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Author Topic: What if the terrorists get let off?
Blayne Bradley
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Putting aside that this is a near impossibility what if the terrorist in question does get let off and acquitted...

He'll be free to go!


...


On to the streets...

of New York City!

Its WIN WIN!

other then the remainder of the US who went get the privilege of him walking amongst them.

For the dense republican partisans who couldn't see a good thing even if it walks past them this means that if even if they are released it means they will be on the streets where any number of people can mass and publicly lynch the man in question and not a single person will "see" it happen even if its in the middle of a crowded street.

Like seriously, c'mon. Win-win.

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kmbboots
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Mob rule is not a win.
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Blayne Bradley
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Yeah but the partisan republitards are like "oh noes! why we giving them benefit of rule of law! Why we bringing into amongst us! They should go down into a deep dark hole that we never have to hear from them! Dont tell us too much about the hole though, we might get queezy!"

some of their pundits are actually saying that the chance of them being let off as an actual cause for concern its absurd.

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SenojRetep
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The President (or maybe it was AG Eric Holder) has said even if KSM is acquitted he will be detained indefinitely as a prisoner of war. The Supreme Court has indicated that such detention would be lawful as long as the Afghanistan war is still being prosecuted.

<edit>And there's essentially no possibility that KSM will be acquitted. His lawyers have stated that he intends to admit his guilt (while pleading not guilty), but use the trial as a way to wage propaganda war against the US.</edit>

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Blayne Bradley
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Nothing wrong with that just have it unfilmed, keep the press out, or if it is filmed put a 4-8 year delay on when it is released.
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Kwea
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I understand why they are upset, even though I don't agree with them. We are giving enemies who carried out what they consider an act of war the rights we have fought and died for, under the same system they were trying to destroy.


Plus we are giving them a stage to espouse their views and spread their lies and poison, and allow them to reveal some of our weaknesses.


Also, there ARE national security concerns.


It isn't as simple as you'd like to make it be.

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Blayne Bradley
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It is pretty simple, it is our/your principles that the rule of law is paramount and thus the penultimate success of those principles to apply them even to enemies who seek to eradicate them.

Let them spout their poison, for on the public stand it will be all the easier to descredit them.

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Fusiachi
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Penultimate, Blayne?
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Yeah but the partisan republitards are like "oh noes! why we giving them benefit of rule of law! Why we bringing into amongst us! They should go down into a deep dark hole that we never have to hear from them! Dont tell us too much about the hole though, we might get queezy!"
Actually, 'republitards' aren't the ones getting queasy hearing about how mass-murdering terrorists are stuck down in an oubliette for the rest of their lives. It's folks who use words like 'republitards' who get queasy. ETA: Plenty of other folks do, too. The sorts of republicans you're talking about? They're fine with it.

I'm deeply ambivalent about this. They're not just criminals. It's not just a matter of number dead, either. They were prosecuting a war against both our country and its people. Our civilian criminal justice system may not be the best tool for dealing with that sort of threat. For me the concern isn't that scumbags are getting the benefits of the rights Americans enjoy, the concern is that they're making war on us and we're giving them a whole lot of rights.

There are definite, humongous national security concerns. What about when the prosecution is required to tell things to the defense? Suppose the defense lawyers, who thanks to their clients have Joe McTerrorist on speed dial in DurkaDurkistan give `em a ring and say, "Hey, here's a detailed account of what they have on us, see if you can do anything with that, okay?"

I would point out that it's a more complicated issue than you're talking about, but then again, you're using words like 'republitard', so that's most likely an exercise in futility. Have fun preaching to the choir about how stupid people who disagree with you are:)

Though, strange to say, the PRC, when they treat criminals like they're enemies of the state for dangerous, traitorous activities like wanting to vote for someone else...well, they're not 'commitards'. They're just dealing with very real and difficult problems, and maybe folks criticizing them should consider that and back off.

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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
It is pretty simple, it is our/your principles that the rule of law is paramount and thus the penultimate success of those principles to apply them even to enemies who seek to eradicate them.

Let them spout their poison, for on the public stand it will be all the easier to descredit them.

Nope. Not even close.

It applies to all citizens, and to others NOT engaged in active war upon us, as it has always been.

No offense, Blayne, but you are just showing a lack of understanding when you spout off like that. Not to mention questionable expertise of the English language. [Wink]

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Rakeesh
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Those people in the county lockup right now, are they called 'prisoners of war'? Or do they belong to a different category?

I thought so. Just shooting down the silly notion that we deal with everyone, everywhere, at all times and circumstances, as criminal suspects.

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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwea:
quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
It is pretty simple, it is our/your principles that the rule of law is paramount and thus the penultimate success of those principles to apply them even to enemies who seek to eradicate them.

Let them spout their poison, for on the public stand it will be all the easier to descredit them.

Nope. Not even close.

It applies to all citizens, and to others NOT engaged in active war upon us, as it has always been.

No offense, Blayne, but you are just showing a lack of understanding when you spout off like that. Not to mention questionable expertise of the English language. [Wink]

Uhhhh..... Maybe its your own lack of understanding? Maybe its not written y'know explicitly buuuut thats why I used the word or pretty sure I used the word principles and that simply using them only as it suits you is an excuse to not apply them to your enemies as convenient.

What would you think is better, shooting them on sight?

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Mucus
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What if the alleged terrorists ... just sayin'
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Rakeesh
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Blayne, you're suggesting it's in our national principles to treat people who make war on us and our people exactly like common domestic murderers. And you're talking about it like it's a given or something.

It's not. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you can point to some writing somewhere by important American figures currently or in our past that indicates this sort of thing is one of our principles. Maybe there's some precedent I'm overlooking, that it's happened before. It doesn't seem likely, though.

And Blayne...chill out. Rants like this, especially when they're peppered with words like 'republitard', make you look pretty foolish.

quote:
What would you think is better, shooting them on sight?
That is customary with enemy soldiers, actually.
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scholarette
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If we were treating them like enemy soldiers, I would have no problem. If they are enemy soldiers, they should get all the rights we agreed to provide them with the geneva convention. If they are not soldiers and are in fact criminals, then we treat them as criminals with all the rights accorded to them as criminals. Creating a new status for terrorists so that we can deny them all the rights of enemy soldiers as well as those of criminals is what offends me.
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Rakeesh
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Whereas I think it would actually be appropriate to create a new status for them, because they are clearly very different from both common criminals and uniformed enemy soldiers, or even enemy spies, when both are working for a national government.

The problem I had with the Bush Administration approach was that they really seemed to not want to go to that much trouble of creating a real, enduring new category (admittedly it'd be a lot of work), and rather tried to shoehorn it in with an eye towards getting only the results they wanted while making it appear as though it were business as usual.

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MrSquicky
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The thing is they're not enemy soldiers and they're not criminals. They are people who are actively waging war on us while not being part of any national organized military. They don't really fit in either category.

I think we have a need to define a new category and set of procedures to deal with them. It's the "Well, they're really neither, so we can do whatever we want with them." that offends me. We need a clearly defined set of standards and a system of accountability and not just whatever the government decides to do with them, especially when that includes holding them in secret, torturing them, and detaining them without having to show any cause.

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Lyrhawn
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I'm not entirely sure such a new designation is necessary. First of all, we've successfully tried terrorists in US courts before, why is this any different? If we have the evidence, they'll be convicted, if we don't, why are we holding on to them?

Furthermore, what would be gained in creating a new status? What's the purpose? The idea of the US justice system is innocent until proven guilty. Okay, in practice that means these guys get a trial, and we convict them, or we let them go. If the whole point of a new status would be to hold on to to them even after we proclaimed them innocent, then what's the point of even having a trial? Some sort of self-satisfying pat on the back?

I don't really think they fall into the category of prisoners of war. Technically, they don't, both because they aren't uniformed soldiers, and they don't fight for a recognized nation state. That makes them criminals. If they were prisoners in a war that almost by definition won't end until we have complete ideological dominance, then we're basically saying that every captured soldier is going to get a life sentence.

They're criminals. Try them, put them in prison, or let them go and keep an eye on them for a long, long time. If we can't find a country to take them, then yes, we release them here. At some point it's our fault. Either we rounded them up by mistake, or we broke our own rules when it came to collecting evidence, and one would think releasing a bad guy for such a reason would be an excellent piece of encouragement not to make such a mistake in the future. Otherwise, why do we even pretend to follow the rule of law?

I think there's a lot of dangerous stuff going on in this national debate. The rule of law in America is severely threatened by a lot of possible outcomes regarding these guys. The attempt to redefine them as somehow exceptional when we've had a policy regarding trying terrorists in the past really bothers me. Trying to set up new classifications that allow us to skirt established principles and norms really bothers me.

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Rakeesh
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I agree, Squicky. A new category is needed, and in fact we really do need a new category somewhere between 'peace' and 'war with a distinct foreign sovereign nation', too.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
... If the whole point of a new status would be to hold on to to them even after we proclaimed them innocent, then what's the point of even having a trial? Some sort of self-satisfying pat on the back?

Well, yeah.

quote:
If you really think about the argument Obama made yesterday -- when he described the five categories of detainees and the procedures to which each will be subjected -- it becomes manifest just how profound a violation of Western conceptions of justice this is. What Obama is saying is this: we'll give real trials only to those detainees we know in advance we will convict. For those we don't think we can convict in a real court, we'll get convictions in the military commissions I'm creating. For those we can't convict even in my military commissions, we'll just imprison them anyway with no charges ("preventively detain" them).

Giving trials to people only when you know for sure, in advance, that you'll get convictions is not due process. Those are called "show trials." In a healthy system of justice, the Government gives everyone it wants to imprison a trial and then imprisons only those whom it can convict. The process is constant (trials), and the outcome varies (convictions or acquittals).

Obama is saying the opposite: in his scheme, it is the outcome that is constant (everyone ends up imprisoned), while the process varies and is determined by the Government (trials for some; military commissions for others; indefinite detention for the rest). The Government picks and chooses which process you get in order to ensure that it always wins. A more warped "system of justice" is hard to imagine.

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/?page=4
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MrSquicky
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quote:
If they were prisoners in a war that almost by definition won't end until we have complete ideological dominance, then we're basically saying that every captured soldier is going to get a life sentence.
That's what we do with real prisoners of war in a war that doesn't end.

quote:
Okay, in practice that means these guys get a trial, and we convict them, or we let them go.
Treating them as criminals does a little bit more than that. It opens up a whole host of rights that they wouldn't otherwise have. It also introduces evidentiary rules that would be near impossible to follow in many of the situations that these people are apprehended in. As a simplistic example of the combination of these two, do you really want to require soldiers to be mirandizing people?
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
That's what we do with real prisoners of war in a war that doesn't end.
Really? When was the last time that happened?

quote:
Treating them as criminals does a little bit more than that. It opens up a whole host of rights that they wouldn't otherwise have. It also introduces evidentiary rules that would be near impossible to follow in many of the situations that these people are apprehended in. As a simplistic example of the combination of these two, do you really want to require soldiers to be mirandizing people?
I'm not convinced that a middle ground doesn't already exist within our present legal institutions. Besides, some of those rights they should have. I'm also wholly unconvinced that applying many of those rights would make convictions impossible, or even more difficult. To use your simplistic example, there are a lot of situations in which mirandizing either isn't necessary, or the lack of mirandizing would have no effect on the outcome of a case. If we have evidence that a terrorist has committed a crime, they can be arrested without miranda warning. If they are detained during a battle, they can be detained without a miranda warning. Etc.

We tried and convicted Ramzi Yousef well enough. I don't see why that can't continue to be our policy when we know it has worked in the past.

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malanthrop
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If they are tried in civilian court, following civilian law and civilian precedent, a public defender should be able to get them off. This is going to backfire. It's an attempt to show the fairness of our system but when they are not let go it will illustrate the outcome was already rigged. The highest officials, including the president have already declared them guilty...that alone should lead to an automatic dismissal.

Why not just send them home in June of 2011. That's the date our president has announced our surrender. (You know the enemy sees it that way)

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
From malanthrop:
If they are tried in civilian court, following civilian law and civilian precedent, a public defender should be able to get them off.

Wow, I had no idea you were privy to the details of every individual case. Assuming you aren't under a gag order from the government, what can you share with us?
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malanthrop
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Were they read their Miranda rights?
What evidence was collected due to illegal wire taps, torture or via other illegal means?
Don't they have a right to a speedy trial, they've been held without charge for 8 years.
Can they find an unbiased jury when the president and Eric Holder have announced on national TV that they will be found guilty and will be executed?

Of course they will be found guilty and will be executed, but it will only highlight our flawed system. They've been prejudged...a military tribunal would be more fair. I'm glad I'm no longer in the service because this erases Geneva Convention protections. The precedent will be set and our troops could be captured by the enemy and tried and executed in their civilian courts as well. Geneva convention protections are out the window, our troops will be subject to the enemy's local law. Maybe they'll be lucky and only get their hands and feet cut off.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
That's what we do with real prisoners of war in a war that doesn't end.
Really? When was the last time that happened?


Actually, there is a precedent for exchanging POWs during lengthy conflicts. Also bear in mind that at least some of these prisoners were not combatants and ended up imprisoned indefinitely for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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Lyrhawn
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Mal -

So what you're saying is that you have no idea what sort of evidence there is against them.

Regardless, 1. I don't see how Miranda has anything at all to do with it. And I think that might come from a general lack of understanding of just what Miranda protects against, and what sort of protections it affords. (ETA, your lack of understanding, not mine) 2. Wouldn't we all like to know that? Illegal wiretaps are pretty doubtful. One, because international ELINT is rarely illegal from a US perspective. And two, because FISA courts historically have never had a problem with okaying wiretaps on suspected terrorists. If they did use illegal wiretaps for some reason, then I think the value in getting that out there, and learning our lesson from that would almost be worth the price of having someone go free when they shouldn't. We have some lessons that need to be learned here, and I suspect the only way to learn them is to follow the law to the letter and suffer the consequences from flouting it.

How would being denied a speedy trial allow them to go free? If anything, it would be an argument they could use to demand that a trial happen soon, but it wouldn't absolve them of guilt.

As far as finding an unbiased jury, I think tat would be difficult, but I don't think national addresses from Eric Holder have anything to do with it. I'd be willing to bet everything I own that a majority of Americans don't even know who Eric Holder is.

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rivka
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I'm with scholarette, Squicky, and Rakeesh on this. We need a new category.
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Lyrhawn
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The problem with that is what scholarette warned against; that creating a new category is just an excuse to deny them of the rights that exist in both of the already established categories.

I might not be adverse to a new category, but I'm highly skeptical, given the problems stated by many (not necessarily here) with the problems with our current categories. Exactly what would a new category entail? It sounds like the problems with our current categories revolve around relaxing rules of evidence and afforded protections of the accused. If I'm wrong, enlighten me. But I'm extremely skeptical of setting foot down that road.

And just for good measure: Category. (Cause I don't think I said it enough)

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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
quote:
Originally posted by Kwea:
quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
It is pretty simple, it is our/your principles that the rule of law is paramount and thus the penultimate success of those principles to apply them even to enemies who seek to eradicate them.

Let them spout their poison, for on the public stand it will be all the easier to descredit them.

Nope. Not even close.

It applies to all citizens, and to others NOT engaged in active war upon us, as it has always been.

No offense, Blayne, but you are just showing a lack of understanding when you spout off like that. Not to mention questionable expertise of the English language. [Wink]

Uhhhh..... Maybe its your own lack of understanding? Maybe its not written y'know explicitly buuuut thats why I used the word or pretty sure I used the word principles and that simply using them only as it suits you is an excuse to not apply them to your enemies as convenient.

What would you think is better, shooting them on sight?

[Roll Eyes]
Do your own homework, Blayne. What do you THINK is the usual treatment of prisoners engaged in war against a country, not just against the US?

I was actually referring to your lack of either knowledge or concern regarding the risks of allowing prisoners of war the full rights of US citizens. There are plenty of actual risks you failed to even acknowledge, let alone address, and THAT shows a shallow base of knowledge regarding these issues.

Not to mention a lack of historical perspective. It's not like they robbed a bank, you know.


Keep in mind that I was anything BUT a Bush supporter, and was NOT in favor of secret military trials either, and spoke against them multiple times.

Yet even I have reservations regarding treating them to the full privilege of our legal system.

Maybe you should think before you post. It would be a refreshing change of pace. Not everyone who doesn't agree with you is stupid, and dismissing them as such only makes YOU look intolerant, ill informed, and uneducated.....the very things you slam the other people are for disagreeing with you.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwea:
... Not to mention a lack of historical perspective. It's not like they robbed a bank, you know.

Rather, it's not like they're just accused of robbing a bank.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
The problem with that is what scholarette warned against; that creating a new category is just an excuse to deny them of the rights that exist in both of the already established categories.
Well, yes. They're radically different from either category, thus should not be given the same rights and obligations of those other two categories. The two categories we have don't fit, Lyrhawn. It's about that, not about looking for some way to screw them over and finding one.
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malanthrop
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Too bad we captured the ones we believed had information we could use. We don't have any problems, political or otherwise, from the pawns. They were left dead in the battlefield. So tell me, who got better treatment?
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MrSquicky
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These are people who belong to organizations that are committed to continuing war and other acts of aggression against the United States. Really, the only thing that makes them not POWs is that they are not fighting as part of a official national military.

Were they fighting as part of a national military, we could hold them for as long as the conflict continuing without violating any treaties or laws, but we'd also have to follow the Geneva Conventions according to their treatment.

POWs are not, by virtue of them fighting against us, criminals. The people we're fighting are criminals intrinsically because they are fighting as not part of a national military, which puts them outside legal combatants. But "fighting in an ongoing war not carried out by an entity that we recognize as having a legal ability to do so" isn't really a crime we're set up to deal with. My understanding of the law there is basically, if they do this, you can do pretty much what you like to them without breaking any laws or treaties. Nation-states don't take kindly to people who don't play by their rules and don't extend protections to these people.

In a simpler or more desperate time, we'd probably execute the lot of them out of hand and, as I understand it, there's not really law or applicable treaties that say we can't. As we've captured them fighting a continuing war against us, we want to hold onto them, as opposed to letting them go so they can continue fighting against us. It's a very weird situation.

Of course, in the above, I'm making the very unjustified assumption that the people we're holding were all actually fighting against us. In an official type war, this is pretty easy to figure out. If they're wearing a uniform/other official designation, they're legitimate POWs. If they were fighting without a uniform, they're outside the POW protections and, as I understand it, we can pretty much just kill them.

Here, we've got a whole mess of people that the government has just said "These all were fighting against us." without needing to prove this to anyone and there is some indication that in a significant number of cases, this was not the case. This is not, to me, an acceptable situation.

You can't treat them as criminals but then say they only get some of the rights that criminals get. That's not how our laws and system of rights set up. Miranda rights, chain of evidence, the right to face your accuser, and a whole host of other rights are not feasible in a lot of these cases and we can't remove them if we are treating them as criminals.

If we treat them as POWs, they're basically going to be held indefinitely on the government's say so. It's not like we're going to be doing exchanges with people who behead the people (often non-combatants) they capture.

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Lyrhawn
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I would be okay with some sort of third category that designated them as prisoners of war, but there would have to be some sort of mechanism to ensure that we really have legitimate prisoners. If we have roving bands of troops in the hills around Kandahar picking up anyone with an AK, how can we be sure that we actually have legitimate enemies or just a goat-herd in the wrong place at the wrong time?

But even at that, there are differences. A terrorist isn't just a terrorist. A mujaheddin fighter that we captured in Tora Bora is for all intents and purposes a prisoner of war, not a criminal, as far as I'm concerned. Our political framework doesn't allow them the benefits of being able to hide behind the uniform of a nation-state, but let's be real, it's what they are.

On the other hand, Yousif Ramzi plans a terrorist bombing against the World Trade Center, we gather evidence, we capture him, and we convict him of a crime, for which he is put in jail for life.

If we start to mix the two together, I think we'll run into some dangerous problems. The Oklahoma City Bombing was a domestic terrorist attack, but should we simply have gathered up the suspects and held them without trial for life because they were prisoners of war?

Terrorism isn't cut and dry, and any third category that might be created would have to recognize these differences. Sorting these people into fair categories, and applying different sets of rules depending on those categories is what I think is the most justifiable position. If they were wearing uniforms, we wouldn't need to sort them out, but they aren't, and I think recognizing that doesn't mean we just shut them in a dark room and throw away the key, it means we have to use established rules of justice to make sure we've actually got the right guy.

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steven
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Isn't the best way to handle them the one that will discredit then the most? One important way to keep groups like al-Qaeda from getting volunteers to join up is to discredit radical Islam. If you can discredit it thoroughly enough, you can sway people against it, and simultaneously build support for military efforts to finish off the Taliban/al-Qaeda. Discrediting is a fine art, and requires a subtle touch. I haven't necessarily decided the best way that it would be done here. Just some thoughts.
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Rakeesh
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That's only a given if the ultimate consideration here is a given, but it's not quite that cut-and-dried. We not only need to discredit them, we also need to - among many other things - do what we can to prevent them and others from murdering our citizens, and find justice for those they have murdered.
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Katarain
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I read this thread title as: What if the terrorists get laid off?

I was thinking, wow, the economy really is bad.

...


(Carry on...)

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kmbboots
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So do I!
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
do what we can to prevent them and others from murdering our citizens, and find justice for those they have murdered.
A lot of what I'm hearing has the potential to fall far short of fair justice, and whose efforts towards prevention may in fact lead to injustice.
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