"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Moral Clarity Or What?

Harry Shearer observes that the recent arrests in Britain do not jive with the Bush Administration's policies on "enemy combatants" in a "time of war"...

This is a group of people who allegedly conspired, according to British officials like Home Secretary John Reid, to commit acts of mass murder that would have dwarfed 911. If we were at war with them, according to the Administration's own well-documented legal arguments, we would have killed them or detained them and thrown them in Gitmo. Instead, where did we--or our allies in the "war", the Brits--put them? Right where we're told by those same arguments we cannot put enemy combatants--in the criminal justice system.


James Robertson said...

One of the large difficulties is that we are dealing with an ideology that has broader appeal than communism ever did. One could easily argue that the people nabbed in Britain are 5th columnists - the difficulty is that unlike people working for the USSR, there's no national authority that they report in to. They are freelance ideologues, but no less committed to our destruction.

All of that makes it difficult to deal with them under anything other than criminal law. The obvious issue with that is that criminal law deals with things after the fact.

geocle3 said...

Why do we have to compare how we prosecute terrorists to how others do it?

The UK's been dealing with low level terrorism for so long they're court system has mechanisms for dealing with things (like protecting government secrets and allowing sneak and peek).

I don't hear the same people that complain about gitmo saying we should allow the Gov to detain none citizens up to several weeks. Heck The UK doesn't have a constitution or a bill of rights?

Should I be screaming about that?
Why do I care?

I don't hear these same people talking about how Afghanistan or S Arabia deals with suspected terrorists?

I believe the people who want to comparer and contrast our system to others are doing it to justify an agenda they want to forward. If they like it over there better they should vote with their feet.

Uncle Bob said...

The terror suspects arrested in the UK were British CITIZENS and therefore subject to due protections. If the US found US citizens plotting terror, they too would go into the criminal system and be granted all the protections of the constitution. On the other hand, terrorists captured on the field of battle or in foreign countries where we are fighting a war are not citizens and are not entitled to protections under our constitution, and therefore can, and should, be held in a different kind of facility like Gitmo. Moral clarity requires clarity of thought, clarity of rules, clarity of decisions, and, most importantly a recognition that there is a moral standard.

Steve said...

"""where we are fighting a war are not citizens and are not entitled to protections under our constitution, and therefore can, and should, be held in a different kind of facility like Gitmo."""

I fail to see why the American constitution should apply. International conflicts should be subject tot he Geneva convention. Unfortunately that requires an identifiable (by nationailty or some other determining charateristic() enemy, and doesn't allow you to declare arbitrarily detains individuals as "enemy combatants".

If you place the constitution above the Geneva Convention then you shouldn't really be taking part in international conflicts. Alternatively you could worry about the 40,000 American a year who die in traffic accidents.

It's also clear that George W Bush has little respect for the constitution, since he won't even concur with his own supreme court's interpretation of it.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.