Thursday, July 24, 2008

All This for a Chauffeur?

I'm embarrassed for our country. Truly embarrassed.

The time has come to put the cards on the table, and display for all to see the fine work we have done in counter-terrorism. The reason we have set up secret prisons, lied to the Red Cross, copied torture techniques from the Chinese, emulated Stalin's web of secret prisons, become the sort of people that true Americans - real, red-blooded Americans - loved to hate during the Cold War, indeed, even changed our self-reference from "America" to the vaguely teutonic "Homeland" - all our post-9/11 transformations may be looked at and weighed against the big evil terrorist we have brought to justice.

And he's a chauffeur.

We're demonstrating that we can put a driver on trial. The most damning piece of evidence? He may have overheard where the fourth plane was headed.

When in the course of history has such a great nation transformed itself for such a small fish? When did America, land of the free and home of the brave, crawl through Stalinist slime to nail a chauffeur?

If this is the new America, I want to see Ken Lay's admin dragged into court and prosecuted because he or she typed his memos and placed his calls. I want to see Tom Delay's maid prosecuted, because she was in his "inner circle". I want every taxi driver who overheard a conversation between John Sununu and his phonegate conspirators to do time.

On second thought, I don't really want those things. I want my country to recapture its dignity and sense of itself. I don't want to ever again see it stoop to putting on show trials for bit players. I want a new administration and a new direction. I want change. I want America back.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. I just don't get it.

Hamdan is but a poorly paid driver for a simple businessman (Osama Bin Laden). The SA-7 surface to air missile he is accused of transporting was for use at his childs summer camp extravaganza.

We are such a terrible country. We have granted habeas corpus to a man whom, if the shoe was on the other foot, would have simply been beheaded.

We should be ashamed.

In a soon to be released news report, Osama Bin Laden is being denied the right to speak at the Democratic National Convention. They won't even let him vote. Can you believe it? What does a terrorist have to do before he can have a voice?

"I was the catalyst for the Bush Administration's declaration of war on terrorism, but they still will not let me vote" said Bin Laden.

"Don't worry Osama. Here! Take my Electric Bill" said one Missouri Democrat.

7/24/2008 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does it really take years of torture to try a guy for having weapons in his trunk? Is the Bush Administration so completely incompetent that it needed to construct Gitmo to convict a guy they caught with a freaking missile?!

Dan's right - this trial is an embarrassment for America. We will do better when we have competent people in office.

And, asshole, give up on the Dems = Terrorists crap. That talking point is sooo 2003. People have wised up.

7/24/2008 9:20 AM  
Blogger les said...

We are such a terrible country. We have granted habeas corpus to a man whom, if the shoe was on the other foot, would have simply been beheaded.

Whoa, didn't take long to get to the "somebody somewhere did something worse, we're great, USA, USA!" line. The apologists for this criminal administration have the lowest standards imaginable. Ignore the fact that Hamdan hasn't had a habeas hearing, and wouldn't have the opportunity for one but for the efforts of real Americans over 7 years to force Bush to actually, you know, obey the law. If bin Laden had scripted it, Weeble would be the definition of Al Qaeda victory.

7/24/2008 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hear, hear, Dan.

7/24/2008 1:10 PM  
Blogger Groucho K. Marx said...

The ONLY thing worse than this are so-called "Americans" who support this kind of crapola.

Mama apparently didn't teach these folk that when you LOWER yourself to the action-level of idiots- you become one yourself.


7/24/2008 1:31 PM  
Blogger whistleblower said...

If a general was stopped by enemy troops, would they take his driver prisoner, or just let him go? -Answer -The driver would be taken prisoner.

If the general was not in the jeep when stopped, would they just let the driver go?
Answer -The driver would be taken prisoner.

Do prisoners of war have the luxury of a trial, or are they held captive until the war is over?
Answer -They are held captive until the war is over.

7/24/2008 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But, Whistleblower, 9/11 changed everything, didn't it? So your jeep analogy is just as quaint as our AG thought the Geneva Conventions were.

We would not have created gulags and scheduled secret flights and lied to the Red Cross and plagiarized the fucking Red Chinese torture manual to handle a jeep driver. We would have handled the jeep driver like the civilized country we once were.

As far as holding prisoners, when will the Global War On Terror end? When Terror signs a peace treaty?

7/24/2008 3:35 PM  
Blogger whistleblower said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/24/2008 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, the GC really does not apply here -- you know, given that al-Qaeda itself operates in violation of them. No uniforms or insignia makes you an unlawful combatant not entitled to its protections.

What Dan and others like him propose is that we give those who violate the laws of more greater rights and protections than we give those who follow those laws.

7/24/2008 5:51 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Show me where I proposed that, Rhymes.

7/24/2008 5:53 PM  
Blogger whistleblower said...

Rhymes is Right!

The enemy no longer wears a uniform. They blend in with innocent civilians. That way, the bleeding hearts treat them like innocent civilians.

This is war. Unfortunately, we don't get the luxury of declaring such because it's not a country we're fighting against.

The captured enemy is not a prisoner of war, because we don't have a legal provision to consider them so. We must consider them to be enemy combatants. Can you tell me the difference? They are still the enemy. If freed, they will go back and get another chance to kill one of ours. That is their cause. To think they won't try to kill again is being naive. (That's why prisoners of war are held captive until the war is over)

When it comes to war; we should fight dirty. When the enemy knows that you will stop at nothing to win as fast as possible, they are quick to back down (Operation desert storm). In the long run, that’s how lives are saved. When they know that you must fight by some set of rules and they are not required to comply, they will use that to their advantage; as the terrorists have.

I don’t care if every one of Bin Laden’s warriors rots in GITMO until they die. The innocent people that died on 9-11 weren’t given the luxury of rotting in prison, or writing letters to their loved ones, or continuing to pray to their god.

If Bin Laden was to surrender, and all al-Qaeda operation were disclosed, and surrendered. Then, and only then, should terrorists be tried and freed.

“The larger the force and the more violence you use in the attack, whether it be men, tanks, or ammunition, the smaller will be your proportional losses.” - General George S. Patton. Letter of Instruction. 3 April 1944.

7/24/2008 6:09 PM  
Blogger kcmeesha said...

I only lived here for the past 16 years so I am not sure what you mean when you say "I want America back". Are you talking about the country that over the past 60+ years covertly and overtly tried to influence pretty much every country that didn't follow some imaginary ideals, kidnapping, killing or buying politicians and doing a variety of other underhanded things. This administration certainly didn't invent detaining people without a probable cause; I am not saying that it's good or bad, but acting like before 2000 everything smelled like roses is just dishonest. There was spying on Americans, and opening of mail, and deals with mob on presidential level and it's all documented. Here is a quote from a non-fiction book "Legacy of Ashes" about the history of the CIA about the Soviet defector Yuri Nosenko."In April 1964,with the approval of Attorney General RFK, the CIA threw Nosenko into solitary confinement, first in the CIA safe house, and the at the Camp Peary, the CIA training site outside of Williamsburg, Virginia. In the custody of the Soviet division, Nosenko received the treatment his fellow Russians received in the gulag. There were scanty meals of weak tea and gruel, a single bare light burning 24 hours a day, no human companionship. "I did not have enough to eat and was hungry all the time," Nosenko said in a statement declassified in 2001. "I had no contact with anyone to talk, I could not read, I could not smoke. I even could not have fresh air""
This doesn't prove anything and it doesn't make it right, but pretending like this is not part of history or a precedent is similar to saying that when there was prayer in school there were no gays and abortions.

7/24/2008 7:49 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Whistleblower - You should pay better attention. Rhymes got caught in a lie, and you cheer him on because you have a typist's bravado. Sure, we should "fight dirty" against the enemy - but, as you acknowledge, there is no enemy. There is a tactic - we are in a war against "terrorism", so the concept of holding a prisoner until the cessation of hostilities no longer applies.

What people such as you propose as an alternative is morally reprehensible. Fighting dirty and applying massive force against people who aren't enemies until we apply massive force against them doesn't work. Bush's war has created, not killed, enemies, and it will continue to do so until we change tactics.

Desert Storm was one thing - it had an enemy, an objective, and a success. Bush's GWOT is something entirely different. It has driven the US into barbarism, and fools cheer the descent.

7/24/2008 8:12 PM  
Blogger whistleblower said...


You're wrong. There is an enemy.

I did not acknowledge that there is no enemy, and Rhymes did not get caught in a lie (as you claim). Why would you make up such a lie? What a low-life thing to do.

Your comparison of Bin Laden's driver to Delay's maid is indication that you just don't get it. You really don't see the difference do you?

I stated that we have not declared war against a country. That doesn't mean that there is no enemy. That is, unless you're claiming that 9-11 was a present from our friends.

Al-Qaeda is our enemy. They want to destroy us. They want to kill us. They have killed us, and unless we kill them first, they will continue to kill us.

If we let their soldiers (yes, Bin Laden's driver is a soldier) out of prison, they will come back to kill us.

Are you claiming that your buddy Jason Kander went to Afghanistan to terrorize innocent people? Was he there to play Army, or to fight in the war against terrorism? Was Jason Kander a willing participant in this "barbarism"?

Jason's evaluation states that "his hard work directly resulted in arresting enemies".

Holy Crapola Batman, I hope you didn't tell Jason that they aren't real enemies.

Are you really endorsing a candidate that is a proponent of barbarism and puts on a uniform to fight an imaginary enemy?

7/24/2008 10:14 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Blower - Congrats, you've upped your game of obfuscation. I didn't think you could be any less honest, after you dedicated a website to calling Missouri judges "dictators", but now you've gone ahead and resorted to truly imaginative misconstruction, even beyond your prior rantings. And I didn't think you had it in you.

First off, yes, Rhymes did get caught in an absolute lie. He claimed that I propose that I give more rights to those who violate laws than to those who follow them. It's simply not true, and Rhymes' awkward silence following my calling him on it is silent proof.

Now, you're trying to confuse enemies with bad guys. Yes, there are anti-American bad guys - not only in our White House, but also in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, England, Israel, Chesterfield, and Saudi Arabia. And I'm totally in favor of us defending ourselves from the bad guys.

But I'm embarrassed when the worst bad guy we can drum up to justify our anti-American behavior is a chauffeur. Aren't you, really? 6 years of torture to prosecute a guy they found with a missile in his trunk? Kanatzar could have done it in 2 months without torture. And Jeff Harris could have defended the case without trying to deny habeus corpus.

As for your attack on an American soldier - well, what can I say? You're htting a new low.

7/24/2008 10:31 PM  
Blogger whistleblower said...


At least give people a link.

The Missouri Dictators

Dan has been refering to it alot lately.

All good Missourian's need to find out what the legal community is trying to cover-up.

How much do I owe you for the plug?

7/24/2008 11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, Dan, I didn't get caught in a lie.

You want to give these guys a lawyerm, a trial, and a release date.

POWs are not entitled to those things. Indeed, the GC FORBIDS giving those things to a soldier who follows the laws of war.

Therefore, you do, in fact, propose giving those who violate the laws of war greater rights than those who follow them.

7/24/2008 11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and another point, Dan:

What you call an "awkward silence" I call "not having come back to the site for six hours."

7/24/2008 11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone else noticed that Dan always breaks out the word "obfuscation" or its root "obfuscate" when he wants the readers to look away?

It only makes me read the comment above it twice.


7/24/2008 11:56 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

BFF - That's funny. I just did a google search, and yesterday was only the second time I've used obfuscate or obfuscation on this blog in over 5 years - and the first time was in response to an accusation that I was "obfuscating".

Rhymes - sorry, but you're simply wrong again. You cannot find a place where I argue to give more rights to those who violate laws than to those who follow them. Find a quotation and a link, or admit that you made it up.

Whistleblower - I apologize for not providing a link myself. It was a little rude of me to refer to it without providing readers with the means to go judge it for themselves.

7/25/2008 6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Dan, you are arguing against a "show trial" -- and apparently in favor of releasing a "bit player" who has, in your eyes, doen nothing wrong.

In other words,you want a terrorist driver of a terrorist leader to get better treatment than a military driver of a military leader would get.

There is no "quotation" -- there is merely the entire post above and the position you implicitly take.

After all, if Hamdan is not tried, he must be released -- to do otherwise would violate what any notion of due process rights, correct?. On the other hand, POWs may be held without trial for the duration of the conflict. Therefore, it is clear that you support giving Hamdan (and others like him who violate the laws of war) greater rights and privileges than those who follow the laws of war -- though you may be so unclear on the concept that you do not realize that you implicitly take that position when you explicitly advocate that he not be tried.

7/25/2008 8:22 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Rhymes -

Your imagination ran away with you. The reason you can't find a quotation that supports your sloppy accusations is that I never, ever made such arguments.

There's no way that a driver cruising around Afghanistan with a missile in his trunk should have been set free. That's why I never made such an argument, and that's why your ridiculous claim that I have is so shameful.

Think really hard, and maybe you'll see that it would be possible to do something between setting criminals free and becoming a Stalinist state with secret prisons. We could have handled this guy without losing our sense of what America is. That is what I want for our country.

7/25/2008 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, Dan, we must torture every prisoner now, because otherwise we'll set them free. We're completely incapable of setting up a rational and just system. We need to live by the law of the jungle.

7/25/2008 8:40 AM  
Blogger les said...

Jeebus, the mob who stays in power must love terrorized party liners like rhymes and whistler. No wonder Osama releases tapes to help elect repubs. Hundreds of the "worst of the worst" who were rendered to and tortured in US and "allied" (cough*Syria*cough) prisons, including Gitmo, have been released because even with torture our brave admin and its fear-riddled lackeys couldn't come up with a forced confession that was good enough. Three of them are "alleged" to have atemmpted to "come back to kill us"; of course, under Bush rules, in one case that means working for a company that is suspected of possibly contributing to a charity that might somehow support the mighty terraists.

Of course, I'm sure the stories of injustice, abuse, torture and humiliation of innocents may motivate some of those at home in their hatred.

How many brown folks have to die to stop your pants-wetting fear, whistler? 3,000 killed--aren't 4,000 more dead American soldiers, hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, millions of refugees and displaced, enough to make you feel strong and proud? Will summary execution of a chauffeur bring you out from under your bed? How about a public hanging for the kid who, at age 15, may have thrown a grenade at the soldier who shot his father? I'm sure 6 years of prison and torture isn't enough to avenge that heinous act; how can you sleep safe knowing he's alive?

You bleet on about endless war against a tactic, fought anywhere far from you by someone else with methods borrowed from the most corrupt and vicious regimes on earth. But, you know, it won't help. You and your ilk have already lost the war--you're already terrorized.

7/25/2008 9:39 AM  
Blogger whistleblower said...


Your idiotic rant only serves to demonstrate your lack of understanding.

Where do you think released prisoners go?

Do you think their capture weakened their will to fight?

If that 15 y.o. kid is released; what do you think he will do?

What do you think most prisoners of war will do if released while the war is still ongoing?

Do you think they abandoned their mission?

I find it almost humorous that you would adopt Dan's flawed terminology. Did Jason Kander help capture tactics? Was he shooting at tactics?

Jason volunteered to be a "shooter". Did he volunteer to shoot a non-existent enemy?

What is torture? Do you consider three days of only bread and water to be torture?

7/25/2008 10:07 AM  
Blogger les said...

Oh, Whistler, the stupid--it burns.

Released prisoners go home, if they can. Your own sainted Bush administration then follows them and has said that, of hundreds released (the worst of the worst, recall), they're pretty sure 3 have "returned to the fight." If, unlike St. McCain, you understand teh intertubes, you can look it up.

If "that 15 year old kid" is released, he'll spend the rest of his life trying to get unfucked up from seeing his father shot and undergoing 6 years of torture only to be released 'cause, ya know, he was never a danger. Is he now? Who knows--I doubt he likes the US much. Don't worry, he'll never think to look under your bed.

"Prisoners of war?" You're off message, blower--it's not a real war, remember, they're "enemy combatants." As noted above, nearly all released have tried to put their lives back together--even by the standards of your paranoid admin.

I'll pass on the Kander questions--I can only assume the meds haven't kicked in.

No, bread and water isn't a big deal--stupidly unproductive, I guess, but...I do have a problem with chickenhawk bedwetters like you, clamoring for more deaths, more and better torture, praising our adoption of Korean war era chines communist "interrogation techniques," cheering the abandonment of basic civil rights, screaming for attacks on more people and more countries because somebody somewhere might want to hurt you.

I don't know you personally; but you write like a moral and physical coward, terrified by a few thousand raggedy extremists and willing to (have other people) kill millions to save your own sorry ass from an imaginary personal threat. Trash the constitution, throw away rule of law, throw away my country's reputation, invade and occupy nations that had nothing to do with the source of your terror, imprison and torture people until the end of time ('cause, ya know, terror can never surrender so the "war" can never end) whether they are guilty of anything or not (in fact, better to never let anyone ask the question; best, just shoot 'em out of hand). Throw away anything and everything it means to be American, 'cause the scary brown man might want to hurt blower.

With apologies to Dan: Fuck you, and the neocon nightmare you support.

7/25/2008 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meesha is right. Do people on this blog who decry the treatment of the "chauffeur" actually believe previous administrations never allowed torture..even under Democratic administrations???

Maybe it's youth. Maybe it's ignorance.

7/25/2008 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enemy Combatants
Author: William Haynes

December 12, 2002
Council on Foreign Relations


To: Members of the ASIL-CFR Roundtable

From: William J. Haynes II, General Counsel of the Department of Defense

Subject: Enemy Combatants

There is no doubt that the attacks of September 11, 2001 constituted acts of war. They possessed the intensity and scale of war. They involved at least one military target, the Pentagon, and they came on the heels of a decade of attacks by al Qaida on U.S. military and civilian targets. Congress on September 18, 2001 authorized the President to use force in response to the attacks. And both the United Nations and NATO recognized that the attacks were “armed attacks” within the meaning of the UN Charter and NATO treaty. Since September 11th (and perhaps before then), we have been at war – both legally and in fact.

War implicates legal powers and rules that are not available during peacetime. Among other things, the war context gives the President the authority to detain enemy combatants at least until hostilities cease.

Enemy Combatant

An “enemy combatant” is an individual who, under the laws and customs of war, may be detained for the duration of an armed conflict. In the current conflict with al Qaida and the Taliban, the term includes a member, agent, or associate of al Qaida or the Taliban. In applying this definition, the United States government has acted consistently with the observation of the Supreme Court of the United States in Ex parte Quirin, 317 U.S. 1, 37-38 (1942): “Citizens who associate themselves with the military arm of the enemy government, and with its aid, guidance and direction enter this country bent on hostile acts are enemy belligerents within the meaning of the Hague Convention and the law of war.”

“Enemy combatant” is a general category that subsumes two sub-categories: lawful and unlawful combatants. See Quirin, 317 U.S. at 37-38. Lawful combatants receive prisoner of war (POW) status and the protections of the Third Geneva Convention. Unlawful combatants do not receive POW status and do not receive the full protections of the Third Geneva Convention. (The treatment accorded to unlawful combatants is discussed below).

The President has determined that al Qaida members are unlawful combatants because (among other reasons) they are members of a non-state actor terrorist group that does not receive the protections of the Third Geneva Convention. He additionally determined that the Taliban detainees are unlawful combatants because they do not satisfy the criteria for POW status set out in Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention. Although the President’s determination on this issue is final, courts have concurred with his determination.

Authority to Detain

The President has unquestioned authority to detain enemy combatants, including those who are U.S. citizens, during wartime. See, e.g., Quirin, 317 U.S. at 31, 37 (1942); Colepaugh v. Looney, 235 F. 2d 429, 432 (10th Cir. 1956); In re Territo, 156 F. 2d 142, 145 (9th Cir. 1946). The Fourth Circuit recently reaffirmed this proposition. See Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 296 F.3d 278, 281, 283 (4th Cir. 2002). The authority to detain enemy combatants flows primarily from Article II of the Constitution. In the current conflict, the President’s authority is bolstered by Congress’s Joint Resolution of September 18, 2001, which authorized “the President . . . to use all necessary and appropriate force” against al Qaida and against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines” committed or aided in the September 11 attacks.” Pub. L. No. 107-40, § 2(a), 115 Stat. 224 (2001) (emphasis added). This congressional action clearly triggers (if any trigger were necessary) the President’s traditional authority to detain enemy combatants as Commander in Chief.

Presidents (and their delegates) have detained enemy combatants in every major conflict in the Nation’s history, including recent conflicts such as the Gulf, Vietnam, and Korean wars. During World War II, the United States detained hundreds of thousands of POWs in the United States (some of whom were U.S. citizens) without trial or counsel. Then as now, the purposes of detaining enemy combatants during wartime are, among other things, to gather intelligence and to ensure that detainees do not return to assist the enemy.

Who Decides

The determination of enemy combatant status has traditionally resided with the military commander who is authorized to engage the enemy with deadly force. In this regard, the task ultimately falls within the President’s constitutional responsibility as Commander in Chief to identify which forces and persons to engage or capture and detain during an armed conflict. Of course, there is no requirement that the President make such determinations personally, and in the vast majority of cases he does not do so. Rather, consistent with longstanding historical practice and applicable rules of engagement, the task is normally a function of the military command structure.

In the current conflict, military personnel ordinarily make enemy combatant determinations during combat operations, under the combatant commander’s direction. With respect to individuals captured in the United States, to date DoD has detained only Abdullah al Muhajir, also known as Jose Padilla. The President, as Commander in Chief, determined that Mr. Padilla is an enemy combatant.

Detainee Rights

All of the detainees are unlawful combatants and thus do not as a matter of law receive the protections of the Third Geneva Convention. However, the United States armed forces are treating, and will continue to treat, all enemy combatants humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949. Among many other things, this means that they receive: three meals a day that meet Muslim dietary laws; medical care; clothing and shoes; shelter; showers; soap and toilet articles; the opportunity to worship; the means to send mail and receive mail, subject to security screening; and the ability to receive packages of food and clothing, also subject to security screening. In addition, the International Committee of the Red Cross has visited and will continue to visit the detainees privately. The detainees will be permitted to raise concerns about their conditions, and we will attempt to address those concerns consistent with security.

The non-citizen detainees in Guantanamo have no right to habeas corpus relief in U.S. courts. See, e.g., Coalition of Clergy v. Bush, 189 F. Supp. 2d 1036 (C.D. Cal. 2002), affirmed on other grounds, 2002 U.S. App. LEXIS 23705 (9th Cir. Nov. 18, 2002). As noted above, however, we have permitted the ICRC access to the detainees, and we have notified each detainee’s country of origin that the detainee is in DoD control.

U.S. citizen enemy combatants who are detained in the United States may challenge their detention by a petition for habeas corpus. In the view of the U.S. government, enemy combatants have no right to counsel to challenge their detention. Providing enemy combatants a right of access to counsel could thwart our ability to collect critical information and could imperil efforts to prevent further terrorist attacks. It might also enable detained enemy combatants to pass concealed messages to the enemy.

In Padilla v. Bush, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23086 (S.D.N.Y. December 4, 2002), the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York recently upheld the government’s ability to detain U.S. citizen enemy combatants in the United States but required the government to provide access to Padilla by his attorneys for limited purposes. We are currently reviewing the court’s decision.

Length of Detention

Many have claimed that enemy combatants are being detained “indefinitely.” The suggestion appears to be that they are being detained lawlessly and without limit. That is not true. As explained above, the constitutional power to detain during wartime is well settled. In addition, international law – including the Third Geneva Convention – unambiguously permits a government to detain enemy combatants at least until hostilities cease. There may be uncertainty about when hostilities cease in the novel conflict with al Qaida. But disquiet about indefinite detention is misplaced for two reasons.

First, the concern is premature. In prior wars combatants (including U.S. POWs) have been legally detained for years. We have not yet approached that point in the current conflict. Second, the government has no interest in detaining enemy combatants any longer than necessary, and the Department of Defense reviews the status of all enemy combatants on a case-by-case basis to determine whether they should continue to be detained. Since we first captured or came to control detainees in Afghanistan, we have released many thousands, and we recently released additional detainees from the United States Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But as long as hostilities continue and the detainees present a threat or retain intelligence or law enforcement value, no law requires that the detainees be released, and it would be imprudent to do so.


Capturing and detaining a U.S. citizen, or any other human being, is not an activity DoD takes lightly. As in other armed conflicts in which our Nation has been engaged, the detention of enemy combatants serves a vitally important protective function. Equally important, however, the deliberate, conscientious, and humane manner in which we designate and detain enemy combatants reflects our values and character as a Nation. We are committed to defending the United States in accordance with our constitutional responsibilities, while preserving the constitutional rights of United States citizens.

7/25/2008 12:57 PM  
Blogger whistleblower said...


Do you realize how ridiculous your rant is?

Are you capable of seeing that your fantasy has become reality?

"I do have a problem with chickenhawk bedwetters like you, clamoring for more deaths, more and better torture, praising our adoption of Korean war era chines communist "interrogation techniques," cheering the abandonment of basic civil rights, screaming for attacks on more people and more countries because somebody somewhere might want to hurt you."

That's pure fantasy! I have never expressed a desire to see that happen. I challenge you to find and quote any statement that I made that could be interpreted that way.

I don't condone senseless killing, but I will kill the guy who is pointing a gun at me before he gets a chance to shoot me first. That's called survival. It's one of the basic human rights we (including you) cherish.

Detainees that were picked up in raids have been released. However, those determined to be enemy combatants have not been released.

Do you really think that the only way to disarm an enemy is to kill them?

Your personal vituperative attacks, while under a cloak of anonymity, are demonstrative not only of your lack of character, but also of your inability to communicate.

"When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser." – Socrates

7/25/2008 1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whistleblower - Do you realize how ridiculous your rant is?

You're fucking insane if you're denying that Les has a good handle on the chicken-hawk bullshit you've been spreading.

Remember when you wrote "When it comes to war; we should fight dirty. When the enemy knows that you will stop at nothing to win as fast as possible, they are quick to back down (Operation desert storm). In the long run, that’s how lives are saved. When they know that you must fight by some set of rules and they are not required to comply, they will use that to their advantage; as the terrorists have.

I don’t care if every one of Bin Laden’s warriors rots in GITMO until they die."

Good job, Les - you're smarter than 'blower by a mile.

7/25/2008 1:48 PM  
Blogger les said...

Whistler (who accuses me of anonymity) now: Do you really think that the only way to disarm an enemy is to kill them?


When it comes to war; we should fight dirty
I don’t care if every one of Bin Laden’s warriors rots in GITMO until they die.
They have killed us, and unless we kill them first, they will continue to kill us.

Who thinks the solution is killing?

I don't condone senseless killing, but I will kill the guy who is pointing a gun at me

Who is pointing a gun at you? Your position appears to be that every prisoner in gitmo, and presumably at all our other secret torture centers at sea and abroad are to be held until terror is defeated; don't deserve habeas or any other civil right; should be tortured using methods designed to elicit false confessions; and probably should simply be shot out of hand.

A proud American, indeed.

7/25/2008 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Happy now? It may have taken a little effort on your part to find out my identity, but my username is for the purpose of convenience, not a cloak of anonymity.

I have called for Bin Laden to surrender and be held accountable. When he does, and the al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist cells disband, the enemy combatants should be released. Not before.

I do agree with harsh interrogation techniques. However those techniques must not exceed the limitations identified by the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

"Al-Qaeda is our enemy. They want to destroy us. They want to kill us. They have killed us, and unless we kill them first, they will continue to kill us."

That statement can hardly be interpreted as "clamoring for more deaths, more and better torture".

I want neither.

Do you think that if we walked away today al Qaeda would not attack us again?

7/25/2008 3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So let's clarify this one, Dan -- do you believe that the US government should hold those who violate the laws of war without trial, regardless of the rulings of US federal courts?

Or do you believe they should be given a trial, a sentence, and a firm release date?

Or are you supportive of no trial and just releasing them -- since you argue that someone like Hamdan should not be tried at all?

Your post SOUNDS LIKE you support my third option. That is why I am saying that I believe it to be your position.

Are you actually supporting that the administration simply ignore the rulings of federal courts by holding these terrorists in violation of the terms of those orders?

7/25/2008 4:22 PM  
Blogger les said...

Do you think that if we walked away today al Qaeda would not attack us again?

Do you think if you refrained from goal post moving and straw men, you might get more reasonable responses? has anyone suggested "walking away" from Al Qaeda--other than Bush, who admitted he wasn't much interested? Call me crazy, but I happen to think that the US could have captured Osama and substantially disabled AQ years ago, without tortured rationales for "enhanced interrogation," rendition, torture boats, gitmo, warrantless spying on Americans, hundreds of thousands dead and billions wasted in Iraq, specious explanations and definitions for why treaties and US law doesn't apply, panicked calls for indefinite detention of teenagers, "enemy combatants" fingered for money by their tribal rivals, and low level operatives; without hyperbolic ranting about WW3 and global calilphates and islamo fascists. Without lying, unsupported assertions from people like you such as:
That way, the bleeding hearts treat them like innocent civilians.

You're wrong. There is an enemy.

We should, and with 10% of the resources squandered on the Great War on Terror could, locate, seize, try (in US or world courts--oh wait, we don't believe in world courts) and, with full procedural rights, convict and imprison or execute people who are actually terrorists. Under rule of law.

For one reason, your preferred method is demonstrably a failure in every way. Terrorist attacks world wide are up by an order of magnitude since George's excellent adventure began (though that's ok, your bed is still safe); AQ is reconstituted and stronger than ever; our lawless, inhumane behavior is the best recruiting benefit extremists could ask for; our armed forces are near broken, the dollar is tanking and our children will be paying for years.

You apparently think that either terrorism never existed before 9/11, or the US is fundamentally less strong and competent than most of its allies. Ever hear of Baader Meinhof or Red Brigades? If so, do you recall Germany, France and Spain setting up concentration camps on foreign soil to avoid acting lawfully?

Ah, the hell with it. I'm too tired of watb's can only argue that if you're not willing to detain, torture and hold until the death of terrorism anyone who can remotely be suspected by someone of some bad act or thought, then you're "on their side" and want to coddle terrorists and want to impose Sharia and blah blah blah.

I'll return your favorite question today--what the hell do you think Osama's driver would do if released? Join the AQ 5th marine brigade in its amphibious assault on Florida? Take a box cutter to Bush's throat and demand an executive order mandating burqas? If Gitmo were closed tomorrow and everyone sent home, do you suppose the 250 of 'em would overthrow the US and establish an Islamic dictatorship? Because of course, if we can't torture them till the "war" is "over", we certainly couldn't capture, try and imprison them for real crimes they commit or try to commit. All we can do coddle them with our bleeding hearts.

The stupid, it burns.

7/25/2008 4:54 PM  
Blogger whistleblower said...


Since you choose to remain an anonymous coward, could you please supply us with at least one more rant?

You're quite the wordsmith.

You're on a roll; downhill, but a roll nonetheless.

You can’t be finished. I know you have more F-bombs left. More unsubstantiated accusations. More ridiculous correlations.

Please share. Don't hold back. Tell us what you think.

Please make sure that you continue to answer your own questions, and don't forget to insinuate that everyone who doesn't agree with your desire to release enemy combatants must want them tortured.

If you talked like you type, you’d die of asphyxia.

Are you capable of joining a discussion? Or do you feel the need to dominate it by resulting to an incessant rant?

Seriously! I've assembled about 10 people, and all of them are laughing hysterically.

More please.

7/25/2008 5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whistleblower - if you have 10 people around you laughing, I'm guessing that you are mistaken about the object of your laughter. Les has managed to demonstrate the illogic of your positions, while mixing in some darned funny turns of phrase, and all you have left is calling him names and resorting to the same lie he just eviscerated?

Or, perhaps you've offered a hint to a different cause for the "hysterical" laughter. Are you, by any chance, living in an institution? Did one of the "dictator" judges put you there?

7/25/2008 5:45 PM  
Blogger les said...

Whistler, identify my "F-bombs." Hint: one is not a plural. Of course, when you can't respond to substance, wailing about civility is a pretty good dodge. Oh wait, facts are unnecessary to your beliefs. Answer my question? Oh wait, your faith admits of no need for answers. Since I trust neither you nor the group under your bed, you'll have to make do with my first name. Dan knows me, but you have no need to.

I'll give you more to laugh at, though. When you and your gang graduate to big boy pants, and acquire the strength to face enemies without operating at their level, come chat. As long as the pee running down your leg keeps you from understanding what made this country great in the first place, you're entitled to mockery, but not much more.

7/25/2008 6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First name is all you can get away with Les.

Nobody in their right mind would act the way you do and then uncover their identity.

You're a fucking pussy.

Nice job whistleblower.

7/25/2008 8:45 PM  
Blogger les said...

Nice job, anonymous. One among many--can't even come up with a screen name. Personally, I think attacking identity or lack thereof is just a lame excuse for not addressing arguments; but at least there's only one les. I'm not scurrying around with the herd of anonymice. I stand (sit? type? lurk?) behind the accuracy and honesty of my facts and beliefs; you don't even bother to separate yourself from the crowd. Who could possibly know what, if anything, you are actually aware of or think--creep in, snipe from the mob, scurry away. Thanks for the contribution.

7/25/2008 9:43 PM  
Blogger les said...

At least there's only one les.

"I stand (sit? type? lurk?) behind the accuracy and honesty of my facts"

At least there's only one les.

"I stand (sit? type? lurk?) behind the accuracy and honesty of my facts"

At least there's only one les.

"I stand (sit? type? lurk?) behind the accuracy and honesty of my facts"

At least there's only one les.

Thank God. At least there's only one les.

7/25/2008 10:07 PM  
Blogger les said...

Wow,les the second, that was astonishingly clever. And, like whistler and anonymous, added neither facts, intelligence nor substance to the discussion. Are you one of whistler's ten laughers?

7/25/2008 10:36 PM  
Blogger les said...

Somebody please respond to me. I'm getting really really tired of talking to myself.

Do you think you're funny? I bet you think you are. Don't you? Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Are you obsessed with me? You must be.

7/25/2008 11:28 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Les the Lesser -

Congratulations on the startling insight that it is possible to imitate someone else's screen identity. I know the real Les, however, and I won't allow any sincere attempts to steal or dilute his identity on this blog. Great commenters are too valuable for a blog to allow some knucklehead who cannot add substance to the conversation.

7/26/2008 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fellow with the cello should learn to be more mellow.

The one with waivy hair might lose his job as chair.

Acting like a preacher may cause him to lose his job as teacher.

7/26/2008 9:57 AM  
Blogger whistleblower said...

"Sometimes we must take the fight directly to our enemies. There are people in this world who need killing and there is no one better at meeting their needs than the US Army". -Jason Kander

Jason Kander's last post in his journal about his deployment to Afghanistan to his return home.

Rants from the Rookery

7/27/2008 2:32 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Whistleblower -

If you for even half a second believe that I disagree with Jason's statement, you are horribly mistaken. Jason is precisely right - and his entire quotation is even more on point: "Today, Afghanistan is the war in which so much of our national security is at stake, yet it is the forgotten step-child of the war on terror. The baddest of the bad guys are along the border with Pakistan, reaching out and striking us throughout Afghanistan, but also throughout the world. This spring, things will only get worse. Yet we have only about 20,000 American troops in Afghanistan - roughly the same number by which President Bush intends to escalate our committment to Iraq.

I'm a Progressive Democrat, so when I get into debates about the war with ill-informed, indoctrinated regressives who don't know me well, they generally throw Rush's talking points at me, insinuating that I love my country and support the troops just a bit less than them. Whether you've served or not, love of country isn't about blind faith. It is not about a piece of cloth that I wear on the shoulder of my uniform, but about an idea, about Americans themselves. I have little patience for those who claim to love America but clearly can't stand the majority of Americans. As a progressive, my beef with President Bush isn't that he's fighting a war, it's that he's doing it wrong. I want to win every bit as badly as he does, if not more, but I believe that means the symbol of America can't just be a soldier with an M-16.

It must also be a peace corp volunteer armed with the knowledge to improve crop yields, an American diplomat holding court on the rule of law, and a doctor curing the sick in a village clinic. It must be, for all intensive purposes, dollars. Young men with good jobs, food on the table, and subsequent honor in their homes do not become terrorists, let alone suicide bombers. It is not always necessary that we spread the American way of life so much as the American standard of living, because new economic choices beget a demand for political choices. Political choices breed open societies that are less likely to lash out at the United States. And sometimes all of that can happen without shedding blood.

Sometimes we must take the fight directly to our enemies. There are people in this world who need killing and there is no one better at meeting their needs than the US Army, but for the rest, the Army is not the best tool. The foot soldiers of the world could sometimes become productive citizens with the proper distractions, while the ringleaders simply need to be dispatched from this mortal coil.

I really believe our President fails to understand all of this and it worries me greatly. I volunteered for this deployment and now I'd like to stay home with my wife for a while, but if my country calls again, I will no doubt answer that call. I hope that we can salvage this mess just enough to ensure that my next deployment is not to Syria, Iran, or Pakistan.

7/27/2008 4:56 PM  
Blogger whistleblower said...


Your article is about Bin Laden's driver, whom was captured, not in Iraq, but in Afghanistan.

Please answer these questions:

1. Are the members of al Qaeda in Afghanistan considered to be an enemy of the United States of America?

2. When do you propose a member of al Qaeda, captured in Afghanistan, be released from the custody of our military?

7/27/2008 5:12 PM  
Blogger les said...

I anyone is still lurking and actually cares about, you know, facts, here's a link to a story on a Pentagon financed Rand corporation study on best approaches to terrorism. Whistler needn't bother--it might disturb his beliefs.
The link is to a Matt Yglesias post; pardon my lack of intertube skills.

7/30/2008 11:49 AM  
Blogger les said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/30/2008 5:26 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Deleted comment.

Sorry, Les the Lesser, you're not going to post here under the real Les' name. Get a different name, and your participation is welcome, but not an attempt to confuse readers who know that the real Les is one of the most insightful commenters on these pages.

All that said, I appreciate the fact that you put in some effort to comment on the Rand report mentioned by the real Les. You misrepresent its conclusions, and fail to point out that it is almost exactly the sort of wisdom which has been here and on other liberal blogs since the optional war began, but you at least typed a bit.

In the spirit of encouraging debate, I here quote your entire post, unedited, but not under your false name:

The author of the study is Seth Jones


Jones is a well-known expert on Afghanistan and U.S. foreign policy. Jones attracted considerable attention for his frank assessment of the use of Pakistan territory by Afghan insurgent and terrorist groups. In a well-publicized interview with The New York Times in 2006, he said there was widespread evidence from NATO, Afghan, and UN sources that Pakistani intelligence agents had been financing, training, and providing intelligence to Taliban insurgents based in Baluchistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan.

Jones also received considerable attention for his work with Ambassador James Dobbins on nation-building. Their RAND book America's Role in Nation-Building, which examined the U.S. history of nation-building since World War II, suggested that the U.S. needed nearly 500,000 soldiers to stabilize Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's government. L. Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, took the study to U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President George W. Bush. Based on the study's conclusions, Bremer suggested that the United States military needed to reconsider downsizing its forces in Iraq and, on the on the contrary, increase them to help patrol cities and villages. But Bremer's memo was ignored.

Though the study doesn't support any of the statements made by this blog. It is an interesting read. Here's the press release from RAND.

"The United States has the necessary instruments to defeat al Qaida, it just needs to shift its strategy and keep in mind that terrorist groups are not eradicated overnight," Jones said.

The study recommends the United States should adopt a two-front strategy: rely on policing and intelligence work to root out the terrorist leaders in Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East, and involve military force.

7/30/2008 5:45 PM  

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