28 Apr

Sen. Specter Switches to DNC; NO MORE EXCUSES DEMOCRATS

                                       

I always try to look for a silver lining on a cloud. I try to see both sides of the coin, and to be positive. That’s a lot harder today, BUT it is not impossible!

Senator Specter is switching from a Republican to a Democrat, and this gives the Democratic Party absolute power in Washington DC. They now have full control of the White House and both Houses of Congress as well as a filibuster-proof majority. That means they can pass and do anything they want, and no one can stop them except themselves.

Therein lies the silver lining.

It’s been 100 days for President Obama
It’s been well over 2 YEARS for the Democratic Congress

While tomorrow is day 100, Thursday is day1 in a completely new respect:
THERE CAN BE NO MORE EXCUSES

Nothing washes, nothing is credible, no scapegoating can work. Democrats have absolute power, and while-yes, some things take time to fix-not everything does. As such, on Thursday, President Obama, the Democratic Party, the House Democrats, and the Senate Democrats (complete with their favorite tool of the day, Sen. Specter) will have either accomplished SOMETHING significant, or they will have failed.

So while NBC, Kos, HuffPo, and Obama fans everywhere might look misty-eyed at The One on Wednesday with spin and claims of “Best President Ever” the reality is that on Thursday morning he will have accomplished absolutely nothing after Democrats spent $12000000000000.00 and have absolute power.

Truth Commission to look into torture? Bring it on because if they don’t, only Democrats can be blamed now.

Stop the Iranian nuclear program? They better, and they better do it soon because Israel’s not gonna wait forever, Iran’s not even slowing down, and there’s no one else to blame now.

6-7million Americans without jobs? Better get them jobs soon because there’s no one to blame for it now.

This entry was posted in CIA interrogation program, Guantanamo, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 at 10:35 am
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81 Responses to Sen. Specter Switches to DNC; NO MORE EXCUSES DEMOCRATS

  1. Wisdom says: 51

    @Magic Dog

    He/she/it knows how thoroughly hated the Republicans are

    So, are you saying that 4 1/2 years ago, when the Dems only got 48% of the popular vote, that it meant that they were “thoroughly hated” too? Because we lost the White House are we supposed to give up our convictions and just bend over? I don’t think so.

    M.H. feels compelled to disavow the twisted freaks that M.H. is actually aligned with.

    Mata clearly holds the same view of party politics that I do. I chose to be a Republican because they are the national party that whose platforms more closely identifies with my own principles, not the other way around. Does that mean I agree with every one of those platforms? Of course not, but that is why there are elections of party leadership. That is why there are county, state, and national conventions.

    @Cary

    With little to no employment opportunities in the entertainment industry (not entirely due to government politics or the economy), my “bread and butter” careers have also been suffering. Catering jobs are being scaled down, leaving little work for those of us who support ourselves in that field.

    Obama’s policies will only make that worse in the long term. The biggest problem with the whole concept of a “robin hood” economic system is that we still have the right to move away if we don’t like where we live. If the people who own and operate the businesses that hire you to cater their events choose to move their companies and their households out of New York, and eventually out of the United States, who do you think is going to pick up the economic slack? Who will be left to hire you?

    Without producers, there is no wealth. If you put onerous demands on the businesses and the people that produce the wealth (ie. excessive taxes, fees, regulations) they WILL go away. They will move their corporate headquarters somewhere else, and they will quit providing production in this country. The world is too ripe with economic growth and opportunity for them to put up with being looted by progressives who want to live off someone else’s success and hard work forever.

    Spectrer never understood any of this. Regardless of the R that has been at the end of his name for that last 29 years, he has always been just one of the looters.

    Once again, a quote from John Galt in Atlas Shrugged (because Ayn Rand’s vision of the future, over fifty years ago, is so terrifyingly accurate): “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

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  2. Ron says: 52

    To all:

    Wow. I have to say that this is one of the more interesting threads I’ve read! I love the back and forth between Mata, Cary, Wisdom, Magic Dog, Larry etc. Seriously, this is why I like FA. Regardless of whether one agrees with certain opinions, it’s nice to read well thought out and reasonable responses.

    Mata you really know how to hold your own. You’re one tough cookie!

    Give me some more!

    Ron

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  3. Aqua says: 53

    @ Larry

    And we’ll be shifting some health care costs from the insurance companies to the government, but overall costs will go down and consumer satisfaction is likely to go up. Do you know which major health insurance “company” currently has the highest level of consumer satisfaction? Medicare.

    Larry, you are obviously a very intelligent person and I’ve read enough here to know that you’re a doctor. Didn’t President Obama say he was not going to “nationalize” healthcare?

    Even Media Matters said Sean Hannity misrepresented his healthcare plan. Obama Healthcare Plan

    I don’t want the government running my healthcare. I’ll drop my conservative shield for a second here and admit that Obama said a few things in his campaign that I actually liked. (shield back up for a second to say all those promises had expiration dates). He said all Americans would have a choice to have the same healthcare plan congress enjoys. I think the whole problem with our Federal Government right now is that we have two sets of laws and policies. One for us, the commoners and one for our elected officials. We have social security, they have a kick ass retirement plan, FOR LIFE. We’ll get government healthcare, they’ll have their choice of healthcare.

    That my friend is not a democrat or republican problem, that is a We The People problem. That is a Government OF, BY, and FOR The People problem.

    Since this post is about Spector, I’ll just say that most of the people in the House and Senate could change the initial behind their name and it wouldn’t do anything for any of us. Most of them are in it for themselves. They have no intention of living by any of the laws or policies they spew forth. As long as We The People allow them to polarize us with their rhetoric, they have us where they want us.

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  4. Aqua says: 54

    Ouch, I think I went to Spam. And it’s cold there.

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  5. trizzlor says: 55

    @Aqua: Yes, I think CalCon is misrepresenting the kind of health-care that Obama proposes, which is essentially an option of very cheap basic coverage if you have none and then the right to pay for private care if you want. Higher taxes overall, which will hopefully be dampened by the focus shifting from emergency to preventive care. As a Massachusetts resident, I haven’t seen any detriment to my health-care from MassHealth, but I have a few low-income friends who would be in very dire straights and out of work if they didn’t have that safety net. By the way, CalCon, if you’re not satisfied with the government health-care
    in California you can always pay for private coverage like us producers.

    As far as waterboarding or sleep deprivation, or whatever else was used that elicited actionable intel, I fully support it.

    Getting off topic here, but you need to realize that the left doesn’t abhor torture because they “worry about terrorist rights” or “don’t have the guts to handle it” (I think it’s actually quite easy for a person to justify atrocity that is done in their name); we abhor it because it puts our troops in more danger when they’re captured and because it detracts from our overall mission as peace-keepers. Obviously a jihadi isn’t going to stop throat-slitting directly because of this, but countries will start loosening their policies on intense-interrogation if they see us doing it, and the people we’re supposed to be liberating will turn on us – and that is a long term failure much more significant than any short-term information that torture can provide us. I think you’ll agree that rape or mutilation too can result in information gain, but have detrimental long-term effects. The argument is where to draw the line, and by dumbing it down to a “my family versus some scumbag terrorist” question you’re doing a disservice to the complexity of your own position.

    MataHarley … great analysis, I think this will be an interesting post to come back to in the coming months and years. I personally feel like the US will remain a global power no matter what, so I’m interested in seeing if the liberal policies I’ve been championing for actually work.

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  6. Aqua says: 56

    @whomever fixed my post…Thanks!! [.... my pleasure, Aqua. Mata]

    @Trizzlor – tell me, when will this adherence to humane treatment under the GC bring forth fruit? American troops have been tortured in every war we’ve been in. We were by the book as far as the GC is concerned during WWII, the Korean and the Vietnam wars. Our opposition was not. So, when does this theory of yours bring forth fruit?

    As for healthcare…the Congress is pushing universal healthcare. This is not what Obama promised. Prove me wrong. Under Hillarycare in the 90′s, is you sought healthcare outside the single payer program, you would go to jail. This will turn out to be the same. They can’t have “producers” with better healthcare than anyone else. So, why can’t Congress live under the same laws and policies they impose on us? Are they better than We the People? If so, isn’t that the end of government by, of and for The People?

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  7. trizzlor says: 57

    @Aqua: @Aqua: I would say that our adherence to humane treatment is intrinsic to what makes America exceptional and has always paid dividends: in the way the world looks up to us as a nation firm in its first principles, the millions of people who seek to work here and enrich us with their talents because America is nothing like their despotic government, the role we’ve been able to play as an arbiter in global conflict because we had moral clarity on our side. Compare our standing in the world to that of China – a country that has comparable military and economic capacity but does not hold firm on human treatment – clearly what’s important is not just winning a war but how you win it. Maybe you’ve been clouded by Jihadi propaganda, but the majority of the world used to look to the United States as inspiration for a viable government founded on liberty; in fact, our perseverance as a nation through hard times was the very proof that the pursuit of freedom and the rule of law are inherent to a successful society.

    I don’t mean to moralize, but to me this is like asking “when is this whole Democracy thing going to bear fruit – we’ve fought against dictatorships in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam?”.

    As for health-care, I’d like to see the full proposal when it comes up, but I will say that I was glad that HillaryCare bombed and I hope the Democrats do not repeat those mistakes.

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  8. MataHarley says: 58

    but but but, triz… I thought we were the most despised nation. This is if you listen to all the anti-American rhetoric and blame America stuff flying furiously in the media, and by our POTUS.

    Don’t see that our int’l “standing” is any more desireable that that of China… with or without waterboarding, which I do not consider torture.

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  9. trizzlor says: 59

    @MataHarley: This is a cute game.

    What I see in the media is a profits-motivated approach to reporting which focuses on meaningless minutia to build sweeping narratives (the gift-giving, the teleprompter, the “Mission Accomplished” banner, the plastic turkey, to name a few) and looks to gin up controversy where there is none while avoiding tough questions that would de-stabilize their relationship with the ruling class. It can be frustrating at times, but I’d rather have a media which is adversarial with the president rather than his puppet. I’ve seen as much anti-Americanism from The National Review under Obama as I had from The Nation under Bush, and it’s equally easy to ignore.

    As I mentioned above, I do feel that executive over-reach has decreased America’s standing in the world, and that Obama’s so-called “Apology Tour” was a way of acknowledging some of those mistakes. Moreover, Obama repeatedly challenged the fringe anti-Americanism in Europe as “insidious” and unfounded – so the bitter followed the sweet. Obviously I feel that America is the greatest country in the world and has the capacity to be even greater, and if it weren’t I wouldn’t be living here.

    Don’t see that our int’l “standing” is any more desireable that that of China

    Frankly, I’m pretty surprised by this statement. Maybe I’m misreading, but are you saying that the US does not have a clear and recognized moral superiority over China because we value human rights? Do you honestly think that the average educated African or European sees our government in the same light as that of China?

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  10. MataHarley says: 60

    I should have used my “sarcasm” button, triz. Certainly I. personally, believe that we have a clear and recognized moral superiority over China… even using waterboarding. However if you listen to the media and POTUS tripe about how much we are hated in the world, it appears we enjoy no better standing than China in their eyes. That is my point… perhaps made badly as I was trying to put together the virus update post.

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  11. Aqua says: 61

    @trizzlor #57 – That’s not what you said. You said:

    we abhor it because it puts our troops in more danger when they’re captured and because it detracts from our overall mission as peace-keepers.

    That argument didn’t work, so you switched to:

    I would say that our adherence to humane treatment is intrinsic to what makes America exceptional and has always paid dividends: in the way the world looks up to us as a nation firm in its first principles, the millions of people who seek to work here and enrich us with their talents because America is nothing like their despotic government, the role we’ve been able to play as an arbiter in global conflict because we had moral clarity on our side.

    There is no need to compare our standing in the world to that of China. While the left complains of the horrendous treatment of the Gitmo detainees, said detainees are enjoying food cooked by special chefs, with a religious overseer to make sure everything meets their strict religious diet. Those detainees that don’t act an ass have high def TV night, classes on anything from English to Oceanography.
    So some of them were waterboarded. Tough. It’s not torture. You can say it is all you want, it will not change the fact that it isn’t. And the Japanese used hoses to force water up the nose of their prisoners while keeping their mouths covered. Big difference. Is our version of waterboarding unpleasant…hell yeah. Believe me, there are much more unpleasant things than waterboarding.
    A bit off topic…when I first entered the Air Force, I went into ParaRescue. We spent a lot of time in the pool. I actually lost skin, we were in there so much. We would tread water forever or so it seemed. When the instructors got pissed at us or just for fun, they would make us fill our masks with water, jump up on the deck and start doing flutter kicks. Lots of flutter kicks. Try it some time and let me know how it works out for ya.

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  12. trizzlor says: 62

    @Aqua: Okay, let’s break this down:

    1. “We abhor it because it puts our troops in more danger”

    but countries will start loosening their policies on intense-interrogation if they see us doing it, and the people we’re supposed to be liberating will turn on us

    .

    2. “and because it detracts from our overall mission as peace-keepers.”

    in the way the world looks up to us as a nation firm in its first principles … the role we’ve been able to play as an arbiter in global conflict because we had moral clarity on our side

    These are arguments that make themselves clear over time rather than in immediate events; one example is our standing in comparison to China; another is the capture by Iran of those British soldiers who then claimed on video that they were wrong – the world-wide reaction was “they were tortured and nothing they’re saying is valid”. Your response completely disregards these points, but is a nice little nutshell of the right-wing memes: (i) Deny the torture – lie about how wonderfully we treat the prisoners and how Guantanamo is a paradise – “see, they eat like kings”; (ii) Deny the severity – use isolated incidents where mild torture has been applied to US soldiers and claim that it is ineffective – “see, it’s just splashing water”; (iii) overstate the effectiveness – use classified or unsourced accounts to claim that torture is the most effective tool in the interrogators toolbox – “it’s saved lives, dammit, and that’s all that matters”. It must be fun keeping all those conflicting thoughts bouncing around in your head at once. Honest question: when did torture become a conservative principle? Or is the line between conservative and partisan much blurrier than you make it out to be? I’m a bit shocked that I still have to argue basic geo-politics concepts like “ends don’t justify the means” and “short term effectiveness does not guarantee long term success”.

    And since we’re sharing stories: The Russian army has a fun ritual for graduating recruits which involves repeatedly caning the Achilles tendon while they squat; once or twice it’s an annoyance, but repeatedly it becomes excruciating (try it sometime). In an incident a few years ago, some guys got overzealous and the recruit ended up bleeding real bad and unable to walk. Unfortunately, this was New Year’s eve so the doctor was out for a few days, and the guys wanted to keep it quiet anyway. By the time he was treated he had to have his feet amputated (and his genitals, but I’ll skip that). Hooah for hazing!

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  13. Aqua says: 63

    @trizzlor That was actually a very good argument trizzlor. However, the Iranians were after a confession. They didn’t care if the confession was the truth. As I’ve said, there are much worse things out there than waterboarding. Being hung up by your arms for extended periods of times and beaten will almost certainly produce a confession. I’m sure waterboarding would produce a confession too.
    Tell me though, what good would a confession do for US interrogators? Can you give the CIA a little credit? They aren’t trying to get a confession. They aren’t trying to openly humiliate the detainees. They are trying to get information. What good would it do to force phony information from KSM?
    The fact that you compare this to what the Iranians did to the British Marines is incredible. The US isn’t doing this for propaganda purposes. We were attacked and we want to know if there will be other attacks. Also, the British Marines were uniformed soldiers. I think we can reach some middle ground here though. Since the terrorists are not uniformed soldiers, we line them up and put a bullet in the back of their skulls. Perfectly legal under the GC. If they decide to spill their guts prior to said bullet entering their gray matter, all the better for us. No more chefs, no more high quality healthcare, no more arguments from the left.

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  14. trizzlor.myopenid.com says: 64

    @Aqua: Aqua, I’m glad we can come to the agreement that certain extreme interrogation techniques wouldn’t be effective because they would just elicit false information. My comparison to the Iran incident was meant to demonstrate that; I’m not making an equivalence between the goals of the two acts, merely that world-wide gut reaction was that torture yielded those statements, and therefore neither Iran nor that evidence had any credibility.

    As far as confessions, there have been reports that many of the torture techniques were used to extract information that supported a link between al Qaida and Iraq, here’s a taste:

    “There were two reasons why these interrogations were so persistent, and why extreme methods were used,” the former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.

    “The main one is that everyone was worried about some kind of follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there.”

    This is effectively a confession. However, because these accounts are anonymous and unsourced, I give them as much credence as Cheney’s claims that torture was only used for the right reasons. Still, there is certainly the possibility that these techniques were used, in part, to achieve the kind of ends both of us believe are wrong.

    Lastly, you may be surprised to find that I completely agree with your proposed treatment of terrorists. However, you make the bizzare leap that anyone imprisoned in Guantanamo is automatically a terrorist and should be treated under GC as a spy. In fact, until a prisoner is convicted of a terrorist act, he is either an accused civilian, protected under GC, or a militant POW, also protected under GC as below:

    ARTICLE II: The inhabitants of a territory which has not been occupied who, on the approach of the enemy, spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading troops without having had time to organise themselves in accordance with Article I, shall be regarded as belligerents if they carry arms openly and if they respect the laws and customs of war.

    So, if you can prove using humane methods that a detainee is actually a terrorist; then immediate execution is the appropriate punishment.

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  15. trizzlor.myopenid.com says: 65

    Sorry to turn this into a damn lecture, but a few more points from the GC regarding spies:

    ARTICLE 5: Where in occupied territory an individual protected person is detained as a spy or saboteur, or as a person under definite suspicion of activity hostile to the security of the Occupying Power, such person shall, in those cases where absolute military security so requires, be regarded as having forfeited rights of communication under the present Convention.
    In each case, such persons shall nevertheless be treated with humanity, and in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed by the present Convention. They shall also be granted the full rights and privileges of a protected person under the present Convention at the earliest date consistent with the security of the State or Occupying Power, as the case may be.

    These rights include, under ARTICLE 3: “(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture”. Lot’s of interesting stuff from International Humanitarian Law.

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  16. Hard Right says: 66

    As has been said many times, waterboarding is not torture and no torture was used.
    key words–”an individual protected person”.
    Terrorists/enemy combatants don’t qualify.

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  17. trizzlor.myopenid.com says: 67

    @Hard Right: Let’s repeat for the slow kids in the class:

    Terrorists/enemy combatants don’t qualify.

    And once you prove the detainee is a terrorist, as directed by the GC, then you can strip him of POW status. As for “an individual protected person”, ARTICLE 2 quoted above makes it pretty clear that an insurgent is a protected persons unless explicitly proven that he engaged in taking of hostages or is a mercenary. Have you even bothered to read through the conventions?

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  18. @trizzlor.myopenid.com:

    Have you even bothered to read through the conventions?

    Why yes, I have. Thanks for asking.

    The question is, have you?

    Apparently not.

    In fact, until a prisoner is convicted of a terrorist act, he is either an accused civilian, protected under GC, or a militant POW, also protected under GC as below

    Not true. Sorry.

    If civilians directly engage in hostilities, they are considered “unlawful” or “unprivileged” combatants or belligerents (the treaties of humanitarian law do not expressly contain these terms). They may be prosecuted under the domestic law of the detaining state for such action.

    Both lawful and unlawful combatants may be interned in wartime, may be interrogated and may be prosecuted for war crimes. Both are entitled to humane treatment in the hands of the enemy.

    The GCs have no “innocent until proven guilty” provisions for all involved parties. Participants/captives must meet multiple conditions in order to qualify for protections under the GCs.

    They are:

    Art 4.
    (2)
    (a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
    (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
    (c) that of carrying arms openly;
    (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

    If the captives do not fit all four of those categories then they are classified as unlawful combatants:

    The four Geneva Conventions apply to situations of international armed conflict. It is the Third Geneva Convention which regulates the protection of lawful combatants upon capture by the enemy. Its procedures for determination of entitlement to prisoner of war status by a “competent tribunal” in case of doubt are mandatory.

    Unlawful combatants do not qualify for prisoner of war status. Their situation upon capture by the enemy is covered by the Fourth (Civilian) Geneva Convention if they fulfil the nationality criteria and by the relevant provisions of the Additional Protocol I, if ratified by the detaining power.

    This protection is not the same as that afforded to lawful combatants. To the contrary, persons protected by the Fourth Convention and the relevant provisions of Protocol I may be prosecuted under domestic law for directly participating in hostilities. They may be interned for as long as they pose a serious security threat, and, while in detention, may under specific conditions be denied certain privileges under the Fourth Geneva Convention. They may also be prosecuted for war crimes and other crimes and sentenced to terms exceeding the length of the conflict, including the range of penalties provided for under domestic law.

    Furthermore, Protocol I states the following:

    Article 47 — Mercenaries
    1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war.
    2. A mercenary is any person who:
    (a) is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;
    (b) does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities;
    (c) is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party;
    (d) is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;
    (e) is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and
    (f) has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces.

    If you need to read that again, more slowly, so that you can catch up with the rest of us, we can wait.

    Back with us now? Good.

    The problem with your argument beginning way back in post #64 is that these captives DO NOT qualify for protections under the GCs.

    You’re strutting around here like the cock o’ the walk crowing about what you think you know while denigrating anyone who says otherwise.

    You should try less “damn lecture” and “slow kids” invective and more “read, comprehend, and learn”.

    You’re making an idiot of yourself and you’re not even smart enough to know it.

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  19. trizzlor.myopenid.com says: 69

    @Aye Chihuahua: Well, on the one hand it’s nice to see you actually read the damn thing, that’s some progress. But I would suggest not omitting context when you link to the actual articles. Let’s see:

    1. Your “Not true. Sorry” quote essentially summarizes what I said – civilians involved in armed conflict are considered belligerents, and, as you mentioned yourself “Both are entitled to humane treatment in the hands of the enemy.”

    2. To your statements claiming “Participants/captives must meet multiple conditions in order to qualify for protections under the GCs … If the captives do not fit all four of those categories then they are classified as unlawful combatants”. Here’s is the beginning of the exact paragraph you link:

    Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:

    (6) Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

    .

    Your claim about belonging to all four categories is just an outright lie: a POW can belong to one of eight different categories; the latter of which clearly deals with the insurgents we’ve captured. Maybe you should stick to the threads about inappropriate bowing and DVDs?

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  20. @trizzlor.myopenid.com:

    You know, there’s nothing I like better than someone who is being deliberately and willfully obtuse.

    1. Your “Not true. Sorry” quote essentially summarizes what I said – civilians involved in armed conflict are considered belligerents

    No, here is what you said:

    In fact, until a prisoner is convicted of a terrorist act, he is either an accused civilian, protected under GC, or a militant POW, also protected under GC as below

    That simply is not true.

    This issue has been specifically addressed and even the ICRC disagrees with you:

    If civilians directly engage in hostilities, they are considered “unlawful” or “unprivileged” combatants or belligerents (the treaties of humanitarian law do not expressly contain these terms). They may be prosecuted under the domestic law of the detaining state for such action.

    Both lawful and unlawful combatants may be interned in wartime, may be interrogated and may be prosecuted for war crimes. Both are entitled to humane treatment in the hands of the enemy.

    ::snip::

    Unlawful combatants do not qualify for prisoner of war status. Their situation upon capture by the enemy is covered by the Fourth (Civilian) Geneva Convention if they fulfil the nationality criteria and by the relevant provisions of the Additional Protocol I, if ratified by the detaining power.

    This protection is not the same as that afforded to lawful combatants. To the contrary, persons protected by the Fourth Convention and the relevant provisions of Protocol I may be prosecuted under domestic law for directly participating in hostilities. They may be interned for as long as they pose a serious security threat, and, while in detention, may under specific conditions be denied certain privileges under the Fourth Geneva Convention. They may also be prosecuted for war crimes and other crimes and sentenced to terms exceeding the length of the conflict, including the range of penalties provided for under domestic law.

    ::snip::

    One of main achievements of Additional Protocol I concerns limitations on the methods and means of warfare introduced in order to better protect civilians. For example, it unequivocally prohibits acts of terrorism, such as attacks against civilians or civilian objects. The treaty also explicitly prohibits acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population. Needless to say, persons suspected of such acts are liable for criminal prosecution.

    Additional Protocol I does not grant prisoner of war status to persons who unlawfully participate in hostilities. It reserves this status to members of the armed forces of a party to an international armed conflict in the sense of the Protocol. Such armed forces must be organized, be under a command responsible to that party and be subject to an internal disciplinary system that enforces compliance with humanitarian law. Moreover, members of armed forces must distinguish themselves from the civilian population in order to be entitled to prisoner of war status upon capture. While traditionally the wearing of a uniform or of a distinctive sign and the carrying of arms openly was required, States parties to the Protocol agreed that in very exceptional circumstances, such as wars of national liberation, this requirement could be less stringent. The carrying of arms openly would be sufficient as a means of distinction.

    [That last part, the part in bold italics, should look awfully familiar to you.]

    Finally:

    The Protocol thus provides recognition and protection only to organizations and individuals who act on behalf of a State or an entity that is a subject of international law. It excludes “private wars”, whether conducted by individuals or groups, in the same way that the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1907 Hague Regulations concerning the laws and customs of war on land had done. Therefore, “terrorist” groups acting on their own behalf and without the requisite link to a State or similar entity are excluded from prisoner of war protections.

    Al Qaeda members are members of an irregular militia, thus they must meet all four requirements of Article 4, Section 2 as I noted.

    (6) Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

    Your assertion that captured insurgents fall into category 6 is patently absurd and can be dismissed with no more than a cursory examination.

    Maybe this will help:

    spontaneous

    adj.

    1. Happening or arising without apparent external cause; self-generated.
    2. Arising from a natural inclination or impulse and not from external incitement or constraint.
    3. Unconstrained and unstudied in manner or behavior.
    4. Growing without cultivation or human labor.

    First, did the insurgents in question “spontaneously” take up arms on the approach of the enemy? No, the insurgents in question are either members of Al Qaeda who were already armed or they are civilians who had plenty of time to join in with the Iraqi military if they wanted a piece of the action lawfully.

    The invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq were not surprise attacks. Thus, there was nothing spontaneous about the response. This distinction is important. It’s very similar to the difference between premeditated murder and manslaughter. One requires advance planning.

    Furthermore, if you apply the definition of the word spontaneous to the response, then it’s reasonable to say that such a response would have only occurred in the days immediately surrounding the beginning of hostilities.

    Only by deliberately ignoring the factors of foreknowledge of military action, and then applying the most generous coverage of the GC’s can you say that anyone captured in Afghanistan or Iraq fall into the “spontaneously” definition.

    Second, did the insurgents in question have time to form themselves into regular armed units.

    Yes, they did. As I said above, our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were known well in advance of the actual arrival of Coalition troops and if these individuals were truly interested in following the recognized rules of warfare then they had plenty of opportunity to do so.

    Third, did the insurgents carry their arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war. No, they didn’t. Quite contrary. They hid their weapons. They fought from within mosques, hospitals, schools, and other prohibited locations. They concealed themselves among civilian populations and targeted said civilians when such actions served their purposes.

    Basically, once again, you’ve proven your ignorance to everyone who is reading.

    All you need now is a rubber nose and a red wig.

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  21. Aqua says: 71

    Very nicely said Aye. Unfortunately, the truth isn’t going to work on trizzlor or the other lefties. After reading through trizzlor’s posts, it’s all about how the rest of the world perceives our actions. If we treat the detainees with kid gloves and we’re attacked again, the rest of the world will sympathize with us. The French will run frontline news stories that “We’re All Americans.” If we thwart those attacks…no sympathy. No matter what we do to get the information from terrorists, it is torture. You see, withouth the sympathy and accolades from the rest of the world, the left is lost. This was easily visible during Obama’s Apology Tour. In the end, what’s the loss of a few thousand American lives when the rest of the world sympathizes with us and our stellar treatment of the terrorists?

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  22. trizzlor.myopenid.com says: 72

    @Aye Chihuahua: Thanks for the FindLaw link, AC, it’s a good summary of the whole “unlawful combatant” question. I think we’re talking about different protections of the GC; specifically, I’m referring to protections from torture as this was the source of our debate. From ICRC:

    To the extent that persons designated “enemy combatants” have been captured in international or non-international armed conflict, the provisions and protections of international humanitarian law remain applicable regardless of how such persons are called.

    From FindLaw:

    Even if not technically prisoners of war, al Qaeda and Taliban captives still qualify for “humane treatment” under the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, a resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1988.

    And, finally, from the Body of Principles themselves:

    No person under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.* No circumstance whatever may be invoked as a justification for torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    * The term “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” should be interpreted so as to extend the widest possible protection against abuses, whether physical or mental, including the holding of a detained or imprisoned person in conditions which deprive him, temporarily or permanently. of the use of any of his natural senses, such as sight or hearing, or of his awareness of place and the passing of time.

    This seems pretty clear-cut to me, but perhaps I should have been more clear what specific protections of the GC I was talking about (certainly not habeas corpus or repatriation). Am I missing something here?

    My broader point is that when we capture an insurgent, we must first demonstrate that he is a spy, a mercenary, militia member, etc. Prior to this, we must assume they are civilians or belligerents. I would also argue that, even years into the Iraq war, if a person takes up arms to “defend” his home or village from incoming US forces, this is still a spontaneous act. I agree with your evidence indicating that Al Qaida is an irregular militia, however, you repeatedly assume that anyone we capture has Al Qaida or Terrorist stamped on their forehead. The fact that there prisoners in Guantanamo who were held for years without charge, and coalition officials’ own admission that 70-90 percent of captives at Abu Ghraib were caught by mistake (source, Red Cross) suggests otherwise. As I said above – once such an individual is convicted of being a spy, mercenary, etc. they lose any protection of the GC and can be executed, etc.

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  23. Hard Right says: 73

    Triz, if I am slow then you are glacial. I’ve read the GC and they aren’t protected under it. Despite your efforts to twist it to fit your insane sense of morality, it has been explained to you in detail how wrong you are. As ususual you aren’t able to understand that which does not fit into your leftist fantasy.

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  24. trizzlor.myopenid.com says: 74

    @Hard Right, I like your attitude – pop into a thread, state your opinion as ground truth with no evidence whatsoever, and then skulk back into the shadows. The GC says that “enemy combatants” are protected under humanitarian law; the humanitarian law (to which we are signatories) re-iterates this by stating that “all persons under any form” are protected from torture, and defines torture to include even relatively mild interrogation such as sleep/sensory deprivation. Apparently my insane sense of morality is the belief in the supremacy clause?

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  25. MataHarley says: 75

    I wouldn’t call your “sense of morality” insane, triz. I’d call it naive, effeminate and a politically correct sense of morality.

    And why is it, BTW, that the only one the world demands follow the precious GC is the US? Hear anyone whining about any other country’s treatment?

    Nope… one standard for the US, and nary a word for those who genuinely trample human rights.

    The only way these human cockroaches gain any protections in the GC with their status is under Article 75. This is supported not only by legal scholars, but the ICRC. However when speaking of Art 75 rights, when you get right to it, what defines “humiliating and degrading acts”, and “mental suffering”?

    How about we send ‘em all to your house, triz, so you and family can take care of these poor, abused “victims”. I’d suggest you warn those around you not to turn their backs tho. And fer heavens sake, hide the butter knives. They love the dull blades and slow sawing thru human necks.

    Otherwise, if we’re going to have this quasi candy ass battle about whether pouring water, or exposure to bugs is mental “torture” – since neither are physical pain – you’ll find yourself with these scum in a US courtroom, claiming their Mickey D’s happy meal was served cold… and thereby torture.

    ad nauseum…

    If I have to keep listening to the self-righteous types go on about this, I still say shoot ‘em on the battlefield and be done with it.

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  26. trizzlor.myopenid.com says: 76

    @MataHarley: I’m interested to know more about this masculine and feminine classification of morality and would like to subscribe to your newsletter. Besides, I’m not the one wetting myself because the scary Muslims are going to come to my house.

    Part of me agrees with you that most of Europe has been on a high horse regarding the GWOT while basically whistling past the graveyard themselves – the USA is still, and will likely always be, the country that is most tolerant of Muslims and other minorities. But there certainly has been a lot said about countries who condone torture; if you’re hanging out with people who place the US even remotely in the same category as China, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, North Korea, etc. as far as human rights, then you need to get some new friends (or enemies).

    That being said, it’s doesn’t give us the right to break the law – if you don’t like a treaty then abrogate, leave the UN, etc. Both in spirit (as in Art. 75) and in explicit letter (as in the 1988 resolution) the Geneva Conventions classify many of the EITs as torture. What I don’t understand is why this is such a black & white argument for you guys: either you torture detainees or you let them roam around Hershey, PA and collect welfare, are those the only options?

    Is fear, dehumanization, and faux-masculinity really the foundation for an effective policy?

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  27. MataHarley says: 77

    It’s a typical feminine trait to embellish on pain, IMHO, triz. Such as a mom generally being more panicked than the dad with a kid who takes a fall off a bike, or a son who comes home from school with his first black eye after a fight. And most mom’s don’t like to think of their sons or daughters as boxers, ultimate fighters, etal.

    That’s what I see in too many men today… an effeminate attitude towards things like waterboarding… which you equate with torture, and thereby some smug “morality”. Hang, most kids get that and more in the process of learning to swim. Dedicated athletes take more physical abuse than detainees who have been waterboarded. To watch so many wringing their hands in moral dismay over this stuff is absolutely pathetic, and quite frankly, embarrassing. Something I’d expect from my earth mommy sister, but not from men who I figure would have grown up doing what I remember boys do enroute to adulthood.

    But then, I guess not all our young men or women can be the caliber of our special ops or SERE trained warriors. Maybe they [our military] just can take things in stride better than the average US citizen, used to nothing but a cushy life. You’ve not heard one of our many commenters here, who have gone thru waterboarding, whining about the pain and abuse, have you? Those who have experienced it have spoken up with what they can (without divulging more info than they should). They’ve been there, and I’d say they’ve got it all over you.

    It would be interesting to get a sorority group together who indulge in hazing, and find out how they think about this stuff. How about the college students in the beer guzzling contests – in a way a self inflicted beer-boarding… LOL Think they could see their absurd double standard? Probably not for most… would get in the way of their PC programming. But I’m sure a few would.

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  28. MataHarley says: 78

    This deserves to be on it’s own… thus the 2nd post

    triz: But there certainly has been a lot said about countries who condone torture; if you’re hanging out with people who place the US even remotely in the same category as China, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, North Korea, etc. as far as human rights, then you need to get some new friends (or enemies).

    Apparently, I need a new POTUS.

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  29. trizzlor.myopenid.com says: 79

    @MataHarley: I’ve mentioned this before, but there’s a weird assumption here that the left is against torture because they’re not tough enough to stomach it. It’s odd that your definition of masculinity hinges on allowing someone else to commit violent acts for your security. It would be like arguing that someone is against capitol punishment because they think lethal injection is icky. To put it bluntly, I don’t have an ounce of pity or compassion for KSM or Zubaida and the things they were put through. Living in NYC, and still holding my breath a bit when I hear low flying planes, I actually get quite a bit of satisfaction thinking about their suffering. The difference, I think, is that I don’t go and base the actions of my government on my personal revenge fantasies. Rather, I abhor torture because it’s ineffective and because it’s an inhuman response grounded not in thought but in rage and sadism. Check the dates and places on those GC documents – a lot of these human rights regulations where established after the world looked into the abyss of the SS. Maybe you can see why I’m not impressed when we start calling people cockroaches and cheering for execution on sight.

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  30. Hard Right says: 80

    Like I said triz, glacial. AC explained it to you and now Mata. Your interpretation of it does not impress me and only shows you are not capable of viewing anything clearly, but only thru leftist colored glasses.

    And I will say it again knowing it will never sink in.
    Waterboarding is not torture and we did not torture anyone.
    What’s sad is I know the true motives about your view. It’s not about what’s right. It’s not for the welfare of our soldiers or America. That’s a sham. It all about you and your ego.
    You demand that we be absolutely perfect. When in your eyes we fail to meet this absurd standard, you pretend we tortured captured terrorists so you can show how morally superior you are by being outraged and against it. It’s been called selfless narcissm by psychiatrists and it’s usually liberals who suffer from it. Well actually, WE suffer from it when they bash and undermine their country and force socialism down our throats–for our own good.

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  31. MataHarley says: 81

    Your problem here. triz, is that you have a blanket visualization of torture, encompassing waterboarding, sleep deprivation, drugs, etc. Frankly, you are a pansy wuss if you consider waterboarding, or any of the others above, as torture. Meaning, your effeminate nature isn’t because you abhor violence. It’s because of what you consider violent. By gosh, my granddaughter’s tougher than you.

    I have a pretty clear division in my mind on what crosses the line. In your version… it’s all meshed together under the nanny GC rules that anything that offends the detainee enough for them to complain of “mental” suffering.

    Do I condone cutting off limbs, maiming, beatings etc? No. I consider *that* torture.

    Perhaps if you leave behind the Disney version of “torture”, and be more concerned if we do that which our enemy does, you might find more like kind thoughts out of the rest of us. Otherwise, you should consider yourself lucky there’s some tougher nuts around than yours to watch your NYC arse.

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