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July 2, 2006

A revisit

Because I don't have a very large readership some good conversation gets lost because either I don't go back to the posts and keep the conversation going or my readers don't.

I posted a good piece that had some commentary about Bush just to get some stuff off my chest. Some really good conversation followed but I neglected to go back and respond to one of the comments, not only Little Cicero's invitation to reciprocal links but also of my friend Andy.

When talking of Bush and Gitmo, and the problems associated with that sovereign piece of U.S. on Cuban soil, Andy said this:
I don't know what the solution is. But I do know who started the problem.
And, as usual with Andy, I do agree with 50% of that comment.

I don't know what the hell we are going to do either. Our legal system is so delicate. I equate the problem in Gitmo with that of what our law enforcement people deal with every day. A piece of crap is captured, we know he is a piece of crap, we know he has done bad things and probably, given the chance, will continue to do bad things- but we just haven't seen him do bad things. Quite and conundrum but this is what separates us from the uncivilized world of the Arabs where a beheading or hand mutilation follows any suspicion of bad activity. We gotta let 'em go.

Here we are with hundreds of bad guys in detention in Guantanamo, captured on the filed of battle or turned over to us by our allies. I think the Gitmo guys face the same Capone-ish problem: we know they are bad, just can't prove it. I have no doubt that when these guys are released they will kill an American at the first available opportunity. Thus the delicate and sometimes unfair balance of justice. "Hey remember that guy they released from Gitmo last month? Ran a gas truck into school of handicapped children where some guy was giving a speech." But at least our justice system worked as intended.

the other 50% of Andy's comment I take exception with. It may be hyper-patriotic of me to say but after almost 19 years of military service I think I am entitled. Dear friend, it was not Bush who started this.


  1. I'm afraid I disagree with your analysis of Andy's 50 percent (did I get the math right?).

    The crime-fighting paradigm is not appropriate with regards to the men at Gitmo. Indeed, the problem with the way we've dealt with terrorism for the 30 years leading up to 9-11 relates to treating it as a problem for law enforcement, rather than acts of war.

    Setting aside the outrageousness of the Supreme Court's (mis)handling of the Gitmo case, the fact is that they may be held for the duration of the war, a practice consistent with both international law, as well as hundreds of years of custom and practice.

    Furthermore, as members of a stateless terror organization, signatories to the Geneva Convention(s) are within their rights to summarily execute the insurgents on the battlefield.

    Without trying to be too pugnacious, I've always felt the "we're better than they are" argument to be gloriously beside the point.

    We may very well find their behaviors abhorrent, but to fight a war by Marquess of Queensbury Rules when your opponents routinely engage in the most vile acts of savagery puts us at a serious disadvantage, one that could leave us with little more than a feeling of smug superiority -- just before the hooded jihadi slits out throats and saws our heads off.

    War is awful. But America doesn't start 'em. We finish 'em. We killed Germans and Japanese soldiers by the bushel, and then we incinerated their cities for good measure.

    Were we as bad as they were? I don't think so. We all know about the Holocaust, and no one can plausibly argue that the conduct of American troops came close to the depravity of the Third Reich.

    As for the Japanese, consider the Rape of Nanking. Competitions to see how many beheadings could be done before one's arms became too tired to lift the sword; bayonet practice on living Chinese; soldiers throwing babies in the air and spitting them on their bayonets.

    Yes, we burned Tokyo to ashes, sent mushroom clouds boiling up into the skies over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but even then we acted to prevent greater loss of human life. We made the calculation that me must kill in order to end the killing.

    That same moral calculus has utility today. I cannot accept the logic that supports the release of insurgents from Gitmo, the release of men who will return to the battlefield and kill out troops.

    This reasoning feeds the contempt the jihadis feel for the West, because it is -- in essence -- suicidal.

    It's late, I'm cranky (so what else is new, I know), but I enjoy your blog and had to respond to this post.

    P.S. Like your photography, too.

  2. Thank you for your great response, Mike.

    I have made a few posts concerning the Gitmo issue- Outraged, Burning Bush, and Out of Whack- just to name a few, and I don't know if you have been able to read down that far into my months of blogging, but I share no sympathy for the terrorist shitheads that occupy our detention facilities. If this post seemed like I was getting soft on them then I have horribly misrepresented my position.

    Except for the sparse few who are being detained unfairly, and I know that the liberals are going to whine that being held for 4 years without charges is being unfair, the rest of the detainees can rot for all I care.

    Perhaps I should have expanded on a few points in my post; sometimes I start writing and the flood of ideas and analogies overwhelms me and I forget what it was I actually wanted to say. Charge the people with something. If people are so worried about the terrorist's rights then for fuck sake charge them with something like, oh, I don't know, being a shithead?

    I understand what the last part of your reply is saying all too well. Letting them go would be a bad idea because they would run right out and kill us given the chance. Showing them justice or mercy will only be regarded as weakness.

    The crime fighting mentality is indeed the wrong approach to take and I mentioned it only in theory not in practice to illustrated my points, which looks like were lost in the process.

    Thank you again for this reply, for a reciprocal viewpoint and for giving valid reasons to hold them indefinitely instead of "Because they are shitheads."

  3. But we ought not charge them with "something, anything," because to do so brings us back to a quasi-legal paradigm.

    Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the detainees are entitled to the same protections as U.S. troops held by the enemy.

    In that circumstance, trials for the captives are specifically prohibited. They are simply held until the end of hostilities, then released -- or charged with war crimes.

    If we grant the wishes of the jihadi-loving Left and deem the Gitmo detainees the status of POWs they so clearly think is deserved, then we hold them until the terrorists admit defeat and end hostilities.

    "But wait!" they cry, "that could be twenty or thirty years!"

    Yeah, ain't war a bitch?

    Some Germans were held for six years by the Brits during WW2, and the Soviets kept German POWs well past VE Day, some for more than 14 years.

    But there have been plenty of long wars; ever hear of the Thirty Years War? Again, it sucks to be a terrorist after 9-11.

    Even the execrable Justice Stevens recognized the right of the U.S. to hold the Gitmo detainees until the end of hostilities; he just said we can't try 'em with military tribunals unless Congress authorizes it.

    Suits me. No trials. Just a lifetime behind barbed wire.

    But that brings me back to my original point, which is that battlefield summary executions are authorized for unlawful combatants.

    Given the way the two U.S. GIs were mutilated by the jihadis last month, our troops have a strong incentive to fight to the death, recognizing that surrender offers no protection from the depredations of these monsters. The actions of the jihadis also supports taking no prisoners, or, in the alternative, turning them over to nations with far fewer reservations about how to treat stateless brigands.

    I'm going to read some of your earlier posts to get a better sense of your position, as it has evolved over time.

    But do me a favor, will ya? Resist the urge to buy into the idea that we have to do "something," other than give these bastids three hots and a cot. If we're going to charge them with something, let's charge them for room and board.



  4. While I definately don't buy into the terrorist apologists idea of what to do with the bad guys I guess my "charge them something" response is becuase I am sick of hearing about the whole thing.

    "There, we charged them with killing/trying to kill/plotting to kill Americans. Now shut the hell up about it."

  5. All those things you talk about are true- if we were actually AT WAR! Congress never declared war and we’re are at more of a police state as far as the Geneva Convention is concerned. The Gitmo situation is not about the detainees and never was. It is about presidential power and how much more warmongering this administration can get away with.

    We try to project that democracy is a good thing, we try to win the hearts and minds of the country we are occupying, we pass out toys and candy to children and then hold illegally people for more than 4 years. Way to set back our judicial system 200 years. We aren’t at war so your points are moot. Those people and anyone else we capture are subject to due legal process. They aren’t charged with anything because we can’t prove anything. We just swept up any Arab looking person we could find and labeled them terrorists to ‘protect’ our nation from them.

    It is very true that the people we are fighting are bad and do bad things. But we are no better than they are and slap democracy in the face when we do not practice what we preach.

    I post as anonymous because I do not want your warmongering views and opinions infecting my blog.

  6. Interested partyJuly 05, 2006 4:55 PM

    I think "someone" needs a lesson in what the definition of 'warmongering' is:

    Main Entry: war·mon·ger
    Pronunciation: 'wor-"m&[ng]-g&r, -"mä[ng]-
    Function: noun
    : one who urges or attempts to stir up war

    Nowhere in trickishknave's posts have I read any "urging or attempting to stir up war". Being in the military doesn't mean you are a warmongerer.

    And for the record, while Congress may not have declared war in Iraq or Afghanistan, they DID authorize "extended military engagements" - just shy of formally declaring war.

  7. Ah, Old Anonymous has returned. This sounds like the same post in my 'How To Spot A Liberal' entry some months ago. A satirical jibe at liberals wastaken as a persoanl attack and it seems that someone got thier feelings hurt again.

    This post has to be a troll because there is just so much idiocy in this response that it holds as much water as a screen door on a submarine.

    If you take objection to Mike's post concerning detainee treatment then I suggest you go to his site and inquire because my reader base isn't that large and I get butterflies anyone comes back at all.

    As for my comments and your insinuation that I am a warmongerer I have to wave a dismissive hand and give you the obligatory


    You orbit around the technicality of war from a safe distance all the while launching rhetoric against the way we defend ourselves from people who have no honor code when it comes to rules of engagment. Unless you consider "Cut their fucking heads off" an ROE.

    I repsect your anonymity for fear of my reprisals on your blog, and you should be. Hit and run posts like this lend nothing to your credibility and I have no dout my comments would be deleted on your anti Bush, terrorist sympathizing site anyway.

    You might want to get your North Korea flags out and wave them in support of the next few missile launches.