Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Debunking Another Gitmo Myth

The left and some others have beem whining, moaning and gnashing their teeth over the detainees at Gitmo, claiming they have not had trials. Once again, this assorted group keeps equating war to a criminal justice matter. But wait, each of these detainees has had a legal hearing, in the form of a military tribunal. Michelle Malkin gives some details in her commentary. The Washington Times also weighs in in an editorial. From Michelle Malkin's commentary:

" Gitmo-bashers attack the Bush administration's failure to abide by the Geneva Conventions. But as legal analysts Lee Casey and Darin Bartram told me, "the status hearings are, in fact, fully comparable to the 'Article V' hearings required by the Geneva Conventions, in situations where those treaties apply, and are also fully consistent with the Supreme Court's 2004 decision in the Hamdi v. Rumsfeld case."

Treating foreign terrorists like American shoplifters -- with full access to civilian lawyers, classified intelligence, and all the attendant rights of a normal jury trial -- is a surefire recipe for another 9/11. That is why the Bush administration fought so hard to erect an alternative tribunal system -- long established in wartime -- in the first place."

From the Washingtion Times' editorial:

" If the critics are right, and detained terrorists have an inalienable right to access U.S. courts, then they have created a new standard -- one which has no precedent in the Geneva Conventions, the Constitution or U.S. history. Even worse, as Mr. Barr suggested, it is a standard that would effectively make victory in the war on terror impossible.

"For every platoon of combat troops, the United States would have to field three platoons of lawyers, investigators and paralegals," Mr. Barr said. "Such a result would inject legal uncertainty into our military operations, divert resources from winning the war into demonstrating the individual 'fault' of persons confronted in the field of battle."

The critics, who are currently enjoying an increase in support from the right, of course couch their radical stance in terms of due process, as if what they are asking is the most ordinary thing in the world. And indeed, for American citizens it is. But never has the United States granted detained combatants this right. During World War II, for instance, the United States held hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war without charge, without legal representation and without a means to contest their designation as legal combatants taken on the battlefield.

This history conforms with the Geneva Conventions, as long as the detainee qualified as a legal combatant. If not, a detainee's rights as defined in the Geneva Conventions are considerably less. The reasons for this are simple. Article 4 of the convention on treatment of prisoners of war identifies a legal combatant as someone who fights under a recognized state which adheres to the Geneva Conventions; wears a fixed insignia or uniform; carries his arms openly; and conducts operations in accordance with the laws of war -- which rules out terrorists"

The recurring theme here is that there are those, mostly leftists that continue to attempt to equate war with criminal justice issues. The war on terror is not a criminal justice matter. It was that type of treatment of terrorism that contributed to 9/11. War is not limited to nation/states, but can also be applied to groups bent on bringing violence and death tothe citizens of this country. There is ample precedent for this. President Thomas Jefferson declared war of the barbary Pirates, a latter day terroris organiztion that preyed on Americans. There is also sufficient precedent for military tribunals. It is high time that these terrorist appeasers, enablers, ass kissers and those that seem utterly confused to get off the attmept to apply civil law to eradicating terrorism. - Sailor

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