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It comes as no surprise, but today the Washington Post says that the Rubber Stamp Republican Congress is intending to make political hay of the Supreme Court Hamdan decision by painting the Democrats as weak on terrorism. Well, that's news.

Let's talk about what that really means for the Republicans. It means they are branding themselves as pro-torture. Because what the administration's insistence upon military commissions really has been all about, from the beginning, is torture. The military commissions operate outside of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and common Article 3 of the Geneva convention which preclude the use of coerced evidence in judical proceedings.  

This is explained most effectively by Neal Katyal, Georgetown University professor and lead attorney for Hamdan in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in his appearance at a Georgetown Law forum this week, broadcast on C-SPAN.  First, he talks a little bit about how ineffective these commissions have been. (Any errors in transcription are mine.)

Not a single person was tried in these military commissions even though the administration said four and a half years ago "We don't have the time to legislate. Congress, you take too long to authorize these commissions. We need to do it right away because we need to try these people." They didn't even indict someone for two and a half years under these commissions. And when they did indict someone, they only indicted a total of ten people.

This was not really . . . about trying terrorists. . . It was about service to an agenda, an agenda of Presidential powers in a time of crisis. . . . The administration took the view that not only would it advance these extreme claims of executive power but it would do so in a context in which they said the courts have no business. . . .

Katyal points out that the courts martial process is adequate in prosecuting war crimes even of non-combatants, and would be a most appropriate proceeding for these cases. But still we have this insistence in the administration and in Congress for a legislative fix to allow for military commissions. Katyal speculates as to why:

The administration appears to be saying . . . that we should have this legislation because there is this urgent need to try people in military commissions. The . . . problem with this is that we're talking about ten people at this point, and the administration at most has said 75 none of whom appear to be a terrorist of significant stature.

Yesterday I was debating John Yoo on the Newshour . . . who said "well we can't have courts martial because the problem with that is that sources and methods will be revealed in trials. . . ." The court martial system has done a very, very good job in protecting intelligence information of the most seriously classified nature.... there are some deeper problems with this claim. First of all, 95% of the evidence in these commission cases is just the detainees' own statements to interrogators . . . and the other 5% to my knowledge has never been about sources and methods. It's like public videotapes by journalists and things like that.

The only source and method that I know of, and I'm privy to the commission defense process . . . the only thing . . . that might come in to play is the source and method of interrogation. The source and method of interrogation. Why did the detainee say these things. And that's what's hidden by the words "sources and methods." The methods that they are talking about are the methods of interrogation. And what the commission process has been about in part, is about trying to get evidence obtained by coercion into criminal trials and permit that evidence be introduced against defendants. . . .

What has been going on in this commission process has been a lot about trying to get evidence in, coerced evidence, that . . . really . . . does not speak well for us as a nation. If we really do feel the need to introduce that type of evidence into a proceeding, it has to be done in the clearest terms by Congress, and I don't frankly think whatever the legislative path is in the days to come that that will be a part of it. [Emphasis mine.]

Jack Balkin concurs, in his post on the Hamdan decision:

If Congress decides to alter the UCMJ and override the Geneva Conventions, the President can have his military tribunals with procedures as unfair as he wants. But that would require that Congress publicly decide (1) that it no longer wanted to abide by the principle of uniformity announced in the UCMJ, (2) that it no longer required that military commissions abide by the laws of war, or, finally, (3) that Congress no longer considered the Geneva Conventions binding on the United States. Taking any of those steps is possible-- particularly the first two-- but doing so requires that Congress make a public statement to this effect and pass new legislation. The President, in turn, can withdraw the United States from the Geneva Conventions, but for political and military reasons alike, there is almost no chance that he would do that.

So what's it going to be, GOP Senators? Mr. McCain? Are you going to be among the Rubber Stamp Republicans standing up with this administration against the Uniform Code of Military Justice, against the Geneva Conventions, to codify torture? And try to smear Democrats with the "weak on terror" charge when you are putting our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan further at risk by thumbing your nose at the Geneva Conventions?

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 11:37 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank You to a Veteran on July 4th (6+ / 0-)

    Sometimes there are alignments in heaven and earth and good things happen. In this case several spectacular things happened, and a war veteran deserves much of the credit for one specific event on our Nation's holiday remembering our Declaration of Independence.

    The Supreme Court ruling "made a striking tableau on the final day of the first term of the Roberts court: the young chief justice, observing [Roberts'] work of just a year earlier taken apart point by point by the tenacious 86-year-old Justice Stevens, winner of a Bronze Star for his service as a Navy officer in World War II," The Times concluded.

    The Full posting can be read HERE

    Let Them Try!!

    "Never again shall one generation of veterans abandon another."

    by jimstaro on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 11:39:27 AM PDT

  •  Republicans Cut And Run (8+ / 0-)

    Yes that is the word.  They Cut and Run on the constitution and they Cut and Run on the UCMJ.  As we approach the 4th of July it is very clear who the patriots are and who is ready and willing to defend our constitution.

  •  Your last question (7+ / 0-)

    So what's it going to be, GOP Senators? Mr. McCain? Are you going to be among the Rubber Stamp Republicans standing up with this administration against the Uniform Code of Military Justice, against the Geneva Conventions, to codify torture? And try to smear Democrats with the "weak on terror" charge when you are putting our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan further at risk by thumbing your nose at the Geneva Conventions?

    We already know what the answer will be. We should all take Steve Jarding's stance on national security issues: if they try to slander us, we will hit back hard, and we will call them out on their chickenhawk bullshit.

    Deny My Freedom
    "Inconvenient truths do not go away just because they are not seen." -Al Gore

    by PsiFighter37 on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 11:41:06 AM PDT

    •  what's it going to be, ordinary people? (0+ / 0-)

      Forget the politicians, and Fox News, etc for a minute.  By now people know the score.  The fact that this is even an issue, and that there is even any need for "framing", is extremely troubling, and won't be solved just by elections.  

      Democracy, and rights, have often been at odds in human history. That is, people have at times chosen, democratically, to murder and brutalize others (going all the way back to 5th century BC Athens). There's nothing magically virtuous about popular will.

      I know polls show that Americans say they oppose torture. But that doesn't stop them from rallying around candidates who obviously do support it, because people are apparently drawn to displays of unapologetic, aggressive, attitude.

      I say the Dems should go into full-throated scream over this, and fuck whether it resonates with the population. If repeated election cycles go by, and the America is still behaving this way, then participation in democracy itself will amount to enabling torture.

  •  Warner (7+ / 0-)

    wants to hold hearings with the JAG officers (current and retired) to find out the background on this case as the LA Times wrote about yesterday.  The JAGs never wanted this change in procedure and that's why the case was brought in the first place.  It was a Navy JAG who brought the case.  There was infighting between the uniformed people and Cheney/Addington and Cambone.  I suspect Warner really wants to get to the bottom of this now, being a former SECNAV.  Webb also is a fromer SECNAV and should be able to talk about this in public as well.  I really want to see this hearing, when they return to session after the holiday.  Specter also wants to have hearings I think I read somewhere.

    Winning without Delay.

    by ljm on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 11:42:10 AM PDT

    •  Warner & Specter have made a clown show (0+ / 0-)

      of having hearings so that republicans can cower under the cover the show hearings provide.  Not once has an outcome from a republican hearing had a profound effect on the Bush Cheney cabal in changing their behavior.  Bush & Cheney know there are no consequences coming from the Legislative branch of government.  The lack of credibility that these congressional republicans have in NOT providing oversight should be one of the largest points made in the mid-term elections.  

      Democrats would be wise to list, ney shout, about all of the legal and extra legal behavior of the Bush administration which can be traced to an appalling lack of oversight and a committed willingness in collusion to make Bush the Unitary Executive.  Democrats who truly want to get elected will focus on how the republican congress abrogated their responsibilities to the People, America's image and the Constitution.  

      Webb wants to get elected and Warner better be very careful if he's testifying.  Would like to see the hearings as well, but have little hope that honor and integrity will guide the process with regards to making Bush accountable and torture impermissable under all circumstances.

      Every time history repeats itself the price goes up - Anon.

      by Pithy Cherub on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:33:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  AG Gonzo (3+ / 0-)

    has long said the Geneva Convention does not apply, becaue to let it apply would open up Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield to War Crimes. If Congress does not make the Geneva Convention void Bush is in big trouble, and if they do make it null and void, they put every soldier in the field at risk of Torture and more. Looks like they have to choose between Bush or our Soldiers, period. Which choice do you think they will make ?

    -8.63 -7.28 He was carrying a skateboard on his back, a red rose in his fist, and the war.

    by OneCrankyDom on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 11:42:59 AM PDT

    •  Ummm (0+ / 0-)

      I think they can enact the government brief to the SCOTUS arguing that the Geneva Conventions do not apply in these cases.  

      That really doesn't abrogate the GCs generally.

      Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Pascal

      by Clem Yeobright on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 11:57:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Can they? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Clem Yeobright

        Does that have any authority now that SCOTUS has explicitly said that this is not the case?

        My understanding is that Congress must pass a statute which refutes Common Article 3 and the Geneva Conventions.

        'You can't begin to imagine how effective the Big Lie is.' N. Mailer 'TNatD'

        by jorndorff on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:05:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As I understand the analysis I have read (4+ / 0-)

          The Geneva Conventions - as treaties - are equal to but not superior to any law passed by Congress. An act declaring the 'Sense of Congress' to endorse the DOJ brief would, I think, override the relevant portions of H v R.

          As I understand it, again, Hamdan was decided strictly on statutory grounds, and no references were made to the Vth, VIth, or VIIIth amendments, or any other clauses of the Constitution. (If I am wrong I know I will be swiftly corrected.)

          Abrogation of a treaty, of course, or just its re-interpretation, invites retaliation and re-interpretation by the other parties to the treay. France, Poland, China, or any other state, however, is quite unlikely to renounce obligations under the treaty with regard to Americans on these grounds. At most they will say they disagree with the American position with regard to 'stateless' combatants.

          Or so it seems to me.

          Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Pascal

          by Clem Yeobright on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:25:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  asdf (4+ / 0-)

            Right. That's how I understand it, too. (I should've specified that by "they" I meant the Bush administration. "They" can't simply re-store its interpretation, they would need Congressional approval.)

            Though I'm less sure that a resolution affirming the DOJ brief would be enough.

            Professor Vazquez, of Georgetown Univ. Law Center, seems to think not:

            But it is significant that, in a decision on Wednesday, Sanchez-Llamas v.Oregon, the Court relied on Article III of the Constitution and quoted Marbury v. Madison  in holding that it is the province and duty of the Supreme Court to interpret treaties.  The Court gave that as a reason why the interpretation of another treaty by the International Court of Justice could not be considered binding, but presumably this analysis also makes the Supreme Court the authoritative interpreter of treaties vis-à-vis the President and even Congress.  If so, then the Court’s analysis in Sanchez-Llamas rules out a statute that purports to reject the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Geneva Convention and "restore" the President's interpretation, as Professor John Yoo has urged Congress to do.  The law-makers could, of course, repeal the Geneva Convention's domestic effect, but, in light of Sanchez-Llamas, they would have to do so by openly rejecting the Geneva Convention.

            'You can't begin to imagine how effective the Big Lie is.' N. Mailer 'TNatD'

            by jorndorff on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:44:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              That is interesting.  That helps explain why Stevens went to so much effort to interpret the application of the IVth GC to include the Guantanamites, as well as the import of the 3rd CA, something (as I understand it) Kennedy demurred from as superfluous given that the military commissions were statutorily unacceptable anyway.

              Of course, should Congress pass some resolution such as I describe at the same time they explicitly permit the military commissions, bush will nearly be out of office by the time the SC gets around to ruling whether that resolution is valid or not.


              Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Pascal

              by Clem Yeobright on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:59:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Maybe (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Clem Yeobright, syphilis

                That's certainly an avenue they could pursue, but I'm not sure enough support is there in the Senate. The few moderate Republicans in the Senate may opt for a clearer set of procedures which would be less likely to conflict with Hamdan. (Though, who knows, I could be wrong and this could easily happen. Specter's proposed legislation doesn't look vastly different from current policy based on a quick review.)

                But, if this does happen, Democrats should rightly bring out the Rubber Stamp Republican charge. SCOTUS rebukes the Bush administration and the Rubber Stamp Republican Congress simply okays their deeds. It'd be a mockery of oversight and could potentially make zero progress in actually creating workable mechanisms for a just process of review.

                'You can't begin to imagine how effective the Big Lie is.' N. Mailer 'TNatD'

                by jorndorff on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:12:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well . . . (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  the concept of the State of the Union message is that the president will propose legislation he finds necessary and asks the Congress to consider and enact. For a Congress of the president's party to 'rubber stamp' his proposals is expected behavior.

                  [After all, in a parliamentary system generally when the legislature declines to be a 'rubber stamp' just one time, the government falls.]

                  That may be a convincing argument in this country this year, but not on this issue, I think.

                  Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Pascal

                  by Clem Yeobright on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:25:31 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I think it could be (0+ / 0-)

                    ...insofar as SCOTUS has put the ball in the court of Congress to enact something which remedies the problem. Simply going along with the executive in this instance doesn't assure a remedy (assuming that the executive trots out legislation not significantly different from past policy). This is a unique opportunity in that Republicans need a sense of critical distance from the executive in order to create a functional process. If they don't, and the WaPo article cited speaks to this, there's a real chance that military personnel will speak out on this. If it then becomes Republicans vs. the military, then the plan significantly backfires on the R's.

                    [On second look, Specter's bill (S.3614) is an improvement over the current policy. Though I suspect changes after hearings, the first being the Judiciary Cmte.'s on 7/11.]

                    'You can't begin to imagine how effective the Big Lie is.' N. Mailer 'TNatD'

                    by jorndorff on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:48:07 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  In my over simplifed understanding from (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  a layman, what the scotus said was they can creat a tribunal, but it must conform either the UCMJ or our statutes or they will throw it out again. Habeaus and all the other rights of article 3 must be in play. Scotus said nothing about voiding the Geneva Convention as being ok. I have not read the entire 160 pages yet, so I could be wrong. Still it seems to me and Lt. Cmdr. Swift, that the best and easiest thing to do, in keeping with the " American way". I think that can be seen more clearly if you read what Warner has said, and watch closely what he will have to say. No person in thier right mind would void the Geneva Convention with soldiers in the field of battle. To do so would start a major internal revolt from the military. If you have time, I highly suggest going to the C-span site and listening to Lt. Cmdr. Swift today on Washington Journal. He was very impressive in his clarity and so much more.

                  -8.63 -7.28 He was carrying a skateboard on his back, a red rose in his fist, and the war.

                  by OneCrankyDom on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:44:23 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Was habeas corpus mentioned? n/t (0+ / 0-)

                    Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Pascal

                    by Clem Yeobright on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:47:21 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I have heard and read so much (0+ / 0-)

                      I honestly don't remember. I would assume if the do use our courts ( doubtful) that habeas would have to apply. I don't know the UMCJ well enough to talk it. I think Swift mentioned it on C-span, but I could be mistaken.

                      -8.63 -7.28 He was carrying a skateboard on his back, a red rose in his fist, and the war.

                      by OneCrankyDom on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 02:25:27 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  But wait (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max, kingubu, sunbro

    the supreme court is not run by democrats;  The Constitution was not written by democrats.

    So, the republican strategy is to run against the supreme court and the constitution.  That's a real winner.

    •  If the Constitution were drafted today... (4+ / 0-) would be deeply unpopular, and would never be ratified.

        Americans have become afraid of freedom. TERRIFIED of it. That's the problem.

        We get the government we deserve.

      "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

      by Buzzer on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:11:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly so (6+ / 0-)

      The right-wing extemists in the Bush/Cheney Executive and their enablers in Congress would love to frame this as merely yet another partisan pie-fight.

      Its not.

      What Congress does now will define us as a country. Bush has avoided the issue up to this point by claiming Executive privilege but the Supremes (finally) nuked that. Now the choice must be made in the open.

      What is at stake is nothing less than this: Are we a nation of laws, or a nation of force? Are we a democracy or a tyranny?

      Are we the inheritors of the principle set forth by Washington, who insisted that even Hessian mercs be treated humanely in time of war? Or of Adams, who chose to act as legal defense for British soldiers accused in the Boston Massacre to ensure that they got a fair shake in court? Or have we become they very kind of tyranny that those men took up arms to overthrow?

      That's the question.

      Destiny: A tyrant's authority for crime and a fool's excuse for failure. --Ambrose Bierce

      by kingubu on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:32:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We are a nation of laws (0+ / 0-)

        and Congress will quite likely pass the law bush craves.  That formulation really doesn't cut it.

        [And if Congress doesn't pass bush's law, I don't see how that redounds to our advantage.]

        As for lobsterbacks and hessians, I think the rethugs will be very successful in arguing those precedents don't apply.

        I don't disagree with you; I only suggest you are whistling in the wind.

        Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Pascal

        by Clem Yeobright on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:37:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't get mired in detail. (0+ / 0-)

          "Choose: democracy or tyranny? Military justice or Bush's power-grab? What's it gonna be Senator X?"

          As for the law itself, we need to jump out in front of this. As I said downthread, there's no legitimate reason that these guys shouldn't face a courts marshall  that conforms to the UCMJ-- we need to play offense and make the exremists say out loud why military justice isn't enough.

          Destiny: A tyrant's authority for crime and a fool's excuse for failure. --Ambrose Bierce

          by kingubu on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:56:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Go ahead and argue it (0+ / 0-)

            Let me know if you change one person's mind.

            I am not sure I can fend off the retort "Where is your expertise on military commissions and courts martial? The preznit and joint chiefs disagree with you."  

            But probably I am not as persuasive as you are.

            Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Pascal

            by Clem Yeobright on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:03:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  try this (0+ / 0-)

              preznit was the guy who said Saddam was within weeks of nuking us.  anything there to make you think he knows what reality is?

              If you got a warrant, I guess you're gonna come in - Grateful Dead

              by mississippi scott on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:18:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Look, I'm no expert (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Clem Yeobright

              But the princples are clear. Is it gonna be courts martial or Bush's kangaroo court.

              You obviously don't find my arguments persuasive, what do you suggest instead?

              Destiny: A tyrant's authority for crime and a fool's excuse for failure. --Ambrose Bierce

              by kingubu on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:23:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  'Kangaroo court' is way too strong (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Coherent Viewpoint

                Whatever is implemented, the proceedings will be supervised by the same patriotic professional military officers who have dedicated their lives to this country.

                Should it be possible to try these people picked up on the battlefield without disclosing to them evidence when that disclosure would reveal 'sensitive sources and methods'? No? Then I guess we can't take the risk of trying them at all - too dangerous for the future of our country.  Should we let them go,  then? Whatcha think? Did we send German and Japanese prisoners back to their countries while WWII persisted?

                Now: the military has in place right now secret tribunals to try Delta Force and other sensitive military personnel who cannot be tried in open courts martial.  The precedent exists.  We only need to negotiate some rational ground rules so we can hang these people before they hang themselves . . .

                I don't disagree with you, that something will be worked out and it probably won't be something I like.

                But I still don't see how the Ds can come out of this ahead.

                Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Pascal

                by Clem Yeobright on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:36:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, you clearly don't agree with me (0+ / 0-)

                  Somehow you seem to imagine that opposing the Consitution, historical principle, the JAGs own lawyers, the Supreme Court, and the 70% of the American people who are edgy about holding terror supects without trial create a strong political position for the right-wing extremists and there's no oppurtunity here for Dems to show some spine.

                  Express a counter-suggestion or quit pissing on mine, thanks.

                  Destiny: A tyrant's authority for crime and a fool's excuse for failure. --Ambrose Bierce

                  by kingubu on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 02:17:07 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  BREAKING NEWS!!! (17+ / 0-)


    In celebration of the July 4th holiday, the president has read the Declaration of Independence and The US Constitution...

    ...he then proceeded to issue signing statements on both...

    Now watch what you say, they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, fanatical, criminal...-Supertramp, Logical song

    by mammalicious on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 11:44:26 AM PDT

  •  Be afraid, John Yoo. Be very afraid. (13+ / 0-)
    • Article VI of the U.S. Constitution makes Senate-ratified treaties the supreme law of the land: "... all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."
    • The War Crimes Act of 1996 makes any violation of the Senate-ratified Geneva Conventions a federal offense: "[any US national who] commits a war crime [i.e., violates Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions] ... shall be fined ... or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death."
    • The majority opinion in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld decision holds that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applies to detainees in the Global War on Terror (e.g., Hamdan): "Common Article 3's requirements are general, crafted to accommodate a wide variety of legal systems, but they are requirements nonetheless.  The commission convened to try Hamdan does not meet those requirements."
    • The Nuremberg trials established the precedent of prosecuting everyone who has a role in war crimes, including propagandists (Hans Fritzsche) and lawyers (Franz Schlegelberger).
    •  yoo's a f*ing idiot (5+ / 0-)

      it's pretty sad that a guy with absolutely no idea of the meaning of the Constitution teaches lawyers at UCal . . .

      it's obvious that he's never read the part of the Constitution (quoted above) that says that a ratified treaty is a law of the United States (Gonzales also needs to re-read that Article).  

      Yoo's also obviously never read anything about the Revolution, which was basically fought to get rid of a "unitary executive" and "inherent powers" . . .

      our country would be better served if he worked in a Burger King.

      If you got a warrant, I guess you're gonna come in - Grateful Dead

      by mississippi scott on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:26:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wrong Perp; It's Not Yoo Who Broke That Law (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Under the explication you provided, the decider is the one who decided to break the law.  The decider's lawyer at the time was Gonzales, although David Addington is the legal brain behind these lawless choices. The Brains like Addington and Yoo go free.  The front men take the fall. I wish.

      •  Counsel cannot... (0+ / 0-)

        From Rule 1.2 of the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct, based on the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct:

        © A lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct that the lawyer knows is  illegal or fraudulent, but a lawyer may discuss the legal consequences of any proposed course of conduct with a client and may counsel or assist a client to make a good faith effort to determine the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law.

        The question is whether Yoo and Addington were making a "good faith effort" to determine the scope of the laws against torture.  I believe their decisions fail the sniff test - particularly the assertion that torture isn't torture unless it causes pain associated with "organ failure or death".  It's as if a robber shoots and kills someone and says, "I only wanted to wound him."

        That's the standard for Bar discipline, which can also be taken into account in conspiracy to commit war crimes charges against Yoo, Addington, Gonzales, et al., which I hope will be levied come 2007 when the administration is impeached and removed from office.

        9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

        by varro on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 07:56:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Washington Post ... (10+ / 0-)

    reporting sucks, yet again ...

    Yet again, a front page story is dedicated to the politics of an issue -- and the tactical nature of those politics -- rather than the substance.  

    No serious discussion in the article about why this matters ... and what the implications are that the Supreme Court has found that it isn't legal for the Administration to ignore the law (e.g., sign / ratify an international convention / treaty & that is LAW OF THE LAND) ... no, let's return to the fun, inside politics of political positioning.

    19 June 06, Day 1746, A count worth keeping? Or, Osama Bin Forgotten?

    by besieged by bush on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 11:45:44 AM PDT

  •  Lt Cmdr. Swift said this morning (3+ / 0-)

    that the best thing Bush could do , would be to let this all go thru a Court Marshal process since the it would be so easy to find people to sit on the jury with the needed security clearances. Damn, I guess that shoots down that arguement heh ?

    -8.63 -7.28 He was carrying a skateboard on his back, a red rose in his fist, and the war.

    by OneCrankyDom on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 11:46:32 AM PDT

  •  Republicans will need to decide... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fugue, jimstaro, Flyover Dem Sarah

    Either stand with the Dems and the JAGS - or Dick and Dumbya.

    "YeeHaw!" is not a foreign policy.

    by annefrank on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 11:47:55 AM PDT

  •  Astonishing, don't you think? (6+ / 0-)

    The Republicans consider a day in court a special right.  Isn't that something.  According to this way of thinking, being able to speak up for one's self before the government is a special right.  Not an inherent right.  A special right.  Breathtaking.

    DCDemocrat: An endless parade of mediocre insights dressed up as incisive commentary.

    by DCDemocrat on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 11:48:51 AM PDT

  •  Thanks once again, 'security moms'--and dads (6+ / 0-)

    This administration wouldn't be able to get away with this if people woke up to the fact that the Republicans are using fear as a weapon.

    On September 12, 2001, millions of Americans put their brains into cold storage. They never came back to claim them. Hence, a new age of McCarthyism.

    "Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws"--Justice Tom Clark, in Mapp v. Ohio.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 11:52:21 AM PDT

    •  And 'fighting them over there' (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dump Terry McAuliffe

      has drained our treasury, weakened our military, while leaving us with big holes in our security.

      Use of an electromagnetic bomb is the talk for hitting the U.S., not nukes or chemicals.

      Al-Qaeda is proving to be flexible in other areas as well, such as in its choice of weapons and targets. Normally credible sources familiar with al-Qaeda have told Asia Times Online of a buzz within the group of plans to strike the United States with electromagnetic bombs ("e-bombs", or high-power microwave weapons). Theoretically, these could shut down telecommunications networks, disrupt power supplies and disable computers and electronic gadgets.

      "It is true about the e-bomb and a plan to cripple US satellite systems. A section of Arab fighters is working on this," retired squadron leader Khalid Khawaja told Asia Times Online. "I actually overheard such conversations with those who interact a lot with Arab fighters in Afghanistan." Khawaja worked for Pakistan's secret service, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and was a friend of Osama bin Laden.

      "I never heard Osama or [his deputy] Dr [Ayman al-]Zawahiri, or anyone else, discuss nuclear attacks on the US. To me, this idea is ridiculous. Only states can use nuclear technology to destroy a country. Also, I never heard anyone discussing with any depth a gas attack on America.

      "However, I have now overheard conversations which strongly suggest that there is a section in the anti-American resistance which is seriously pursuing a project aimed at taking America back to the Stone Age without harming human lives," Khawaja said.

      Also, supposedly, al-Qaeda now has a command structure in Iraq and Abu Hamza al-Muhajir has consolidated the insurgent groups under one wing, while in Afghanistan, it's a "part of a cat-and-mouse game to wear down coalition forces by constantly switching tactics. Just as the coalition was adjusting to deal with large groups of fighters, the Taliban have retreated to the mountains."

      <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

      by bronte17 on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:04:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Al-Queda using Iraq as a training camp (0+ / 0-)

        Not only is it bigger than Afghanistan, but with a live army to fight against, al-Queda is getting on-the-job combat experience and sorting out a new generation of leaders.

        Thanks to this administration, we're going to wind up fighting them there and here.

        "Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws"--Justice Tom Clark, in Mapp v. Ohio.

        by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:17:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  How could anyone have suspected... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bronte17, Coherent Viewpoint

        that the terrorists would use such a weapon?

        I guess that's what bushco will say when Al Qaeda wipes the grid in D.C.  

        We can all be sure of at least three things:

        1. Al Qaeda will attack the U.S. in some spectacular way before the 2008 election;
        1. The attack will be something that has not been done before by Al Qaeda; and
        1. Bushco will categorically state that the attack could not have been foreseen.

        In reality, the next attack is foreseeable and certain to happen.  We likely cannot prevent the attack because to do so would cost too much in dollars and liberty.  Bushco has not really taken the obvious steps: chemical industry security; port security and involvement of the Muslim world in a positive way.  
        Bush has done more to create terrorism and insecurity than any other factor since 9/11.

        "Dissent is the Highest form of Patriotism"  Tommy J.

  •  John Yoo knows he personally is at risk (12+ / 0-)

    When John Yoo says, "well we can't have courts martial because the problem with that is that sources and methods will be revealed in trials. . . ."

    It means that John Yoo understands this: real trials or investigations would reveal the extent of the torture and other war crimes which have occurred as a direct result of his work creating the Bush administration's policies.  He could easily be disbarred.  He might have to spend the rest of his life trying to keep his head out of a noose.  There is no statute of limitations for war crimes.

    •  start the proceeding (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Heart of the Rockies, wigwam

      ..why can't somebody start suing him? I mean that gotta be the ultimate right. He has to defend his own crap in front of the court.

      If he is so gungho... let's see how he lasts.

    •  Point of Info, Please (0+ / 0-)

      Whom does John Yoo represent in any judicial proceedings?  I didn't know he actually practiced law. I thought he just opined.  Opining by a lawyer isn't illegal when last I checked.

      •  If he counseled the president to break the law... (0+ / 0-)

        ...or helped the administration set up an illegal torture policy, then he can be disciplined by a Bar for violating the Rules of Professional Conduct, as I mentioned upthread.  

        9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

        by varro on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 07:58:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Guilty! That's why they are so desperate (0+ / 0-)

      To either stall or change the law. There have been several dozen deaths. And that "1%" book says W has personally ordered torture.

      Want to bet innocent people have died? Probably mistaken identity like the "Arab" (Brazilian) guy that the panicky cops shot in the subway in London.

      We know for a fact that people went to Gitmo based on mistaken identity, as in they later caught the right guy and said "Oh shit, then who is that guy we have been slapping around for the last year?"

  •  If Dems could just stay focused on this: (6+ / 0-)

    "putting our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan further at risk by thumbing your nose at the Geneva Conventions."


  •  I hate what I'm about to say (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clem Yeobright, jimstaro

    Can we win this one?...if Dems are painted "soft on terrorists" are we giving the GOP a wedge issue to beat us with, maybe the Dems should take the initiative, say we need military tribunals and then write in due process and 5th amendment protections. If we had an effective creditable spokemen to stand up for the Bill of Rights and the rule of law it would be great. Who could that be that Rove won't destroy? We need a Republican ally- Spector, McCain, Hegel, Warner?

    If the fires of freedom and civil liberties burn low in other lands, they must be made brighter in our own...FDR

    by Finnegan on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 11:54:11 AM PDT

    •  I don't see how Dems can win this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Black Max, jimstaro

      except in the judgment of history.

      Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Pascal

      by Clem Yeobright on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:02:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The question about that is, (7+ / 0-)

        who will be left to write history?

        Flash forward to 2056.  8th graders in PS 194 are given this for their US history class: "A Fair and Balanced History of the Last 50 Years," by Chief Justice Bill O'Reilly and NSA director Ann Coulter.  Afterword by President Newt Gingrich, whose brain is suspended in nutrient fluid and is President-for-Life by executive fiat.

      •  They can (0+ / 0-)

        ...but only if they take a clear, principled stand and truthfully call Republicans out for what they are actually proposing. If they don't deem controlling the perception of the issue as important, then they will lose.

        But it also depends on how this issue is actually tackled. Is it done in a legitimately bipartisan, reasoned manner or is the whole thing just a sham to call Democrats traitors?

        The real movement is going to be in the Senate, where it doesn't sound as though the rhetoric is as thick as, say, Boehner's comments.

        'You can't begin to imagine how effective the Big Lie is.' N. Mailer 'TNatD'

        by jorndorff on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:10:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I appreciate your ardor and even your correctness (0+ / 0-)

          but your last paragraph really gives you away. Boehner is not worried that his statement will lose the rethugs popular support, and even if the Senate behaves responsibly, I do not see how this issue is going to improve D chances in November. If the D's filibuster, it will be even worse.

          Convince me.

          Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Pascal

          by Clem Yeobright on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:33:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is a political opportunity (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...not to be political opportunists. Republicans are making this a rhetorical argument, making all sorts of wild, out of proportion statements. Democrats should make sound, legal, constitutional arguments and debunk the Republican rhetoric for what it rightfully is.

            I wouldn't go so far as to hint at filibustering, but it really depends on what's ultimately proposed.

            As for Boehner, of course he doesn't care. House Republicans will continue with their tired, divisive rhetoric until the day they leave office. The rhetoric flies well with the base. With independents, though, such statements are less well received and I'm unsure that Republicans are on safe ground on the issue.

            In terms of chances in November, I doubt this will be a central issue or an issue which overwhelmingly turns the public towards voting Democratic. I just think Democrats have a shot at winning this debate while stressing what distinguishes them from Republicans. Respect for the Constitution should be a plank in the Dem. strategy of protecting US citizens while respecting the rule of law. Respect for checks and balances which they will vigorously defend/enforce and is altogether lacking under a Republican majority. In short, it's an opportunity to show that they are capable of being an effective check on the executive. If this was in place in the first place, the rebuke in Hamdan wouldn't have been necessary.

            'You can't begin to imagine how effective the Big Lie is.' N. Mailer 'TNatD'

            by jorndorff on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:59:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Again: what is the constitutional issue? (0+ / 0-)

              As I understand Hamdan, the administration was told to go get permission from Congress. That appears to be what they will do.

              Actually, I like your argument in the general much more in the specific - don't mention Hamdan and your case is stronger.

              Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Pascal

              by Clem Yeobright on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:07:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Clem Yeobright

                It could be argued that Hamdan forces the executive to do more than simply get the ok from Congress (ie. Vazquez's observation that they would have to abrogate Geneva in the process). So that ok from Congress is fairly substantial in terms of what it would entail.

                'You can't begin to imagine how effective the Big Lie is.' N. Mailer 'TNatD'

                by jorndorff on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:22:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  (Repeating myself) Obfuscation. (0+ / 0-)

                  The rethugs will obfuscate.  It's a long way back up that hill to SCOTUS. And the argument will be different next time (of course).

                  Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Pascal

                  by Clem Yeobright on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:50:21 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Remember Wedges cut both ways. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nasarius, isis2, jhecht

      We wedge the Senate Reps as the supporters of torture.  The party that wants to scrap the Geneva Convention that protects our troops.  

      •  I hope to God you are right! (0+ / 0-)

        If the fires of freedom and civil liberties burn low in other lands, they must be made brighter in our own...FDR

        by Finnegan on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:04:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I would ask you to consider (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Coherent Viewpoint

        that the formulation the government has put forward is 'sources and methods', not torture.  We may surmise and argue until we are blue in the face that they really mean torture, but they can just put on that serious face and say 'sources and methods - I can't tell you more without endangering the lives of your children'.

        Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Pascal

        by Clem Yeobright on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:41:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Making our Case (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Coherent Viewpoint

          We cannot PROVE the meaning of 'sources and methods' but the standard of proof for persuading the public is often very different from that required to persuade lawyers and judges.

          The democrats need to push the coerced evidence theme.  They need to demonstrate the tendency of harsh interrogation methods to produce false and inconsistent testimony and the ramifications of using such evidence in the court system.
          They must then make the American public stand in the shoes of someone put in this position by throwing out hypothetical questions such as "What would you say to stop your own interrogation of 2 years?" "What would your neighbor say about you if subjected to interrogation for 2 years?  If they were told to implicate you to save themselves could they? How about the mailman what would he say?"

          Push this theme and link it with evidence of governmental monitoring of dissenting domestic groups (fellow Americans who disagree with the current government) and some reminders of how far Nixon did go with his power and I think the dems can show the public that they are the responsible ones.

          Regardless of whether or not they can stop the repubs from stamping something to let the admin continue with their tribunals the dems can and should use this act to distinguish themselves from the repubs.

          •  The Dem Edge is the JAG & They Should Use it (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Did you see the JAG lawyer who won Hamdan on Hardball Friday?  He's articulate at explaining the JAG's desire for the rule of law and opposition to the military tribunals.  The JAGs have long been against the many illegal activities of this administration and now is the time to start getting them on the record.  Surely some of our friends in the liberal media will help us out with that.

            The Dems need to heavily reference the JAGs to make the case that Dems support, which is, the rule of law.  IMO, the rule of law is the talking point.  You are with the JAGs who are active military (in other words, "the troops") or you are for the president who wants to suspend the rule of law.

            It's that simple, and I wish to God the Dems could keep it simple for once.  Framing it simply will enable the D's to come out ahead with the independents who are the only persuadables and with the base.  

            The effort to get Congress to rubber stamp otherwise unlawful "military tribunals" and agree to suspend the Geneva Convention brings to a head the long series of unlawful activities this administration has engaged in.  I think people are ready to have it all summed up neatly: you're either for the rule of law or you're not.

            As a member of Congress, if you're for the rule of law, you will vote against and maybe even filibuster the military tribunals.  I'm sensing this is an issue on which Dems can get major traction.  If Stephen Colbert would just lend them some of his brass balls.

            We can at least count on Murtha to say something simple that regular people can relate to.  But all that blather Pelosi is prone to. . .Ah ya ya. Give the woman some talking points and reign her the fuck in, please, somebody.  Don't get me started.

            •  The Rule of Law (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Clem Yeobright

              I think many view the repubs law-breaking and treaty-defying with the same lens they view jaywalking, against the law but efficient.  Hell everyone has broken one law or another at times when it suited them to do so (speeding, jaying, fireworking, etc.).  It's a question of cost-benefit analysis here.  The fearful public is told time and time again of the benefits of these tribunals (aka National Security).  I think it's crucial to paint a picture of the costs of allowing law-breaking behavior like this.  I think if the dems started demonstrating the slippery-slopishness (word of the day :) of the repubs arguments while highlighting their respect for the rule of law it will be far more effective than advocating the rule of law on it's own. This will play well with the 'Had enough?'theme by pointing out the 'enoughs' on the way.  However, rule of law must be the take away soundbite and message the rest is just icing...

              I didn't see the interview but I completely agree with you on bringing the JAGs into the fold.  Getting them on record will do wonders to break through the annoying left-right dogma that the media is so mired in.

    •  It Doesn't Matter (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Even if this issue is a loser today we still have to stand up and be counted - the future of Democracy is at stake.

      Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

      by dpc on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:08:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The future of Democracy is in greater jeopardy if (2+ / 0-)

        We don't take back at least one house of congress!

        If the fires of freedom and civil liberties burn low in other lands, they must be made brighter in our own...FDR

        by Finnegan on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:20:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And of the future (7+ / 0-)

        Bush has summoned up demons within his supporters, and I suppose we are forced to face countervailing demons within ourselves as well.  He has appealed to the worst aspects of human nature:  that we, the US, the "west" can degrade, torture, disappear those whom he designates as enemies, in defiance of the tiny bit of international law that has taken centuries to develop even a little.  

        There are all too many people who are very content to live at the level of "Team A" against "Team B."  In fact, they would deny it is possible to live otherwise.  I know better, I feel that things MUST change, or we will all die.  Nuclear weapons are loose now and will be looser in 5 years, in 10 years, in 15 years.  

        Bush is now encouraging the worst feelings among his supporters, that any opponents should be shut down, should be shut out, should be killed.  This has already cost us dearly and will continue to do so.  

        The US's moral authority is all but gone.  Our economic power is now based squarely on the question  of whether the rest of the world can afford a US default on its debts - it's only a matter of time before our creditors find more subtle weapons.  Our military power is now confined to one country, Iraq.

        What is the United States?  A member of a civilized society attempting to become more humane, or is it merely Team A?  

    •  We need 40 senators with the integrity to vote (0+ / 0-)

      against cloture, and at least a couple to actually fillibuster.  We surely have the latter.  And we ought to have the former.

      It is stuff like this that makes politics worth winning.  If we give it up to avoid a wedge issue, we've given it all up.

  •  'John Boehner (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max

    has already framed the issue by saying that giving suspected terrorists any form of due process as provided by our treaty obligations and Uniform Code of Military Justice is giving them "special rights."

    says digby

  •  Its time to pound the GOP on National Security (6+ / 0-)

    and anything else the media attributes them as being 'strong' on with their own rhetoric:

    If they hate us for our Freedom, as the President has said ad nauseum, then surrendering our Freedom is an act of appeasement.... of surrender to the enemy.... isn't it?

    Fox News hosts are calling for an Office of Censorship, Pete King wants Reporters and Editors to print propaganda or face treason charges, the right calls for its critics to be put to death constantly...  they should offer Bin Ladin a slot on the Republican party because they are remaking themselves in his image.

    "I think The New York Times has forgotten that New York is the place 9/11 happened." Mort "Coulter" Kondracke

    by LeftHandedMan on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 11:55:09 AM PDT

  •  this is an excellent point (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pithy Cherub, Black Max, jorndorff

    I did a diary earlier today about the impact of changed legislation would have on our troops.

    A well respected G'Town Law Professor has stated that for Congress to bend over on allowing more torture, they would have to abrogate part of the Geneva Conventions, at least to a degree.

    Besides the message that this sends to the world, what does it say for how the Republicans feel about protecting our troops?

    just amazing.  And this weekend as well.

  •  READ THIS BOOK (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    station wagon, jimstaro

    I just finished it...

    Oath betrayed: Torture, medical complicity, and the War on Terror by Dr. Seven Miles.

    You can see photos and read the journal from my recent trip to Afghanistan here.

    by Sharon Jumper on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 11:58:35 AM PDT

  •  Outraged (0+ / 0-)

    now includes some more information from Free Republic worth looking at, as well as some other comments and stories from the past.

    It's interesting to see how they appear to have completely flipped, for the most part, with regards to what they believed in 6 years ago.

    Phillybits - A Showcase Of Political News And Thought

    by Stand Strong on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:00:15 PM PDT

    •  Of course. Their 'ideology' is (4+ / 0-)

      "We're Number 1! We're Number 1!"

      They love sports analogies.  My favorite counter to their gridiron metaphors is the 1972 Olympic basketball finals, when the Soviets were the beneficiaries of the refs' forced replay of the final minute over and over again until the Soviets could manage to score a winning basket.  Then the refs called the game over and the Soviets declared victory.  They hate it when I bring that up, especially with the subtext that they're the equivalent of a bunch of "Rooski commies."

  •  All the Democrats need to do (5+ / 0-)

    is point out that the Supreme Court decision backs what they've been saying all along: you can protect people and the Constitution. Then you turn it around on the Repugs: do you believe in the Constitution? or are you anti-American?

    If you love America but hate the Constitution, you're not a patriot, you're a fanatic.

  •  But are the Democrats (0+ / 0-)

    doing the right thing here by opposing these bullshit new rules of frist and spectator?

    Voices need to be raised to the Democrats not to cooperate with the goppers on this at all.

    After, what the hell is wrong with the courts we have now, why aren't they good enough to try these cases when they're good enough for you and me?

    That's a rhetorical question, btw.

    Most of the Gitmo prisoners are nobodies or innocent nobodies, if they were somebody those asshat neocons would be shouting it to the rooftops afterall, so clearly the sources and methods aren't double top super duper secret, which means it's all about the torture.  

    There is no other explanation, since half of these guys were handed over by warlords for filthy lucre.

    It's all about the torture, and Torture Yoo and Abu Gonzalez and Shooter Cheney and Rum Drunk with Power and their Boy King will have their asses in a sling if it comes out.

    And Democrats better not be a part of it, and they need to be told.  I already called Feinstein yesterday, and I'll be calling and writting somemore.

  •  Republicans run from Geneva Conventions - (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max

    nothing like this seen since Japan defeated in WWII.

    we're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression

    by Lepanto on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:06:25 PM PDT

  •  We need to challenge every Republican Senator who (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RevJoe, fugue

    Voted against tortue, saw their vote annulled by Bushes signing statement, where they really stand.  

    Tortue or Justice.

  •  'War' (6+ / 0-)

    Even if we grant that those being held are in some sense prisoners of war then current treatment still is not appropriate.

    The "wars" in Iraq and Afghanistan are over. We are now occupying the countries. The proof that the war is over: we are engaged in rebuilding projects. Countries don't rebuild their enemy's infrastructure when they are still at war. Just look at Japan and Germany after WWII.

    So if the war is over, then the "unlawful combatants" are no longer subject to military jurisdiction.

    In another case of the left falling into the right's framing, we have allowed for the misuse of the term "war". Not only are the wars over, but there never was a "war on terror". This is a metaphorical use of the word war, just like the war on drugs or the war on poverty. What we are engaged in is a worldwide police effort to capture and contain violent persons who attack civilians. This is the same type of effort being conducted against the mafia and the international drug lords.

    Let's drop all the war talk as it allows the administration to use it to mask their abridgement of civil liberties.

    The wars are over, the police actions continue. Police actions never end that's why every country has a police force.

    •  i agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Black Max

      where is that little nicety called "a declaration of war"?

      If the fires of freedom and civil liberties burn low in other lands, they must be made brighter in our own...FDR

      by Finnegan on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:09:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We haven't had (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Coherent Viewpoint

        an actual declared war since World War II.  Plenty of "wars," yes, but none of them declared.  That seems to be a thing of the past- makes it easier for presidents to send troops wherever they want, without bothering with the constitutional prerogatives of Congress (and this isn't the only president to do this, of course.  Korea.  Viet Nam.  Granada.  Panama.  Somalia.  Bosnia.  Kosovo.  Afghanistan.  And notice that the Department of Veteran's Affairs calls it "Operation Iraqi Freedom" on the tombstones of the soldiers who have died in this war, not "Iraq War").  

        "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." -Sinclair Lewis

        by Zorba the Greek on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:50:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You have persuaded me. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Coherent Viewpoint

      Your mission now, should you choose to accept it, is run over to Walmart and change the mind of just one shopper to your POV.

      Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Pascal

      by Clem Yeobright on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:47:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with your definition (0+ / 0-)

      of war.  But the Supreme Court apparently doesn't?  Didn't they say that the "detainees" can be held until the end of "hostilities"?

  •  Smear will work with Lame Pelosi et al (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max, kingubu

    running "message".

    I wish that were NOT the case, but, as my high school dropout vietnam vet step father would say at christmas,

    wish in one hand, s$$t in the other, and see which ones fills up first.

    BTW, great work McJoan detailing a great foundation of truth so start an effective message campaign against the liars -

    too bad Pelosi et al don't know what the hell effective message is.


    by seabos84 on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:09:10 PM PDT

    •  you said it all (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kingubu, Coherent Viewpoint

      Our message is a complicated message..we are against the terrorist BUT.....They can just be against the terrorist period. It is a sad day in America when a leader (pelosi) can be criticized for using the word "justice". The message has to be framed perfectly. The Dems should be the first to call for the establishment of military tribunals with adherance to Geneva and the Constitution...But get out on front of this issue.

      If the fires of freedom and civil liberties burn low in other lands, they must be made brighter in our own...FDR

      by Finnegan on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:16:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, yes, YES! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Coherent Viewpoint

        There is no legit reason on Earth why anyone would oppose legislation that sends those guys through a courts marshal process that conforms to the UCMJ and Geneva's general article 3, but we need to be out in front of this making the case and making the extemeists play defense.

        Destiny: A tyrant's authority for crime and a fool's excuse for failure. --Ambrose Bierce

        by kingubu on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:48:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I mean (0+ / 0-)
    look at all the success we've had fighting terrorism in the bushway: we killed  an osamawannabe in Iraq  a couple weeks ago---which may not mean a lot to the 66 dead Iraqis in a Sadr City market today.

    "Come on, Nicky, come home. Just come home. Home. Talk to me. ....Do you remember the trees?"

    by Miss Devore on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:11:00 PM PDT

  •  I watch it live.... (3+ / 0-)

    on C-SPAN. I can tell you that John Yoo don't know Jack about the law...period. He makes all lawyers look bad. He the kind of lawyer everybody hates, the nerdy, smartass that manipulates the law to do his bidding, or in this case, his masters' biding, the neocons and the Chennye Administrations.

    "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." Seneca

    by Ralfast on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:11:15 PM PDT

  •  This is a perfect opportunity to see if the Dems (0+ / 0-)

    have learned anything from the lessons on framing and counterattack that we, and plenty of others, have been ramming down their throats since the 2004 election debacle.  It'll be interesting to see if they give it a try, or if they return to their usual flopping and floundering.

  •  Torturing Prisoners (4+ / 0-)

    Only cowards and perverts torture prisoners.  (And, as I have mentioned on this site before, this explains its popularity with the Bush administration.)  If the Republicans -- or the Democrats -- in Congress want to legislate a procedure that allows prisoners to be handled in ways inconsistent with the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the rules of the Geneva Convention, they should be called what they are -- cowards and perverts.

    On a related matter, I've always believed that most of the prisoners picked up in Afghanistan and held at Guantanamo were just unlucky nobodies.  They were arrested in a 'round up the usual suspects' operation intended to divert attention from the fact that Bush and the Pentagon weren't serious about getting Bin Laden.  Bush couldn't come home with an empty bag, so about 300-400 chumps were swept up (some probably turned in by the local 'warlords' on our payroll at the time).  Now, of course, we're stuck with them, and Bush's cowardice and stupidity have the country wrapped around a legal flagpole.  

  •  Which movie shall we see? (0+ / 0-)

     We might get subjected to another DLC-beltway-mafia-driven orgy of appeasement and accommodation on the part of the Democrats, the same strategy they used in 2002 and 2004 with such smashing electoral success.

    Or we might see the Democrats stand up for the Constitution, strongly, proudly, and forcefully, and paint the Republicans as inept and untrustworthy based on their mishandling of the various Asian wars they've gotten us into. Don't know how that'll translate in November, but it can't possibly be worse than the alternative. Not to mention that it's the right, and American, thing to do.

    It will take some skill to frame this issue in our favor. But we have plenty of smart people in our party. They question is, will our leaders LISTEN to them?

    That's the key.

    "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

    by Buzzer on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:24:23 PM PDT

  •  time to paint Republicans with their own brush (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lcbo, trashablanca, Tailspinterry

    this weeks SCOTUS decision on military tribunals is a perfect opportunity for democrats and the party leadership to go on the defensive, as Jim Webb did this morning in his rebuttal to Bush's Independence Day broadcast (is it not inalienable? not unalienable?) Instead of doing what they do so well, take a defensive posture, this is the time to loudly proclaim that America is a nation of laws, not kangaroo courts. If indeed this Congress is hellbent on passing any law Bush wishes to make his illegal activities legal, the Democrats do not need to go along with such a travesty.  It is time to have a debate, not a series of rhetorical rants, on what kind of nation Americ chooses to be.  Is this war on terrorism open ended, if so say so. If so, what are rules of engagement? what are the limits, lay them down, make the line in the sand. I do not recall America as a nation voting to spread democracy throughout the world and continue to send our sons and daughters to die in that cause. Give us our stark choices and then let us make them. That is democracy.  Don't let this Congress pass retroactive laws to cover Bush's illegal arse. Stand up Democrats until they stand down. That is freedom.

  •  I did a diary on this article (0+ / 0-)

    this morning.

    Once again the Washington Post misses the important matters like the rebuttal from Reid's office and the fact that Republicans continually call "suspects" terrorists, when we really don't know what they are.

    Throw Richard Pombo out of the House! Support Jerry McNerney

    by Naturegal on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:27:03 PM PDT

  •  how not to handle this (4+ / 0-)

    The half-hearted caution Dems are showing is not the way to handle this.  Keeping quiet will let the Republicans cast this as they will.  The polls show that Americans have good sense about this.  So what we should do is to very clearly point out that we're not for releasing these guys only giving them either the minimal protections afforded to POWs or charging them with a crime.  Two things we could point out:  1.  We even afforded captured Waffen SS men and other Nazis the protections of Geneva.  2.  To not give captured men the proper legal protection takes us to the level of regimes like North Vietnam in the Vietnam war or the Nazis.  We're better than them and we're better than the terrorists and and we're better than them because of the core values we have.  We need to hit early and hard on this and our message should be exactly the one that some normally pro-American European conservatives have about Gitmo: It's horrible because it's un-American.  Because it deserts the very values that have made America admirable.  If we define it that way we win.  They might motivate some of the proto-facists on the hard right of their base, but at the price of alienating independents.  If we just sit there and let them define this, we lose though.  The question is just how much.

  •  Dumb Question: Please Help (0+ / 0-)

    The wingers I talk to always say this decision is negated on the basis alone that Geneva Convention does not apply because detainees are not POW in the technical sense, not belonging to any enemy state with whom we are at war.

    So how is this wrong - beyond the obvious affront to basic common sense that this allows any dominant nation to randomly grab any foreign national on any pretext whatsoever and never have to explain to anyone why he has been detained ( Ever. ) ? If they aren't uniformed combatants of an enemy nation, why do we have to extend them Geneva Conventions? I mean, in a strictly legal sense?

    Not a lawyer. Ergo the dumb question. But would still like to have an explanation. Thanks.

    •  Not a lawyer, either, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Coherent Viewpoint

      so I advise you to read the pertinent entries on Glenn Greenwald's blog.  Reading that, I felt that I understood it.  But not well enough to recap, sorry.

    •  Answer to your question (0+ / 0-)

      According to Wikepedia

      Protocol I is an amendment to the Geneva Conventions.

      Adopted on June 8, 1977 by the Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law applicable in Armed Conflicts presided over by Pierre Graber of Switzerland. The protocol enters into force on either December 7, 1979 (six months after its adoption by the conference), or six months after each party's ratification.

      It has not been adopted by several nations, including the United States, Afghanistan and Iraq, and some argue that it is not universally applicable. The international community outside of the US, generally accepts that the Additional Protocols are obligatory on all parties worldwide as they have become part of customary law. The U.S. objections form the basis that it would extend Geneva Conventions protection to some unlawful combatants (see Part III Article 44).

      This amendment accepted by nearly the entire world outside of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the United States (Quite a group to belong to!) extends the rights of a POW to anyone combatant in an "Armed conflict", not just a declared war.

      Based on International Law, yes, we would be in violation of that law.  But we already have rejected it formally, so it wouldn't really be anything new.  Perhaps this would be an appropriate time to demand from our representatives that we DO accept international humanitarian laws and to stop standing beside Iraq and Afghanistan in opposition to it!

      I respect all beliefs... and I am willing to consider anyone's opinion.

      by Krexent on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:21:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'll take a shot at it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      First of all, not everyone in the legal community agrees that there's such a thing as an "unlawful combatant"--as opposed to a combatant who violates the laws of war. Their argument is that the Geneva Convention applies to any enemy fighter. That doesn't mean they can't be tried for war crimes, but their treatment must live up to international standards.

      Second, the Geneva Conventions require that prisoners' status be determined by a "competent tribunal." Until the Rasul case two years ago, the administration refused to convene a tribunal to determine whether those held at Afghanistan were war criminals, enemy fighters, or people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. They argued in effect that an "unlawful combatant" was anyone they said was one--which is the same argument they make with Patriot Act "national security letters" and NSA spying.

      "Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws"--Justice Tom Clark, in Mapp v. Ohio.

      by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:23:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Competent Tribunal (0+ / 0-)

        Jane Mayer reports in this week's New Yorker that the military wanted to conduct the competent tribunals in the field -- which, I gather, is the usual procedure -- to weed out the wrong-place guys and anyone else for whom there was insufficient evidence of an intent to harm or activities harmful to the U.S.  The administration denied the military the right to engage in its usual procedure sanctioned by both the UCMJ & the Geneva Conventions. The JAGs are pissed about that. They want nothing to do with all this illegality or holding innocent people in jail for years.  

        You gotta ask WHY Bush's brain (whichever one was in charge at the time) wanted to put everyone swept up on the field at Guantanamo -- so Karl Rove could make it look like the president was effective at catching terrorists?

        “There’s nothing at stake here except the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution.” – Ben Bradlee,  “All the President’s Men,” script by William Goldman

  •  Democrats should call for non-partisan commission (0+ / 0-)

    of eminent legal scholars, headed by GOP judge in VA that just quit but the Conservative Republicans love (I can't think of his name) to set the rules and procedures of militiary tribunals. I have a feeling when lawyers are together they would have some respect for the law. Democrats would be proactive and still do the right thing. That would be leadership!

    If the fires of freedom and civil liberties burn low in other lands, they must be made brighter in our own...FDR

    by Finnegan on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 12:50:05 PM PDT

  •  The country who wishes spread liberty and justice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mike101, lcbo

    Are we this country?  Are we the same country that argues that freedom, civil rights, and democracy should be for all the people of this world?

    If so, then how can a majority of Congress even consider passing a law specifically authorizing the treatment of any human being, whether or not they are American citizens, without basic legal rights?  The burden of proof?  Some sort of oversight?  Understandably in a time of war decisions have to be made... people are killed without a moment's hesitation.  This is often necessary.  However, in the case of taking prisoner's of war, which these people are, that urgency no longer appiles.

    In the case of prisoners we do have the luxury of time; our values and belief in human rights should apply to these people.  Who are we to invade countries, overthrow regimes, based almost solely on our argument that we are spreading freedom?  Do we not also have to demonstrate that we ourselves value this freedom that we so vigorously fight for?

    To uphold human rights in a selective manner is an abomination, and to do so while invading sovereign nations and occupying them based on our conviction that the people in these nations deserve the same rights is hypocrisy to the extreme.

    This congress needs to stand up for what our country believes in and is founded on.  Freedom does come with a price, but we have to being willing to pay that price when the time comes.  Sometimes that means not having absolute security, sometimes it means risking one's political career, sometimes it means risking one's life (as so many Americans now are.)

    I respect all beliefs... and I am willing to consider anyone's opinion.

    by Krexent on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:00:28 PM PDT

    •  In answer to your first question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      we are no longer this country. This is not to say that the majority may feel that we are or should be the country of justice, equal opportunity, and where people are presumed innocent until proven guilty (but not the voting majority, certainly).

      Those who strive for justice are being shoved to the side, called unpatriotic, and are being labeled (successfully) as weak on defense.

      However, there is nothing that will hurt our national defense more across the globe --universally -- than injustice meted out through torture and abuse of prisoners, and military tribunals insteatd of fair trials in civilian courts of law.

      This is what our captured and kidnapped will face in any conflict for decades to come. As usual, we have brought it on ourselves.

      "Fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again." --George W. Bush

      by RevJoe on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 02:27:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A question for evangelicals and other Christians (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    station wagon, jimstaro

    Voting GOP?
    Who Would Jesus Torture?

    "I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor." King George III

    by ogre on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:01:37 PM PDT

  •  New GOP Slogan (0+ / 0-)

    "Arbeit Macht Fries"

    Because "Freedom Fries" is just too liberal for those monsters.


    by AdmiralNaismith on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:03:33 PM PDT

  •  I surely hope (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the Dems will throw this right back at them using the word "torture" in every ad and every tv commercial.  Of course, I know better.  They will just play it like they do everything else and let it slide without a breath of dissent.  Freakin weenies.

    •  I have never watched 24 (0+ / 0-)

      but I understand from people here that it has invoked torture effectively at times over the years.

      I really don't think opposing torture categorically promises to be a big vote-getter for the Ds this year. You must know very different people from the ones in my family and at my job and in my neighborhood. Who is to say whose contacts better represent the plurality of voters?

      Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Pascal

      by Clem Yeobright on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:14:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But to give away torture as an issue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Clem Yeobright

        is really submitting to the Dark side

        "We're gonna need a bigger boat!"

        by OCMIHOP on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:33:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the anti-torture label (0+ / 0-)

          isn't as potent as many think. If many of the middle-of-the-road fencesitters think National Security is a huge concern, they most likely see this in the Republican's black and white context.

          "It's US against them."

          At the end of the day they'd rather put up with the US torturing if it means it will keep another 9-11 from occuring.

          I think screaming torturer at the Republicans plays into them labeling us as pussies, unfortunately.

          "I didn't know greed was one of the ten commandments." -Me

          by john in seattle on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 03:24:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But torture doesn't work! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The problem with torture that everyone could agree on (even wingers) is that it simply doesn't work. Case in point: the story of Abu Zubaydah described in Ron Suskind's new book. Here's this mentally ill guy who we are torturing and he leads us on a wild goose chase by admitting to all sorts of fabricated plots.

            I'm all for using psychological interrogation techniques, but physically torturing people is barbaric and unfitting for the United States in the 20th century, much less the 21st.

  •  Now all we need is for the Dems to stay strong (0+ / 0-)

    If the Democrats stay strong this will help us.  Otherwise I fear for the dems and for our country.

  •  Separation of Powers (0+ / 0-)

    SCOTUS made it clear the the decisions regarding detainees are to be made by both the Executive and the Legislative branch.

    GOP congress people who jump on the "let's empower Bush" are disempowering the Legislative branch. Would they be willing to relinquish their constitutional duties to the Excecutive branch?  Wouldn't doing so be unconstitutional?

    by liberallibertarian on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:11:58 PM PDT

    •  From what I have heard, (0+ / 0-)

      Gooper congresscritters are quite anxious to enact legislation that would meet their preznit's expectations.

      Beyond the budget, I don't know that there are many powers Congress could not cede to the executive with legislation.

      'Checks and balances' refers to principles on which to resolve conflicting claims among the branches.

      Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Pascal

      by Clem Yeobright on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:19:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i will be delighted, surprised if Pelosi/Schumer (0+ / 0-)

    don't just hand this issue back to the republicans.  already the noise pelosi has been making sounds like she is ready to rewrite law to conform to the administration's illegal and antidemocratic actions.

    please surprise me, Pelosi and Schumer.

    I am not betting the farm on it.

    Politics is not arithmetic. It's chemistry.

    by tamandua on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:21:10 PM PDT

  •  McCain: 'We won't let any of the bad people go.' (0+ / 0-)

    He said that in talking about the Hamdan decision. I thought it was exceptionally articulate for a presidential candidate.

    ....But there's something bubbling (up) in America that will be reflected at the polls. --John Kerry 5/31/6

    by Gorette on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:24:19 PM PDT

  •  Gitmo not the real purpose for trials (0+ / 0-)

    by military commission, the real purpose is to turn loose the military commission on stateside suspects, using "enemy combatant" theory, using Gitmo as the camel's nose.

    It would not be difficult mein Fuhrer! Nuclear reactors could, heh... I'm sorry. Mr. President.

    by Cartoon Peril on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:26:03 PM PDT

  •  Even handed enough? (0+ / 0-)

    When the elephant stops wiping it's ass with the U.S. Constitution, the donkey will stop lighting it's crack pipe with the stars and stripes.

    "We're gonna need a bigger boat!"

    by OCMIHOP on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 01:30:31 PM PDT

  •  Why do we keep arguing that this issue is about (3+ / 0-)

    If we torure they will torture....  It has nothing to do with that.  We can give no guarantee to any of our soldiers or any American that if we don't torture, another country or group will not torture them.  Any other country or group is going to act based on its moral/ethical/religious values and what it thinks will achieve its ends.  

    The "we shouldn't do it so they won't" argument doesn't hold up and I really wish the democratic party would stop trying to straddle a barbed wire fence afraid to voice the hard truths of why we shouldn't torture because they don't think it would be palatable to neanderthals.  

    If we torture, we debase ourselves and our country and the very principles our country was founded on.  And, because of our position on the global stage as the "leader of the free world" (gag), we teach others that it is ok to torture -- rather than setting the bar higher and providing a shining example for the world to follow, we become the lowest common denominator and the excuse for others to do as we do.

    If we torture, we negate the rule of law.  Rule of law applies to everyone or it applies to no one. We have laws against torture and if we can't even follow our own laws.... what's the point (of course, this statement can be applied to signing statements also).  I have to go to work.  Happy debating to everyone but I hope that we can all get beyond this argument of "we shouldn't so they won't" - the sooner the better.

    •  The Rule of Law and Religious Belief (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      station wagon, jay23, Tailspinterry

      As you say, torture is not an American moral value.  We are a nation of laws and if we break these laws we cheapen the principles on which this country was founded, imperfect as they might be at times.  It really pains me to see gay marriage, flag burning and "in God we trust" made into serious religious and moral issues when at the same time we condemn thousands, no millions, to rock bed poverty and disease, while causing untold "collateral damage" in places like Iraq.  If this is religious morality than they should not bother to call themselves Christians; they fit better with pagan Rome.  Torture, denying simple rights to trials with proper defense attorneys sounds more like a policy of Nero than one of a so-called Christian Nation!  We are NOT a Christian Nation, and it is a good thing too, if this is what being in a Christian nation means- intolerance, torture, lawlessness and uncharitable treatment of the poor.  Do these people actually read the New Testament?

      End of rant!
  •  Bumbersticker idea (0+ / 0-)

    GOP Pro-Torture,Jesus Christ was Tortured!GOP Read Matt.25

  •  Reminding the GOP Congress with the following (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    station wagon

    So what's it going to be, GOP Senators? Mr. McCain? Are you going to be among the Rubber Stamp Republicans standing up with this administration against the Uniform Code of Military Justice, against the Geneva Conventions, to codify torture? And try to smear Democrats with the "weak on terror" charge when you are putting our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan further at risk by thumbing your nose at the Geneva Conventions?


    if they decide to alter the UCMJ and override the Geneva Conventions. Place it campaign ads, put it on billboards, make it a talking point for every real Democrat when they appear on television, in the press.

    Make them eat it.

    "Every generation needs a new revolution."Thomas Jefferson

    by Maddie05 on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 02:01:40 PM PDT

  •  There's our meme... (0+ / 0-)

    "Support Torture -- Vote Republican"

    Simple.  Direct.  Values-based.  If this country doesn't stand for basic decency anymore -- even as lip service -- then it has served its purpose and it's time for it to go away.

    And if you are for torture, take your vote and shove it up your ass -- we sure as hell don't want it.

    "...the big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart." -- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

    by Roddy McCorley on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 02:04:26 PM PDT

  •  Don't forget about the 'values' issues.. (0+ / 0-) reported in the St. L. P-D here.

    "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

    by chingchongchinaman on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 02:04:30 PM PDT

  •  This Could Be Kicker for a Dem Sweep (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    station wagon, lcbo, Tailspinterry

    The JAG corps has been quietly waiting to go public for a long, long time. If you haven't read Jane Mayer's dissection of this battle from way back, get the current issue of The New Yorker.  The JAGs (and their friends in the Justice Dept.) have been against the lawbreakers in the WH for years, against torture, against secret prisons, for law in general and the UCMJ in particular.

    Mayer points out that none of the key players  in the administration is a lawyer, not Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, or Rumsfeld.  Their lawyer is the off-the-chart royalist, David Addington.  Another who cares not for the reality-based community, Addington reportedly refuses to believe the U.S. has fallen to a dismal stature in the world.  Or, concurrently, of course, that his shameful legal opinions, for which  Alberto Gonzales has reportedly been but a public mouthpiece, are in part to blame.

    The president has gotten "very bad legal advice," someone tells Mayer.  Based on Addington's off-the-wall opinions, Bush, according to one "high-ranking Adminstration lawyer" (can anyone say, career Justice Dept.?) actually thinks he is following the law. That makes sense and explains Bush's cocky attitude about all his unlawful activities. The extent to which this president is simply unqualified continues to astonish and dismay. The world knows it already and I have a feeling this latest swat by the Supremes will help the majority of Americans to get it too.

    If the admin. thinks it will get an easy ride passing legislation to set up "military tribunals" they've got another think coming if the Dems play their cards right.  Handled well, the testimony of the JAGs will put everybody in the boat of having to choose the rule of law and the active military or the President as monarch "in a time of war."  So who you gonna choose, Karl Rove?  Oh, yeah, here it comes, swiftboating of the JAG Corps.  This could get interesting.

    "There's nothing at stake here except the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law."  -- Ben Bradlee in "All the President's Men," screeplay, William Goldman

    •  this is from the NewsHour friday (0+ / 0-)

      night Shields and Brooks analysis:

      JIM LEHRER: And now to the analysis of Shields and Brooks, syndicated columnist Mark Shields, New York Times columnist David Brooks.

      Mark, the Supreme Court military tribunals decision, legalities aside, what's the message of what the court today?

      MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist: Â Well, the message is that the -- to the Congress, that you have a responsibility, and the administration does not have a blank check, in the words of Justice Breyer, just to totally circumvent, whether it's the Geneva convention or U.S. constitutional law.

      This administration since 9/11 has pushed, I think, assiduously, conscientiously, aggressively the expansion of executive privilege and executive authority, executive power. And this was the first time they've put a constitutional break upon it since -- with one exception. The only time Congress asserted any authority of its own was John McCain's torture amendment and legislation which passed at the end of last year.

      JIM LEHRER: Big blow, David, to the president's authority, as President Bush sees it, at least?

      DAVID BROOKS, Columnist, New York Times: I think pretty significant. It's certainly the end of an era.

      I think they had tried to run -- the administration had tried to run an executive branch-only kind of war on terror, and I think they did that for understandable reasons.

      Go back to 9/11. People really thought the White House was going to get hit again in the subsequent weeks. And many people thought they would die going to the White House or going to the Capitol, and they felt we got to act, we got to act, to hell with the rules.

      Well, it's now been four and a half, five years, and now it's time to regularize it. And so the courts are really saying, "Hey, you got to go back to Congress. You got to work within the system."

      And I'm struck by the widespread relief, even among Republicans, who say, "OK, we understand why they were so aggressive, but now it really is time to do this in a normal way with the checks and balances."

      JIM LEHRER: Why didn't, in this last four and a half years, didn't the administration go to Congress on its own? Why did it wait for the court to do this in such a dramatic way yesterday?

      DAVID BROOKS: I think there are two reasons, both within the administration. I think there are some within the administration, most famously in the vice president's office, who say this should be the power of the executive, this should simply be the executive's authority.

      I suspect -- and I don't know this for a fact -- but I suspect that there are others in the administration who said, "We're going to act this way. We're probably going to get scaled back by the courts, but we're going to act this way anyway because we think it's important to do it given the enemy."

      JIM LEHRER: And so force the hand of the courts?

      DAVID BROOKS: Right. Essentially to take advantage while they could, suspecting they'd probably get rolled back.

      MARK SHIELDS: Overlooked in this, Jim, to a considerable degree, beyond the politics, is this is a vindication of the military justice system. And these Navy lawyers -- I mean, you talk about taking on Goliath. They took on the civilian leadership of the Pentagon, and they took on the administration's top guns, and said...

      JIM LEHRER: The lieutenant commander of the Navy, who was one of the lead lawyers...

      MARK SHIELDS: The lieutenant commander of the Navy, God love him...

      JIM LEHRER: ... for Hamdan, yes.

      MARK SHIELDS: That's right, and stood up and said: There is a responsibility. There is regular order here. There are laws. They have to be recognized.

      And, you know, it's a wonderful thing that we still produce men of this kind of profile in courage, because it did require a profile in courage.  

      There is no danger in blogging, measurably above background danger for simply existing. peeder

      by station wagon on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 04:11:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I see the future (0+ / 0-)

    SCOTUS rulings ignored by Bush...Rich get richer...Republicans do nothing except enable Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld...BigOil gets bigger, Americans get poorer... KBR/Halliburton gets more nobid contracts...more Iraqi children die...more soldiers die...Osama and Zawahiri release tapes once in a while from the safety of Pakistan....a cell of loser terrorist wannabes is entrapped and arrested every few months in the US...eternal war...eternal terror...eternal fascist police state...surveillance society increases its reach...and if  the 2006 election is stolen...the torches and pitchforks come out.

    -6.63, -3.59 If we shall fail to defend the Constitution, I shall fail in the attempt.

    by spoon or no spoon on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 02:28:20 PM PDT

    •  Torches & Pitchforks? (0+ / 0-)

      Here in the flyover where everybody has at least 3, often many more than that, guns in the closet, it won't be torches and pitchforks.  Many have those guns because they believe they may someday need them to take on the govt.  The way things are going that belief system seems to me a lot less like a paranoid fantasy than it used to.

      “There’s nothing at stake here except the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution.” – Ben Bradlee,  “All the President’s Men,” script by William Goldman

  •  America, Return to 'Normalcy' (Normal Justice) (3+ / 0-)

    Okay, 'normalcy' is a lame word, but some equivalent could be the catchword for the Democrats' response to the Bush "Fear to the Max, We're at War" perspective. My sense is that most Americans feel in their gut that Bush's fearmania is frighteningly at odds with reality. So much so that it's getting, like, really weird! Take advantage Dems!

    Here's my speech:

    It doesn't feel like we are at war, and as a matter of fact we aren't, that's just more Republican spin the hapless Democrats have bought into. What the Dems should be pushing is the concept that 'normal courts' and normal judicial procedures have worked well for 200 years here, through a couple world wars and countless minor ones. What's wrong with letting people suspected of terrorism (or much less) take their cases to normal courts with normal judges?

    Our justice system has worked well at convicting the guilty and freeing the innocent, so what are we afraid of? Is President Bush afraid these people imprisoned without charges for four years might be innocent, that we don't have much evidence against them, and what evidence we do have was paid for, third hand, and/or generated by torture?

    We took on and more or less destroyed the Mafia in this country, we destroyed the Ku Klux Klan's criminal conspiracies here, with normal justice, and with the FBI and local law enforcement following the normal rules for collecting evidence. Let's be realistic, the Al Queda criminal conspiracy is nothing in terms of size or resources compared to the Mafia, is it? We need to ratchet back the fear and exaggeration, and go after the bad guys the way we always have, respecting the Constitution and the rights of innocent people. That way has worked in the past and we can expect it will continue to work well in the future.

    •  You Got a Winner (0+ / 0-)

      I've giving your "speech" to Tom Barlow, the Dem who is running to unseat the Pug who has represented the 1st District of Ky since 1994.  Tom has just the right calm avuncular personality to suggest a return to normalcy.  We'll see what he does with it.

      •  Throw in Giuliani Taking Down the NY Area Mafia (0+ / 0-)

        Giuliani and his federal attorney's office, rallying the local police in the NY area, successfully rid the area of the mafia. He didn't torture anyone, he followed the rules and respected suspects rights, even the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty.

        It needs to be repeated over and over: defeating the Mafia, the Klan, winning two world wars, we never abandoned normal justice. The White House wants us to live in permanent fear, but I think we must get our justice system back to normal and go from there. Normal justice has worked well. It looks like Bush's brave new world, Bush's 1984-style America, Bush's Abu Ghraib and Gitmo dungeon America, is killing some of the things we all love best about our country.

        •  'We Want What America Used to be Like' (0+ / 0-)

          Just heard a listener say this on Thom Hartman this morning. That's the kind of plainspokeness we need. Inside-the-Beltway Democrat 'leaders' URGENTLY need lessons in plain, non-nerdy, non-wonky language that says we want our country back.

    •  The Endless self proclaimed war (0+ / 0-)

      The War on terror self-proclaimed and endless is just a useful tool for grabbing more and more power and nothing else. As one poster said The War on terror is just the same as the War on Eastasia and it supplies Bu$hCo with as many Emmanuel Goldstein's as necessary to keep the sheeple scared and full of rage and hate. BIG Brother (Bu$H) is of course fighting this war to protect us. Anyone questioning this war is in league with the enemy de jour. Today East Asia (Iraq) tomoorow ?? We live in Orwell's nightmare world of 1984 now and until the hapless clueless opposition fugures it out were just mentally masturbating.

      "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

      by Blutodog on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 02:49:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  War hampered by SCOTUS, says Gonzales (0+ / 0-)

    Gonzales says that the Hamdan ruling will hamper the US in its War on Terror.

    •  Take 'em all out back and shoot 'em (0+ / 0-)

      Unless they have info. we need, of course. Then torture away. Remember, we have pre-decided that these are bad guys.

      And weren't those Nuremberg trials naive? What pussies the Allies were. Oh right, the Nazis had uniforms on, so they were afforded more rights. That is known as the "with Uniform" standard of justice.

    •  This, of course, is further (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lcbo, DSPS owl

      evidence that the Attorney General, and indeed the entire Administration, have absolutely no idea how to win a "war" on terror.

      They tend to argue that this cannot be treated as a law enforcement matter. Well, it will almost certainly not be exclusively a law enforcement matter. There will almost certainly be a military component to the fight against terror, if only because you can't seize most of the terrorists overseas through judicial process.

      But this is, actually, the highest law enforcement matter. This is about enforcing the law of human civilization. Simply put, you cannot win this war solely through military assault. Rather, you could, but you would have to put everyone to the sword. Since such a massive slaughter of human beings is generally (and rightly) considered wrong, we have no choice but to resort to a "law enforcement" stance. And the law cannot be honored by its breach.

      Look, aside from logical application of law, it really boils down to this: either we believe we're right, or we don't. We either have the courage of our convictions, the faith to believe that our way is right, and their way is wrong, or we don't.

      If we're fighting for truth, justice, and the American way, then let's fight for it. All of it. That includes legal process. That includes the declaration that all human beings are entitled to a reliable, fair determination of whether they have violated the law. Those who would abandon American values of honesty, human dignity, and equal justice are surrendering to the terrorist mindset. The mindset that the ends of achieving political security can justify any means.

      It is a war, this much is true. But it is a war between world-views, not militaries. Either our world view is right, and we move forward with the ultimate certainty that our way will win, or we surrender, continue in name only as Americans, and resort to situational ethics and the morality of convenience.

      '"If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;" and this single reflection ... is sufficient to awaken every man to duty.'

      by DSmith on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 03:00:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Invading Iraq (0+ / 0-)

      hampers the War on Terror. Osama, who?

      "I didn't know greed was one of the ten commandments." -Me

      by john in seattle on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 03:53:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  who gives a FVCK if its the politically correct (0+ / 0-)

    thing to do !!! torture is wrong period !!!. Democrats worry too much about whether a position will gain them votes. Bullshit! stand for something even if it's politically unpopular. Torture won't save one single person from anything. Its not a good method to get information, its just for revenge or a sadistic way to terrorize your enemy. Thanks to Bush's idiotic policies, we have lost the moral high ground to terrorists. I can't believe in my lifetime that torture is even being debated. Regimes that torture go down in history as among the most evil and reprehensible. Anyone responsible for torture  deserves to spend the rest of their life in prison , anyone who supports it is only slighly less evil.

    Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong. ~James Bryce

    by california keefer on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 02:40:14 PM PDT

    •  Unfortunately (0+ / 0-)

      we can't really dictate policy until AFTER we get elected.

      You and I both know torture is shady, but we need to get enough fencesitters to vote Democrat before we can go around cleaning up Bush's mess.

      If it appears we are more angry about torturing Arab's than we are about winning the greater "war on terror" it will come across like our priorities are wrong.

      We have to pander as a means to the end.

      "I didn't know greed was one of the ten commandments." -Me

      by john in seattle on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 03:51:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Normally, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        california keefer

        I'm a consensus-seeker. Normally, I would say "Play it close to the vest and don't ruffle feathers, especially when it's so crucial that we get political control of some portion of the government." But there can be no consensus on this.

        This isn't about the best method to achieve a policy-goal. This is about the fundamental American identity. This is about the America that doesn't have borders. This is about the America that the oppressed around the world used to dream of. This isn't about policy or territory. This is about the very notion that gave birth to America: the protection of human dignity.

        On that, there can be no compromise. If we pander on that, we are not living up to our name. I say this rarely, but we must man the barricades for this.

        '"If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;" and this single reflection ... is sufficient to awaken every man to duty.'

        by DSmith on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 05:29:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have a question for the lawyers. (0+ / 0-)

    A lot of the Hamdi decision rests on the interpertation of "international".  Article 3 of the GC applies in conflicts that are not international in character occurring in the territory of one of the signatories.  Many people assumed this to mean a civil war in one country but the SC ruled international to mean "between nations".

    Could Congress substitute their own interpertation of "international", or state that courts should only interpert international to mean "across national borders", a more common defintiion?  Furthermore, if Congress cannot alter the Supreme Court's definition of the GC, could it not alter the understanding of the word in the UCMJ, effectively bypassing the Supreme Court's ruling?

    •  It seems (0+ / 0-)

      that Congress could, by statute, mandate a certain interpretation of the GC. I could come up with a rationale to justify it if you asked me to, but it would be pretty offensive to me.

      As for bypassing the SCOTUS opinion by altering the UCMJ, that's absolutely possible.

      '"If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;" and this single reflection ... is sufficient to awaken every man to duty.'

      by DSmith on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 03:03:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some has to tell truth to FPers: 'GOP' corrodes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Iowa Boy

    any stand one might have on Republican misconduct.

    Don't give them the satisfaction of being able to say that EVEN DEMOCRATS hail them as a grand old party.

  •  Gitmo (0+ / 0-)

    Being as brief as possible, what we have here is a revivial of the Spanish Inquisition,  with crowded cuban and Central Asian dungeons as great dumping places for the inconvenient, Straussix the IV  unleashing George of Castille
    Donald de Torquemada commandeering the neominicans and K Street gobbling up the black gold of the unglogalized. We even have  plenty of islamist infadels and liberal heretics to throw to the crowd to keep people from getting too curious.   We even have the witches at the New York Times to burn at the stake. Wait.  We be missin' a smattering of Jews to immolate.  Oops.  I forgot, they're gonna' be Left Behind with the rest of us schmucks as soon as they digest the Holy Land.  

  •  WRONG WRONG WRONG!! (0+ / 0-)

    This is a losing issue here.  Arguing against torture is a loser.  Does anyone here really think that the American people give two shits if we waterboard these fuckers?  After we have all seen those animals, and that's what they are, cutting off heads and mutilating soldiers bodies, there is absolutely no sympathy in this country for them.  When a person is asked whether they support torture, their answer is of course, no.  Everyone wants to be seen as a compassionate and thinking person.  But go out and talk to people after they see or hear about a beheading and the conversation is quite different.  If you think that arguing for fair trials and rights for these people is a winning political strategy, you're an idiot.  It's that simple.  Republicans will paint us as weak and the voters will agree.  

    •  Spot on! Thank you (0+ / 0-)

      My goodness, this whole debate is so incredibly wonkish that John and Mary Mortgage won't give two shits about.  'Geneva Conventions?'  Who are we kidding?  Again, how many NON-LAWYERS even know what the Geneva conventions are?  More importantly, even if they did, would they even CARE?  

      Give it up - NOW.  

      We've got a couple of independents in the suburbs, both have jobs, put the kids to bed and flip on CNN.  They see tons of violence in Iraq, they see the mutilated bodies and say 'yes...war is indeed hell.'  

      And, then they think 'all's fair in love and war.'

      They turn out the lights and go to bed.

      If ANYONE thinks that debating for fair trials and the rights of foreigners is even going to REGISTER a second thought with John and Mary Mortgage...then YES...Democrats ARE OUT OF TOUCH.

      It's the economy stupid.  Simple.  Straight to the point.  And, it resonated.  And, there were results.

      'Unfair trials for POWS!'  Somehow isn't (a) going to get people to the polls and (b) going to get independents to vote Democrat.

  •  Isn't it obvious to anyone else??? (0+ / 0-)

    The Washington Post is the Al Jazeera of Bushco.

    I don't know if I am giving too much credit to Woodward, but I have to believe he has something to do with it.

    I have tried, in the past, asking others here to stop using or referring to the Post as a reliable source--try Reuters.  I think I am beginning to understand why my pleas are just: the Post, all too often, lends legitimacy to whatever ridiculous talking point Bushco wants to talk about. In other words, the editors and writers are giving cover to their lies.  

  •  McCain this morning said (0+ / 0-)

    That the President 'understood' and signed the law passed by the Senate against 'torture'--of course McCain didn't mention that 'signing statement' of Bush's that he doesn't intend to abide by it since he is the 'decider'

    McCain also called the reference to the Geneva Conventions 'curious' and he has to 'study' it.

    He also said that the Congress will work with the executive branch to find out there 'needs' and set up what Bush's needs.

  •  McJoan--Excellent analysis! (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you for this diary. :)

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