Japan Attacks America:
At 7:53 AM on December 7, 1941, Japan launched a barbaric, gruesome, bloody attack on Pearl Harbor that left 2,403 Americans dead and 1,178 wounded. Three hours later, Japan began a day-long attack on American facilities in the Philippines that left 77 Americans dead and 148 wounded.
Japan's "Scorched Earth Policy:"
The Japanese soldiers in WWII were merciless, brutal fighters who fought under the "Three All's Policy" which is dubbed as the Scorched Earth Policy: Kill All, Burn All, Loot All ... and that is exactly what the Japanese did to their enemy. Japan's original military plan was "The Burn to Ash Strategy." And, that is the military strategy they used at Pearl Harbor: Kill All and Burn All. Under the Scorched Earth Policy, Japanese soldiers killed/murdered an estimated 2.7million civilians.
Japanese POW Who Attacked Pearl Harbor:
The very first prisoner of war captured by American forces was Japanese Ensign
Kazuo Sakamaki, who was the commander of a Japanese submarine that participated in the bloody attack on Pearl Harbor. Japan surrendered on September 2, 1945 and the United States released and repatriated Sakamaki back to Japan as soon as the war was over.
Can you imagine how today's GOP would completely freak out at the thought of releasing and repatriating the Japanese "terrorist," Sakamaki, who killed Americans at Pearl Harbor? Today's GOP most likely would have called General MacArthur, who was in charge of releasing and repatriating Japanese POWs, a "Communist" lover or an "Unpatriotic" so-and-so for making damn sure all Japanese POWs were release.
Japanese soldiers were not a more gentler or kinder enemy than today's "terrorists." The Japanese engaged in: chemical warfare, massacre of civilian villages, torture, executed allied prisoners, cannibalism, forced labor, human experimentation where subjects were victim to vivisection and amputations without anesthesia ... yet we released and repatriated Japanese POWs without any fearmongering and without any bitching from the US Congress.
What will the GOP do and say when the Afghan war ends this year? Will their heads explode? Will they abide by our ratified Treaty? Will they demand repeal of our ratified Treaty?
Due to the technical and legal nature of this diary, I contacted Colonel Morris Davis and one of Col. Davis' thoughts on the bizarre GOP reaction of the release of five Gitmo POWs in exchange for an American POW is that the GOP are simply trying to keep Gitmo as their political football -- a football they've used for years.
Col DAVIS: [S]ome members of Congress have used Guantanamo and detention for political reasons that have little if anything to do with what the law requires or what's in the genuine interest of U.S. national security.
Yes they have. But, are those same members of Congress willing to blatantly violate international law and violate US Treaties when the Afghan war ends?
Congressional Authorization of the Afghan War
The US Congress authorized the Afghan war via the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) under S.J Res 23 which authorized the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001. The US Congress has never authorized a "war" directed at multiple terrorists groups around the world that may never end.
Today's GOP, and some Democrats, are under the false delusion that "terrorists" captured during the Iraq and Afghan war are not guaranteed rights under III Geneva Convention Treaty and are not guaranteed rights under the US Constitution. Colonel Davis explained to me the lengths President Bush and VP Dick Cheney went to in their attempt to bypass III Geneva.
Col. DAVIS: President Bush said the Geneva Conventions did not apply to our conflict in Afghanistan with al Qaeda and the Taliban, although he said we would act consistent with Geneva's obligations. That's one reason his administration came up with the term "alien unlawful enemy combatant" for the Guantanamo detainees. That is not a term that appears in the Geneva Conventions and it was crafted to avoid the rights and duties afforded POWs under the Geneva Conventions.
So, when Bush/Cheney attempted to bypass Geneva, they cleverly labeled our prisoners of war as "alien unlawful enemy combatant
" for two purposes:
1) to deny repatriation of the prisoners and
2) to force the prisoners to face charges of war crimes in US Military Tribunals.
Isn't that ironic? Two un-indicted war criminals, Bush and Cheney, wanting prisoners of war to face charges of war crimes.
In listening to the blathering BS coming out of the mouths of today's GOP, it is my opinion that they want the People to forget that the US Supreme Court ruled that prisoners at Gitmo do ... do ... have Constitutional rights.
In Boumediene v. Bush (2008), the US Supreme Court ruled that foreign detainees held by the United States, including those at Guantanamo Bay detention camp, did have the right of habeas corpus under the US constitution, as the US had sole authority at the Guantanamo Bay base. SCOTUS held that the 2006 Military Commissions Act was an unconstitutional suspension of that right.
At the end of World War II, the United States and allies released and repatriated Japanese prisoners of war (POWs). There were over six million Japanese that needed repatriation so General MacArthur divided into repatriation into four phases.
The first phase: covered the initial period from 14 September 1945 to 28 February 1946. United States manned ships were used to ship Japanese back to Japan. Evacuation from United States controlled areas in the Western Pacific was given priority.
The second phase: 1 March to 15 July 1946, United States owned ships were made available to the Japanese to augment their own meager resources in shipping;
The third phase: covered the period from 16 July 1946 to 19 December 1946.
The fourth phase: cover the period after 19 December 1946 and was completed by October 1947.
~ Reports of General MacArthur, Chapter VI -OVERSEAS REPATRIATION MOVEMENTS. Prepared by General MacArthur's staff
I cannot imagine the names today's GOP would call General MacArther for allowing United States ships be used to send "terrorist" Japanese POWs back to Japan.
Colonel Morris Davis explained release and repatriation of POWs this way:
Col. DAVIS: The practice that has evolved over the past four centuries recognizes the legitimate right to prevent captured enemy combatants from participating further in the conflict, but facilitating the return to peace when the war ends.
That means that at the end of the Afghanistan war (this year) the United States must, by law, release and repatriate all POWs held at Guantanamo Bay and other allied POW/detainee camps around the world, regardless of how scared some members of Congress are of those POWs.
However, Col. Davis is concerned about the way in which the United States will conduct their legal obligation to the POWs held at Gitmo and other allied detention/POW camps.
Col. DAVIS: The war in Afghanistan has been cited regularly as the legal basis for indefinite detention and when it ends it should trigger the duty to release and repatriate those that are not being held with a view towards criminal prosecution. Some argue that the war the U.S. is fighting has morphed since it began in 2001 from an effort focused solely on Osama Bin Laden and al Qaeda in Afghanistan to one directed at multiple terrorists groups around the world that may never end. Under that open-ended view, in theory someone could be detained for a lifetime. The Obama administration seems to be making efforts to wind down Guantanamo, so perhaps the legal limits of law of war detention won't be tested in court, but if not then there's likely to be more years of litigation and ultimately the Supreme Court may get to decide where the lines are drawn.
After WWII, the Japanese POWs who were charged with war crimes were not tried in US Military tribunals but rather were tried in international military tribunals. Article VI of the US Constitutions requires the United States Congress abide by all ratified Treaties as "supreme law of the land"
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and 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.
Since the Iraq war is over and Afghan war is ending, it seem rather illegal and unprecedented for any member of the U.S. Congress to demand the United States keep POWs detained indefinitely just because some members of Congress are "scared" of the POWs. However, Col. Davis poses a very good question that I am not able to answer.
Col. DAVIS: We have relied on general law of war authority to detain the enemy, which is accepted as customary international law. Many dispute the propriety of doing so, but to date our courts have accepted that argument in some of the habeas challenges they've considered. Whether we can continue to do so after the war that served as the basis for our law of war justification ends remains to be seen, but the big question is who is going to tell us we can't and who can make us stop?
Great question ... who will force the United States Congress to "make us" follow our own GD laws that mandate the release and repatriation of POWs at the end of the Afghan war?
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