A Level Gaze

"What effect must it have on a nation if it learns no foreign languages? Probably much the same as that which a total withdrawal from society has upon an individual."
--G.C. Lichtenberg



Links


New Email Address! levelgaze@gmail.com

Blogs

NoWarBlog

The Lefty Directory

The Agonist
aintnobaddude
alicublog
Alas, a Blog
Altercation
Ambivalent Imbroglio
AmericaBlog
American Street
Amygdala
Anger Management
Angry Bear
Armed Liberal
Bad Attitudes
Barney Gumble
Bartcop
Beyond Corporate
Billmon
Blah3
Body and Soul
Booman Tribune
Brad DeLong
Busy Busy Busy
Buzzflash
By Neddie Jingo
Calculated Risk
CalPundit
Chase me ladies
Chris Nelson
Contested Terrrain
Cooped Up
Conceptual Guerilla
corrente
Counterspin
Crooked Timber
Daily Howler
Daily Kos
Decembrist
Demosthenes
Driftglass
D-Squared Digest
Electrolite
Eschaton
Ethel
Ezra Klein
Fafblog!
Fanatical Apathy
Firedoglake
First Draft
Fistful of Euros
get donkey!
Globblog
The Hamster
Here's What's Left
Horowitz Watch
Housing Bubble
Hullabaloo
Intl News
Istanblog
James Wolcott
Jesus' General
Juan Cole
Junius
Lean Left
Left Coast Breakdown
Letter from Gotham
Liberal Oasis
MacDiva
MadKane
Mahablog
Majikthise
Making Light
Marginal Revolution
Mark Kleiman
Matthew Yglesias
MaxSpeak
Media Whores Online
Michael Finley
Michael Froomkin
MyDD
My Left Wing Nathan Newman
Off the Kuff
Oliver Willis
Orcinus
Pandagon
Pen-Elayne
Pfaffenblog
PLA
The Poor Man
R.B. Ham
Raed in the Middle
Ragout
Raw Story
ReachM High Cowboy
Rittenhouse Review
The Road to Surfdom
Roger Ailes
Rude Pundit
Ruminate This
Seeing the Forest
Seize the Fish
Self Made Pundit
Sideshow
Sirotablog
Sisyphus Shrugged
Skippy
Slacktivist
South Knox Bubba
Steve Gilliard
Talking Points Memo
Talk Left
The Talking Dog
Tapped
TBogg
Ted Barlow
Testify!
Thinking It Through
Through the Looking Glass
TNR Online
Tres Producers
TRR
Two Tears in a Bucket
uggabugga
Unknown News
Vaara
Wampum
War Liberal
Winning Argument
Wonkette
WTF Is It Now


General Interest

BBC News
The Economist
Metafilter
RealPolitik
Robot Wisdom



Bob. A damn fine comic.

Archives


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Wednesday, August 14, 2002
 
The point behind the abrogation of rights of "enemy combatants" is this: if you have enemy combatants, it is presumed you're at war, and have better things to do than dig up lawyers, convene trials, and go through all the niceties of constitutional courtroom procedure. It's also presumed that, until recently, the guy in the brig was on the other side of a battlefield with a bunch of other guys, all of them shooting at you. That is the difference between battlefield law and 'normal' law. Nothing else has changed. Not the nature of truth, the means of getting at it, nor the means of avoiding falsehood. All of which are pretty well provided for in our 'normal' legal system, should one be interested in getting at the truth.

It is considered barbaric to kill off prisoners of war, or even to treat them badly. For the grave offense of taking up arms against our country, we punish enemy combatants in actual wars with...nothing. Just imprisonment until the end of the war or a swap of prisoners, and that's it. Notice is taken of the honor of fighting for one's country, even if it is against our own, and the prisoners are released. We go to war with a country, a government; we do not assign the blame for instigating or perpetuating it to the individual soldiers. Kill them on the battlefield until your heart's content, but when they surrender, they become POWs.

Our government has been careful to refer to those captured in the War on Terrorism as "detainees," and not prisoners of war, to avoid the strictures of the Geneva Convention, to allow the prisoners to be held incommunicado, without hearings or trials, indefinitely. Apparently, all the evidence it takes to do so is a two-page letter from "a special advisor to the undersecretary of defense for policy." In such letters, it is to be assumed, facts are self-evident, and not in need of corroboration. If I'm sitting and minding my own business here in New York and they come for me and throw me into a cell, all that needs to happen is for someone to call me an enemy combatant, and it's over. I'm as good as dead, and my family may never find out what happened to me. As Judge Doumar pointed out, there's nothing stopping the feds from putting Hamdi in a vat of boiling oil.

If we assume that Hamdi, Padilla and the rest are, in fact, "enemy combatants," then we have no right to punish them at all. The Taliban has been defeated, and under international law they are to be released. If they are not, then they are entitled to the rights and protections guaranteed in the United States Constitution. It's as simple as that.