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Reuters has a wire story about a proposed final solution to the terrorist detention problem.

bq. The Defense Department, which holds 500 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, plans to ask the U.S. Congress for $25 million to build a 200-bed prison to hold detainees who are unlikely to ever go through a military tribunal for lack of evidence.

Um, if they're never going to trial, doesn't that mean they're ... presumed innocent? I guess that pesky Constitution has been thrown out permanently. Another part of this proposal is to give the prisoners to Afghanistan and other "partner" countries, which all seem to have a distressingly poor record of human rights abuse. Go, USA!

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
abz6598
Jan. 2nd, 2005 11:22 am (UTC)
Dont constitutional protections only extend to US citizens?
andysocial
Jan. 2nd, 2005 12:25 pm (UTC)
Constitution
So, we should throw out the ideals just because of a legal loophole?

Besides which, there are other legal requirements that should be met, such as the Geneva and Hague Conventions, for people who are captured in combat. Those aren't being followed all that well either.

I don't particularly like people attempting to blow up large pieces of the US or attacking our military (12 years in the Army, I kind of identify with the guys in green), but that doesn't mean we should abandon the principals upon which the country was founded because it's inefficient.
visgoth
Jan. 2nd, 2005 01:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Constitution
Besides which, there are other legal requirements that should be met, such as the Geneva and Hague Conventions, for people who are captured in combat.

I wasn't aware that those agreements applied to just any yahoo who thought it would be a good idea to shoot at American soldiers. I thought they were supposed to be members of the regular armed forces of signatory nations to qualify.

Your Constitutional argument, OTOH, I agree with. We've always extended Constitutional protections to foreigners, and I think that keeping people outside the US just so that we don't have to is a sleazy move.

Also, your headline mischaracterises the proposal and makes it seem much more sweeping and sinister than it is. Notably, we have a whole list of people who we have designated terrorists who we simply forbid to enter the country. If we wanted to permanently imprison them, we'd let them fly, divert the aircraft to Gitmo, remove them from the aircraft, and lock them up.
andysocial
Jan. 2nd, 2005 05:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Constitution
It points to a fundamental problem with the attitudes toward the ideals upon which this country was founded. When we designate one group of people as being unworthy of basic legal rights to defend themselves from an accusation, or even to hear what they might be accused of, where do we draw the line? At what point did we just allow the executive to imprison anyone we saw fit to call an enemy of the state?

How can anyone not see the parallels between the statements we've heard in the past couple years and similar statements from failed governments in the past?

As for the Geneva and Hague agreements not applying to irregulars, this is true. However, we have always (prior to the GWOT) extended similar treatment to irregulars, if for no other reason that it is how Americans comport themselves. We do the right thing, regardless of whether the bad guys are doing the right thing. We didn't routinely torture VietCong, even though they extended no courtesy to our PWs. It is what we do - we are the good guys. When we relinquish that high ground, it becomes difficult to see the end of the dark path we set ourselves upon.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )