OT: scuttled by the sceptics.

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N Hurst wrote: <SNIP>

This is the claim of the left without any proof. Intelligence work, by its nature, is imprecise. Evidently, not only did Bush cover up, so did Blair, Burlosconi, and Putin. It was a a giant conspiracy I tell you, run from within the CIA. Tin Foil Hats ...ON!

Who gives a rats ass what they think? Bush's biggest mistake was caring about the fate of the nations involved at all. The purpose of war to crush threat. Iran/Iraq/Syria with nukes is an unacceptable level of threat. Savage their economies and infrastructures and leave with a promise to do it again and again until they act nice. They don't like us. Who cares? Muslims hate Christians and Jews (and other Muslims). Who cares? Our purpose should be do defend our country and our interests, not try and build democracies where none are possible. We should accept that the bulk of the Islamic world is inhabited by tribal savages and quit trying to rehabilitate them. We should merely make it too painful for them to mess with the West.
And THAT is Bush's failing. His stubborn insistence that we have to stay and fix what's been broke for 1500 years. Or ... was it really Bush? Could it have been the whiny State Department full of career bureaucrats hollering "You broke it, now you have to buy it." I can't tell who was stupider here, the administration or the State Department, but they were dead wrong. We did NOT break anything, and thus owe the people of these lands a single thing. Let Iraq break out into civil war right after we're done polishing off Iran. Leave their military, their infrastructure, their water supplies, and their telecommunications systems as smoldering slagpiles and walk away. Game, set, match.

Where did he do that? AFAIK, he stuck to - barely - the ones which we've actually signed.

They managed to work to crack some of the top level Al Queda thugs pretty quickly ... or is the military in on the vast conspiracy as well and lying about this too?

In Viet Nam, those techniques were used on people who wore the uniforms of an identifiable military. That means they were entitled to certain protections under international law. In this case, the subjects were people making war while hiding in civilian clothing - and they have almost NO protection under international laws. Fred will jump in here and claim otherwise, but he's wrong and exhibits wishful thinking on the matter. If you make war in plain clothing, you have the same legal status of a spy ... i.e., Almost none. Your captors are free to do almost anything they want including waterboarding you or making you listen to Sean Penn speeches.
You will also note that Al Queda is not a signatory to the Geneva Conventions and cannot thus make claims upon them.
You will further note that while we made people uncomfortable and shoved them around and humiliated them, their fellow combatants beheaded people in the most horrible possible way.
There is no moral equivalence here, it is anti-war left wing fiction and propaganda.

Sometimes, where there is immediate need to do so and then only under some kind of US military or civilian judge's supervision.

You must be kidding. Bush has merely applied that oh so sophisticated notion of "A Living Constitution" to suit these times. That *is* what the left engineered starting with FDR, their patron saint. Now a nominal rightwinger gets in (he is no such thing actually), and merely applies the same principle of a malleable Constitution to suit *these* times. The left should be thrilled. He's doing what they've done for decades before he was ever on the scene.

Permited legally under FISA (which precedes him) but unworkable because of the sheer volume of paperwork involved. Did the Dems offer to step in and help to make it work better for the good of the country? No. They were too busy blaming Bush for the world's sins and teeing up their next election.

A huge failing on W's part. Thanks to the Hamdi suit, SCOTUS fixed this. The system worked ultimately.

Nonsense. The government can't ask for cooperation on the one hand and then prosecute with the other. This was proper. If there was any sin here (and there probably wasn't much of one), it should be addressed by the DOJ, not the individual carriers.

No different than Obama's pals here in Chicago being investigated for quite some time before *they* knew anything about it. This is called "crime investigation". An investigation does not make you guilty and the policeman or government agency doing it has no legal obligation to inform you of it ahead of time.

You should go read the history of the FDR administration. He made Bush look like a piker. No president since Andrew Jackson had more overt contempt for rule-of-law and the Constitution than FDR. Yet the left worships the man but hates guys like Bush who are merely using the same techniques in somewhat different ways.

An utterly bogus observation. I don't care if he worship purple frogs on yogurt. That is not germane to his governance or lack thereof.
You watch, in a few years the real depth of the threat coming from Iran especially is going to become evident, and it will have been Bush that took the steps to quiet it before it completely flared out of control. Either we do it or the Israelis will. Which would you prefer?

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Agree or disagree...
Tim's a sharp fella.
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jbd in Denver wrote:

I aspire to become Scary Sharp...
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"jbd in Denver" wrote:

Yep, about the same as a concrete block.
Lew
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Anyone can sound sharp when they're an expert on his own opinion. I am very wary of people who are so sure of everything as is this guy Daneliuk. I wonder what he's like in person.

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Buck Turgidson wrote:

Lovable, handsome, charming, humble ... ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tim Daneliuk snipped-for-privacy@tundraware.com PGP Key: http://www.tundraware.com/PGP /
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jbd in Denver wrote:

sharp as the proverbial meatball.
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wrote:

My favorite has always been Foghorn Leghorn's:
"The boy's about as sharp as a bowling ball."
I do not direct this directly at tim - for brutus is an honorable man.
(this is not ad hominem - i swear)
Tom Watson tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet www.home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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That is an interesting comment considering that of the three, Iraq was the one that was clearly NOT actively involved in either military or civilian nuclear development.
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Here's a hint, Colin Powell resigned after four years as Secretary of State because he had been ignored for the last three of Bush's first term. The last major foreign policy decision for which Bush decided to follow Powell's advice instead of Rumsfield and Cheney was the decision to mount an offensive against al Queda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, disagrees with you, as does the USSC. So do I.
You've also made it clear that you don't want torture to be illegal or to violate treaties. Its pretty clear that you want people to be tortured. You read laws and treaties (if you bother to read them at all) the way Clinton listens to questions during a deposition, seeking someway to misconstrue it to mean what you want.

Your evidence for this is what, exactly, Kalid sheik Mohammed's admission that he, not Osama bin Laden was the mastermind behind the attacks of September 11, 2001?

I seem to remember the argument being made that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to a civil war and that persons who attacked civilians forfeited their protections. I don't accept that, but is sounds a lot like a position you would favor.

What competent court or tribunal determined that any person held at Guantanamo bay, in fact, made war in civilian clothing?
Or are you arguing that the rules and regulations governing captures on land and sea and regulating the Armed Forces, passed by the Congress and signed into law by the President of the United States aren't REAL laws, just some sort of general suggestions?

If a person who is hors de combat due to captivity, and who is denied status as a protected person none- the-less claims that status, that is a matter to be decided by a competent court or tribunal. The US military had a tried and true procedure for doing just that and it probably would have been a pretty simple, and entirely uncontroversial matter. There was no excuse for abandoning that tried and true procedure.
US law has required that spies be tried before execution since the Continental Congress passed the First US Articles of War.
"Spies may not be punished without trial." is one of the articles of the 1907 Hague conventions.
It would be difficult, at best, to mistreat a prisoner without violating the common criminal provisions of the UCMJ which, as you know, (e.g. the trial of the civilian spouse of a US soldier for a crime allegedly committed in Germany) apply to American civilians on US military bases abroad.
UNCATS prohibits torture, inhumane or degrading treatment without exception.
I had been misled by many sources who claimed that the US took exception to the minimal due process requirements for spies and sabotouers in the GCs. Not so. The US takes exception to certain restrictions on the applicability of the death penalty, and (IIRC) to certain obligations to allies and cobelligerents.
For UNCATS and most recent treaties the US takes exception to any restrictions on the applicability of the death penalty and to any provision that is determined by the Federal Courts to be in conflict with a provision of the Constitution.
Breathe control torture plainly violates UNCATS, and if committed on an US military base, federal criminal law.
Claims that it is legal to commit crimes against someone because he is a bad person, are no longer persuasive in any US court, nor should they be.

While al Queda is not, most of the people accused of being part of al Queda are nationals of states that are. Further, inasmuchas a state of war does not exist between those nations and the United States if they commit a belligerent act they commit a crime whether they are in uniform or not.
That of course, was never at issue. At issue was the suspension of the normal process used by the US military to determine if a person is a combatant, and if so, lawful or unlawful.
As well as the claim claim by the President and Commander-in-Chief that he had authority to create courts, make the laws those courts would enforce, their rules of evidence and procedure, appoint the judges, the prosecutors and the defense attorneys, and to direct their actions, and that the Congress, to whom the plain language of the Constitution grants the sole authority to do those things, has no say in the matter.

Why should we note that? And if we should, why do you not note the prisoners tortured to death in Bahgram prison? Does their mistreatment mitigate the murder of Daniel Perle?

If you are not arguing moral equivalence, what is your point?

I disagree.

Surely you gest. His supporters claim that he is applying the plain language of the constitution, though somehow I doubt that they have ever read it, or at most read nothing but Article II.

Whom even the now infamous Reverand Wright denounces...

ISTR that only one, or at most two democrats were notified, at a classified meeting so that they were not permitted to discuss the matter after leaving the room.

It would be easy to forgive the Bush administration for missing the deadline to notify the FISA of warrantless wiretaps were it not for two considerations.
One, the Bush administration wrote the law extending that deadline from 24 hours to 72. If they needed more time or needed to expand the court to handle the workload they could have written that in too. It's not like anybody in the Congress actually read the Patriot Act before they voted on it.
They never even submitted late notifications.

That would make sense were the government not asking for cooperation in the commission of a crime.

Like what, exactly?

Whoever gets the job done best.
I freely admit that people have walked the Earth who are worse than GWB.
I would like to set the standard for President a bit higher than "better than the worse person who ever lived.".
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Fred the Red Shirt wrote: <SNIP>

If this is so cut and dried, why has he not been brought up on appropriate charges? He was dead wrong on Hamdi and the appropriate legal steps were taken. If you're clearly right, then similar steps should obviously work here as well, shouldn't they?

No. I disagree that all forms of coercion constitute a prima facia case of "torture", and reasonable people can disagree here.

Thereby demonstrating the efficacy of the technique, no?

You cannot, on the one hand, cling to a strict interpretation of the GCs (that is not universally held within the international legal community) and on the other pick and choose when they apply. There are, as you well know, different categories of protections offered to different classes of persons in the GC. Plain clothes combatants have almost no such protections therein. Wishing it were so doesn't make it that way.

Presumably, the military tribunals held there wherein the accused had legal representation. Or is it your position that the entire JAG core is utterly corrupt and the tribunal process completely compromised such that these were all show trials? The lack of public transparency in trials of (alleged) foreign combatants does not instantly mean that the process is bogus. Having known a great many military folks over the years, my view is that the odds are that these trials were likely conducted to very high ethical standards.

They are real. But just to *which* rules do you refer. The GCs do not materially protect non-uniformed combatants. There is likely policy and procedure in place for the military lawyers involved, but that is not some international and immutable standard that supercedes the GCs here to the best of my knowledge.

Just where do you get the idea that a fair discovery as to the status of the captured was NOT conducted? Just because they didn't do it on Judge Judy doesn't mean it did not happen. Again, you are at least implying that the military tribunal process was entirely compromised. I'd like see evidence of that please.

And I am fine with that. It is my belief - a belief rooted not in observable fact, since the process was not public, but rooted in a confidence in the professionalism and ethics of our military - that exactly this took place.

All we have to do is come up with a universal definition for "torture". You may know that those who defend it as an intelligence gathering mechanism argue that it is NOT inherently torture, though everyone agrees it has the capacity to be abused.

I rather think this is not so cut and dried. If it is, the participants should be tried, found guilty, and sentenced. Wanna take any bets as to whether, say, Obama will take any such action? I rather doubt it.

No they shouldn't but that's not the discussion here. The discussion is to what degree particular classes of combatants can make legal claims upon international treaty and US policy.

Their belligerent acts were carried out on behalf of Al Queda. Moreover, their wearing a uniform or not is fundamental to their class before the law. Say I went to Africa to fight as a mercenary, wearing a suit and tie, posing as a health worker. If I started killing innocents to create an act of terror, would the GCs, US civil law, or other international laws protect me from being treated as a spy? I think not.

You keep saying this, but I see no evidence of it. I see people swept up in the course of combat, status to be determined later, granted legal counsel (it is claimed, I cannot confirm) to stand before a military tribunal.

All true but missing a critical detail. With the advent of FDR's "making it up as you go along" approach to Constitutional law, there is ample precedent for Bush's claim. I'm not claiming Bush made all the right calls here. I am claiming he is within his executive privilege *as granted by precedent*. You don't like it? Fine. I'm not actually crazy about it myself. But the only way to unwind it would be to get the government and the nation at large to go back to a strict interpretation of the Constitution. As I have said over and over, you cannot reasonably expect Bush to avoid using the "flexibility" of a "Living Constitution" when all his political foes favor this when power is in their hands.

Clearly wrong, and last I checked, the perpetrators were being tried and convicted in (gasp!) military courts. If you think that any system that is not perfect is not workable at all, you are sadly mistaken. The system, however imperfect, has safeguards and remedies and these seem to be working.

Of course not.

My point is that sensible analysis considers not just the act, but the degree of malfeasance. Yes, a very few US military behaved wrongly in a number of cases. But the enemy acts badly pretty much at every opportunity. I thing we've shown considerable restraint and maturity in our response on the whole. I can say this without excusing the horrific acts you describe.

The more I think about this, the more I may come to see it your way. It certainly makes me morally queasy. Not so much because we are extracting information by force (though that is part of the problem) but moreso because of the kind of human sewage with whom we have to make common cause to pull this off. For the moment, my view on this is that there are two choices here - Bad: Do nothing thereby failing to use every tool to thwart people who wish to murder non combatants, or Really Bad: Make common cause with thugs and tyrants.

*Everyone* who bends the Constitution to suit "these times" claims they are applying a plain reading. Bush is merely the last in a long lineage of such people.

But not for the aforementioned reason.

There is a Senate Intelligence Committee last I looked. If even just one of them were involved, you're suggesting they could not have quietly suggested that - for reasons they could not discuss - FISA process needed to be revisited?

And even I have real heartburn about this. It's unconscionable and one of the reasons that the Republicans do not deserve the White House next time.

What crime exactly was being committed?

My guess - and that's all it is, though it seems consistent with what is released to the public - is that Iran is well on the way to nuclear delivery capability and that the only thing that will give them real pause on this is to feel serious threat from someone ... us, for example.

I would prefer it not be the Israelis. This will have all manner of sideshow issues and make a nasty problem even worse.

He is nowhere near as bad as you paint him. He is - at worse - the Republican incarnation of FDR - make up the rules as you go, push the limits of executive power, ignore the noise, and win the war.
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...

He was also dead wrong regarding his ad hoc tribunals. As you know, they were struck down by the USSC which held that they violated common article 3 of the 1949 GCs and the UCMJ. That does prove my point, right?

This administration has relied on the most transparent of stalling tactics to keep those steps from being taken. For instance, Padilla was transferred from one Federal District to another, mooting his habeas petition and forcing his attorneys to refile in the new district. Other appelants were released after being granted certitori by the USSC depriving the court of the opportunity to rule on the vital matters of law that were in contention.
That the administration was afraid to plead its case before the USSC is a pretty good indicator that it knew it was wrong, eh?
In 2006, the administration finally allowed a case challenging the jurisdiction of the Bush ad hoc tribunals to reach the USSC. Of course they were stuck down and the administration demanded, on the eve of the 2006 election, that the Congress immediately authorize new tribunals, claiming that any delay, say for example, to after the election, would jeopardize national security.
The Congress complied. The tribunals established by the Military Comissions Act of 2006, have jurisdiction to try unlawful combatants.

AFAIK the efficacy of torture to obtain confessions has never been in dispute. Indeed, it as effective on the innocent as it is on the guilty.

Yet you insist on doing so.

And yet, unless I am very much mistaken, you were perfectly happy when the President forbade the military from determining if their prisoners were plain clothes combatants.

President Bush forbade the military from conducting those tribunals and forbade the courts-martial from trying them the persons in question. That is precisely my objection.

The JAG had nothing to do with Bush's ad hoc courts.
Further, to WHAT trials do you refer? Bush's ad hoc courts were struck down in 2006 without ever having conducted a trial.
You just make this up as you go along, don't you?
But since you mentioned the JAG, consider that five of the six judge advocates general singed a public letter urging the Congress to NOT pass the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (which was substantively identical, in most respects to the President;'s executive order) and all six spoke against it before the Congress.

Again, to what trials do you refer? Please name a defendant, provide a date, something.

WTF? The courts in question were struck down in 2006 without ever conducting a single trial.
Meanwhile, the US Federal Courts have tried about a hundred persons for 'terrorism' related crimes with a sustained conviction rate approaching 80%.

The UCMJ.
The provisions of the UCMJ to the effect that the proper status of a prisoner who disputes his status be determined by a competent court or tribunal.
UNCATS.

You argue that because a person engaged in an act that disentitled them to the protections of the GCs, they are not entitled to a proper hearing to determine if they engaged in an act that disentitles them to the protections of the GCs.

Do you understand the relevant definition of 'competent'?

No, I never implied anything of the sort. I have made it quite clear time and time again that the tribunals were not competent and the USSC agreed when if struck them down in 2006.

I don't give a rat's ass what you would like to see.
I will only provide evidence to support my argument. I repeat it again now. The president and commander in chief did not have the authority to establish military tribunals not authorized by the Congress. My evidence is that the USC struck down those tribunals in 2006.

Please name of a person whom you believe was executed after trial during the present administration.

If I understand the English language correctly, the antecedent of 'it' is 'torture'.
So the statement above is logically:
"You may know that those who defend torture as an intelligence gathering mechanism argue that torture is NOT inherently torture, though everyone agrees torture has the capacity to be abused."
Which I agree is exactly the sort of thing we have come to expect from the Bush administration.

By whom, the people who ordered the crime in the first place?

Relevance?
Nonsense. That is precisely your argument. If the government were to subject you to exactly the same treatment as Khalid Sheik Mohammed there is no question that you would believe you had been assaulted. The ONLY reason you argue that KSM was not assaulted is because you believe he deserved it. Whether or not the victim of an assault deserved it, is not a defense.

Wrong. That was discussed near the top of this article. The issue down here is whether or not the legal standing of the victim is a defense in an assault prosecution. The UCMJ enumerates the allowed defenses. That the victim was not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions is not among the enumerated offenses.

Were you to wear a uniform and carry arms openly while killing innocents to create an act of terror, would the GCs, US civil law, or other international laws protect you from being treated as a war criminal? I think not.
To disguise yourself might be an act of perfidy, and an offense in and of itself, but one that pales in comparison to the other crimes committed, and completely irrelevent to the issue of whether or not you could be prosecuted and punished for those other crimes, don't you agree?
But that has never been the point of contention between us. The issue in dispute has always been the process (again a term of art) to be employed to determine IF you committed any such crime.

You have never seen evidence that Bush did not allow prisoners at Guantanamo bay to be prosecuted in the Federal Courts or the military courts-martial, (e.g. the normal process) and instead created his own ad-hoc courts for that purpose?
Not surprising, since you claim to have seen trials and even executions that no one else has.

Padilla's case made it all the way to the USSC, without his counsel ever being permitted to communicate with him. Hamdan was permitted to meet with his council only once, and then only because his defense attorney had been ordered to negotiate a guilty plea. That kind of stretches the definition of 'granting legal council'.

Sure, so long as you ignore the repeal of the Articles of War in 1949.

Your claim is meritless because it contradicts the plain language of the Constitution. Or is it your argument that the President retains the authority delegated to him by Federal Law, even after that law is repealed?

None of this has anything to do with any living constitution argument.. The argument advanced by the administration is the "unitary president" theory, which holds that the President is not bound in his official acts, by federal law. To my knowledge no proponent of this theory makes any claim of the sort you suggest. They argue that they are returning to the true meaning of the constitution. IOW, they claim to be doing exactly what you say you want them to do.
Further, what I may or may not expect the President to does not absolve me of my responsibility to demand that he respect the rule of law.

What is clearly wrong?
Willy Brandt received the harshest sentence at trial, a few months confinement and a reduction in pay. It is my understanding that since then, his sentence has been reduced to honorable discharge.

Then why introduce his murder into the discussion?

The light sentences handed out to (some) the murderers at Bahgram, when contrasted with the much harsher sentences handed out to those convicted of less serious offenses at Abu Ghraib leads me to suspect the former acts were condoned, if not ordered, by higher authority while the latter were not. Contrast also the disciplinary action taken against the commanding officer at Abu Ghraib with the inaction at Bahgram.

Again, inasmuchas the horrific acts committed by the enemy were not in dispute, nor even under discussion, why introduce them?

False dichotomy. To refrain from torture does not require that one do nothing.
One merely needs to consider the history of lynching (the real history, not the Hollywood version) in this country to understand the dangers.

No, many, if not most who bend the Constitution to suit "these times" DO advance some sort of living Constitution claim.

Unauthorized circumspective discussion of national security matters is impermissible for obvious reasons. Further, I don't think you can come up with any credible scenario where in the needed changes could be introduced or discussed without making it obvious as to what was discussed behind those closed doors.
But as you know, the Congress did pass exactly the legislation requested by the administration on this point. To hold the Congress to blame for its inadequacy is asinine.

Well then you agree that what GWB did was wrong. That was the point being made.

Illegal wiretaps.

Allow me to rephrase. Like what steps, exactly, has Bush taken to quiet the Iranian threat?

As I pointed out above, FDR had some authority under the Articles of War that was substantially diminished when they were replaced with the UCMJ. It is particularly important to note that a, if not the, primary justification for the change was concern for potential abuse under the precedent law.
To suggest an equivalency between the current situation and the Great Depression and World War two betrays a complete lack of perspective.
Even though I recognize that enormous difference in exigency, I still condemn FDR for some of his actions. Consequently I cannot reasonably decline to condemn Bush for like sins.
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Fred the Red Shirt wrote:

<SNIP>

Not fully. It proves that the Bush administration interpreted precedent and current conditions to grant them power they actually did not have. They were slapped down by SCOTUS. The system *worked*. This is a far cry from the larger complaint voiced here repeatedly that Bush is some kind of civil liberties monster.

I freely admit that I find these shenanigans repugnant. Note that I have never held the Bush administration up as some paragon of good works, merely that you critics are vastly overstating things in the level of malice attributed to it.
<SNIP>

Hmm, I don't recall him doing so. Do tell. I do recall the claim that tribunals were being held in secret and such determinations were being made.

I do not recall this and may well be wrong. But I was under the impression that the claim was that there WERE such trials to determine the standings of those in GTMO, for example, but that they were held in secret for "security reasons". "Security reasons", BTW, was the first wail of complaint I heard from the loudest Bush critics because they maintained he could not be trusted to actually do this.
<SNIP>

I can't because they were (it is claimed) done in secret. Ordinarily, this would outrage me. But given that the people in GTMO weren't snatched off the street in Detroit, but in the middle of a battlezone in a foreign country, I was (and for the moment am) content to believe in the essential fairness and professionalism of the military to deal with what is a military, not civil matter.
If/when this is inarguably demonstrated to be false and all your claims confirmed, the administration officials who participated in this should be tried and sentenced as is appropriate. You make a great case, but I question just how valid it is. Not because I think you are lying, but because things are rarely this clear cut. When they are, (say like Hamdi) the courts swiftly address this. Moreover, given the vitriolic hatred so many on the left have for Bush, how is it that - in the presence of such abundant evidence of malfeasance - no charges have been mounted against him by his many enemies? Clinton was humiliated in a sham impeachment for far, far less. Surely the left wants payback. With the kind of inarguable "facts" you claim, they should be foaming at the mouth to get it.

Not at all. I think I have made it pretty clear: Status should be determined, and once found to be non-uniformed combatants, we should do whatever we wish within the bounds of the GCs to which we are signatory.

Same point: I am not privy to secret proceedings. I either trust that they were conducted properly, not at all, or that my government is utterly corrupt. But as I keep saying, your claim for abundant evidence for the latter should be yielding large and loud suits against the President and this administration. Where are they?

OK, my grammar was compromised. I'll say it correctly. Many who defend *interrogation techniques* like waterboarding argue it is not inherently torture, though everyone agrees these techniques can be abused. Better?
I shall endevour to not torture the language in the future.

OK, here's the UNCATS language to which we are signatory:
Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
Guess what? It's not "plain" at all. Just when do we move from discomfort to pain to "severe" pain? What constitutes "suffering"? For me, that would involve having to watch TV for more than 5 minutes. Does playing loud, obnoxious noise - say Rap - constitute torture? How about a forced Rosie O'Donnell film festival? Everyone's threshold for pain is different. Yes, I'm splitting hairs, but I'm doing so to make a point. The defenders of waterboarding argue that it is both effective, and does not cause "severe". Moreover, if we take the sort of simplistic "plain" reading you favor, then injecting someone with drugs that cause no pain but make them spill all they know would be OK, right? My point is that these kinds of things are matter both of conscience AND of judgment. You judge waterboarding to be torture. A good many other people do not. That doesn't make them immoral monsters (the implicit claim laid at the feet of the Bushies), it illustrates a difference of opinion. In short, your claim of "plain" meaning is bogus.

No, by the checks and balances built into our adversarial political and judicial system.

Any president, faced with the enormous task at hand, would have to make calls about just how far we could and should go. I have little doubt that Bush's polar opposites politically might be different in small ways tactically, but they'd have done much the same thing. More to the point, will the next president, if they are a Democrat, bring charges against Bush, pardon him of all wrongdoing (thereby damning his legacy w/o an actual legal battle), or remain silent on his decisions once they see the full scope of what is going on in the world of bad guys? I'd bet on the latter.

I am a citizen and participant in our legal/social contract. I am entitled to far higher levels of representation and redress because of that status.

No, I argue that waterboarding, conducted properly is not inherently torture. I trust that the people doing it have both a moral conscience and oversight. If I'm wrong about any of that, I want the people responsible for doing it brought to justice.

You're avoiding the question. Does purposely not wearing a uniform and making war on civilians change my standing before international or domestic US law? I say it does, you want to pretend that's not the issue.

No, or not as you've stated. It fundamentally effects just *how* I may be treated during my prosecutions and to what legal protections I am entitled. That's why you can summarily execute spies found guilty, but not uniformed military POWs.

Which I agree should take place. My government tells me is has taken place. (Except in obvious examples like Hamdi.) You claim otherwise. Make your case in a court, get the president impeached or jailed. You'll be an instant celebrity.

I claim that from FDR forward there has been a large amount of "gray" injected into the role of the Presidency viz the Legislature as each as chosen to interpret the Constitution as a moving target. My proof of this is that - even after all the "sins" you enumerate above - no one has managed to show Bush to have materially broken any laws, at least not the level of impeachability or other serious sanction. Why? Because the moving target Constitution theory makes *all* law open to interpretation. He is doing nothing more than walking in FDR's, Kennedy's, Johnson's, Nixon's ... footsteps. Bad? Surely. But unremarkable given that the nation and its government long ago abandoned their own laws.
You keep trying to read my comments as a defense of Bush. You should be reading them as a commentary about the inevitable outcome of ignoring the rules set forth in the Constitution long ago. I'm not happy with this administration. I just see great irony in the foaming directed at it my a good many people who are otherwise just fine with the "lets make up the Constitution as we go" line of thinking. I am responding more to them than I ever was or am defending Bush who has been a crushing disappointment on almost every front. The only place I did and do agree with him, was the necessity of interdicting in the ME. Then he screwed up and *stayed*.

You're dead wrong. A nation welded to the clear meaning and limits imposed by a strict reading of the Constitution would never have allowed an environment to flourish where arguments like "unitary presidency" could have even seen the light of day. You are in pain because of the outcomes. I am in pain because of the root cause.

But as I keep pointing out over and over, there is NO rule of law. It's become a moving target. That's, for example, how both the right and left ignore border protection. It's how you get people trying to make gay marriage illegal. It's how you get people trying to make handguns illegal. And, yes, it's how you get unfettered arrogance of power in both the Executive AND Legislative branches.

It was clearly wrong to torture prisoners to death.

As I am unfamiliar with the details, I shall defer to you on this one.

I have rethought this statement of mine, and wish to retract it. The system is working, but poorly. And it works poorly exactly because of the aforementioned making up the law as we go along theory.

To demonstrate that there are degrees of sin here, and ours are minor by comparison.

One is effectively "doing nothing", at least locally, when one has a captive with relevant information and does not act to get that information. What, short of physical intimidation and force, would you suggest instead to get the needed info?

One need not discuss the details to make the case, "Hey, I think FISA is broken and we need to help the President with better tools."

Probably true.

You say they are "illegal". The administration says they are permissible given the parties involved. Why doesn't someone bring suit - not against the Telcos - but the administration for this?

I suspect they are currently diplomatic primarily. It has also been quietly reported that we've had SOGCOM people in Iran already, though obviously no one will confirm this. And Bush may yet pull an air attack on Iran before the year ends.

That was not what I was talking about. FDR openly thrwarted the enumerated powers doctrine and led the US into the sewer of a moving target Constitution moreso than any president since Jackson (who just ignored SCOTUS completely in the Trail Of Tears tragedy). And *that* teed up an awful lot of what you find so repulsive in *this* president.

The threat here is potentially greater because of the proliferation and miniaturization of nuclear weapons. If there were no nukes or other serious WMDs potentially on the table, I would care even slightly about what happens in Iran, Iraq, et al. But these weapons are potentially available to some very unstable people and governments. We cannot wait until they actually acquire them. We do so at our own peril.

Fine, this is both your privilege and your responsibility. But Bush, like FDR, will pretty much get away with whatever he wants. So will Obama/Hillary/McCain. We are no longer a Constitutional Republic with a fixed rule of law.
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RE: Subject
You idiots for real?
Do you ever clip any of your drivel?
If you need to be reminded:
Idiot 1: "Fred the Red Shirt" Idiot 2: Tim Daneliuk
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

You, of course, being the sane one here? You certainly get no points for manners.
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Tim Daneliuk wrote:

Why do you bother with close minded liberals? Specially this guy?
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but you can't make them THINK"
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evodawg wrote:

Because honest debate requires that you treat your verbal sparring partners with personal respect. Lots of very nice people have horrible ideas (and vice versa).
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Very well said.
As I said Tim was sharp, so also do I say the same of Fred (which leaves me no friends at all!).
It takes little intellegence to believe. It takes considerable intellegence to defend.
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You just can't help yourself injecting Swiftboat-grade bullshit in your arguments. The ol' 'Have you stopped beating your wife' theories. I can't believe I ever thought your posts were worth reading. Now It is nothing but useless rhetoric.
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