Newsweek got it right.

(UPDATED TWICE)

Last Wednesday, the 18th, Scott McClellan said this about Newsweek, There has been some lasting damage that has been done to our image… and it’s going to take some work to repair that damage.

Today the FBI released a report from one of their agents that says, About five months ago, the guards beat the detainees. They flushed a Koran in the toilet.

I’m tired today.. didn’t get enough sleep.. so forgive my punchyness. But this kind of shit makes me really angry. I’m angry that people keep believing in people who are so obviously lying. I was watching the Rochester, NY (NBC?) digital channel last night and they showed Bush entering a hall to the cheers of the audience. Why the hell are they cheering this guy? HE is responsible for Guantanamo Bay. HE is responsible for the Koran flushing down the toilet. HE is responsible for those 15 lives that were lost in riots in Afghanistan.

And yet he does nothing… worse… he only continues the trend. And people applaud him for doing so.

Oh and by the way, Amnesty International released its’ annual report today. They have some predictably choice words for the US Administrations current disdain for Human Rights.

President Bush’s refusal to apply the Geneva Conventions to those captured during the international armed conflict in Afghanistan and transferred to the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was challenged by a judicial decision in November. The ruling resulted in the suspension of trials by military commission in Guantánamo, and the government immediately lodged an appeal. The US administration’s treatment of detainees in the “war on terror” continued to display a marked ambivalence to the opinion of expert bodies such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and even of its own highest judicial body. Six months after the Supreme Court ruled that the federal courts had jurisdiction over the Guantánamo detainees, none had appeared in court. Detainees reportedly considered of high intelligence value remained in secret detention in undisclosed locations. In some cases their situation amounted to “disappearance”.

Who’s going to be left to clean up the disaster that 4 more years of George Bush will create?

UDPATE

Here’s the transcript of summaries provided by the FBI through the ACLU.

LT-Smash has again challenged me on my assertion that Newsweek got it right. I ask him, and others. In Journalism accusations of wrongdoing are often the basis of the news. This case is no different.

Until there is an investigation that proves this one way or the other, the Pentagon and Administration can deny it all they want, but it’s just a matter of “he said/she said” for now.

The scandal is that the US Administration refuses to investigate it at all… the scandal is that these detainees at Guantanamo have been denied their rights under the Geneva Conventions the US Supreme Court deems that to be wrong (as mentioned in the BBC article above).

The Link above to the ACLU has one summary that states:

Notes that REDACTED “accused Pakistani Police with giving him electric shocks and U.S. troops of beating him. . . . REDACTED lied to the interrogators in Kandahar because he felt that if he didn’t say what the interrogators wanted, they would continue to beat him. REDACTED was then shown a photograph of himself taken in Kandahar and asked to point out where any bruises or signs of a beating were located. REDACTED then admitted to lying about the beatings.”

So now that he’s admitted about lying about the beatings I’m supposed to automatically believe that he was lying about the Koran as well? No, not when I see this in an ABC report (also linked by Smash).

In January 2003, the military issued a three-page written guideline for handling a detainee’s Quran, including a stipulation that it should be handled “as if it were a fragile piece of delicate art,” and that it not be placed in “offensive areas such as the floor, near the toilet or sink, near the feet or dirty/wet areas.”

(the abuse allegedly happened in 2002, I wonder why they mentioned a toilet specifically?)

and this from an earlier ABC report that Smash sent me in an email.

While the guards held him, she removed her blouse, embraced the detainee from behind and put her hand on his genitals. The interrogator was on her menstrual period and she wiped blood from her body on his face and head,” the memo stated.

A similar incident was described in a recent book written by a former Guantanamo interrogator.

Are they going to accuse the interrogator of lying as well?

The honest thing to do here would be for the Administration to launch a full, independant investigation by an NGO like, say, the ICRC (because it *is* their job after all). Of course, if you listen to Smash and friends you’ll hear that the ICRC is obviously biased because all they care about is all those lefties who only care about avoding wars and “demoralizing” the troops and that the US Administration can obviously police itself.

What the past 3 years has taught me is that the US Administration is far from capable in that regard.

UPDATE 2

In response to Smashs’ response in the comments.

I would appreciate it if you would refrain from putting words in my mouth. For instance, I never said anything like:

“the ICRC is obviously biased because all they care about is all those lefties who only care about avoding wars and “demoralizing” the troops and that the US Administration can obviously police itself.”

The ICRC is, in fact, allowed access to prisoners at Guantanamo. They provide feedback on the conditions to the US Gov’t. They have played this role in conflicts around the globe for almost 100 years now. I might not agree with everything they say, but I appreciate the vital services they perform. Who knows, I might need them on my side one day.

Fine. I retract that statement for you personally as you never said it verbatim. However it was mainly directed at the responses that I knew I would get from your readers and from others. And since you chose to attack me personally, I did the same.. I should not have. The ICRC, while commending the efforts to allow them unfettered access still considers the prisoners legal status unacceptable. You can read this report from one of the ICRC reps who went to Gitmo for yourself.

The problem is that the ICRC only communicates to Govt agencies. It does not reveal its’ findings to the public. This is for good reason… however, when things get crazy like they have after the Newsweek article and after the photos at Abu Graib, a completely open and transparent investigation is the only thing that’s going to fix the problem and de-politicize the situation.

If the US let in Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International or Human Rights First (formerly Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) to investigate and report publicly then we wouldn’t be having this “he said she said” problem. We would know, and have access to, the truth. Unfortunately, they refused during the Gitmo trials and they have continued to refuse to this day.

Instead, the US Administration simply denies it and hopes that it goes away. Which will never work… and only adds to the problem and perception of guilt.

The FBI report is not a fully open investigation. It has no names. It doesn’t say what was actually said in the entire interrogation. And it had to be obtained specifically through a Freedom of Information request.

34 thoughts on “Newsweek got it right.”

  1. Chris — you’re wrong again … better go check out SMASH’s site today and see why.

    BTW, George W. Bush is cleaning up the mess created by FIVE DECADES of following your views … so I can cut him a little slack for what minor messes he’s made in doing so.

  2. Rich.

    What do you see different about these two statements?

    From Newsweek:

    “interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur’an down a toilet “

    From the FBI Report:

    one detainee is quoted as saying of his guards during an interrogation by an FBI special agent on July 22, 2002. “About five months ago the guards beat the detainees. They flushed a Quran in the toilet.””

    Explain to me exactly how that negates the Newsweek story. And no, denials from Pentagon officials doesn’t cut it. It’s their word against his… you can chose to believe either or.

  3. That’s right! Keep repeating any wild charge that the savages spew, because you just KNOW that the u.s. is an evil nation, that W. is lying to you (thereby accounting for that confused worldview you wake up with every day), and that it is YOUR job to keep the bullshit flowing. Nervermind that the cavemen were trained to make just this kind of charge in case of capture knowing that lefty douchbags in the press would pant after the chance to slander the u.s.
    Keep talking baby. Every time you open your hole, the Republicans party gets larger.
    Fucking lefty bullshit.

  4. Chris,

    Have you ever tried to flush a Koran let alone any book the size of a Koran down a crapper?? Simply geometry says it won’t fit.

    Try again.

  5. Rick.

    So then why don’t you call on the US Administration to launch a fully independant and completely open investigation so that we can know the truth.

    Hmm? Or are you afraid you won’t like the result?

    Mikey.

    Your right, and when you give someone a swirly does their head actually get sucked down the toilet bowl?

    That’s not the point buddy.

  6. So what is the point Chris?

    You state that “Newsweek got it right.” Yet fail to offer any proof.

    I love how you want to beleive everything suspected and known terrorists say, yet can’t extend the same towards our own people.

    What you fail to grasp, is that incidents like these happen under EVERY US administration. It doesn’t matter whether it is Republican or Democrat. Does that make it right? No.

    But, why the f**k should I care about what happens to someone’s little Religion book, when people in my own country are pissing on mine?

  7. Chris,

    I would appreciate it if you would refrain from putting words in my mouth. For instance, I never said anything like:

    “the ICRC is obviously biased because all they care about is all those lefties who only care about avoding wars and “demoralizing” the troops and that the US Administration can obviously police itself.”

    The ICRC is, in fact, allowed access to prisoners at Guantanamo. They provide feedback on the conditions to the US Gov’t. They have played this role in conflicts around the globe for almost 100 years now. I might not agree with everything they say, but I appreciate the vital services they perform. Who knows, I might need them on my side one day.

    The Koran guidelines were issued by the Pentagon in response to complaints by the prisoners. Think about that for a moment. The military is under no obligation to provide religious reading material to captured enemy combatants. The easy way to respond to the inmates’ complaints would be to take away the Korans. Instead, the Pentagon issued guidelines on how to avoid offending the religious sensibilities of violent, dangerous men who would kill their captors if they ever got the chance.

    But some of the prisoners tore out pages from their own holy book, and used them to stop up the toilets in an attempt to start a cell-block riot.

    That says it all, really.

  8. SoupNazzi.

    Because the US Administration is the one detaining these people. Because the US Administration is the one that created a camp that, according to the ICRC and Amnesty International your own US Supreme Court flies in the face of Geneva Conventions.
    Because at Abu Graib there were pictures of the atrocities that took place… so why wouldn’t that happen at Gitmo?
    Because in the end it doesn’t matter if the accusation is true or not… the mere accusation was enough to spark riots and now it is up to the US Administration to prove that accusation false.
    Because if Gitmo was like a regular prison inside the United States we would actually be able to verify the claim.

    I don’t believe everything terrorists say.. the FBI report says outright that he admitted to lying… I believe that. But that doesn’t negate the accusation that he made before.

    I’m sure the US Army videotapes those interrogations and everything that goes on at Gitmo.

    Where are the tapes? Why don’t we look at them… audio turned off to “protect national security”… and just see if that Quran was flushed?

    You said,
    But, why the f**k should I care about what happens to someone’s little Religion book, when people in my own country are pissing on mine?

    Because you are better than those people who are pissing on yours.

  9. First off, where do you think the FBI report you’re quoting came from? Prehaps from an investigation of some kind?

    Secondly, even IF Newsweek got it right it would be a case of “right horse, wrong barn”. In other words, total dumb luck. Their process in the story was crap and just a likely to result in a wrong story as a right one.

  10. Smash:

    Fine. I retract that statement for you personally as you never said it. However it was mainly directed at the responses that I knew I would get from your readers and from others. The ICRC, while commending the efforts to allow them unfettered access still considers the prisoners legal status unacceptable. You can read this report from one of the ICRC reps who went to Gitmo for yourself.

    The problem is that the ICRC only communicates to Govt agencies. It does not reveal its’ findings to the public. This is for good reason… HOWEVER, when things get crazy like they have after the Newsweek article and after the photos at Abu Graib, a completely open and transparent investigation is the only thing that’s going to fix the problem and de-politicize the situation.

    If the US let in Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International or Human Rights First (formerly Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) to investigate and report publicly then we wouldn’t be having this “he said she said” problem. We would know, and have access to, the truth.

    Instead, the US Administration simply denies it and hopes that it goes away. Which will never work.

  11. Chris,
    Seriously, are we supposed to believe that you give a damn what happens to these people? What, 99.99999% of the people in the world live in conditions infinitely worse than the savages we have locked up at gitmo? Did I miss your hand wringing for them? Face the truth. The only reason you, or your buddies at newsweek bring this up is to get a cheap backshot in at the president and the military. I don’t care what happens to the TERRORISTS in the cages down there, as long as they are not free to go back to head-chopping, (you know, the part where they murder you, me, and everyone you know because we are not muslim fanatics)

  12. Chrisale,

    Sorry, but your “he said/she said” defense of Newsweek does not hold water. If someone makes an accusation, and then cannot back it up, the person accused is not responsible for proving the accuser wrong.

    Example:

    Me: Chrisale is a die-hard terrorist sympathizer who uses his blog to transmit to information to Al Queda and other terrorist groups.

    You: That’s Outrageous! Slander! Where is your proof?

    Me: I had a witness who did not deny you were doing it when I asked them.

    You: So you have no proof?

    Me: Lets just say its “he said/she said”.

    You: What!? That’s bull****!

    Me: Well, why don’t we have someone examine your computer files just to make sure just so we can clear this up.

    You: NO WAY!

    Me: What are you hiding?

    The US military is not responsible for proving itself innocent. Newsweek is responsible for PROVING wrong-doing before publishing same.

    Captain Wrath

  13. Oh, and another thing:

    The reason why things like this never go away is because some people have a vested interest in it never going away, whether it is true or not.

    Do the terrorists and Islamofascists not have a vested interest in perpetuating this story for their own propaganda purposes?

    Do you not even entertain the notion that at least some people who do not support the war or the administration would like to use this story to erode support for either or both, irregardless of the facts?

    Is it even remotely possible that Newsweek might try to keep this story alive in an attempt to repair its damaged reputation?

    Think about it.

    Captain Wrath

  14. Chris, it will be a cold day in Hell before the US Gov’t allows any of the NGOs you listed above to do an “open investigation” of Gitmo or any other US-run facitily. You and I both know that these organizations have no love for President Bush, and will leap at any opportunity to embarass him publicly.

    In fact, AI is now openly calling for half the Bush Administration to be indicted for war crimes. How can we trust them to be unbiased?

    BTW, when did I attack you personally? I openly disagree with what you say, but I’m trying to keep this on an intellectual level. If I crossed the line somewhere, write me off-line and we’ll talk about it.

  15. You’re absolutely right that the US Gov will never allow any NGOs to investigate. Of course, it makes one wonder why those NGOs are so incredibly negative. AI is negative of pretty much everyone… even my beloved Canada has plenty of skeletons in the closet that AI highlighted in their report.

    The difference is, Canadians look at that and expect our government to do better.

    I can’t say the same for many of my American friends, like you.

    As for the personal attack… I’ll email you.

  16. Rick –

    Your comments are unbelievable!

    I don’t care what happens to the TERRORISTS in the cages down there, as long as they are not free to go back to head-chopping, (you know, the part where they murder you, me, and everyone you know because we are not muslim fanatics)

    You are placing alot of belief in your political leaders that all of those being held are in fact terrorists. Has there been a public trial for these individuals? Do they have legal representation? Show me the facts that each of these individuals are indeed terrorists, and still I believe that they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

    Remember, it wasn’t long ago when african americans were persecuted (and yes executed) by white americans (yes probably christians) simply for the reason that they were of different color.

  17. Jim Rutherford,
    Nice throw of the race card, last refuge of the guy with no argument. Unfortunately, race has NOTHING to do with what we are talking about. Check out the skin tones of the people who are fighting and dying to keep guys like you safe.
    What America-haters willfully ignore is that these people want you dead. Your children too. I’m not willing to give the benefit of the doubt to maniacs picked up on battlefields or found doing other terrorist shit, just because I might not like the President. It is simply insane to yell “give everybody a lawyer!” Lecture me about “dignity and respect” after they kill your closest friends and relatives with a dull knife on videotape, or nuke 2 or 3 of your favorite cities, (no more Starbucks). You’ve grown up spoiled, and these guys are hard. That’s the reality of the situation. They laugh their asses off every time some lefty blathers about their “rights”. As far as they are concerned, “right” comes from the barrel of a gun, and “rights” are for jihadis (men only please), not you, infidel.

  18. Rick (aka Chicken-little-the-sky-is-falling),

    My point on race was in reference to your statement regarding ‘because we are not muslim fanatics’). Prejudice is prejudice.

    Anyhow, this ‘Jihad’ is not about race or religion, it is about American foreign policy and a lack of respect for the beliefs and rights of other nations. It is this lack of respect that has created this ‘Jihad’.

    If you are really concerned about nukes and dull knives, lobby your government to stop bullying other nations.

  19. Jim Rutherford,
    The term “Muslim” refers to religion, not race. If you’re going to try to trump people with the race card, perhaps you should lobby YOUR govt. to educate it’s citizens on the difference.
    And really now, is the average proto-jihadi, milling about on the streets of Cairo, Damascus, or Islamabad, or out in the hinterland, really thinking “those guys don’t respect me at the U.N., so even though I’m a peaceful member of a Religion of Peace, I must go blow up a building full of women and children, then machine-gun anyone who tries to help the survivors”? Or do you really using the words “respect” and “bullying” as code for “Joos”? It’s really all the fault of the evil Jews for you, isn’t it? Go ahead, admit it. I promise you’ll feel better once you’ve said it out in the open. After all, prejudice is prejudice. Some are just more “progressive” than others. Right, Jim?

  20. WOW –

    “It’s really all the fault of the evil Jews for you, isn’t it?”

    Never said that – never implied that – it disusts me that you would suggest it.

    I said it’s about American Foreign Policy. Cuba – that has nothing to do with people of Jewish faith. Panama, that has nothing to do with Jewish faith. Taking sides in the Iran/Iraq war – the list goes on…

    Odd though how you seem to keep your noses out of larger countries business. You pick on the lefties in Cuba and VietNam, but you leave China alone. You are appalled at the cruel dictatorship in Iraq and scream about WMD and human rights violations yet you ignore China. You are really a bunch of schoolyard bullies who pick on those smaller than you and hide from those who could really kick your asses.

  21. China can kick our asses? Heh, Heh – very amusing. I don’t think so. Not yet. Besides we are going to be best friends with all Asian countries especially Austrailia, China and India in the coming century. The Pacific is the future. Wake up.

    Try to have a little vision, you self-righteous holier-than-thou-feeble bunch of Canucks. Europe is dying as a world power and is struggling to form a political, economic union that works with very poor results so far. How many more shots in the foot can they take? Have you looked at their economic growth and unemployment rates (France and Germany) lately? Pathetic. The future is Asia and the US. Don’t like it? Tough. Try self-reliance as the foundation of your economic/social policy. It works better than collectivism. And lose the envy, it’s undignified. The more I hear from you lefty Canadians the more of a joke you are.

  22. There you made my point – “we are going to be best friends with all Asian countries” – you simply ignore the human rights violations and a cruel dictatorship in return for economic prosperity. All the power to you.

    I am not an economist, but with the rate that you are shipping out jobs to china and india, it seems that you too will have higher unemployment rates, and the impact that will have on economic growth is hard to see as being positive. In fact in the town I live in (in Canada), Microsoft has a call center that employs over 800 people. That call center was moved from the US. Thanks guys – keep showing us the money!

    BTW – Canada is outperforming all G8 nations in economic growth.

    I am proud to be a lefty. The strength of a society can be measured by how that society takes care of it’s weakest members.

    Nobody’s crashing planes into our buildings. Enough said.

  23. China is evolving. With coming prosperity and education to compete in the world market place, their form of government is doomed. Vision. Vision. Look farther down the road than your next weekend, please. China will develop into a decent society in the coming decades. And it sounds like you advocate that the US start a war with China? Hope you’ve got a safe place to hide if that happens.

    The US economy is in transition but I’ve heard tell that we are also IMPORTING jobs as well. Our economic growth is robust and unemployment is the same now as for most of our industrialized history. Germany and France are thriving at minus 1% growth and double digit unemployment. Tell me does Canada have the population growth rate required to continue paying in the decades to come for your government programs? but I’m glad to hear you’re doing so well. I guess NAFTA has worked for ya’ll.

    “The strength of a society can be measured by how that society takes care of it’s weakest members.”

    I quite agree. There are many misconceptions that you self-righteous lefties enjoy about US society. We take care of our people. We have many state programs and agencies to help the disadvantaged among us. The elderly that have suffered adversity or didn’t make wise choices in life are not dying and starving in the streets here. I have family members that have only SS and have many services to help them in their health concerns paid for by various programs. And other family members who through temporary problems have received complete health care benefits for mother and children through the state. Most of you don’t have a clue as to how we take care of our people because all you read and listen to is anti-American commentary.

    You ought to stop believing all the leftist propaganda about the US. We have a great society and we do take care of our citizens. You’d think we were Calcutta because we don’t have your government health program. We got something better and Canadians come here to get it when they don’t want to wait a year for an operation.

  24. Jim Rutherford,
    Do you speak Russian?
    How about German?
    No? You’re welcome.

    And are you really trying to say that terrorism comes from our relations with Panama? Panama?
    Sorry dude, you’ve either got a terrible dose of small-man’s syndrome, (evidenced by your hatred of any country more powerfull than your own, large club by the way), or you have an even deeper problem. I made the logical conclusion that you, like so many of your lefty pod-mates, are an anti-semite. If that’s not the case, you just keep on talking (as we all know you will) and I’m sure we’ll get to the root cause of your inferiority complex. Or maybe, for once in your life, you could just sit there, sip your latte, keep quiet and learn something.

  25. Rick: Should we Americans treat the Guantanamo detainees the same way we treated the Nazis we put on trial at Nuremburg? If not, why not?

    Jim: Gandhi didn’t resort to terrorism to oppose the British occupation of India. But you seem to be saying that al-Qaida was justified in resorting to terrorism against us. Does U.S. policy differ from British imperialism so starkly as to make terrorism the only way to challenge U.S. policy?

  26. David,

    If only we had as many leaders act as Gandhi did. I am sorry if you think that I support terrorism based on the comments of my post. I certainly do not. My heart goes out to all of those who are victims of terrorist activity anywhere in the world.

    My initial comments were aimed at treatment of the detainees in Guantanamo, and unfortunately my comments lead to a bit of a pissing match.

    I am anti-terrorism and anti-war. Although some wars are just others are not. Americans and Canadians have fought side by side in many just wars. WWI, WWII and more recently in Afganastan.

  27. Jim,

    Where you wrote above: “Anyhow, this ‘Jihad’ is not about race or religion, it is about American foreign policy and a lack of respect for the beliefs and rights of other nations. It is this lack of respect that has created this ‘Jihad’.”

    I thought you were arguing that violent Jihad was a logical response to American policy. I’m glad you agree that, whatever the flaws in U.S. policy, these flaws don’t justify terrorism in reaction.

    Canada and other nations have indeed pulled together with the United States on the vital occasions you cite and will surely do so again. What we need is a debate over the larger framework of international relations and whether the world order needs deeper reform to deal with the proliferation of dangerous weapons.

  28. David B.-
    Interesting question, but the situations seem quite different to me in that these Nazis were uniformed members of a legitimate nations’ armed forces or officials of an absolutely God-awful (though originally freely elected, at least nominally)government. Because of this status, they had the right to be tried in an open court (or show trial, whatever), before they were quite rightly found guilty of war crimes and dragged off for execution of sentence. The uniformed members of the German army who were not judged to have committed atrocities were repatriated. The rank and file Nazis were certainly dogged by their membership in the party, buy there was not a lot of retribution against them, (and some were even used in early post-war govt.). Which brings us to the detainees. These guys are in the Guantanamo slammer because sensibilities have changed. 60 years ago, I believe that anyone found not in uniform, a member of a criminal conspiracy whose aim is murder and world-domination through terror would have been shot on the battlefield pretty much without a second thought. And the few who were captured would have been rigorously interrogated, stood before a battlefield tribunal, sentenced, and then shot. There would not have been any haggling about who was being poopy with whose books etc. There would have been no books, and anyone who opened his hole to complain would have gotten his ass kicked, and been thrown in isolation.
    So, as a comparison, I would say that the major similarity is that both groups have committed horrible attrocities, but legal status, and the times have dictated very different treatment.

  29. David.

    I think it is clear that the world order *does* need deep reform. As I’ve said many times on this blog, the UN in its’ current form simply isn’t working and if We as in the free, democratic nations of the world want to bring about more peace and freedom then we must do so with a clear direction toward effective reform and a new way of doing things.

    I’m not sure what that “way” is… but that at least needs to be the focus of debate.

  30. Rick,

    “So, as a comparison, I would say that the major similarity is that both groups have committed horrible attrocities, but legal status, and the times have dictated very different treatment.”

    The Nuremberg defendants were not entitled to a trial and never demanded one. The point of having the Nuremberg trials was to take away the sovereign immunity the defendants claimed as leaders of a former government.

    A changing climate of public opinion should not affect the legal status of people detained; if it does then legal rights become subject to the passions of the moment and cease to be rights in any meaningful sense. I agree that in choosing to keep captured terrorists alive indefinitely, we have placed them and ourselves in a new situation. What is new is to hold foreign civilians under no law rather than under the laws governing piracy. The legal status of the present detainees is unclear and needs to be resolved.

    The Nuremberg trials were not required to be governed by U.S. law or legal procedure. But they were lawful in the sense that there were standards, people were charged, evidence was presented, and the defendants had a chance to defend themselves. I don’t see why the precedent wouldn’t work in the cases of the present detainees who are charged with terrorist membership and/or violence.

  31. Chris,

    “I’m not sure what that “way” is… but that at least needs to be the focus of debate.”

    The problem I have encountered is not so much disagreement over what to do as disagreement over the conditions in which the question of what to do arises. When people agree as to the facts of a situation, it is usually possible to obtain agreement about what to do. Nearly all of the problems we face today result from factual disagreements, chiefly over whether threats actually exist or are sufficient to require actions that some would like to take against them. This is not a question of what to do but of what the situation itself actually is.

    This problem is why I think it is necessary to step back and start by trying to figure out the big picture in the long run of the next fifty to one hundred years. If some consensus can be reached about the shape of this timeframe, it may be easier to see what needs to be done in the meantime.

  32. David,
    “The point of the Nuremberg trials was to take away the sovereign immunity the defendants claimed as leaders of a former government.”
    That is a legalistic explanation of the post-war trials. That is the route the Allied prosecutors took in explaining to the world, (liberated western Europe, the Allied powers, and most importantly conquered western Germany), their reasons for the show trials following the war. By doing this, they seperated the German people from the attrocities they committed in the name of the Reich in the minds of the victors, the aggresors, and their victims. If you doubt me, look at popular history. The Germans are not named as such, they are referred to as “Nazis” or simply “Hitler”. In this way, much of the hunger for post WWI style vengeance was blunted. Perhaps the Allies saw this as a way to avoid the mistakes which led to National Socialism in the post WWII world.
    So, the point as I see it was to transfer the burden for wartime crimes to the leadership cadre in order to better manage the peace. None of that applies in the case of todays war criminals. In fact, by punishing at the cell level, we show that the burden of responsibility falls onto Islam as a whole, up to and including their leaders, some of whom are already jailed, and the rest of whom cannot be feeling too sanguine as they gaze into the future. In fact, I believe that the only thing which can derail the march to a more peaceful and prosperous future for the Islamic world is the very legalistic cluster f*** which so many of the Bush-haters in our midst are calling for. I say get it over with. These guys at Gitmo are criminals, war criminals if you want to get technical about it. Lock them up for as long as it takes for the Muslim world to come to it’s senses and stop teaching head-chopping as a citizens duty. Leave the legal profession to what it does best, making money for the legal profession.
    Thanks David, I believe you are a thoughtful man.

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