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The idea is to merge two existing policies in a manner that makes all parties happy ...

There has been a lot of debate recently re: GITMO detainees, the diaper bomber, and so forth.  Do we give them due process and US Citizen rights or treat them as enemy combatants?  At the same time we have been using predator drones to kill Al Quada at a record pace (more in Obama's first 9 months than all 8 years of Bush) -- and while killing 41 terrorists, we also killed 500+ civilians, including women and children, all without due process.  So here is my plan:

  1. Station a predator drone over the desert in Afganastan
  1. Release all the detainees in to the desert.  Give them buses to leave in.
  1. Confirm that hundreds of suspected terrorist are on the loose in Afganastan using imagery from the drones
  1. Blow the buses up with Hellfire missles fired from the drone

This has significant merit.  First, those concerned with violating their civil rights while detained will no longer be concerned, we are setting them free!  Deficit hawks will love it, we save hundreds of millions not having to try them in NYC or housing them.  GITMO haters will party all night, we can finally close the place.  Obama will love it -- he can really improve his street cred in the anti-terrorist venue by claiming to have killed not 10 times more than Bush, but instead 150 times as much as Bush. The networks will love it -- think of the lovely video they can show of the squirters.  Humanitarians will love it because usually when we use the drones to kill terrorist we also kill an average of 12 innocent civilians (including women and children) -- this attack would kill no innocent civilians.  Well, maybe a few, but certainly less than usual. The intelligence community will certainly be behind it because they will be able to provide immediate actionable intelligence on hundreds of dangerous potential terrorists, something they have not been doing well recently. And right wingers will love it because the terrorist will be, well, dead.  Truly bipartisan.

Last, but not least, it will add more credibility to the notion that while they are in custody they have rights and are entitled to due process ... which is really inconvenient ... but that if they are not in custody we may kill them, their children, their parents, their friends, all with impunity and without due process.

All future captured suspected terrorists could be handled the same way.  Set them free in Afganastan.  Then kill them with a predator drone.

Eventually we will begin to realize some cost-cutting measures.  We will understand that there is no reason to waste a Hellfire missle or launch a drone.  We can set them free and immediately shoot them.  Then we will realize we can save even more money if we don't bother killing them in foreign countries ... we can set them free wherever they are, and simply shoot them where they stand.  Finally we can save all that and shoot them in their cells.

This is satire -- to make a point about the obvious conflict of values that lets us kill Al Qaeda from the sky without due process, but insist upon the strictest due process for captive Al Qaeda.  Even American citizens can be killed just for being suspects.  No trial.  No interogation.  Just kill.  In order to kill 41 terrorists we killed over 500 civilians including women and children.  Somehow this country needs to decide -- are we in a war?  If so, kill them with drones, capture and interrogate them, hold them indefinitely without trial until the war is over, etc.  If they are common criminals, treat them as such -- don't do anything without due process, use civlian courts, and otherwise give them full rights.

Doing otherwise sends mixed messages and makes us look weak and unprincipled.

Originally posted to flash spyder on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:23 PM PST.

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