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Closing GITMO: Consequences and Solutions

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Although I have opposed the use to which the facilities at Guantanamo are being put for years, the plans which the Obama administration is developing to deal with the remaining terrorists held there present problems which they seem not to have considered and which may be unresolvable.

The Bush administration already released about two thirds of those being held at GITMO. They released all the easy prisoners. They sent home the ones whose countries would welcome them and they tried the ones where the evidence was easy to argue in court. Even so, a significant number of those they freed immediately returned to fighting for al Qaeda or the Taliban or resumed engaging in acts of terrorism. What they've left for Obama to deal with are prisoners who are confirmed to be serious terrorist threats, but against whom the evidence is weak or hard to present, even in a military tribunal, and those prisoners who might face persecution in their home countries and who no other country will take because they remain suspicious that they will be involved in future violence if given an opportunity.

If we take them out of GITMO either permanently or to face trial, we have to put them somewhere. Evidence suggests that our prisons are already a breeding ground for potential terrorists. The recent terror plots in Miami and New York both originated with Muslim converts who had been radicalized in prison. Allowing these terrorists from GITMO who really are "the worst of the worst" into the prison system where they will be treated by some as celebrities and role models could prove to be disastrous. Even in the relative isolation of a supermax facility their influence would be felt; passed on through the several hundred other terrorists already in the federal and state prison system and the underground communications networks of the prison gangs.

The only alternative would be to put them in a completely separate maximum security facility, either built or adapted to house them, inside the US. Although many governors are trying to keep GITMO prisoners out of their states, governors in states with the most severe economic problems might be persuaded to offer facilities in their states in exchange for federal dollars. Michigan's Governor John Engler has already offered one of the two small maximum security prisons in Michigan's upper peninsula for the purpose. Others are also interested, like the town of Hardin, Montana whose city council voted unanimously to welcome GITMO prisoners to their brand new maximum security prison which remains unoccupied after three years of disputes with state authorities.

So despite the "not in my back yard" attitude which prevails in most states when they envision terrorists as guests in their prisons, there are places which are desperate enough for federal dollars and jobs to take the terrorists, so housing them in the US is certainly feasible. However, aside from the technical difference of being on American soil, a supermax prison devoted solely to GITMO prisoners would not be much different from housing them where they are now. They would still be isolated from other prisoners, likely in a very remote part of the country, and held under uniquely high levels of security. No one has ever escaped from a supermax prison in the US, but keeping the prisoners secure is really the least of the problems.

But even if we put them in prison somewhere else, respect for the rule of law and the Constitution demands that we give them fair trials. Yet there's a reason why the Bush administration was only able to try a handful of them. The evidence against the rest is strong enough to convince most people that they really are dangerous terrorists but it is not sufficient to form an effective case good enough to stand up in US courts which have already rejected the kind of evidence the government is trying to use in many of these cases. There's enough evidence to know they are the "worst of the worst" but it's often not the kind of evidence which is up to the standards of a normal American court. Twenty reliable sources may have told us someone is a terrorist and we may absolutely believe them, but without witnesses to acts of terrorism or physical evidence, a trial may well end in an acquittal which should result in the release of the prisoner. Then what do we do?

We can't keep him in the US because he's not a citizen and he really is a dangerous terrorist even if not convicted, so he's not about to get a visa. We can't send him home or to another country because they know who and what he is and won't take him. We can't just release him in the wilds of Waziristan when no one is looking, because he'll just start killing civilians and US soldiers as a recent Pentagon report demonstrates. What do we do that honors our legal system and our Constitution and also protects our people and the world?

President Obama admits he doesn't have a solution, saying "there are no neat and easy answers here." He has a plan but it is expected to be unable to provide a real solution for as many as 100 of the GITMO prisoners who cannot be repatriated or freed in the US. The president seems to be leaning towards holding them indefinitely in the US without trial instead of at Guantanamo, and that's really no solution at all. It's still a violation of their right to a trial and some sort of justice. And if they are going to continue to be held without trial, the prisoners might actually prefer the balmy climate of Cuba to a concrete cell in the frozen wastelands of Montana or northern Michigan.

There aren't a lot of other options. We can't set them free in the US, we can't send them home and we can't legally hold them forever without trial. What does that leave?

It's tempting to apologize to the acquitted terrorist, drop him near the fighting in Waziristan or Somalia with an unloaded AK-47 and then turn a blind eye as a soldier — perhaps a Pakistani soldier for propriety's sake — with more common sense than our government, shoots him as an enemy combatant. That wouldn't be nice, and the backlash would be horrendous if it leaked, and it's guaranteed to leak.

Or we could take that idea to a higher and even more draconian level that will appeal to fans of the New World Order. Tag them with the dreaded GPS locator chips which are now being put in dogs by the humane society and which some people are suggesting we put in our kids. Then release them in a terrorist controlled area and track them until they meet up with some terrorists and call in an airstrike or a drone with a Hellfire Missile and take them and their friends out. Even less nice, but we might have plausible deniability if we claimed we targeted the other terrorists, not the recently released guy with the chip.

I can think of only one other slightly less sleazy and considerably more humane solution, which will certainly appeal to the administration's legion of lawyers. Let them go through trial, and as soon as they are set free immediately arrest them on a trumped up charge — illegal immigration comes to mind — and imprison them again. Conveniently, our immigration laws are so screwed up we could probably hold them just about forever if we can't find a country to deport them to. This really isn't any different than just leaving them in jail, but they do get a trial and we get a legal fiction to hide behind.

After thinking long and hard and not being able to come up with better solutions than these, I do know one thing for sure. I'm glad I'm not President Obama, because even if he has the wisdom of Solomon, I don't think he can find a solution any better than the ones I outlined. He's in a no-win situation and will pay a high price for whatever inevitably unsatisfactory resolution he finally selects.

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About Dave Nalle

  • Clavos

    Good article, Dave. Obama has a hell of a dilemma on his hands with this issue.

    I think that if he decides to house them somewhere in the US, he ought to take either Michigan’s or Montana’s offer and turn the heat down in either place to minimum setting. Those guys are all from temperate climates, heat deprivation could become the new waterboarding.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Dave,

    The crux of the matter seems to revolve around the type of conflict America is engaged in. It would be quite acceptable to hold all these detainees indefinitely – as POWs – for the duration of the war. So unless we redefine this conflict, called “War on Terror,” there is no solution.

    The problem is, the way things are going, “War on Terror” promises to be an indefinite part of the American experience – there being no end in sight – so it looks as though we can’t expect any resolution to come from that quarter (and it doesn’t matter now whether we define or redefine “War on Terror” to mean anything we want it to mean).

    I see only two possible solutions to the problem (following a trial):

    1) if they’re US subjects and and found acquitted, we have no choice but to release them under the parole system (more foolproof than would obtain in the usual cases)

    2) if they’re not US subjects, release them to the jurisdiction of their country of origin (for trial and disposition)

    Roger

  • Ma rk

    Rog, why parole if acquitted?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, yea. A problem here. I really don’t understand Dave’s argument (in the article) to the effect that we don’t have sufficient evidence to convict (and therefore have to let them go). Can you help me with that?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Dave, ? (we could take that idea to a higher and even more draconian level that will appeal to fans of the New World Order. Tag them with the dreaded GPS locator chips which are now being put in dogs by the humane society and which some people are suggesting we put in our kids. Then track them until they meet up with some terrorists and call in an airstrike or a drone with a Hellfire Missile and take them and their friends out. Even less nice, but we might have plausible deniability if we claimed we targeted the other terrorists, not the recently released guy with the chip.)
    have I missed something in your article? Are you telling us you want to start bombing targets on US soil?
    Dave reason with yourself here please!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    This is New World Bull!!!

  • Mar k

    I don’t see the problem. ‘Bad guys’ are released all the time under US law due to procedural errors or lack of evidence. Why should this be different? And how does the fact that those convicted and put in prison to serve as recruiters for their cause make this a unique situation?

    A nation of law…when convenient

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “Bombing targets on US soil” is a helluva solution to ending the War on Terror. Then the terrorists would naturally disband since we’ll be doing the job they’ve been groomed to do. I wonder why this hasn’t occurred to me before.

    But as they say, you can’t see what’s under your nose.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    DAVE, The prisoners from GITMO are not going to be celebrities they are finally going to see some “due process” and when each one is tried separately and found guilty or innocent then they shall be punished accordingly. Sought out and killed with their friends??? Do you remember “The Geneva Convention” Have you forgotten what country this is?

  • Mar k

    Jeannie, Dave fancies himself a ‘pragmatist’ governed by some higher natural law.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Roger, (“Bombing targets on US soil” is a helluva solution to ending the War on Terror. Then the terrorists would naturally disband since we’ll be doing the job they’ve been groomed to do. I wonder why this hasn’t occurred to me before.)
    Did you drink Kool-Aid last night? You wrote in a comment to me that we thought similarly.
    If you believe what you just wrote then I have no idea how you think! and we can not see eye to eye…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I think you’re right, Mark. It’s been one great hype, which is one reason we’re looking for distinctions when perhaps there ought to be none.

    The parole idea might be a solution, though. We may decide to just release some of them “on condition . . .”

    Do you see a legal problem there?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I was being ironic, Jeannie. Take it easy.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Mar k, whewww there is someone with a brain here! What the hell happened after I left last-night?
    Are Clavos,Dave,and Roger still here or is this some crazy Sci-fi movie?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Mark,

    Do you mean “law according to Dave”?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Roger, I am like a raw nerve after reading this crap!!! sorry Dave :( You need help…

  • M ar k

    While Parenthetical Dan will probably disagree, imo the whole thing is so far outside the boundaries of our institutions that whatever mechanism we cook up will make the problem no worse.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Jeannie,

    Get a sense of humor here. Sometimes it’s the best form of debunking crazy ideas.
    I see you haven’t met Ruvy yet.

  • M ar k

    Rog #15 – something like that.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Clavos, really? (Good article, Dave. Obama has a hell of a dilemma on his hands with this issue.) and then you wrote…I can’t even copy,cut,and paste it!
    I am going to cry now….sob

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’d have no problem with “conditional release,” especially in cases where the evidence to convict by standards of “reasonable doubt” aren’t there.

    I realize it’s hedging, but definitely a more palatable solution – i.e., the kind I could live with – then indefinite detention.
    And given the situation is unprecedented, as you said, we need to be creative.
    I wouldn’t worry about parenthetical Dan. Existing laws serve as an obstacle sometimes.

  • M a r k

    Jeannie, be careful when you read Rog’s sometimes confusing comments and keep in mind that his heart is in the right place.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    roger, I met Ruvy yesterday we set off on the wrong foot,as usual when people meet me, but I really like Ruvy and his wife that I haven’t met yet! :)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Clavos is also given to irony, Jeannie, in lieu of anything else to say.
    You’ve got to be able to read between the lines.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Two paragraphs in and already I am wondering if this entire article is nothing but hyperbole, distortion, and missing information that would provide an honest picture.

    They released all the easy prisoners.

    Interesting use of words…’the easy prisoners’. What exactly constitutes an ‘easy prisoner’? Or how does one actually say they released innocent people and yet still leave an impression they were not innocent? This is language designed to do that.

    …they tried the ones where the evidence was easy to argue in court.

    I guess this is as opposed to the ones they bought for $5,000.00 bounties and whose cases might not be very ‘easy’ to argue in ‘court’ or even in a military tribunal.

    …a significant number of those they freed immediately returned to fighting for al Qaeda or the Taliban or resumed engaging in acts of terrorism….

    Could we have a reference for this?

    What they’ve left for Obama to deal with are prisoners who are confirmed to be serious terrorist threats…

    Does this include the 59 prisoners who have been cleared for release?

    Allowing these terrorists from GITMO who really are “the worst of the worst” into the prison system…

    A reiteration of Bush’s ‘worst of the worst’ claim. They held and tortured the ‘worst of the worst’, they they simply released more than 500 of them because they weren’t ‘easy’.

    17 innocent Uighurs still imprisoned

    “The Washington Post reported on August 24, 2005 that fifteen Uyghurs had been determined to be ‘No longer enemy combatants’ (NLEC) after all.[2] The Post reported that detainees who had been classified as NLEC were, not only still being incarcerated, but were still being shackled to the floor. Five of these Uyghurs, who had filed for writs of habeas corpus, were transported to Albania on May 5, 2006 just prior to a scheduled judicial review of their petitions. As of June 22, 2008, seventeen Uyghur men remain incarcerated at Guantanamo. Two years ago, an Administrative Review Board declared all but one to be ‘approved for release.’ The Pentagon had previously determined, reportedly as early as 2003, that the Uyghurs should be released. They continue to be incarcerated.”

    At this rate I might get to page two some time tomorrow Dave.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Jeannie,

    I’m certain that Ruvy is a likable person. I’m talking about his views.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Thank you, Mark.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Hi Cindy, damn I got to go now because my computer scans for viruses and Big Brother every Monday at noon! :) I’ll be baaaack..

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Are you certain it ain’t the “Dave’s bug”?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    later roger M ark and Clavos…You all really had me going there…dintcha! :)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’ve gotta be able to get a sense of persons, Jeannie. A simple matter of reading people.

    That’s what I’ve been trying to impress on my nemesis, thus far to no avail.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    I have yet to research this idea, but I suspect that the real reason the prisoners aren’t wanted in the US is because people might start fighting for the idea that they should have rights to habeas corpus as well as other rights.

    The US is intent on hiding its crimes against these human beings and bringing prisoners here will make that more difficult to do.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I thought the rights to habeas corpus haven’t been lifted. It’s just that we try to deny them to non-US subjects.

    Anyways, the trend is that we’ll become subject to international, higher law. It’s only a matter of time. And US violation of the spirit and intent of its own laws will only serve as a catalyst.

    In fact, one way out for Obama is to relinquish the treatment and handling of the detainees to the Hague.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Especially since “War on Terror” is (presumably) a global problem, why not let the international community handle the judicial aspect? If only in the interest of fairness.

  • M a R k

    Were we to empower international courts, where would that leave our own ‘war criminals’? Best suggested solution so far, though.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I can’t answer the latter question, but I bet you that the public would not object. And in view of the Congress’ indecision on this matter, they’ve have no leg to stand on. “Either put up or shut up” would be the message.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The more I think on this, the clearer it becomes. If it is a “global problem,” it should be handled accordingly. And I don’t mean it from the standpoint of relinquishing our own responsibility or getting out from under the horns of the dilemma – only in terms of the logic of the situation.

    Don’t they have a brain trust in Washington, D.C.?

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Hi Jeannie (for when you get back),

    I have to say it’s both difficult and comforting to see your reaction. I’m really glad you are so expressive of your feelings. It validates me and also makes me feel less alone. And I think it will do some good around here too.

    Here is how I see it: I’d first see the horror that people do and would find it almost unbearable–until I saw it defended. It becomes more then, than some accidental nightmare. For me it is like being continually forced to face that ordinary everyday thinking is what makes all this possible. All of it.

    In real life, one may not really have to deal with all these ideas from people one is actually communicating with. I’d probably never get to talk to many people who are here. But I have come to think that this is a reasonably good cross-section of the culture. Somehow, it’s become important to learn how to handle that and deal with it constructively (still working on both).

    I recognize in some way that I can’t very well change the world without being able to face the world.

    But, in solidarity with you, I’ll cry too.

  • M Ark

    Save your tears…learn to sing the blues.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Reading comprehension seems to be at an all-time low today. Perhaps it’s the holiday drunkenness.

    Roger: 2) if they’re not US subjects, release them to the jurisdiction of their country of origin (for trial and disposition)

    Did you not read the article? It’s been well established that their countries will not take them back. That’s one of the primary sources of this problem. People don’t want their terrorists returned to them.

    Jeannie: where did I ever say that they would be released on US soil and then targeted with an airstrike? You apparently just made that up. I specifically said release them in a war zone. Is the US a war zone?

    Cindy: do you not read newspapers or see any kind of news? All the sunday talk shows were abuzz with the recent increase in recidivism among released GITMO prisoners. The recidivism rate had been 7% up until the last couple of months when it increased into the teens.

    And yes, 59 of them may be relatively innocent, but so were the hundreds already released and about 70 of them have already returned to terrorist activity.

    But for the common knowledge challenged I’ll add some additional links to the article as a public service.

    Dave

  • M ark

    Since when is the threat of recidivism grounds for holding someone?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t think BC is a representative sample of the culture. [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

    Real-life people are amenable to new ideas and vistas – by their natural sociability, power of personal persuasion, charm, whatever other resources one has at their disposals. I could converse with regular rednecks – as rabid as can be – until we’d find a common ground and establish rapport. BC is by and large a community of social dregs, rejects and outcasts – which isn’t to say all of us, of course. But for the most part, the people I’m talking about couldn’t and wouldn’t cut it in the context of real life, interacting with real people. That’s why we find them polluting this site which, originally, I believed to hold so much promise.

    If my life was anywhere near normal (like it was before I was forced to move here from California), I wouldn’t spend more than one percent of my time posting here. But it isn’t, and for the time being I’m stuck. My question is, why would some of you, sane and reasonable people, even bother? It’s masochism.

    So forgive me for this indictment. It’s not a personal attack – just my observation on the nature of things. I can think of ten people at most with whom I’d care to resume personal contact if and when the occasion would present itself. Draw your own conclusion.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    I thought the rights to habeas corpus haven’t been lifted. It’s just that we try to deny them to non-US subjects.

    I’m not suggesting they were lifted. I’m saying that if they were in the US people might demand they have these rights despite lack of citizenship , based entirely on location.

    This would be a real problem for the US. The US regularly imprisons non-citizens indefinitely and without due process or habeas corpus on US soil. These are high profile people. There presence here would bring action that would reveal this state of affairs to the general population–who aren’t at present even aware it. This might lead to changes in law for how the US is handling people whom it classifies as ‘illegal’ immigrants, as well as legal immigrants who are imprisoned for being other than white.

    Immigrants are being detained without habeas corpus and with interference on the part of their jailers in ways that prevent them from getting contact with the outside world. One of these prisons is in NJ.

    If ones idea of how the government operates has something to do with ideals and justice, consider that the communities where these immigrant prisoners are held have a very large stake in maintaining their imprisonment. They receive millions of dollars from the Fed to keep these people incarcerated. It is a part of their budget. They want every prison bed filled, in the same way a hotel wants to rent every room–and for the same reason. Imprisonment of people, no matter if they are innocent, is a money-making business.

    Gitmo prisoners could upset this whole thing.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I was talking about “conditional release,” Mark, in lieu of a trial – subject therefore to negotiations (akin to plea bargaining, let’s say).

    But anyway, I’m becoming more and more convinced that nothing short of “international solution” would get us of this mess.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Of course there’s a vested interest in not upsetting the applecart.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    ‘…which isn’t to say all of us, of course.’

    No, by all means, we wouldn’t want to do that. It might require self-examination.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “It’s been well established that their countries will not take them back.”

    I don’t buy it. They have to made to, and deal with it too, if we’re talking about their own citizens. If American influence can extent to all parts of the globe in matters of war and commerce, then it had better prove its own mettle when it comes to our “presumed” allies. I regard your objection as a cop-out, not your personal cop-out, but cop-out as far as US foreign policy is concerned.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Don’t be silly. The next thing you’re gonna try to tell me with what people I should wish to associate with and with what people not. Am I supposed to like the personages as they reveal themselves here? I don’t ask for that either.

    So I don’t really see the point of your comment, unless of course you choose to take it personally.

  • Arch Conervative

    The same people that routinely distort the Constitution are the same people insisting that the Geneva Convention applies to terrorists. It doesn’t.

    It’s nice to know that the possibility of a couple of terrorists getting roughed up can rouse these people to anger while they’re pretty much in favor of thousands of babies needlessly being killed under the euphemistic banner “choice.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Arch,

    The Constitution, as grand as it may have been, is on its way out. Obviously, it can’t deal with the idea of unlawful indefinite detention.

    Even you must see that.

  • Irene Wagner

    I’m not sure outrage over one precludes outrage over the other, Arch Conservo.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    #39

    Mark,

    That’s in the advanced class. I’m only in intermediate world changing. :-)

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Roger, it’s more complicated than that. With some of these prisoners we can’t release them to their home countries because we think they’ll be killed immediately by their governments as potential threats. And we can’t send those prisoners anywhere else because no one will take them. HRW is trying to get European countries to take some of them, but IMO they’d be crazy to do it. They have more than enough problems with terrorism already.

    Cindy brings up the Uighurs. If we send them back to China the Chinese will put them in a forced labor camp forever. Some of them would rather stay at GITMO.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But what would you say, Arch, if one of those unborn babies were to grow into a full-fledged terrorist?

  • Irene Wagner

    If being pro-life meant caring about unborn and born babies worldwide, instead of just those in America, there’d be a lot fewer terrorists. But that’s just a statement of the obvious.

    Maybe people who are outraged at both get burned out twice as fast, so you don’t hear from them as often.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    BTW, Irene. In case you wonder about my rather rabid #47 (which was a response), have no fear. You’re on the list of my favorite persons. And Mark is too.

  • Irene Wagner

    LOL Cindy.

  • Irene Wagner

    I’m on my list of favorite persons, too, Roger Nowosielski. We have a lot in common.

    (I’m sorry. Too much levity for a grave board like this.)
    Continue.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “If being pro-life meant caring about unborn and born babies worldwide, instead of just those in America …”

    That’s the key, Irene. Human life is human life is human life …

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, you ought to be. How can you love others if you despise yourself?

  • Irene Wagner

    You know I’m kidding, Roger.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’ve got to re-read C S Lewis’ “The Four Loves.”

  • Irene Wagner

    It’s not ALL America’s fault, Arch, of course it isn’t. America could be pure as the driven snow and there’d still be Muslim fanatic loons after us. But US foreign policy has had a lot to do with providing fields white for harvest for terrorist recruitment.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, I didn’t mean to suggest you don’t realize your own faults. But other than that, my statement stands.

    Still, Lewis undercuts Aristotle’s idea of friendship – in terms of appreciation of qualities, affinities, etc. It’s a powerful idea, to be able to love so. Even the worst offenders. It’s scary. Only God can truly do it.

    That’s why I spoke of kindness and toughness the other day.

  • Irene Wagner

    The traditional Muslim nations have had it coming at them from the American left AND right. One of the assaults, frankly, is against ideas traditional Muslims hold dear: the exportation of liberal ideas of what constitutes Family Planning. It’s been easy to paint Americans as Devils when we’ve been associated with the exportation of abortions. And from the right, on the other hand, a what-the-hell attitude about the suffering of anyone who isn’t American. “If Wombs Had Windows” is a popular pro-life slogan. Why not put the entire Middle Eastern population under something like an ultrasound scan?

  • Irene Wagner

    I just finished the Space Trilogy, btw Roger. Said I’d do it. “Til we have faces” is next on my list.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’ve got to refer you later to some of the Buddhist thinking – by one fellow who posted on my last thread.

    In a sense, it extend the application of Christ’s teachings beyond the area of person-to-person relations to a societal context. If you’ll email me (my url, the navigation bar on top), I’ll forward you Somik’s essay.

    It deal with evil in this world, and how to deal with it.

  • Irene Wagner

    Roger, I spend too much time on the boards without getting into emailing! But thanks for the suggestion. Buddhist thinking is a lot like the best of Christian thinking. Minus God. They’re definitely allies with God-believers in trying to scrape out a peaceful niche in the world.

  • Irene Wagner

    And with that semi-hopeful comment, I will be off to spend a little time with the family. Enjoy yourself, Roger.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I still think, Irene, that these fundamental, religious/cultural problems wouldn’t present the kind of obstacle they do if we made it a point to eliminate the poverty – the breeding ground from their midst. But America is so arrogant with respect to all who either don’t share or haven’t been indoctrinated to her values. And we expect miracles – a kind of homage – while our aggressive policies are fully intact.

    Total insanity!

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Irene, no one is exporting abortions or even birth control to countries like Saudi Arabia or Iran. What we ARE exporting is our “degenerate” media and entertainment output, and that is more threatening to the theocratic hypermoralistic mindset than just about anything else we could do.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, the effect is the same.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Dave,

    I don’t watch TV news (unless I can convince them to change the sports channel when I’m out a dinner).

    So, of say 600 people released, 70 of them returned to (possibly even embarked on, for the first time) terrorist activities.

    Two points:

    1) I am shocked! That seems an inordinately low number of ‘recidivists’ considering all of them were ‘the worst of the worst’.

    2) As far as this ‘recidivism’ rate–the people who determined that the original ‘worst of the worst’ were terrorists–are these the same people now deciding what constitutes recidivism? Or did they just go out and pay people $5000.00 to tell them if the ex-prisoners were engaging in terrorist activity?

    I won’t say who said this non-verbatim quote:

    The best way to prevent terrorism is to stop engaging in it.

    (p.s. Thanks for the offer to add more links, Dave.)

  • M ark

    The best way to prevent terrorism is to stop engaging in it.

    graffito of the morning award to Cindy

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    1) I am shocked! That seems an inordinately low number of ‘recidivists’ considering all of them were ‘the worst of the worst’.

    The 600 already released were not the “worst of the worst.” I think we’d call them the “best of the worst.” They were the ones least likely to be a problem, yet they returned to terrorism at a 14% rate. What does that suggest about the remaining 250+ if we released them?

    2) As far as this ‘recidivism’ rate–the people who determined that the original ‘worst of the worst’ were terrorists–are these the same people now deciding what constitutes recidivism? Or did they just go out and pay people $5000.00 to tell them if the ex-prisoners were engaging in terrorist activity?

    The numbers are based on those former prisoners either being killed or captured during fighting with terrorist groups like the Taliban. We actually have no idea how many of them have gone underground and will resurface later engaged in terrorism.

    The best way to prevent terrorism is to stop engaging in it.

    Deliciously ironic coming from someone who claims allegiance to a philosophy which has historically been responsible for more terrorism than any other.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It is a two-way street, aint’ it?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    What philosophy are you referring to? I don’t think she supports the 1917 revolution or any of it’s hybrids.

    The anarchism movement has been, relatively speaking, benign and local. It didn’t cost many lives (except at the hands of few individuals – the assassination of the Duke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the bombing of the Science Institute in London (the subject of Joseph Conrad’s book, “The Secret Agent,” few other incidences perhaps.) The loss of life has come mainly from attempts to suppress it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “The same people that routinely distort the Constitution are the same people insisting that the Geneva Convention applies to terrorists. It doesn’t.”

    Archie. I’ll tell you what’s the problem with this statement. Years ago it might have been valid. No longer. We’ve lost our moral superiority and, along with it, our right to judge all those who trespass against us. We’re no longer the judge, the jury and the executioner.

    Besides, if there is a trespass, it’s against humanity. And America has long lost its once (some might argue) privileged position to speak on behalf of humanity.

    Let the world and the international community render the judgment. The Hague should be the proper venue.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Dave,

    Bush and Rumsfeld stated clearly and with absolute ‘stare-you-in-the-eyes’ conviction in 2002 that Guantanamo only holds the worst of the worst.

    Therefore they must be so. Otherwise we might suspect that this was some understood ploy to get Americans to go along with a lie, by wrapping it up in a flag. The sort of lie we are conditioned to accept–like the ones in advertisements. We might think they only said 800+ human beings were the ‘worst of the worst’ so that American’s would be afraid and proud and would not have to bother being concerned with the deprivation of the rights of these alien creatures or whether they were tortured–as coincidentally these things were in the plans.

    No going back now Dave. Now that we don’t need the lie we can’t just all develop ADD and forget it.

    I’d disagree with your pronouncement Dave but I know you’re not talking about anarchism. You’re just trying to call me a communist again.

    …someone who claims allegiance to [both] a philosophy [and a government] which has historically been responsible for more terrorism than any other.

    So, there you go Dave, now that pronouncement works with you in mind.

  • M a rk

    (I was wondering how long our editors would wait before putting this article ‘above the fold’. The pattern continues.)

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Cindy, Well said (The best way to prevent terrorism is to stop engaging in it.)
    I watched some of our fear-mongering news while my computer scanned. Glad it’s over!
    Remember no one will be whining about money today because North Korea is TESTING! You know how much we spend on testing? I don’t but I bet we could do a little domestic spending…around here

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The US hasn’t done a live test of a nuclear weapon in 13 years, so we spend exactly 0 on nuclear testing.

    Dave

  • M ark

    Sophistry

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Dave, Show me a link that says that please…and we certainly spend bundles on our own nuclear defense system don’t we?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Dave, What is liberty in the GOP? Does it mean the GOP is free to do what ever they want but no one else is? I’m not trying to be facetious I am just curious?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Look up the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1996 on Google or Wikipedia. And a defense system against nukes is not the same as nukes themselves — quite the opposite, really.

    Dave, What is liberty in the GOP? Does it mean the GOP is free to do what ever they want but no one else is?

    That wouldn’t be terribly popular. It means that our goal is to make the GOP into a party which champions individual and civil liberties as one of its main agenda items, along with smaller, more responsible government. You can think of us as Goldwater-Teddy Roosevelt-Lincoln Republicans.

    Dave

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Campaign funding by weapons systems manufacturers has switched to favor Democrats. Coincidentally, Democrats have increased the pentagon budget 10% and have fought to keep up this increased funding of the military-industrial complex by arguing to continue purchases of sophisticated and expensive weaponry (like aircraft) that has been declared by the masters of war to be unsuitable for current use.

    No one is innocent. No one is looking out for citizens. No one is fighting for big causes or real changes. It’s a big country club of cronies–liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Dave, We are in a much larger population now, You do not really believe Government should go back to the 1800’s do you? Really Dave? Lincoln Republicans….

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Dave, a very good and insightful article. However, you did miss at least two viable alternatives:

    This article may, inadvertently, offer the basis for one solution. Bring the Gitmo detainees to the United States and put them on the Federal bench. I seem to recall that even a position on the Supreme Court is likely to open soon, and there would be no Constitutional ground for rejecting any (or, indeed, all) of them. With their ample practical experience and doubtless great empathy toward the poor, oppressed and violent, they obviously should be considered. Surely, exposure to the Washington social scene would induce even the true cream of the crap to abandon some of their allegedly wicked ways, and perhaps they could enlighten us all on the fine points of due process and justice, from an appropriately empathetic perspective.

    Either that or offer them to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in exchange for . . . . . well, in exchange for just taking them off our hands.

    Dan(Miller)

  • M ar k

    A very funny satirical comment Parenthetical Dan. I thought this was a particular crack-up: Dave, a very good and insightful article.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    #89, ISH..

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    We are in a much larger population now, You do not really believe Government should go back to the 1800’s do you..

    I think Dave just might and if he does I’d have to disagree with him. I think gov’t should go back to being what it was in the US circa the 15th century.

    Warning, this is a trick question:

    In what year was America discovered?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Cindy, since I have no first hand information leading me to know otherwise, it must have been discovered at the same time I was born, in 1941.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Bliffle

    Dave notes:

    “The US hasn’t done a live test of a nuclear weapon in 13 years, so we spend exactly 0 on nuclear testing.”

    True. But we have been doing accurate simulations of test shots with a huge bank of supercomputers. They are quite expensive. But the value of those simulation results and the code that develops them is a tremendous national military asset. In fact, it allows us to be waaayyy ahead of anyone else, especially when we can browbeat them into not testing. This is a very valuable negotiating advantage. IMO it is well worth the expense.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Jeannie, I have to admit it was Noam Chomsky (the quote). You might like him, if you’ve never read/seen him. (Shut up Dave :-)

    (I just want to make sure you saw my message to you at #38 –because the rest of my messages weren’t quite as mushy…I’d hate to leave such an overall an unmushy impression.)

  • Irene Wagner

    Neither would I Jeannie, though I haven’t written any mushy comment to you, because our first encounter was…nevermind. Consider yourself mushily welcomed to BC by me, too, a little belatedly.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Cindy, like a lot of people who are driven by their agenda rather than objectivity, you seem to have trouble telling the difference between an opinion which may have since proven to be incorrect and a deliberate lie.

    No going back now Dave. Now that we don’t need the lie we can’t just all develop ADD and forget it.

    You don’t make the rules, Cindy. We have the freedom to adjust our viewpoints and not get stuck in some sort of ideological prison. It’s about using the rational faculties you were born with. Get out of the rut and start thinking about things.

    I’d disagree with your pronouncement Dave but I know you’re not talking about anarchism. You’re just trying to call me a communist again.

    Not really. Communist ties to terrorism are mostly relatively recent. Anarchism has a much longer and more substantial history of terror as a core element of their program.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Dave, We are in a much larger population now, You do not really believe Government should go back to the 1800’s do you? Really Dave? Lincoln Republicans….

    Sure, why not. Basic principles remain the same. Strip away the garbage of the last two centuries and let’s focus on basic rights and liberties and simple, functional government. We could do it. We’re strong enough.

    Dave

  • Cannonshop

    Jeannie, something of a point of order issue here-the portion of the Geneva Conventions protecting irregulars and non-uniformed combatants that was passed in the seventies, was never ratified into U.S. Law by the Senate (who oversee all treaties binding to the United States).

    Under the version that IS applicable to the U.S. by treaty obligation and law, those prisoners at GITMO have ZERO rights, as they are non-uniformed combatants and under U.S. military regs, fall under a different, harsher definition than the Amnesty International folks want to even imagine.

    Non-Uniformed Combatants under the applicable regs are already under a death-sentence, and have no protections under the statutes that apply to the United States.

    The only reason there’s ANY argument in government circles about the ‘rights’ of these prisoners, is that there are Judges in American courts who think the Senate was wrong-and minus serious challenges placed in front of higher courts, they can legislate from the bench to ‘rectify’ something they personally feel squeamish about-often without examining more than the allegations. International Law is established by Treaty, Treaties are ratified or not ratified by the Senate in this country. If the treaty isn’t ratified (like Kyoto wasn’t, and like the amended sections of the Geneva Conventions weren’t), it Doesn’t Apply no matter how popular it may be internationally.

    Added to that, is the reluctance of nations-of-origin to accept many of these prisoners back. We can’t turn them loose on U.S. soil (though it might be amusing to house them somewhere where they’ll have lots of support-like Berkeley California or the Hamptons), we can’t hold them indefinitely in the U.S., and we can’t send them Home to face the courts in their nations of origin (and many of them, we can’t afford the domestic political backlash if we did-many of the nations of origin for these guys openly employ methods that would make the typical Yank, Euro, or Aussie want to puke and hide their eyes. Not everyone is as humane as we are…)

    The question Obama has to deal with is a very real one- “What do we do with them?”

    If we try them under U.S. law, the odds of conviction are high, but not so high that you’re not releasing them to…where? (I’d suggest Greewich Village, Berkeley, Santa Monica, Malibu, Hollywood, the Hamptons and other such places where they have many vocal supporters, but that’s on account of I’m a bastard, and really don’t want them shipping terrorists to the midwest, Southern, or Mountain states, and I don’t think Michigan needs that much punishment…)

    We also can’t force their nations-of-origin to take them back if they don’t want them. (maybe release them in Munich or Geneva? it’s a thought…but you’d have to be able to force Germany or Switzerland to accept them across the border…)

    Maybe we should turn them over to the Canadians or the English? They won’t be noticed in England (much-that country’s already shown a lack of backbone where Radical Islam is concerned), or France?

    It’s really kind of funny-the Regime that pushed for the amendment to Geneva the hardest in the seventies was the Soviet Union-a state that had no problem shooting dissidents who got too troublesome without a trial. (it was done so that they could protect insurgencies THEY were funding.) We can’t be like the Soviets and just start executing them-well, we could, but it’s an un-acceptable option even in the most Hawkish circles. We can’t release ‘em (we already have plentiful examples of how well “Rehabilitation” as practiced in the U.S. fails to work-and these guys are a lot more motivated than some drug-dealing street urchin), we can’t execute them, and we can’t afford to hold them (Politically un-acceptable in the U.S. and most Western countries), and we can’t turn them over to states that refuse to take them back.

  • Montanan

    The prison at Hardin, Montana is not a “maximum security” facility. It is a minimum security jail. Most of its prisoners would be held in 8-24 bed dormitories. It would have a staff of low paid amateurs.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    (We could do it. We’re strong enough.)

    cold

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Montanan, the plan for the prison appears to be to use $1 billion in federal money to upgrade it to be suitable to house the GITMO prisoners.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You should change your pen name to Martin Eden. Why the hell not?

    I love Jack London, and that novel in particular. I’ve seen an excellent movie rendition when still in Poland. He was much more popular in Eastern Europe than in the U.S.

  • Cindy

    Has anyone noticed that there seem to be comments missing everywhere today?

    Dave, I have a reply to you. But it’s at home half finished. In the meantime I’ll just make growling noises to hold me over until I can post it.

    Jeannie, Maybe we can give Mark some encouragement to write something. I’d really love to read something he wrote.

    If you like Alfred Hitchcock movies, you can always read the work of Mark’s ‘Secret Sharer’, John B.–right Irene? John B. isn’t half the Mark Mark is though. Roger is busy creating a third one. Probably won’t be a third the…haha…nevermind. I’m amusing myself.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Hi Cindy,
    I just looked at the fresh comment widget or what ever you call it. I wish I had seen it a week ago!
    Cindy I would like to read some of your writing also….:) Where?

  • Cindy

    Jeannie,

    The fresh-comment widget is not nearly as good at the fresh-comments page.

    My writing is under Tolstoy’s Cat.

  • Cindy

    Just in case you didn’t press the link for more comments yet. Anyway, I put a bookmark button on my browser for the fresh-comments page. It really makes life easier.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Abu Ghraib abuse photos ‘show rape’

    “Photographs of alleged prisoner abuse which Barack Obama is attempting to censor include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse, it has emerged.”