (paraphrase):
    The Supreme Court shall have authority when (skip a bit) it’s a controversy involving the United States (skip some other times it has authority).

    And the second paragraph identifies whether the Supreme Court is appelate or original court. Thus paraphrasing:
    For these, the SCOTUS is the original court. For everything else it’s the appelate court, unless Congress moves a specific situation back to original court authority.

    note IANAL, but I’ve done a fair amount of legal reading. I consider myself an informed layman (grin).

  43. 43
    fwiffo says:

    Somebody much smarter than the current crop of cretins in DC wrote:

    A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt. If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake.

  44. 44
    AkaDad says:

    Vote Republican – We Legalized War Crimes!

  45. 45
    Bombadil says:

    Go see The General and pay your respects.

    It was a nice run while it lasted.

  46. 46
    ThymeZone says:

    note IANAL

    Me neither.

    Just a guy with one of those shirtpocket Constitutions in his shirt pocket. I consider it a souvenir now, a little piece of what America used to be before 911 ruined changed everything.

  47. 47
    rbl says:

    Explain to me how this makes us safe from terrorists again?

    Easy, they hate us for our freedom. Ergo, if we sacrifice our freedom, they won’t hate us. After all, the USSR never had problems with radical Islamists.

  48. 48
    PeterJ says:

    Torture obviously works, that’s why there aren’t any terrorists at all in Saudi Arabia or Algeria for instance.

  49. 49
    Steve says:

    what’s the talking point after you point out that many of the people at Guantanamo are “wrong place, wrong time” types?

    The talking point is that, by releasing so many people from Gitmo who did nothing wrong, we have conclusively proven that our government is already taking steps to identify the people who did nothing wrong and let them go. Ergo, everyone still at Gitmo is guilty of something.

    Of course, if we hadn’t let anyone go at all, the talking point would be that there was no evidence of any innocent people at Gitmo. But you didn’t say my talking points had to be consistent with one another.

  50. 50

    How is this crap constitutional?

  51. 51
    Pb says:

    How is this crap constitutional?

    How could this crap possibly be Constitutional? Methinks that wasn’t the question they had in mind when they drafted it, though; more likely it was: “What are you going to do about it?”

  52. 52
    Filthy McNasty says:

    The Hamdan decision placed the issue of detainees in the Legislature, which is where I though everyone wanted it. The Legislature has done its job, and now you’re unhappy with that result too?

    Whether it makes us safer from terrorists is beside the point. The point was: allowing our system of government to work its magic on a thorny issue, and not leave it to a president to decide for himself what the law should be. The magic has happened, you just think you’ve been tricked instead of being subject to the artistry of political machinations. Well, tough shit.

    The Republicans keep winning political and ideological battles because the have something. Whether you agree with them or not, they have something to offer. The Democrats have nothing, and you can’t beat something with nothing. Being critical of policy isn’t by itself a policy, but the Democrats sure try and turn it into one. For crying out loud, when will the Democrats stand up for something, anything, other than being against Bush? Maybe then, and only then, will they get the power they so desperately want.

  53. 53
    Mike in SLO says:

    Wow. 52 posts and stilol nothing from Mac, Par or Darrell… Could it be even they can’t defend this? Somehow I doubt that!

  54. 54
    PeterJ says:

    How is this crap constitutional?

    The Constitution is so pre 9/11.

  55. 55
    PeterJ says:

    Wow. 52 posts and stilol nothing from Mac, Par or Darrell… Could it be even they can’t defend this? Somehow I doubt that!

    They are having a group jerk off celebrating that torture now is legal.

  56. 56
    RSA says:

    I expect the general flavor of winger support to take three forms: A. Deny that the new law grants any new powers to the government. B. Argue that terrorists don’t deserve any protections at all (eliding the distinction between actual and suspected terrorists). C. Argue that we wouldn’t need laws like this if it weren’t for a treasonous opposition party and media who would otherwise let America come to harm.

  57. 57
    Pb says:

    Also…

    D. Never explain why we didn’t need this legislation back when our enemies were the Nazis, the Commies, the Viet-Cong, or in all the previous cases of foreign and domestic terror, etc., etc.–but:

    E. Now that we’re holding hundreds or thousands of (formerly presumed innocent) people indefinitely on little or no evidence, it’s *vital* to deny them all the rights that we used to extend to American citizens, Nazis, Commies, the Viet-Cong, domestic terrorists, foreign terrorists, etc., etc.! That Afghani taxi driver or US citizen or whoever else is far more dangerous!

  58. 58
    Steve says:

    The Hamdan decision placed the issue of detainees in the Legislature, which is where I though everyone wanted it. The Legislature has done its job, and now you’re unhappy with that result too?

    Whether it makes us safer from terrorists is beside the point. The point was: allowing our system of government to work its magic on a thorny issue, and not leave it to a president to decide for himself what the law should be. The magic has happened, you just think you’ve been tricked instead of being subject to the artistry of political machinations. Well, tough shit.

    This is actually a pretty fair point, although the crap about how the Democrats stand for nothing pretty much ruined it. The Republicans are running around today talking about how the Democrats want to coddle terrorists, and all that BS. They care about nothing in this bill except obtaining a political bludgeon to beat Democrats with.

    Returning to the original point, though, I can’t think of a single example in our nation’s history where Congress and the President have agreed 100% on a controversial wartime measure and the Supreme Court has stepped in to overturn it. They said it was okay to put Japanese-Americans in camps, you know! So anyone who expects the Supreme Court to smack down this law is seriously unrealistic.

    Not to say that it could never happen, but the smart way to bet is that the Court shot their wad in Hamdan and they’re not going to take a second whack.

  59. 59
    mrmobi says:

    The Legislature has done its job, and now you’re unhappy with that result too?

    Whether it makes us safer from terrorists is beside the point. The point was: allowing our system of government to work its magic on a thorny issue, and not leave it to a president to decide for himself what the law should be. The magic has happened, you just think you’ve been tricked instead of being subject to the artistry of political machinations. Well, tough shit.

    McNasty, since most everyone thinks this new law is unconstitutional, maybe the legislature just took a shit and called it a law.

    Oh, and the magic, as you call it, didn’t allow for input from any Democrats. The magic, as you call it, involved a fake compromise (in which the Democrats were negligent), a bunch of last-minute re-writes by Cheney, and a quick conclusion designed to sand-bag any Democrat in a close race. No one even had time to read the fucking bill. The real magic is that you can look at yourself in the mirror and not vomit. You must be very proud, having established yourselves as the party of torture and lawlessness.

    The real question here, McNasty, is why aren’t you outraged? Your guys have accomplished exactly nothing in this Congress, while working the fewest days ever. While they are busily destroying the military, they instead pass bills they openly acknowledge are not going to stand, or flag-burning bills, or gay marriage bills, or bills which reward their richest supporters.

    Are these are your big ideas? All you’ve got is fear, and after that you’re incompetent and bankrupt of ideas, except for tax cuts and hand-outs to big oil.

    Your party has betrayed the people it is supposed to serve, actively undermining basic human decency and the rule of law. Fuck you all.

  60. 60
    Kirk Spencer says:

    I finally finished reading the law, looking up the correlation references (where it says it changes law such and so by adding or deleting), first pass. One line of summary is enough, I think.

    By this law, Abu Ghraib was legal.

    This will be the first time in my life that I vote straight ticket Dem – and I’ve been voting for well over 2/3 of my life. I don’t think the Dems ‘have the answer’. What I think is that I have to do everything in power to remove the current set of monsters.

    Kirk

  61. 61
    Filthy McNasty says:

    mrmobi,

    Your comment begs the question: what does your party offer? Especially in regards to TWOT? As I said in my previous comment: you can’t fight something with nothing, and the Democrats have nothing. Your harangue about the administration, it’s supposed failures, the unconstitutionality of the bill…blah-blah-blah…gets both of us nowhere.

    The Democrats in Congress voted in a manner that gave a nod to the Netroots, the Angry Left, of the party. It had nothing to do with principle, becasue they have no principles. You may differ with Bush’s principles, but at least he has them.

  62. 62
    PeterJ says:

    Filthy McNasty,

    just to understand you, do you believe that torture work as a mean to get information? Do you think every prisoner/terrorist/unlawful combatant should be tortured to see if they can provide us with information or should just the high ranking ones and those we know are involved in terrorist plots be tortured? And finally should theere be any accountabilty if someone that has been tortured turn out to be innocent or if they are terrorist but really doesn’t have any information to give us?

  63. 63
    John S. says:

    You may differ with Bush’s principles, but at least he has them.

    And what lovely ‘principles’ they are.

  64. 64
    Filthy McNasty says:

    Peter,

    What I think is that reasonable people can disagree about “torture”, and I also think that there is a public America, and a behind-the-scenes America. The latter is the work being done by our government and military, sometimes very unsavory work, in order to keep us in the position we have attained over two hundred years. If this involves aligning with bad people, or using “torture” to get information, I want it to be done, and not to hear about it. I also want Americans to have enough backbone to know an enemy when they see it, and to take this enemy head-on until it is defeated. In the age of the Internet and an omnipresent media, it needs to go even further underground to be able to do its job. I cannot imagine WWII running the course it did with today’s media. It would not have been possible.

    The fact is, cops need to do bad things to bad people in bad situations, and our military needs to do similar bad things, but with stakes that are much higher. That is a fact about our country and our place in the world that I am willing to accept. We should not take any shit. We should dish it out faster and heavier than they do. We should beat them to a pulp with everything we’ve got. Abu Ghraib was a sideshow; a carnival of perversion not meant to get information from suspects, but to shame them and only to shame them. So let’s not compare that to what we know has to happen when serious soldiers are beating back a serious enemy. It is an enemy that is infinitely more patient, more intent, and more committed to defeating us than we realize. It is not an enemy of our making, despite arguments to the contrary from Chomskyites. I, for one, think we would gain a lot more ground against Islamic radicals if we’d behead one of them on national television, than we would pulling them through our courts. They don’t give a shit about courts, or rule of law, or fairness in war. Nor should we when it comes to fighting them. It may sound insane of me, but is it really?

  65. 65
    PeterJ says:

    Filthy McNasty, so militant muslims pose a larger threat than the communists during the cold war?

    How do you scare someone, who’s already ready to die for their cause, into submission, by beheading someone on TV? So instead of promoting values like democracy and rule of law we should stoop to their level? You don’t see anything wrong with that idea?

    Personally, I can’t imaging WWII running the course it did if the current administration had been in charge…

  66. 66
    Shabbazz says:

    I, for one, think we would gain a lot more ground against Islamic radicals if we’d behead one of them on national television, than we would pulling them through our courts.

    “Gain a lot more ground against them” or “become just like them”?

    It’s all the same, really.

    God help us all.

  67. 67
    Filthy McNasty says:

    All,

    There are no perfect answers. I wish there were, but we all know, instictively, that there aren’t. They are willing to die for the cause, but treating them with the same ferociousness they delight in dishing out to us might prevent more recruits from joining their ranks. Do you think we have no options, since they’re willing to die for their cause, then we have no tools at our disposal, right? Is that the message you design to send to me?

    Islamic radicals are mutually exclusive of democratic governments. I no longer believe that spreading democracy is the panacea for this strain of radicalism. The idea of jihad, whether spoken or acted upon, should be banned from decent societies. If Muslims want to be part of the decent world, they renounce radicalism. If they accept radicalism, they suffer severe penalties. The two cannot co-exist. The West has gone to incredible lengths to accomodate Islamists within their borders, and it is not working out. There are good Muslims, to be sure, but until the idea of jihad against non-believers is beaten back with extreme force, both intellectually and militarily, we’re doomed.

    The Democrats, if they could bring themselves to accept the threat against not only the U.S., but the entre world, could then at least accept having a strong military to deal with it, and not be ashamed of it. If they can do this, even a modicum of this, they might get my vote. Bush has bungled TWOT, but he must be given credit for accepting that there is an enemy, and not paying lip service to it or blaming America for its creation. It’s serious business we’re facing, and we need serious leadership from people willing to fight the fight, and as importantly, to articulate it plainly and influentially to the American people (another area where Bush has failed).

  68. 68
    Richard 23 says:

    I also think that there is a public America, and a behind-the-scenes America. The latter is the work being done by our government and military, sometimes very unsavory work, in order to keep us in the position we have attained over two hundred years. If this involves aligning with bad people, or using “torture” to get information, I want it to be done, and not to hear about it.

    Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil. So much for accountability. What principles you have.

    The fact is, cops need to do bad things to bad people in bad situations, and our military needs to do similar bad things, but with stakes that are much higher. That is a fact about our country and our place in the world that I am willing to accept.

    So much for the rule of law. Are you for real?

    Abu Ghraib was a sideshow; a carnival of perversion not meant to get information from suspects, but to shame them and only to shame them.

    Jesus. It shames us more than it does them, pervert.

    I, for one, think we would gain a lot more ground against Islamic radicals if we’d behead one of them on national television, than we would pulling them through our courts. They don’t give a shit about courts, or rule of law, or fairness in war.

    Neither do you. You’re a fucking cartoon.

    It may sound insane of me, but is it really?

    Sociopathic, actually. Are you fit to live in a civilized society?

  69. 69
    Richard 23 says:

    Thanks for being honest, if you are, but I think you’re a nutball.

  70. 70
    PeterJ says:

    They are willing to die for the cause, but treating them with the same ferociousness they delight in dishing out to us might prevent more recruits from joining their ranks.

    Yes, once more, if they fail to blow themselves up, they might die by being beheaded on TV. That will obviously deter them from ever joining.

    Maybe you also believe that punishing people who tries to commit sucicide with the death penalty will bring down suicide rates?

    I really hope that you’re a troll…

  71. 71
    Pb says:

    Bush has bungled TWOT, but he must be given credit for accepting that there is an enemy

    Spoof, and a poor one at that.

  72. 72
    Sherard says:

    Explain to me how this makes us safe from terrorists again?

    Gosh, John, strawman much ?

    Since this was never referred to as the “Make Us Safe from Terrorists by Allowing Torture Act”, I’d say your characterization is off. I wonder if that is intentional deceit (you know, one of those famous LIES), or just willful stupidity.

    I would point out, however, that when and if your life is saved because they got some information out of a terrorist by allowing our guys to talk real mean to them, I bet you won’t lose a moment’s sleep over it. And don’t forget, ABC (staunch defender of all things Bush) has reported that it has saved lives.

    But hey, don’t bother letting the truth get in the way of a good snarky finish.

  73. 73
    Sherard says:

    Maybe you also believe that punishing people who tries to commit sucicide with the death penalty will bring down suicide rates?

    Wow. So let me get this straight, PeterJ… We should NOT punish terrorists ? We should give them what they want so they stop trying to kill us, is that your brilliant approach ?

    I am, frankly, shocked that anyone 1) actually believes that, and 2) that they would actually be naive enough to actually say it. Appeasement, what a GREAT idea!

  74. 74
    Shabbazz says:

    “Bullets don’t kill ideology!”

    “Oh yeah? Well then, you’re a terrorist appeaser!”

    Remember when the “liberals” were the knee-jerk reactionaries?

  75. 75
    ThymeZone says:

    So let me get this straight, PeterJ… We should NOT punish terrorists

    You sound like a kid who just discovered terrorism.

    Terrorism has been around longer than you have. The British lived with it in their midst for decades. So did the French.

    There are policy decisions that will affect the growth, or abatement, of terrorist activity. Making smart policy decisions is not “giving them what they want.” It’s the responsible thing to do, because it saves lives and fosters civilized behavior, whereas foolish ill-begotten wars cost lives and foster more violent behavior.

    You obviously don’t get that, but a lot of us do, and we are eager to move on from the schoolyard approach to handling the world.

  76. 76
    Andrei says:

    I would point out, however, that when and if your life is saved because they got some information out of a terrorist by allowing our guys to talk real mean to them, I bet you won’t lose a moment’s sleep over it. And don’t forget, ABC (staunch defender of all things Bush) has reported that it has saved lives. But hey, don’t bother letting the truth get in the way of a good snarky finish.

    It’s really hard not to get into ad hominem attacks, Sherard, but the more I see these kind of comments, the more I just have to say you’re a complete fucking moron.

    Being against torture has absolutely nothing to do with protecting terrorists from being talked to like… “real mean.” A snide comment that on the face of it makes you an idiot. Being against torture has everything to with protecting innocent people as well as abuse of power by those in charge.

    Period.

    Stop attempting to frame it the other way.

    To say otherwise is complete and utter bullshit. And until the Dems stop talking about this issue in the moronic way the guys like Sherard try to frame them, any attempt at discussion on the issue will continue to be pointless.

    Our entire American way of life, our entire democractic system, has everything to do with the concept that INDIVIDUALS have inalienable rights and freedoms to PROTECT THEM from their GOVERNMENT. The reason torture is complete anathema to our way of life has nothing to do with how theorectically effective it is in getting information out of one man at one particular point in time where he may hold the key to some nuclear device that could kill millions. The reason torture is anathema to our way of life is because it gives the government power over individuals.

    Once again, so you’ll get it through you incredibly thick fucking skull: That’s NOT the American Way.

    There isn’t a single person you’ll find in this debate that would have any problem with Jack Bauer nearly poking out the eyes of the guy in the chair if that guy was the theorectical boogey man with the Bomb. The issue though is that to make that decision and employ those kind of tactics, you have to be 10,000% perect right.

    That makes it the EXCEPTION. Not the rule. And especially not the rule of law.

    Wake the fuck up already.

    This also relates to the wiretapping thing. Nothing is stopping the President from wiretapping Americans if he thinks that some citizen is actually a terrorist. He can start the wiretap then get the warrant later. If he was being honest, he’d get the law extended to give him a longer time than three days to back fill that warrant, like maybe make it seven days.

    But the point is this: He has the ability to do it, and if was 10,000% percent certain the citizen was a terrorist,and 10,000% certain that person was two days from blowing up Heinz Field during a Steelers game, I gaurantee you NO ONE would have a problem if he forgot to get that warrant until two months after the fact.

    Again, that is the EXCEPTION. Not the rule. Why? Because once the government has the power to do things like spy on you AS A RULE, the next step is watching a despot step into the role of power and abuse the system and its citizens.

    The United States of America exists to serve its PEOPLE. It does not exists to serve those in power.

    Get it through you thick fucking skull. The American experiment is about providing its citizens with inalienable rights and freedoms, it does not exists to serve the needs of its government or those cynical power brokers who try to use the system for their own personal gains.

    If you live in fear of dying from terrorists, then too fucking bad. I’ve got news for you: There’s a much larger chance you will die walking out of your house this morning and getting into your car than to a terrorist attack. There’s a much bigger chance that you’ll die crossing the street than to a terrorist attack. Does that mean there isn’t a 0.01% chance a terrorist could not only get a decent size nuke without anyone noticing and plant it in the middle of downtown Springfield, but also do so to start World War III which winds up killing everyone, which is against his cause?

    Stop being such a pansy, Sherard.

    The way you fight terrorists is by being BETTER than them. You set examples that you can’t argue with, like not torturing them even when they threaten to behead your people on television or when they strap bombs to themselves to kill both themselves and as many people near them. You beat them financially by asking your citizens to find ways to break the oil cycle, and fast. We went to the Moon as a means to fight the Soviets, and look at all that it reaped. Even the Internet can be credited to the way government funded all that military research in an effort to beat the Soviets to the Moon. You beat them by preaching what Jesus taught, to love thy enemy. Because when you love them, you stop doing things that beget more enemies and more terrorists. Geroge Bush is a Christian? A born again? Bulllshit. Real Christians don’t preach or practice war as a means to solve problems, especially violent ones, and especially NOT proactively at countries that didn’t attack us.

    “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:38-39)…Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. (Matthew 5:38-44)”

    Period.

    Now fucking shove off already, Sherard. I’ve become beyond sick and tired of idiots like you ruining this fucking country by swallowing Limbaugh’s, Hannity’s, Coulter’s, O’Reilly’s and the entire GOP bullshit sandwhich then gleefully shoving it in other people’s faces in the cynical hope that you can convince a bunch of other fear obbessed, pansy ass, bedwetting idiots to buy your angle for the sole purpose to make sure that your “team” wins the next election.

    There. That rant felt good.

    Toodles all.

  77. 77
    PeterJ says:

    Wow. So let me get this straight, PeterJ… We should NOT punish terrorists ? We should give them what they want so they stop trying to kill us, is that your brilliant approach ?

    I am, frankly, shocked that anyone 1) actually believes that, and 2) that they would actually be naive enough to actually say it. Appeasement, what a GREAT idea!

    Where did I say that we shouldn’t punish terrorists?

    I was responding to someone venting the idea that we should do to them what they are doing, behinding people on TV, since he thought that it would deter people from becoming terrorists.

    Nor did I even say that we should give them what they want. (BTW, Bin Laden got one of his top demands after 9/11, the bulk of the US troops that was stationed in Saudia Arabia has left the country. I wonder who it was that gave him that… Bush maybe?)

    I’m probably going to piss you off, but I rather live in a country where guility people are not convicted due to lack of evidence than in a country where innocent people are convicted since evidence is not needed to convict them.

  78. 78
    Andrei says:

    Being against torture has everything to with protecting innocent people as well as abuse of power by those in charge.

    Obviously, due to my supreme powers of proofreadig, I neglected to say:

    “Being against torture has everything to with protecting innocent people, not participating in something that on its face is morally repugnant as well as protecting from abuse of power by those in charge.”

    There. fixed.

  79. 79

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