Liberty Just in Case

A Dialogue for the September 12th World

Treating A War Like A War

Posted by zaphriel on February 20, 2007

It’s about time.

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that foreign-born prisoners seized as potential terrorists and held in Guantanamo Bay may not challenge their detention in U.S. courts, a key victory for President Bush’s anti-terrorism plan.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 that civilian courts no longer have the authority to consider whether the military is illegally holding the prisoners — a decision that will strip court access for hundreds of detainees with cases currently pending. -more

5 Responses to “Treating A War Like A War”

  1. Craig said

    Matt,
    You’ve come back to posting with a VENGEANCE!

    …welcome back.

  2. On a very limited basis. My Commentary will be limited, but I can still point things out. Things that I might add, I did not say.

  3. Mark said

    Great, great news. Funny how we aren’t hearing it from the MSM, huh?

  4. Nariel said

    Alrighty, I have a few questions–
    And bear with me here.. they may sound rather “silly” but they are not rhetorical questions but real ones.

    Question #1: While I understand that the Geneva Convention rules of detention and trial may not apply herein (because they are not specifically ‘war criminals’ but suspects)Just how long are we allowed to detain a “suspect”? second to this is the matter of “By whom and by when will they be actually tried on evidence and either convicted or acquitted and returned to their homes?”

    Question #2: If they cannot challenge their detention to American courts, who pray tell are they allowed to challenge their detentions to? It has always been my understanding that the military tries military, US Court systems try civilians–where do these people fit in?

    Question #3: I guess I’m sort of wondering why.. if one cannot buy a Cuban cigar or Cuban products.. are we even AT Gitmo, CUBA? I don’t really understand why we have anything at all in Cuba, if we have no ties to them ?

    But finally my thoughts on Gitmo Detentions:

    I can understand completely the need to detain and interrogate suspected terrorists. Truly I can. However, I do not find a justice of any kind in detaining them indefinitely and not resolving the matter in an expedient fashion. Who is paying for their cell space? their food? their clothing? I’m going to guess here, it is the American taxpayer in the trickle down. If that be true.. then in essence, we are paying to detain people.. indefinitely… and with no resolution forthcoming. Do we not NEED that money elsewhere? Wouldn’t a trial with a verdict be more cost efficient?

    Also, one thing that America established early on was the rules of incarceration and expedient trial process, fair trial etc… Now, I fully realize these are not American citizens entitled by their citizenship to the same rights.. HOWEVER, I wonder about what message that really is sending out to the world at large.
    While it may be on the one hand a message of strength “We will do what we must to maintain security for our country.” (and yes, I applaud that) Can it not also send the message on the other hand of “Freedom is wonderful.. but it is American only–you have no right to the freedoms and due process.” Does that not send a rather tyrannical message to the rest of the world?

    So those are my questions and my thoughts. Look forward to hearing yours. :0)

  5. Actual answers, as I understand the system… Nothing More…

    Q#1: For the remaining duration of the war, until a truce or resolution has been met. Then they are to be returned to their homes or tried for war crimes either by the country to which the crimes were committed or in the international tribunal.

    Q#2: They are not NON-combatants but rather non-traditional combatants. The rules of POW status should apply other than there is no official country either to return them to or to negotiate for their release. As such the answer above applies.

    Q#3: Gitmo was originally a leased fueling station. In February 1903, the United States leased 45 square miles of land and water at Guantanamo Bay for use as a coaling (fueling) station. The treaty was finalized and the document was ratified by both governments and signed in Havana in December of that same year.

    A 1934 treaty reaffirming the lease granted Cuba and her trading partners free access through the bay, modified the lease payment from $2,000 in gold coins per year, to the 1934 equivalent value of $4,085 U.S. Treasury dollars, and added a requirement that termination of the lease requires the consent of both the U.S. and Cuba governments, or the abandonment of the base property by the U.S.

    Since then relations fell but the loophole that both sides need to agree has kept Gitmo open. Parties cannot agree on anything that they never talk about. Of course Cuba could retake it by force, but that would give us an excuse to fight back.

    Now the problem with trials under the Law of War. We would not want our POW’s tried for any crime while the conflict was ongoing as it would give said government the excuse to both torture and kill our POW’s (and by torture I don’t mean loud music and sleep deprivation). Trials are bad mojo while a conflict is ongoing (Afghanistan is still ONGOING), so it is expressly written under the Geneva conventions that POW’s cannot, and should not, be tried. It sounds like no-man’s land but truly it is not, and the more they are treated as POW’s the better off they are, as are our own fighting men (even if terrorists [by definition] totally disregard the law of war).

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