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Supreme Court Rules Against GITMO Tribunals

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In a decision which ought to reassure those on the left who think the court has gone too conservative, the Supreme Court has ruled in the case of Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld that prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay cannot be tried by special military tribunals. The decision was based on both provisions of the Universal Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention. The main point of issue being that both documents suggest that specially convened courts cannot be used to try prisoners of war who must instead be offered the same quality of justice as non-combatants, which presumably means a normal trial under a legitimately constituted judiciary with a lawyer and all the trimmings.

This argument had been struck down by a lower appeals court and was reinstated by the Supreme Court in a 5-3 decision with the Chief Justice recusing himself because the previous appeal had been heard in his court. Salim Ahmed Hamdan is a Yemeni who had been Osama bin Laden's bodyguard and driver and who was captured during the invasion of Afghanistan. Dissent from the opinion was strong, with the normally silent Justice Thomas demanding time to make a statement rejecting the reasoning of the majority opinion written by Justice Stephens.

The stumbling block for the efforts to try these prisoners in special courts appears to be the failure of Congress to pass legislation authorizing these courts under the UCMJ when they authorized the invasion of Afghanistan. This oversight could be corrected in hindsight and Republicans in Congress are drafting legislation to authorize special trials. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist commented:

Since this issue so directly impacts our national security, I will pursue the earliest possible action in the United States Senate.

Another option which the administration has not discussed would be returning the prisoners to Afghanistan to stand trial, where the pro-American government would be able to try them legitimately but in a very unsympathetic environment.

Of course, the one option which the administration is foolishly overlooking is putting the Guantanamo detainees on trial in US criminal courts. That would more than meet the criteria of the UCMJ and the Geneva Accords, under which they could be tried as terrorists rather than as legitimate combatants. As demonstrated in other cases, American juries would be unlikely to be terribly sympathetic, but it appears that the associated publicity and potential difficulty of presenting the cases in a regular court are more than the administration wants to take on.

Taken along with the 2004 decision from the Supreme Court which determined that the GITMO detainees could not be held indefinitely without trial, this ruling puts considerable pressure on the administration to go further in resolving the status of those still being held. Many detainees have already been returned to their home countries, where some immediately resumed their terrorist activities. Those who remain are likely the most dangerous of the lot, but they're a lot less dangerous to the United States if they're in a faraway country and that would at least be some progress. It might be a good idea to keep a few for show trials under US justice and just dump the rest at this point.

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About Dave Nalle

  • Joey

    At first glance, I believe the Court decision defers the action back to Congress.

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

    Yes, that’s essentially true, as I said in the third paragraph. The basis of the decision is that the courts were not properly convened because they had no legislative basis. They weren’t ‘regular’ courts and were this extralegal. That’s why the Senate is now writing legislation to establish the courts legally. You may have been mislead because I also pointed out ways to resolve the situation without creating a whole new legal system for them, which I think would be a better solution.

    Dave

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Nice job of preempting Dave-hat’s off to you.

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

    Preeempting in what sense? This is pretty much a straight news story and I only wrote it because the story was a couple of days old and no one had posted on it.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    well, i must say i am heartened that the court’s Decision went this way, still a bit too close for comfort and way sketchy on some of the “outs” left available…

    but hopeful

    do note that the screaming by Scalia and the verbose 100% backing of dictatorial presidential Powers by Alito as well as the yes-man kookiness of Thomas was long predicted by yers truly…it was VERY good to see that Roberts recused himself properly…

    all in all, we see the very Foundation of the written justifications for SO much of this Administration’s bullshit overstepping of bounds un-checked and no thought of balance legal Opinions, courtesy of then WH counsel now Attorney General Gonzalez, getting shot to shit by SCOTUS

    i know..that was a way convoluted sentance, i’ll try and be clearer….

    when Gonzalez was WH counsel he wrote a bunch of legal justifications on many topics…ranging from torture to extrodinairy rendition, to bypassing the Geneva Conventions, to “enemy combatants” even if they are citizens , not having constitutional Rights, to pre-emptive invasion, to warrantless wiretaps

    most of those legal opinions were based on core assumptions present in the case discussed in this Article…

    and those assumptions, and thus the legalistic logic chain of justifications based on those assumptions were just trashed by SCOTUS after NOT being even questioned by the Office that is supposed to do such things, the Justice Department (remember, that office is being run by the SAME guy who wrote those initial papers, Gonzalez)

    so there IS still some Hope that our System will correct itself long enough to Survive this historical Test…

    as i’ve said before…we can only participate with our Voices, as Citizens…hope for the Best, and work as our Conscience tells us until November…

    objects in mirror are closer than they appear

    Excelsior?

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

    Gonzo, I’m going to make this short and sweet. There were two ways they could rule on this. They could either say that military tribunals formed a legal basis for these courts or they could say they didn’t. They made what I think many could only describe as a purely political decision and ruled that military tribunals were not legitimate enough courts to apply to GITMO detainees. IMO that’s a pretty far out interpretation of the Geneva Accords and the UCMJ. Thomas and Scalia may have been ranting, but have you considered that it’s just kind of possible that they were right?

    As for the decision – which is basically no decision – all it will result in is the congress passing legislation creating a special court of trying terrorists, which is way more of a bullshit solution than trying them in military tribunals.

    Dave

  • Les Slater

    This ruling is not just one of congressional authorization. It is also one of substance.

    “Here, Hamdan is not alleged to have committed any overt act in a theater of war or on any specified date after September 11, 2001.More importantly, the offense alleged is not triable by law-of-warmilitary commission. Although the common law of war may render triable by military commission certain offenses not defined by statute, Quirin, 317 U. S., at 30, the precedent for doing so with respectto a particular offense must be plain and unambiguous, cf., e.g., Loving v. United States, 517 U. S. 748, 771. That burden is far from satisfied here.”

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

    Les, it seems like that part of the ruling really applies only to Hamdan, not necessarily to the larger issue of GITMO detainees.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    for comment #6….

    i’ll also try and keep it simple…

    my Opinion of the Ruling is that SCOTUS did it’s job and told POTUS that it can’t just make shit up and try to justify it by the Congresional “Authorized Use of Military Force” bill

    i also hold that this “justification” is the root of many WH policies whose legal papers were written by Gonzalez utilizing this postulate

    we will see hwo it plays out over the rest of it as the cases come before SCOTUS

    i also was just expressing pleasure that it appears the System is still working…checking and balancing the over reach by the Administration since neither the senate or congress are doing their jobs in that field

    do not mistake me, i want the detainees to be tried and punished/released/whatever as due Process and the Law dictates

    i just think this Ruling was a decent start in a more proper direction

    Excelsior?

  • Les Slater

    Dave,

    That is true, but I do not think Hamdan’s case is so unique.

    From your post:

    “Those who remain are likely the most dangerous of the lot”

    Which includes Hamdan? Where does that leave the U.S. legal or moral credibility?

    Les

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

    I think Hamdan was a special case because of his direct, personal relationship with bin Laden. I doubt there is anyone else being held at GITMO who is there solely because he was a bin Laden employee.

    Of the rest, those who were caught in armed but non-uniformed attacks on coalition forces should be the primary concern, and they are the one these courts are for.

    Trying Hamdan for driving bin Laden’s car is really kind of ridiculous when you think about it. There was no evidence that he himself engaged in any terrorist activity.

    Dave

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

    i just think this Ruling was a decent start in a more proper direction

    I’m glad you’re confident, Gonzo. But I’m not convinced that it IS a start in the proper direction.

    It seems to me that military tribunals based on military justice have a hell of a lot more precedent and legitimacy than some kangaroo court put together by custom legislation specifically for trying terrorists. To me that violates the spirit of the Geneva Accords WAY more than trying them in a military court.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    one should not have the organization doing the capturing, prosecuting and adjucating…

    see Nuremberg for precedent

    as for who was caught doing what, we have no fucking clue…that’s what a Trial is for and why seperating the three functions as i stated above is crucial

    Excelsior?

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

    As a matter of principle you’ve got a fine point there, Gonzo. But that’s not the issue that’s raised in this ruling or by the Geneva Accords.

    And at this point I really have to believe that someone has a clue what these people were doing when they were apprehended. If that were not the case, why have we set hundreds of them free?

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    why have we set hundreds free?

    ummm…cuz they were considered harmless?

    the Question you should be Asking is…why, if they were to be set free, did we have them detained with no due process in the first place?

    i know..another fine point of Principle…but i’m silly like that

    i am not as confident that many have a clue here, i do think that the vast majority are following orders, trying to do the best they can

    as i think the SCOTUS is trying to do

    Excelsior?

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

    ummm…cuz they were considered harmless?

    Well of course, that’s obvious. Not correct, apparently, but certainly the reasoning involved.

    the Question you should be Asking is…why, if they were to be set free, did we have them detained with no due process in the first place?

    Also pretty damned obvious. There is no established rule of due process for terrorists captured in a foreign country. It’s a huge gray area and laziness or opportunism or a mixture of both resulted in dealing with them basically being neglected. I agree that they ought to have been dealt with faster, but in the absence of clear law on the subject you and I both know that bureaucrats will take the easy way out and ignore a problem.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    #16 sez…
    *It’s a huge gray area and laziness or opportunism or a mixture of both resulted in dealing with them basically being neglected.*

    Quoted for Truth

    we are in complete agreement here…my Concern is the lack of Leadership from the top down…those who are Responsible and Accountable for such things dropped the ball…which you appear to agree with when you say…

    *I agree that they ought to have been dealt with faster, but in the absence of clear law on the subject you and I both know that bureaucrats will take the easy way out and ignore a problem.*

    so we now get to the Issue of competance…

    a salty old UDT MasterChief once taught me that “prior planning prevents piss poor performance”

    the way these events have played out in the last few years seems to indicate that those running the show have never learned that basic axiom

    Excelsior?

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

    I acknowledge that a certain amount of cluelessness seems to be in play.

    Here’s my take on GITMO.

    The military saw a bunch of bad guys and detained them. They then passed the problem to the administration which had no fucking idea what to do with them. Not having any idea what to do with them they decided to sit on them for the basic reason that if they were dangerous at least they could do no harm if they were at GITMO. Presumably there was the intention to deal with them eventually in some way, but that was ‘hard work’ and kind of got lost in the shuffle of more immediate problems.

    I think ‘out of sight, out of mind’ describes the situation pretty well.

    But, to be fair, the prisoners have NOT been abused despite all the claims from the left. A number of them ARE dangerous terrorists – though it would sure be nice to know which ones. And legally holding them indefinitely and the methods by which they should be tried really aren’t defined properly under our law or the geneva convention, which puts some blame on our legislators for not getting off their asses way before this and establishing some clear guidelines for how they should be dealt with.

    Frankly I don’t care what the hell they do with the GITMO prisoners so long as it’s relatively fair and SOMETHING gets done. Just sitting around on their thumbs as everyone involved has been doing is idiotic.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    #18 sez..
    *But, to be fair, the prisoners have NOT been abused despite all the claims from the left.*

    show your Proof

    and then sez…
    *A number of them ARE dangerous terrorists – though it would sure be nice to know which ones. *

    again show yer Proof, just cuz someone sez it’s so don’t make it so…been that way since the Magna Carta…

    you keep trying to defend the indefensible, your Right of course…i’ll stop trying to Reason with you…

    here’s a nice article from WaPo on the subject that might aid in clarity for those interested…

    Excelsior?

    [gonzo – live links please. It’s easy, honest! [Comments Editor]

  • Lumpy

    Since some of them were recaught fighting for the taliban after we released them I think it’s safe to say they were dangerous.

    People who deny and try to misrepresent these real threats do us all shame. Raising questions aboit gitmo may serve your agenda but it does nothing to address the very real danger reresented by the worst among the prisoners.

    Think about it. If the ones we thought were ok and released then joined the taliban then how much worse must the ones not released be?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    good Point Lumpy…and why they should have been Investigated and tried in a legal Court BEFORE being administratively released

    you’ll get no Argument from me that some of those detained are the “bad guys” who should be welded into a cell for eternity

    but ponder this for a moment, even if ONE of those folks were Innocent to begin with, then held with no trial for years…and released back home, might they not be slightly understood for fighting against those who wrongfully imprisoned them? would you not do so?

    now, i have no idea if ANY f them are such Innocents, or whether every single one is a stone cold killer tha deserves to be locked away forever…

    but i do know, and the SCOTUS appears to have decided the same, that those detained deserve basic human Rights to face their accusers and stand a fair trial for the charges against them

    is THAT not part of the American way, and one of the things that gives the U.S. an ethical leg up against our Foe?

    the Rule of Law, and civilized behavior are what set us apart from the Foe…and i don’t think we shoudl toss that aside, or ever forget it…else we face the danger of becoming that which we Fight against…

    just a Thought

    Excelsior?

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

    *But, to be fair, the prisoners have NOT been abused despite all the claims from the left.*

    show your Proof

    Always a dangerous thing to ask me. You ought to know better by now.

    Here’s an article on the Newsweek retraction of the Koran abuse story.

    Here’s a link to a Al Qaeda Training Manual which details how prisoners are supposed to make false accusations against guards.

    Here’s a rather good article from National Review which documents lots of false stories about what’s happened there.

    and then sez…
    *A number of them ARE dangerous terrorists – though it would sure be nice to know which ones. *

    again show yer Proof, just cuz someone sez it’s so don’t make it so…been that way since the Magna Carta…

    Let’s see. Here are some details on six French GITMO detainees who are now on trial in France for their terrorist activities. The French are okay, right? They didn’t invade Iraq – yet they still know a terrorist when they see one.

    I also refer you to this Washington Post article on some of the released detainees who have been caught or killed fighting the US or engaging in terrorism.

    And here’s a PDF from the pentagon detailing the alleged crimes of some of those still being held. It also has a LOT of other relevant info about how GITMO is managed and how prisoners are treated.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    i understand, and i appreciate the linkages…

    as i stated, there is no doubt there are black hats being held there…but there is reasonable doubt that not all are as they are accused of being

    that’s what due Process is for

    as for your bits about the abuse…you supply evidence but no proof…it is NOT possible one way or the other for the likes of you or i to find said proof…my concern comes from officially released information

    things like , silly me, sideing with the Inquisition that waterboarding is torture…abuse at the very least…

    even if everything is strictly by the book and above reproach, the sheer negative appearance brought about by the facility does our Cause in this Conflict no good at all when it comes ot “winning the hearts and minds”

    and i do think all can Agree, that the ONLY way to “win” this debacle is to convince the average person involved that the true Enemy are those who would blow up innocent civilians, women and children…and to show them that that is the Tactic of the Foe…and that we are above that barbarism

    just a Thought

    Excelsior?

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

    I’ll sign on for that last paragraph, but I’m still going to refrain from leaping to negative conclusions when there’s evidence pointing both directions on issues like abuse.

    As I’ve said before we need to separate the sheep from the goats and put the right people on trial or else dump them all in some third world hell hole and forget about it.

    Dave

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “It might be a good idea to keep a few for show trials under US justice and just dump the rest at this point.”

    I strongly disagree.

    Every single one of these bastards is a terrorist, or at the very least a terrorist-sympathizer. They should all be locked up for life, or killed.

    If these soulless terror-mongers are allowed to be released, they will work for the rest of their lives towards an effort kill more American soldiers, marines, and civilians.

    I do not weep for the hardships faced by Taliban totalitarians. I hope every single one of them dies in pain.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    oh RJ..so certain, and so overflowing with the very milk of human kindness

    heh

    i can easily agree…try them, weld the guilty ones into cells and leave them there

    but we have to live up to our national principles, uphold due process, snd hold a fair trial

    then punish the guilty and if there are innocents mistakenly there…send them home ( doubtful, but possible)

    we HAVE to be “better” than them when it comes to this..we HAVE to be able to set the Example

    otherwise the Conflict degrades into an eternal feud, rather than something that can be ended

    something to think about

    Excelsior?

  • RogerMDillon

    “Every single one of these bastards is a terrorist, or at the very least a terrorist-sympathizer.”

    Of course, that would explain why so many have been released, but then maybe those in charge don’t know as much as you do about the matter.

  • DazeyMai

    I was not aware that homeland security funds for New York City and Washington, D.C. had been slashed 40%. However, I am aware of a huge decrease in veteran’s benefits. Is this Bush’s way of trying to lower the deficit? What a sorry way to try to make up for the nice surplus he pissed away.

    Frivolous lawsits are clogging our courts and costing taxpayers billions of dollars. You are right, Dave…lawyers are the root of the problem and imposition of sizable fines would be very effective.

  • Clavos

    Dazey,

    However, I am aware of a huge decrease in veteran’s benefits.

    Not so. What was cut was the budget requested for next year by the VA. In point of fact, the VA’s actual budget has grown by more than 40% during the Bush years.

  • DazeyMai

    O.K….I stand corrected if you are right. I still think it is a bad move to cut the budget
    REQUEST for next year. I wonder if the 40% VA budget growth during the Bush years has been adequate to take care of the horrendous injuries our troops are sustaining in Iraq – for which we can thank Bush and Cheney. If only Colin Powell were in charge!

  • Clavos

    Dazey,

    If you’ve ever negotiated for a new car or house, or managed a budget for an office, you know that both sides start out asking for more than they expect to get; the same goes for govt. depts.

    The VA is doing a terrific job of taking care of the vets; a few of whom even date all the way back to WW I, and run up through Iraq, including those like myself, from Vietnam.

    Much of what you see in the MSM about VA budget woes comes from the MSM itself, which OFTEN will call a reduction in a government budget request a reduction in the budget itself. Some of it also comes from the VA itself, as well as veteran’s organizations, both of whom are lobbying.

    I’ve been treated by the VA for years, and have always received all the treatment I need–99% of the people of the VA, are professional, caring, courteous, and most importantly, completely non partisan in their dealings with the vets.

    Be assured, they will NOT let the Iraq vets be neglected, no matter what the administration’s political opponents say.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    Clavos, i am heartened to hear your tale of good news…others i know in the VA domain are not as content…

    this indicates the overall Actuality is somewhere in between

    let me say that if there is ANYTHING i can do to further the cause of caring for our Vets 100%…just let me know

    we owe them SO much more than just that, but the least we can do is take the best care of them humanly possible

    Excelsior?

  • DazeyMai

    Clavos,

    I wish our wimpy congress would spend their time on more important matters than dickering about budget dollars. Oh yes, I know it is ALL about money. Believe it or not, when I buy a new car, I do not negotiate. I thoroughly research the vehicle in which I am interested, make a reasonable offer and they either accept it or refuse.

    I do believe the VA is taking good care of our returning injured troops. But, I also think we sent our troops to war with inadequate equipment and training which has caused many of those injuries.

    I am not criticizing our VA – I just don’t like the idea that their budget could be cut.

    Just curious – If you had it to do over, would you still serve in Viet Nam?

  • Clavos

    this indicates the overall Actuality is somewhere in between

    Exactly.

    I, too, know vets whose experiences with the VA have been less than satisfactory, but they have responsibility for more than 2.5 million veterans, counting both in- and outpatients.

    The VA may well be the govt’s largest bureaucracy, and as such, it doesn’t perform 100% all the time, but I’d say their overall scorecard is definitely on the positive side.

    let me say that if there is ANYTHING i can do to further the cause of caring for our Vets 100%…just let me know

    Heartfelt thanks from this vet…if you call your nearest VA Medical Center, or VA office, they’ll be happy to give you ideas about how you can help.

  • MCH

    “…we owe them SO much more than just that, but the least we can do is take the best care of them humanly possible…”
    – Gonzo Marx

    If I may interject here…as a vet himself, the commenter was being a little modest…the Gonz is amongst those we’re indebted to…

  • Clavos

    Dazey,

    But, I also think we sent our troops to war with inadequate equipment and training which has caused many of those injuries.

    I agree.

    I am not criticizing our VA

    Not to worry, I knew you weren’t.

    Just curious – If you had it to do over, would you still serve in Viet Nam?

    Hhhhmmmmm….Now THAT is a real tough question. On one level, absolutely not–we were sent over there (IMO) with no real intention to actually win the war, and we weren’t free to fight it with that goal in mind. That said, I was sent over in August of 1965, at the very beginning of LBJ’s massive buildup, and I don’t think anyone really knew at that point what we were in for.

    Your underlying question is, of course, whether I’d do it again from a political and moral standpoint–well, Dazey, come this August, I’m back forty years, and I still have not come up with an answer to that question that satisfies even me. I was a kid then, obviously, and I bought all I was told about defending America. I went with a very gung ho desire to help save the world from Communism.

    Hindsight is 20/20, of course, and history has answered a lot of the questions we had back then about that war, so from this perspective forty years later I’d have to say that I’m still not sure, but I don’t think so.

    How’s that for waffling?? I should be a politician when I grow up!!

  • DazeyMai

    Clavos,

    Thank you very much for your interesting answer re Viet Nam. My older son turned 18 the year that “conflict” ended, and I must admit I had already begun encouraging him to go the Canada route. IMO, that war was soooo wrong.

    And, now we find ourselves in another mess from which I doubt we will ever recover. George Bush had absolutely no idea what he was getting us into even though Colin Powell tried to tell him. My grandson will be returning from Mosel this month. He is on a combat team (his choice), and has seen some alarming events.

    I remember how brainwashed all our young men were about “defending America” during the Viet Nam era. What was that war about? I never understood and I still don’t know. I think it was the death of real patriotism – at least until 9/11, and the Iraqi war and corruption in Washington are weakening it again.

    You obviously have spent a lot of time thinking about Viet Nam and your role there. I think it is interesting that our GIs in Iraq have started committing the same sort of atrocities against civilians that some Viet Nam GIs did. Is there something about an unjustifiable war that causes this to happen? Like maybe anger for having to be there for nothing and seeing all that useless destruction.

    Waffling? I don’t think so – it is a complex subject. But, I do think you would probably make a good politician – that is, unless you are too honest.

  • Clavos

    Dazey,

    I think it is interesting that our GIs in Iraq have started committing the same sort of atrocities against civilians that some Viet Nam GIs did. Is there something about an unjustifiable war that causes this to happen?

    I don’t know, but I think it’s interesting that Vietnam, the Gulf War and Iraq are America’s “television” wars. By that, I mean all three have been covered more extensively and in greater depth than any previous wars. As you know, some aspects of these wars have even been shown live on TV.

    So, I wonder if perhaps there were atrocities committed by American troops during WW I, WW II, and Korea, but which were never reported or revealed, due to much lower levels of press scrutiny during those conflicts.

    I think the seemingly higher incidence of atrocities in Vietnam and Iraq has a LOT to do with the difficulty, in both wars, of differentiating between innocent civilians and enemy combatants.

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

    I was not aware that homeland security funds for New York City and Washington, D.C. had been slashed 40%.

    Now THIS is a genuine outrage. Do you know WHY those funds were cut? The first DHS appropriations bill assigned money to local authorities based on a ranking of which cities were the most likely targets as determined based on obvious factors like size of urban area, major target sites and location. But when the new appropriations came up, representatives from various states began complaining that their states weren’t getting their fair share because they had more population or they had more land area, so the appropriation was redone to divide much of the money up on a per-state basis regardless of the actual need of the state. So now Wyoming which would NEVER get hit by terrorists gets lots more money than it needs and New York comes up 40% short. Absolutely ridiculous self-serving porkbarreling from congress. Shameful.

    As to the situation with the VA, the main complaint I hear from veterans I’ve talked to about this is that certain facilities have been closed or combined to reduce overhead, so they have to travel farther to get the treatment they need, though that treatment appears to still be of high quality and complete. It’s just less convenient – and in some cases very much so. One vet I know has to travel from Austin to Houston for certain types of care.

    Dave

  • MCH

    “So, I wonder if perhaps there were atrocities committed by American troops during WW I, WW II, and Korea, but which were never reported or revealed, due to much lower levels of press scrutiny during those conflicts.”

    Clavos, I’ve interviewed several WWII vets who told me of atrocities against the Germans, specifically during/after the Battle of the Bulge. I’ll spare the details.

    Also, the Battle of Okinawa warranted a U.S. government investigation, after we killed almost 90,000 island civilians (again, sparing details).

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    MCH:

    Yep. When you have a situation where young men with loaded guns are in a foreign land, and are full of adrenaline because they are scared for their own safety (and pissed off at the enemy), atrocities will happen.

    It’s a damn shame, but it has happened in every war in history, not just the recent “televised” ones…

  • MCH

    Look, Elliott, I’ve been around long enough to know that only those who’ve actually seen action really know what combat is all about. So, save the phoney Rush Limbaugh regurgitations for someone else, OK?

  • Clavos

    Dave,

    I remember from when I lived in San Antonio that there was a very good VAMC in Kerrville–it may not offer the kind of care your friend needs, and he may have already checked it out, but it’s a lot closer to Austin than Houston.

  • Clavos

    MCH,

    Thanks for the info. I figured there probably were incidents in every war–mostly, they’re better reported now.

  • DazeyMai

    #39…When our Republican Congress apportioned funds for homeland security they made it perfectly clear that the safety of America has no priority with them. What is important? The almighty dollar and what it can do to get them elected and re-elected. Security funds for Wyoming? Give me a break!!! However, we must remember that is Cheney’s home State.

    Even when Congress takes a break from such topics as “flag burning”, “gay marriage”, “when does a fetus become a living being”, etc., they manage to screw up whatever the matter is – no matter how important it is. How much corruption can America endure? I think we need to forget the idea that we are indestructible.

    Yes, the apportionment of homeland security funds is a genuine outrage and a disgrace, and I feel so helpless…

  • Lumpy

    Dazey. Last time I checked congress had a lot of democrats in it too and one of the states that lost the most funding has a republican governor.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    a bit of a fallacy involved there Lumpy…

    check the Majority…who has it? what were the votes?

    a governor has nothing to do with Congressional politics or appropriations…

    now, if you check the Record…what were the Rules and votes on the Committee (majority republicans), what was the Vote there?

    as set by the Majority, what were the rules and times for the debate over the legislation? the rules on amendments?

    remember, all those rules are set by the committee chair, or the Majority Leader in open Congress

    do i have to keep going as to why mentioning that there are “democrats in it too” is misleading and irrelevant?

    nah…i think it’s pretty clear…

    Excelsior?

  • DazeyMai

    Great rebuttal, Gonzo!

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “Look, Elliott, I’ve been around long enough to know that only those who’ve actually seen action really know what combat is all about.”

    So, why do you continue to opine on this subject, Mr. Hawaii all-billiards and all-softball team?

  • MCH

    “So, why do you continue to opine on this subject, Mr. Hawaii all-billiards and all-softball team?”

    To refute your phoney facade of pretending to know what combat is like.

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

    gonzo, let me set some things straight here. Since commenting on this topic earlier I’ve done some research. It turns out that Congress was actually NOT responsible for the reassigning of the funds. That was done by Chertoff and the DHS. And if you look at the lists of how the money was assigned it isn’t nearly as horrible as those who lost money made it out to be. The main problem is that the budget was reduced 40% overall, so everyone lost funding. Some places lost it more than others, but New York and California’s major cities lost the average amount. In this case the administration is mostly responsible, along with anyone in Congress who voted to cut DHS funding. But I think there’s a BIG question mark on whether the cuts are really putting money in the wrong places. I don’t have it now because I’m on the road, but there’s a list available online of all the money and where it’s going – I think it’s linked to a WaPo article – it sure looks like a hell of a lot of money is going to the major target areas and none or very little to anywhere else. The only thing that raised my eyebrows was the $4 mil for American Samoa.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    i had nothing to do with the samoa bit…i told you i wanted Fiji

    but i digress…

    yes, i understand that it was DHS that did the allocations…and i meant the bit abotu Congress in the overall cuts…

    my problems were with how Chertoff decided to cut such a huge percentage for NYC and Washington DC..the two biggest Targets, and the ones that have been hit…then look at the places that got increases

    but you get the Idea

    and what yer seeing now more than likely are not the same figures that were originally released

    not that it matters, you get my Point

    Excelsior?