RANGER AGAINST WAR: Then There's Maude <

Monday, February 10, 2014

Then There's Maude

I am very glad to have in my cabinet
such able statesmen as you have proved yourself to be.
And I shall be pleased to avail myself
of your counsel and advice.  
But I can never consent to being dictated to. 
I am the President 
and I shall be responsible for my administration
--U.S. President John Tyler

Re. the words of President Tyler and the desk plaque of Harry Truman: if only President Obama were a "buck-stops-here" kinda guy. Alas.

Let us begin with an oft-forgotten precept in 2014: America is a nation governed by laws, and we oppose the concept of cruel and unusual punishment. This is foundational. But then there's Gitmo (Hearing Offers Rare Peek at Guantanamo.)

Why can't President Obama, as Commander in Chief, order the military to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention center -- the shining promise of his early administration?

Can the President not use one of his exalted Executive Orders to do it? If Obama can EO the minimum wage, then surely he can EO the closure of Gitmo. He could grant Presidential pardons, and send the prisoners home. Mea culpa.

What have 60 prisoners done that the rebels in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria have not done? Why are the prisoners at Gitmo evil, wicked, mean and nasty, but the jihadists supporting revolt in the region treated to the munificence of U.S. tax dollars? In Syria there are jihadists from about 55 nations whom it is U.S. policy to support.

We the people deserved to witness fair and open trails for the terrorist events of 9-11-01, but have not. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the one inmate who very publicly fits the bill for being tried, has inexplicably never been before a court. 

If a prisoner has been charged with a war crime, then he should be tried in court. If found guilty, then execute him. What does it mean that some inmates are being considered for a war crimes trial before a military commission? After 12 years the U.S. has not moved to try these inmates; it's time to piss, or get off the pot. Gitmo is a stain which has done nothing to make the U.S. safer, or to counter the al Qaeda threat.

America should admit that it has poisoned the well, and even if these inmates were complicit, it is too late for a fair trial. We committed torture and did not obey our legal protocols.

Just as a review for the Rangers in the class:

If a man is al Qaeda and captured on the battlefield then he is a prisoner of war -- UNLESS he can be proven to have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity. Generally, terrorists do not fight on the battlefield and even if they did, they are not a threat to the U.S., which is the tag affixed to the Gitmo detainees. (If an al Qaeda is captured on the battlefield this generally means that the person is a military member of the organization and not a classic terrorist threat.)

Military threats are far threats and hence, of minimal concern to our citizens at home.

Here is an idea: send the Gitmo detainees to the Syrian rebels and call it a day.

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