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November 30, 2003

“We excuse sins in ourselves that we punish in others.” Jim Henley rocks. [11:23 PM]
Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on "We excuse sins in ourselves that we punish in others.":

Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2003, 06:43 AM:

For close on two years I have been arguing, citing the relevant portion of the Geneva Convention, and getting angrier and more frustrated than I ever thought I could be.

Source of this anger: that the US had decided to just ignore Section 5 of the Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War and imprison people without benefit of tribunal simply on the sayso of the Bush administration.

Source of this frustration: the sheer number of Americans (and others - but mainly Americans) whose reaction was: But these are terrorists - why are you getting angry that they're being deprived of their legal rights? They don't deserve legal rights!

And when I said: "But you don't know they are terrorists. That's the point. Some of them may be. Some of them may not be." I got replies varying from anger that I wasn't willing to trust the Bush administration to do the right thing to frustration that I wasn't willing to believe that the people responsible for Guantanamo Bay weren't all-knowing and therefore freed from due process.

And now the one thing I really want to do is to track down every single one of those people who ratchetted up my anger and frustration and rub their noses in this and scream at them "See! I was right!"

Of course, I'm not going to do it. But yeah, I am one of those crazy crackpots who kept saying, online, to my MP, to the PM, to the Foreign Secretary, that this was wrong. (And I was right.)

It's good that the 140 who have suffered the most blatant miscarriage of justice are being set free. (Compensation?) It's good that the European citizens held in Guantanamo Bay are most likely to be home before 25th December. But Bush & co apparently have plans to make this useful oubliette a permanent sinkhole: four camps, a death row, and a special house for child prisoners.

How long before this is ended?

Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2003, 08:54 AM:

Oh no no no, Yonmei. They're not prisoners of war, they're battlefield detainees. That's something totally different. See, "prisoner of war" starts with a "p," and "battlefield detainee" starts with a "b." Also, "battlefield detainee" has an extra syllable.

Totally. Fucking. Different. See?


All sarcasm aside, the Geneva Convention is tangential to the heart of the matter. The general principle is infinitely more important than the specific legalese-- and if you forebear the specifics of legalese, dipshit NROniks can't try to talk in circles with those specifics.

The real question to ask assholes who cheer indefinite incarceration is, "What do you really believe we lose by erring on the side of due process and consideration, provided we guard our prisoners so well they can't possibly escape? What does it actually cost us?"

Then watch them call you names while not answering the question. Useless, I suppose, but telling.

While the ethical foundations of any civilization should be flexible in moments of desperate crisis, they're currently being thrown out by the Bush administration because they're merely inconvenient. I'm all in favor of an ice-cold, world-wide campaign of killing or capturing actual terrorists and their facilitators. I want a military campaign addressed to "the individuals responsible." The trouble with our current campaign is that it's addressed to "Occupant."

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2003, 08:07 PM:

US fires Guantanamo defence team

James Meek
Wednesday December 3, 2003
The Guardian

A team of military lawyers recruited to defend alleged terrorists held by the US at Guantanamo Bay was dismissed by the Pentagon after some of its members rebelled against the unfair way the trials have been designed, the Guardian has learned.

And some members of the new legal defence team remain deeply unhappy with the trials - known as "military commissions" - believing them to be slanted towards the prosecution and an affront to modern US military justice.


Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2003, 02:58 PM:

And three, former, members of the military bar (including one who helped negotiate the release of the, majority, of the Viet-namese held POWs) have come out against it.

That comment was the first time I saw the parallel between Gitmo, and the Hanoi Hilton.

But then, I've been railing about the wrongness, as well as the violation of Geneva at Gitmo since they started talking this "battlefield detainee" crap.

Barry ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2003, 03:00 PM:

As Jim Henley has mentioned, it appears that the first batch of people released will be some Afghani's who were grabbed by 'our' [for now, unless the Taliban are winning again] warlords, for the bounties. Shades of the Vietnam-era saying, "if it's dead and Vietnamese, it's Viet Cong".

So what it looks like is that the administration is doing some cleaning, now that the Supreme Court might take a look. Combined with some 'cleaning', by eliminating defense counsel who didn't want to play their role in the show trials.

There is one clear, tested rule for judging policies of this administration: If it looks good, then probably, the looks are deceiving. If looks were not deceiving, then the administration will probably f*ck it up.