Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Nothing but Heartaches" by the Supremes

by Rick Francona

No, it’s not the 1965 hit single by the Motown recording group, but a potentially disastrous recent ruling of the United States Supreme Court (Boumediene v Bush). This creative interpretation of the law in effect gives enemy combatants captured in the act of fighting American troops on a battlefield halfway around the world the same rights in federal courts as American citizens.

This is the court's third attempt to hamstring the American military in the fight against terrorism. In 2004’s Rasul v Bush, they ruled that U.S. laws did apply to detainees held at Guantanamo. Although the treaty with Cuba over Guantanamo Bay grants the United States "complete jurisdiction" over the base while Cuba has "ultimate sovereignty,” the court found that Guantanamo was "effectively part of the United States." I wonder if they ran that by Fidel Castro?

In 2006, they sided with Usamah bin Ladin’s former driver, declaring in their review of Hamdan v Rumsfeld that the military commissions proposed by the Department of Defense did not have Congressional approval and were thus an insufficient means of determining the status of individual detainees. In direct response to the court’s recommendation, Congress enacted legislation establishing the military commissions to remedy that finding.

Surprisingly, Congress doing specifically what the court suggested was not enough. In this recent ruling, five of the justices decided that stateless fanatic zealots determined to kill Americans with impunity anywhere in the world, are entitled to challenge their detention in U.S. federal court using the right of habeas corpus - just like the American citizens they were trying to murder. This is the same syndrome that we saw with the Clinton administration - treat terrorists like criminals. The strategy then was to arrest them and try them in court instead of hunting them down and killing them. On September 11, 2001, we saw how well that strategy worked.

What's next? "Mirandize" all detainees? Extend the same protections to enemy prisoners of war? Conduct interrogations only in the presence of counsel? Allow law suits against the soldiers who detain terrorists? We are creating a potential no-win situation for our field commanders.

I see two solutions here:

- Declare the detainees to be enemy prisoners of war, afford them the Geneva Accords protections they are already receiving, and hold them until the war is over. No commissions, no hearings.

- Take no more al-Qa'idah/Taliban prisoners.

Pick one - either works for me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"Operation Inform Our Soldiers" – A disgrace

by Rick Francona

An organization calling itself The Resistance, self-described as a Christian media watch dog group, has launched a program named “Operation Inform Our Soldiers.”

According to information on their website, "America is to blame for the 9/11 attacks." Organization founder Mark Dice also claims the "9/11 attacks were aided by corrupt U.S. officials for political purposes."

Dice goes on to state that many - he cites an implausible number of 24 percent which I think he made up - U.S. Marines and soldiers believe that 9/11 was an inside job, but are "afraid to speak up out of fear of punishment.”

Okay, here's another conspiracy believer. I tend to summarily dismiss anyone who believes the theory that the attacks on the World Trade Center were in reality explosive charges planted by the U.S. government and that the Pentagon was struck by a missile instead of a hijacked aircraft. The evidence that 19 Arab Muslim young men, 15 of whom were Saudis, led by Egyptian Muhammad 'Atta, were responsible for the outrage of September 11, 2001 is overwhelming. Not only is the evidence virtually undeniable, the organization to which all 19 perpetrators belonged took credit for the attacks. All of the hijackers prepared videotapes to be played after their deaths.

Mr. Dice - wake up. They did it. We didn't.

That said, Mr. Dice, you have the right to believe whatever you like, and thanks to the efforts of the American servicemen you are targeting with this ridiculous campaign, you have the right to say whatever you like. What you are really saying to the servicemen is not (as you claim) to ask the question of their superiors if 9/11 was an inside job, what you are trying to do is foment dissent in the ranks.

These young men and women know why they are in Iraq. Virtually all of them have volunteered to serve in the armed forces after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. They do not believe your drivel. They have better things to do than be distracted by your efforts to hurt the country.

Freedom of speech is one thing – trying to subvert American troops serving in a combat zone is another. Mark Dice is a disgrace.

Email Mark Dice and tell him what you think.