Thursday, July 13, 2006

Strange Fruit

Since 9-11, we no longer capture enemy soldiers. We now "detain" them, bringing to mind, say, A Mexican illegal caught by immigration officials, or perhaps, a sack of smuggled fruit detained at the airlines claims counter. To borrow from a Billy Holiday song about lynching, this is strange fruit indeed.

And since we deny the "captured" status to our adversaries, we are also averse to saying that our own soldiers are captured, as well. That would be too much in keeping with the accepted terminology which has defined all wars before.

Not missing an opportunity to villainize and delegitimize the opponent, our soldiers are instead "abducted" or "kidnapped" by them, thereby implicating our opponents as rogue forces, versus legitimate combatants. But, what if U.S. forces grab an Iraqi off the street--was that person "abducted" or "kidnapped"? Ah...I think I am beginning to get the hang of this new doublespeak.

No, the Iraqi has simply been "detained", a kinder and gentler term. I suddenly feel like George Carlin explaining the difference in rules between football--the brutish sport--and baseball, the gentler one. We Americans are the sluggers, and they are the football animals.

A Wall Street Journal editorial, "After Hamdan" (7/03/06), asserts that Al Qaida personnel are "detainees", yet later in the same article bemoans, "The(Supreme)Court's intrusion...that it knows better than an elected President how to treat enemies captured on the battlefield." So there it is, the smoking gun, the admission from the conservative press that these individuals have indeed been "captured on the battlefield." Even a simple person like myself now understands what their designationmust be: they are POW's.

Yet a 7/11/06 article also in the WSJ--"Military Lawyers Prepare to Speak on Guantanamo--misses a salient point. In arguing over the fact the Gitmo prisoners are not subject to the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice, they miss the fact that the UMCJ cannot apply to them for the simple reason the code can only be applied to U.S military personnel. Further, the U.S. military has no charter to detain anyone, unless that person is a POW. Our military is not a law enforcement agency, and MP's only have jurisdiction over U.S. military personnel and Prisoners of War.

To quote Jeffery H. Smith, former general counsel for the CIA (NYT, p. A20, 7/13/06): "One of the most difficult questions to address is: under what authority do we continue to hold them and why?" I've been asking this for years and I'm just a dumb grunt. Why can't Congress and the President grasp the concept of jusrisdiction?


Anonymous Win or Die! said...

I am sure you served you country bravely and in good faith. But, brother you have surrendered! You have become what undermined you and our troops in Vietnam... we can't win the war on terror by joining the 5th column. The Islamic madmen did NOT come about because of the U.S.A.!

Blame America first... the easy (wrong) way out!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 at 2:08:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

You can't undermine failure.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006 at 8:30:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

If you'd read my comments it could soften your remarks. You're right, we can't prevail if we become anything other than American in our policy. Please define winning for me.

Also I joined the 5th SF GRP ,not the fifth column. BTW do you have a purple heart or combat infantry badge or valor awards? Jim the 5th.

Saturday, March 15, 2008 at 11:06:00 AM GMT-5  

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