Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

GTMO: The Lawyers Want A Debate

In the wake of Hamdan it's been curious watching the lawyers appeal to confusion. There is a simple answer: Make a decision and lead.

Guantanamo and Hamdan has sparked a debate among the lawyers: What is to be done, how will the prisoners be treated, who shall make the rules, what is Congress to do, and will this be proper for the Executive?

Always leave it to a lawyer to create confusion, not lawfully solve a problem.

* * *

It's time for the lawyers to stop asking questions; and time for the leadership to start making decisions. Shockingly (sarcasm), the Americans refuse to set a deadline to lead.

The way forward is for the Congress and Executive to cease the debate, and simply defer to the excerpts: The Judge Advocate Generals:

  • How will the prisoners be treated

  • What is to be done with Guantanamo

  • What do we need to do to fully comply with Geneva

  • How do we conduct fair trials for the world

    * * *

    The real problem is that Americans have no evidence to justify detaining those they've accused. There can be no public trial because the evidence does not exist. Who will want to admit that, for this long, they've detained anyone without evidence?

    Rather than have a trial and reveal the lack of evidence, this Congress wants to imprison Americans based on accusations, not evidence.

    Hamdan reminds us that Geneva applies, not simply to those accused, but also to civilians.

    It is time to take a broader view of the proposed legislation that will target Americans based on accusations, not evidence Ref: It is time to seek international assistance, and get adult supervision to remind the Americans that American civilians are to be protected, and entitled to fair treatment, as disgusting as that might sound to the small minded ones in the Republican Party and Department of (In)Justice.

    * * *

    We've had this many years since 2001 for the JAGs to speak out on how prisoners were to be treated. Five years later, the Supreme Court magically waves its wand telling us what we already knew: The law applies.

    Perhaps if the weather is favorable, the Congress might comprehend that the Geneva Conventions, as a treaty obligation, applies to American civilians.

    Then again, perhaps Americans after being detained and stripped of their rights might comprehend what the Iraqis have had to endure: Arrogance.

    Is it wrong to speak about illegal activity, especially when the Congress openly debates the possibility of abrogating the US Constitution, and making excuses to inflict abuses on Americans which Hamdan rebuked as to prisoners of war?

    The real issue is the Americans want to find someone to kick around. The Supreme Court said that prisoners cannot be abused. The arrogant Americans can always do it to their fellow citizens as they render them abroad, unwilling to admit what they are doing: Violating Geneva, and violating the Constitution.

    Oh, did I say that?

    * * *

    The way forward in Guantanamo is to strictly apply the Geneva Conventions, and treat the prisoners as if they were prisoners of war (which they are), then let the world see that Americans can do what they are otherwise unwilling to do at home: Assert the rule of law, follow procedures, and demonstrate civility to others.

    It is too late to debate whether someone should or should not be treated in a manner that fully embraces the Geneva Conventions, and exceeds the requirements. If this standard is not something Americans are willing to demonstrate, the time to have decided to “not assent to this requirement” was in 2001, when the first decision was made: Whether we will engage in war or prosecute.

    Perhaps Congress might comprehend civility when it is forced to be civil and openly debates its contempt for the Constitutional requirements. They are there to check power, not explain away their love of tyranny with non-debate.

    Some topics of debate, however protected, or a refusal to debate should be used as a sign of whether someone is not serious about their oath of office. This government likes to make adverse inferences about innocent Americans; it’s time Americans reciprocate and make adverse inferences about the guilty-until-proven innocent Members of Congress.

    There's no reason to have a debate on Guantanamo, this will merely ask the world to believe that the Conventions are discrentionary. Rather, the real debate should be on whether Americans are serious about practicing democracy at home as they would like the world to believe they once wanted in Iraq.

    It's one thing to talk about it, quite another to do it. Then we can consider the results. Every two years, we can find another crew. We can send others to Congress to make sausaage.

    Congress looks at American civilians as something that can be treated like discretionary animal parts. Should Congress be so lucky to enjoy such acclaim.