Wanted: Adult Supervision of the Legal War on Terror

If you truly want to understand how (and here I've reluctantly hewed to Post policy on the use of cuss words) messed up the Bush administration's response has been to the legal war on terrorism, then take some time this weekend to read Georgetown University Law Professor (and occasional detainee attorney) David Cole's powerful essay in the current edition of the New York Review of Books. At my request, and at Cole's urging, the good folks there have graciously made it available online. Print it out and take it to the beach. Or pour yourself an iced tea and check it out.

A guy who should have been a detainee -- the foreign-born Zacarias Moussaoui -- was instead made the focus of a show trial which prosecutors won only because the defendant begged to be convicted. A guy who should have been a criminal defendant from the get-go -- Jose Padilla -- was instead made an "enemy combatant" for a few years. The Guantanamo Bay detention plan has been a fiasco; the White House's alteration of the rules about "torture" begat Abu Ghraib; and despite a willing public and a compliant Congress, the administration still felt it necessary to subvert the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act to engage in warrantless domestic spying.

Focusing on the role of former Attorney General John Ashcroft and his venal successor, Alberto R. Gonzales, Cole offers a masterful account of all of the lost opportunities and misguided priorities that have led us to where we are today when it comes to a coherent legal policy to combat the new kind of terror-criminal: nowhere. And he offers some guidance about how we ought to move forward.

Cole writes:

If we are to prevail against the tactics of terror, we need structural reforms to ensure clear rules, aggressive congressional oversight, and political leaders who are willing to stand up for principle in the face of overwhelming popular pressure. Following September 11 we had none of these. We need to restore them all if we are to make progress in reestablishing the system of checks and balances that Bush, Ashcroft and Gonzales so aggressively sought to dismantle in the name of our protection.

Other prominent legal authorities also are beginning, finally, to speak out on this issue, a sign that the legal establishment now fully comprehends the magnitude of the government's failings. In an important op-ed piece in The New York Times earlier this week, Neal Katyal and Jack L. Goldsmith, representing two divergent constituents in the debate over terror law, made the case for a "terrorist's court" -- a whole new offshoot of our civilian legal system.

They write: "We already have specialized federal courts to deal with matters like bankruptcy, taxes and patents; the case here is far more compelling. In the past, Americans might have hoped that a national security threat would abate over time, and so the pressures on the civilian courts, whatever they were, would subside. Today we have no such luxury. We must create sensible institutions for the long haul."

Sound familiar? Sense a growing consensus? It's probably too late for anyone to reasonably hope that the Bush administration will be willing or able to effect these sorts of sensible changes. The current White House is far too invested in its failed legal approach to terrorism to concede defeat and start anew. But the next administration, be it Democrat, Republican, Tory or Whig, ought to start from scratch get it right. We can't afford to have another six years of legal chaos and poor judgment.

By Andrew Cohen |  July 13, 2007; 8:40 AM ET
Previous: Taylor to Miers to Chance | Next: Jose Padilla at the Half

Comments

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Bush is a CRIMINAL. Why do we need yet another esssay to tell us that? What we need to do is IMPEACH, IMPRISON, AND CHOP OF HIS (CUSS WORD) HEAD!!! That is how you fight evil. Not with pansy-a__ legal essays that tell us what we already know. PUT THE CRIMINALS IN JAIL ALREADY. Until we do that, this is just you selling books off the back of a crook.

Posted by: Dude in VA | July 13, 2007 10:29 AM

What we have is a complete failure to govern. We are suppose to have checks and balances and the American people have been let down. This Adminstration will go down in history as the worse if not the most criminal! We the American people deserve better! I'm ashamed at or representation...can we have a third party..PLEASE!

Posted by: Noneck | July 13, 2007 10:38 AM

andrew - do you think that there is any possibility of holding the bush administration responsible for its actions once they are out of office? will it be easier then when they no longer hold the reins of power?

Posted by: billy | July 13, 2007 10:46 AM

"But the next administration, be it Democrat, Republican, Tory or Whig, ought to start from scratch get it right"
Great article, Mr. Cohen, but it's "Democratic." Thank you.

Posted by: CT | July 13, 2007 10:53 AM

Bush and his acolytes should be tried for crimes against humanity for invading a country which was no threat to us and for sending american soldiers to fight a war under false pretense. 3,600 dead,26,000 injured, trillions spent and there is no way we can punish this administration? It's outrageous!

Posted by: Renee | July 13, 2007 10:55 AM

So the legal profession is finally crawling out from under their desks, and pulling their heads out of their (I too have reluctuntly hewed to the Post policy on the use of profanity)butts and speaking out against the trampling of our civil rights, and the law, by this fascist administration. Well welcome to the fight gentlemen, better late than never.

Posted by: steve Splain | July 13, 2007 11:00 AM

So the legal profession is finally crawling out from under their desks, and pulling their heads out of their (I too have reluctuntly hewed to the Post policy on the use of profanity)butts and speaking out against the trampling of our civil rights, and the law, by this fascist administration. Well welcome to the fight gentlemen, better late than never.

Posted by: Steve Splain | July 13, 2007 11:00 AM

So the legal profession is finally crawling out from under their desks, and pulling their heads out of their (I too have reluctuntly hewed to the Post policy on the use of profanity)butts and speaking out against the trampling of our civil rights, and the law, by this fascist administration. Well welcome to the fight gentlemen, better late than never.

Posted by: Steve Splain | July 13, 2007 11:00 AM

"Democrat, Republican, Tory or Whig"

The first of these four parties calls itself, the Democratic Party. You ought to make a note of it. You were right, though, to group the Republicans, Tories, and Whigs together. Each of them was a great party in its day, and each of them is now extinct.

Posted by: DCDemocrat | July 13, 2007 11:07 AM

The 'War on Terror' is a convenient replacement for the Cold War, requiring us to maintain a gargantuan military in a world where such a military is no longer needed. Chaos in the middle east, even with its rivers of blood, is, unfortunately, an all-too coherent policy choice.

Posted by: dhfalk | July 13, 2007 11:12 AM

Renee,

The real count is well over 100,000 dead by now.

The Iraqis we killed are awfully dead, too.

Posted by: Tim | July 13, 2007 11:13 AM

Be it Democrat, Republican, Tory, or Whig - has it occured to you that whoever wins the election in 2008 that there might not be a new President in 2009? What's an election compared to the voice of God in a national emergency? Especially when you're facing the prospect of trial and imprisonment for your crimes.

Posted by: okbyme | July 13, 2007 11:20 AM

I knew the sunset clause in the Patriot Act was a lie. I KNEW they'd screw us over. I knew they had no intention of sunsetting that abusive piece of garbage--ever. Last time I trust them, I promise. Fool me once...

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Posted by: MidwestMadman | July 13, 2007 12:02 PM

Our representatives are gutless because WE are gutless. A general strike demanding impeachment would change all that. Alas, we are too married to comfort and security to risk it. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves that we are underlings."

Posted by: djmagaro | July 13, 2007 12:04 PM

missives like yours and all the other fawning non-participants is actually quite useful: one by one we learn who the enemies are should things deteriorate to the point that the enforcement controls YOU all ultimately depend upon break down.

you don't get it.....while you carp about a fundamental schism in values and refuse to participate in the real burden/risk sharing that has been underway since at least 9/11......you don't realize that this opens the door for others to reject ANY future "common goals" you attach viscereal importance to.

you are part of the problem. you are part of the risk. while pattering non-sense universals about what "Americans want".....you don't get it that some, perhaps many, Americans see how divisive and counter-productive you can be.

Just as for Bush...there will be accountability for all parties when the final chapters are written.

Posted by: actually_served | July 13, 2007 12:23 PM

Wow. For once, Cohen comes out with some truly thought-provoking information....is this really true? Is the legal establishment FINALLY beginning to see what others already know and knew, but could not say, concerning these terrorist "show" trials, and to question what was really going on there, by this rotten-to-the-core Justice Department and its boss, the White House?

Wonders never cease-it's certainly taken long enough! And can't be more needed than it is right now.

Posted by: arrabbiato | July 13, 2007 12:47 PM

"actually_served": where, what unit, and when soldier?

Posted by: JP2 | July 13, 2007 12:49 PM

And while we're at it, why don't we dissect SECRETARY MICHAEL CHERTOFF, huh?

He was the Assistant AG for Criminal at DOJ, and the supervisor on the Moussaoui case, before he traded up on the power ladder for his position at DHS.

NO ONE could be less competent or qualified for DHS Secretary than Chertoff, someone who is totally disinterested in the myriad functions and issues of the 22 agencies under his control, a man that is THOROUGHLY motivated by politics at every turn.

Protecting the American public comes a VERY distant second to Michael Chertoff than his own personal political issues-which are, making Michael Chertoff look good in all things, and never doing anything to make him look bad. You see, it's all about me, Michael Chertoff, and my power grab, that's at issue here.

Well, you can fool some of the people some of the time.....

One obvious case in point: the misery and disaster of Katrina, for which the official investigative report found him directly at fault, his incompetence and utter politicizing of the issue should have caused him to be removed immediately from that post.

And now he's got "a feeling in his gut" about al-Qaeda. Please. Get over your grandstanding utterly corrupt politicizing self, Chertoff! Do the American public a favor and resign, it might be the most real and worthwhile thing you've done for your country in a long, long time!

Posted by: | July 13, 2007 12:59 PM

I would add, that any soldier who claims that "should things deteriorate to the point that enforcement, etc, etc, etc" has served NO ONE, but himself. Not his nation. Not anyone BUT HIMSELF.

Actually served on behalf of whom?

Yet another reason that we need to get out of Iraq and get some adult supervision in Washington. What a sad, pathetic statement "should things deteriorate." F-cking pathetic.

Posted by: JP2 | July 13, 2007 01:10 PM

P.S. Cohen, I LIKE the title of this blog very much. QUITE the relevant and apropro statement and discussion to be having, all over this country by those who have always put the mission statement of protecting the American public BEFORE politics, regardless of how their bosses or bosses bosses have proceeded to the contrary!

Posted by: arrabbiato | July 13, 2007 01:13 PM

Excellent article. The Guantanamo Bay detention plan has been a fiasco; the White House's alteration of the rules about "torture" begat Abu Ghraib; and despite a willing public and a compliant Congress, the administration still felt it necessary to subvert the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act to engage in warrantless domestic spying.

True but you don't get it. I submit that despite a willing public and a compliant Congress, the administration still felt it necessary to subvert the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act to engage in MUCH MORE than warrantless domestic spying. because even the willing public (often described as "the American sheep" following the Anthrax Lesson) and even Jack Abramoff's Congress would not have permitted the White House to do what they did, so deep were the fathoms of criminality into which Bush so aggressively and covertly descended.

Of course, warrantless domestic spying is highly objectionable. But when Bush takes on his domestic competitors or the business competitors of his campaign contributors, Bush's spies are not ordered to observe passively.

Posted by: The Messenger | July 13, 2007 01:22 PM

sorry JP...as usual....you are jumping to conclusions. you have no idea what role I have been playing in this drama - for many decades now.

if it is of any solace to you when your head hits the goosedown tonight....this has been a long, slow intellectual/emotional transition. and I am not alone. many of us fighting the dirty side of this see where the obstructionists are - inside and outside.

did you not think that the venom being spilled at one end of the "discussion" was going to precipitate a reaction at other parts in the spectrum of opinion?

you may be an even bigger dupe/fool than first imagined!

Posted by: actually_served | July 13, 2007 01:29 PM

A great lawyer, statesman, and founding father said that the people get the government they deserve. (Jefferson or Adams)

How anyone other than the hard-core Republican base could have voted for this idiot for a second term is beyond my comprehension.

Posted by: K in PA | July 13, 2007 01:36 PM

"Actually_served," well then, color me not impressed.

"You have no idea what role I have been playing in this drama -- for many decades now . . ." surprisingly enough I do.

My original reading on your "service" may not have been accurate, I gave you too much credit perhaps.

However, anyone who views life as a "drama" and who sees themselves as "playing a role" is caught up in delusional fantasies i.e. they are pathetic.

So in that respect, my original diagnosis appears to be fundamentally sound. If you're also hearing voices, perhaps you might want to consult a professional. No shame in that, just get some help.

Posted by: JP2 | July 13, 2007 01:50 PM

(Btw with every possible apology to our Revolutionary brethren, even the Tories seem DAMN GOOD right now.

DHfalk: Most true and obvious (esp given the interests, influences, and role models of the administration); what does it mean that given that this has been obvious almost from the beginning that it continued for so long, and how to prevent that recurring?

Tim:"The Iraqis we killed are awfully dead too." Quite, yet far from funny at all of course. Indeed they are.

actually served: ("Many" Americans see how divisive Cohen can be? Is he that well-known? I'd be flattered if so.) "Divisive and counter-productive" to what common goal? Discussion opens the way for others to "reject ANY future 'common goal'"? Those common goals must not have much going for them in their own right, if consensus has to be created and forced. I thought you guys were the ones trying to enforce "positiveness" no matter what; to you, discussion means no common goal is possible?

And, the implication of your statement that: articles as Cohen's are "useful because we learn who the real enemies are[meaning those such as Cohen]are" along with "there will be accountability for all parties [again meaning those like Cohen]once the final chapters are written" written by one who has "actually_served" in the military sounds awfully close to a threat. In contradiction to the feelgood PC stuff about "question the war if you want, but support our troops", if your statements are representative of many who "actually_served" (I'm assuming) in the current war, I don't think I'm very grateful for your service.

Posted by: Tim D | July 13, 2007 01:51 PM

As appreciative as I am of hot women, Madman, why don't you take your own advice; they should help with your madness.

Posted by: S | July 13, 2007 01:54 PM

'served: What I wrote was before your next post. What I wrote might have been overly heated. Seems as if you have further concerns. What do you mean by the role you have been playing in this for decades? How are you fighting the dirty side of this? Who are the obstructionists, especially inside? Just curious (please, I want to avoid being an obstructionist if possible), don't take offense.

Posted by: Tim | July 13, 2007 02:11 PM

K in PA, made my jaw drop too; the country is clearly quite a mix.

Posted by: CV | July 13, 2007 02:13 PM

Actually_served: I know democracy is "hard work" but what is this "burden/risk sharing that has been underway since 9/11"? Sorry I didn't participate in any of that. I thought the terrorists have won if they affect "our way of life". Praise God, there's no chance of that since from every indication, business at Starbucks is more booming than before 9/11.

Posted by: Deacon | July 13, 2007 02:19 PM

Steve Splain, very, very late in the day indeed. My welcome would be grudging.

Posted by: Chester | July 13, 2007 02:22 PM

Ah, feeling in the gut. George himself has mentioned this as the basis for much of his decisions (when he trusts someone or is pressured enough to reveal that much behind the usual system of layers and affectlessness/false affect.)Good to know that is the basis for the national policy of the decider/ commander in chief/ world "architect".

Posted by: D man | July 13, 2007 02:29 PM

Probably Renee, but who in that region did feel they were a threat? That is some of the answer.

Posted by: | July 13, 2007 02:45 PM

We are all witnesses to an American Tragedy in the making.
We are living in an age of a "late to the party" press who still don't get it and politicians on both sides that need to be out of office NOW!!
We need to impeach these Criminal, incompetent,arrogant....I can go on, but won't.
America can not afford to have these guys in office one more minute.

Posted by: Glen Holt | July 13, 2007 02:58 PM

Not to mention, (to quote another poster)that Chertoff "looks like an escapee from Dracula's tomb!" Ohmigod! TOO FUNNY AND SO TRUE! And the man is only like, 54 years old or something! Seriously! He looks AT LEAST 70!!

Dude, you've missed your calling! If, with all these billions of taxpayer dollars spent in beefing up homeland security, and here comes King Dracula Chertoff, who proclaims "I gotta feeling in my gut.. that al-Qaeda is going to attack this country this summer" Hey! Thanks for that! Um, now, do you want to leave, go join up with the soothsayers and palm readers in a traveling carnie show, and let competent professionals take charge? Please?

Posted by: | July 13, 2007 03:45 PM

And one more interesting tidbit about Chertoff from his "Wikipedia" biography:

"Chertoff is the co-author, along with Viet Dinh, of the USA PATRIOT Act, signed into law October 26, 2001. As head of the Justice Department's criminal division, he advised the Central Intelligence Agency on the outer limits of legality in coercive interrogation sessions."

And here everyone thought that it was all Gonzales's fingers on the PATRIOT ACT, eh?

Nope! A more calculatingly, purely political figure in the Bush administration you will NOT find, is that
Sec. of DHS, Michael Chertoff!

Posted by: | July 13, 2007 04:27 PM

My "gut feeling" has an executive branch so convinced of it's moral superiority it will continue to use American soliders as cannon fodder for their "vision" for the Middle East despite, U.S., Iraqi and world opinion (except maybe the Albanians...) as long as it pads the pockets of Halliburton and thier other friends in the MIC.
Lilly livered Repugs will continue to dodge, weave, lie and wave the bloody flag of 911 to justify their support for the thugs in the white house and pine for the days when their dream of a permanent majority (2004-06) seemed so close (forget it fellas, you picked the wrong idol to worship).
Democrats will continue to minimize the real visionaries in their party; Feingold, Kucinich, and continue to pander to the so-called middle. LIEberman will continue to bow down to AIPAC and the Dems will dance around him instead of slapping him down and kicking him off committees while FUX news viewers await the rapture and TIVO O'Reilly to ease the guilt of supporting an illegal occupation of a sovereign nation and an immoral, crooked, charlatan of a president.
exhale...

Posted by: elmerg | July 13, 2007 04:38 PM

The American people should:

a. appoint a panel of five state governors to take over the three branches of the federal government and declare marshall law,
b. place the federal government in receivership, vacate the white house, dismiss congress and suspend the supreme court,
c. Turn over the president, vice president, members of the cabinet and their senior aides to the International Court in the Haig to answer charges as war criminals,
d. Extradite the members of congress and their senior aides to the US military prison in Guatanamo Bay, Cuba while they await the results of investigation and trial for corruption, neglegence and violation of their sworn duties under the US Constitution.
c. Revise campaign laws to publicly fund national elections before holding a new election in Year 2008.

Posted by: gigabug | July 13, 2007 04:52 PM

WHY did this consensus take do long to arrive at? Many of us saw it long ago. The answer is obvious. The republicans have lost. Their majorities in the House and senate are probably gone for many years to come. The investigations are happening and they know they can no longer keep up the rubber stamp they have given Bush or maintain the lies they knew Bush was telling. They are simply preparing for a democratic president and congress in 2009.

It needs to be understood that if the house and senate had stayed in republican hands this "consensus" would not be happening. And if it ever gets back in their hands it will be just more of the same. The new consensus is nothing more than the dropping of the fascade that the republicans have been holding up all these years. No one knows anything new, just that those now in power will not stand for the truth being twisted and hidden. This new consensus is the real result of the democrats victories in 2006. Good going America.

Posted by: Fate | July 13, 2007 04:52 PM

Mr.Cohen's comments are welcome at a time when we need to clean up the mess that has been created during the current administration, and yet face that we do need to accomodate our systems of law to the changed realities in the time of terrorism.

There may need to be emendations, special conditions added, but all consistent wiith the spirit of the Constitution and to the extent possible, given changed circumstances, with the letter as well. But this needs to be done with a view to the long-term consequences, in the wisest, most thoughtful manner possible, and bringing to bear the same level of wisdom and intelligence that informed the creators of the original documents (and never as acts of mere political or military expediency).

In the meantime, what shall we do with the current administration, while they are still in power? What is the wisest course for us to take, considering both the danger they still pose, the damage that has been done so far, and the consequences that an action such as impeachment would bring.

Apart from the anger-fueled desire to punish the wrong-doers, what is truly best, all things considered?

Posted by: mozcram | July 13, 2007 05:07 PM

Exactly right Fate. I don't have an answer for you. Do you, however, have a song for us (I know you have before)?

Posted by: | July 13, 2007 05:34 PM

Don't these sycophantic careerist generals make you sick? They rolled over for Rumsfeld and they are rolling over for Gates. What a sorry collection of spineless opportunists who put their
personal advancement ahead of defending the Constitution and telling the truth about the pointless agony that is Iraq today. And aren't Warner and Lugar compounding the folly? Their Iraq bill is transparently toothless. We should END THE WAR, NOT NARROW IT. Congress is failing its duty when crimes go overlooked and unindicted. What are Democrats waiting for? 46 percent of Americans want Bush impeached. 54 percent want Cheney ousted. 70 percent want us to exit Iraq. The Republic is in peril and the Democrats are mostly mealymouthed and ineffectual. That's why Congress's approval rating is 20 percent, even lower than Bush's. Won't someone besides Kucinich stand up for America? IMPEACH CHENEY FIRST LEST HE BOMB IRAN AND MAKE THINGS WORSE.

Posted by: | July 13, 2007 05:37 PM

Don't these sycophantic careerist generals make you sick? They rolled over for Rumsfeld and they are rolling over for Gates. What a sorry collection of spineless opportunists who put their
personal advancement ahead of defending the Constitution and telling the truth about the pointless agony that is Iraq today. And aren't Warner and Lugar compounding the folly and serving GOP interest by getting Republicans off the hook? Their Iraq bill is transparently toothless. We should END THE WAR, NOT NARROW IT. Congress is failing its duty when crimes go overlooked and unindicted. What are Democrats waiting for? 46 percent of Americans want Bush impeached. 54 percent want Cheney ousted. 70 percent want us to exit Iraq. The Republic is in peril and the Democrats are mostly mealymouthed and ineffectual. That's why Congress's approval rating is 20 percent, even lower than Bush's. Won't someone besides Kucinich stand up for America? IMPEACH CHENEY FIRST LEST HE BOMB IRAN AND MAKE THINGS WORSE.

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Posted by: xxxdosug.ru | July 13, 2007 05:54 PM

Yes, hate Bush and his policies, but don't overlook that the Republicans in the House and the Senate are dangerous enablers. They continue, for the most part, to stand by this disastrous "Administration." Whiffs of Nazi Germany abound in the White House and the DOJ. The only way to stop the insanity is to vote more of the Republicans out of office. It is either that or civil war to reclaim the power. Voting more Republicans out is probably the better course. Join us moderate red state citizenry, so much depends upon it.

Posted by: Quinn | July 13, 2007 05:58 PM

P.S. I DON'T, for the record, unlike Chertoff, aka "Karnak" have a feeling in MY gut that al-Qaeda is now, or in any way in the near future, going to attack this country in any form or fashion - things are very much in control on the terrorist front in this country, which is of course due in part to the fact that we have an ocean separating us from the threat that lies in wait for American citizens emanating from the UK and other countries-but let me be perfectly clear: that is NO THANKS to Michael Chertoff and his leadership WHATSOEVER-our preparation in homeland security that took place in this country post 9/11 was actually HINDERED by Chertoff, and NOT furthered!

Posted by: | July 13, 2007 06:19 PM

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and say a bit of.
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Posted by: Dan | July 13, 2007 06:39 PM

I've often wondered if Bush et al will scare up a big enough national emergency late in 2008 to stop the election? Or will Bush refuse to peacefully vacate the Office on 20 Jan 2009?

In other words, I wonder if we won't see our first ever coup by a sitting President. God knows the Republicans would probably back him with a "white riot", as in Florida 2000. Hell, the Supreme Court Chief Justice would probably refuse to administer the Oath if Bush asked him.

I put absolutely nothing past Bush and Co.

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Posted by: Irrindged | July 13, 2007 10:52 PM

Sad to say, there is currently a case going on Down Under that's similar to the "round 'em up" abuses of Muslims cited in the article Cohen linked to.

It involves an Indian-born, Muslim medical doctor named Mohammed Haneef who was hired at a hospital in the state of Queensland. He's a relative of one of the men arrested in the latest U.K. terror bombings. (And how stupid were those suicide bombers? They couldn't even manage to kill THEMSELVES!) This Haneef had a one-way ticket to fly back to India shortly after the incidents in London and Scotland. His wife had just given birth in India, but the Aussie authorities thought him leaving was suspicious.

The poor bastard was arrested two weeks ago and has been sitting in jail, with limited legal access. No charges have been laid, and police are said to be investigating. For as long as they want, apparently. Haneef is about to be evicted from bhis flat, because he hasn't been paying his weekly rent. Kind of hard to do when you're in a watch house...

No telling whether he's innocent or guilty, but the treatment is as unfair as anything the U.S. has done. And when you combine it with the Australian practise of keeping ship-borne illegal immigrants on desolate islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans until their refugee claims are investigated -- which often takes YEARS -- you'll see that America has an equal partner in its war of terror.

Excuse me -- I mean war ON terror.

Actually, no -- I don't mean "on."

Posted by: Bukko in Australia | July 14, 2007 01:45 AM

Wrong, totally wrong, Bukko, do NOT compare the situation in the UK with this country's -it's like comparing apples to frogs-they DON'T compare.

HANEEF IS PROPERLY IN JAIL AND NOW CHARGED AS A CONSPIRATOR, AND IF THE UK (AS I TELL MY BRETHERN ON THE BRITISH NEWS BLOGS) WERE HALF AS EFFICIENT AS THEIR COMMONWEALTH KIN, THEN MAYBE THE UK WOULD NOT BE IN THE SITUATION IT IS IN RIGHT NOW-

Bukko, are you aware that Glasgow Airport, hours after the two attempt bomb attacks in London HAD ONLY ONE UNARMED GUARD ON DUTY WHEN THE TWO PERP DOCTORS RELATED IN MISSION TO HANEEF PULLED UP IN THEIR JEEP INTENT ON MURDER??? This is no regional airport, GLA is a freaking international gateway airport! Are you kidding me??? What WERE the UK Government thinking, a year after the British air plots to bomb American aircraft, not to mention the myriad attacks and attempts since 2005? People were VERY close to being killed in Glasgow Airport, and what does Strathclyde Police and the UK Govt. do? Why NOTHING! They had to rely on a bloody passerby to give a kick to the perpetrators until law enforcement finally showed up to respond! Amazing!

Like I say, frequently, the UK has to be dragged KICKING AND SCREAMING INTO THE POST POST 9/11 WORLD OF HOMELAND SECURITY. No OTHER country is having such a problem as Britain, because ALL other countries have taken care of business EXCEPT BRITAIN.

Oh no, my Scottish and English brethern do NOT like it when I hit them with a dose of reality about their governmental incompetence and lack of will on fighting their very real war on terror.

As I like to say, that much admired "British stiff upper lip" is really, only a cover for incompetence and lack of willpower to tackle the tough issues on their part.

Do read what our friend Ron Noble, head of Interpol, had to say last week about the UK and its so-called "war on terror"- no sharing of information, no interrogating of terrorist databases, is this any way to deal with terrorism? Noble said what NEEDED to be said about UK governmental incompetence. I think the BBC didn't even cover the story-that's the way the Beeb operates-no criticism of UK government policies allowed by US officials or its allies-none-the UK Govt. is notoriously thin-skinned in that regard.

The problem is, their problem becomes the rest of the world's problem, particularly here in the US, because an attack in Europe has a ripple effect on governments throughout the world, as everyone must step up their security procedures every bloody time the UK can't take care of business and do what needs to be done-which of course, costs a lot of taxpayer money. The UK needs to take a great big caulking gun and seal up the huge cracks in their immigration policy, as well as keep a hell of a lot better tabs on the thousands of potential terrorist perpetrators already within their borders who have way too much freedom to come and do what they please without any law enforcement oversight whatsoever!

Exhibit A? THREE days before the London bomb attacks, yet another person on a mushy home detention for suspected terrorist activity went missing, THE SEVENTH TERRORIST SUSPECT ON HOME DETENTION TO GO MISSING IN BRITAIN WITHIN A FEW MONTHS SPAN!

Just one glaring and recent example. (They still haven't found these suspects either).

Britain is a psychological mess right now, they are having huge identity crisis problems, and that manifests itself in one way in their uncertainty on how to proceed on the terrorism front.

Australia, on the other hand, is not in this boat, so you can't compare apples to oranges, nor can you compare this country's situation at all, as the US simply is not facing an al-Qaeda threat of any kind these days within our borders.

As far as the American-Arab community? Well, they could not be more removed from the ideology of many of their brethern in the UK if they lived on different planets.

Posted by: arrabbiato | July 14, 2007 09:40 AM

Glen Holt wrote:

"We need to impeach these Criminal, incompetent,arrogant....I can go on, but won't.
America can not afford to have these guys in office one more minute."

Impeachment is only possible if there is a coherent will to do it.
ACME, (American Corporate Media Establishment) having become homogeneously co-opted, has long-'ere-forfeited the competence, the grit and the gristle, to assist in meaningful change in this wise. Spreading the word on your own and haranguing your House Rep is probably the only way to get the ball rolling.

Impeachment alone is only a partial solution.

Submitting the Unholy Trinity of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld to the Hague would go a *very* long way to mitigating threats to the US, at home and abroad. The World would at least be presented with a case that the US in particular, and democracy in general, were worthy of respect.

I submit that it is much more difficult to foment and foster violence against a nation, a people, engaged in an overt action of contrition and humility than it is against a nation that has arrogated unto itself the right to pre-emptively wage war on any nation, people or organization it perceives as an obstacle to imposing it's economic and political ambitions wholesale, and arbitrarily.

For the benefit of those who might feel this oversates the way the rest of the world sees the US, please take a few minutes and review the PNAC 'manifesto':
www.newamericancentury.org

No security strategy, no matter how effective, can prevent the horrors contemplated by thousands of clever and ruthless psychopaths with the means and the will to perpetrate them. Its just a matter of time unless American
Foreign Policy and Democratic Functionality are made manifestly worthy of respect.

Posted by: 00 Buck: boundary bay, bc | July 14, 2007 11:12 AM

arrabbiato--You makes I larf !!!

Posted by: Bill MacLeod | July 14, 2007 11:32 AM

I'm glad Bill, and if you're a Brit, you make my point beautifully, stick your head in the sand and refuse to face the terrorist threat in Londonistan head-on until they strike again, wring your hands and say "oh dear, we won't let them disrupt our British way of life, carry on do carry on as if nothing has happened" crap as you usually do, but, they only gots to get lucky once, don't they? And the UK has been UNCOMMONLY lucky for the past two years, n'est ce pas?

And of course the problem is that a terrorist attack in the UK affects the WHOLE world, not just their own world-which is why Ron Noble said what he did; the UK has GOT to get with the program, or thousands will die as a result of their fecklessness and lack of will to do what it takes to put the terrorists and the wannabes out of commission.

Posted by: arrabbiato | July 14, 2007 11:46 AM

Arrabiato, you are correct that Haneef has now been charged with something. (Odd that I read about this thing happening HERE first on a U.S. newspaper's blog, but I don't buy the local paper every day.) And he's still in jail, pre-trial detention without bail.

And what was Haneef charged with? Giving a mobile phone SIM chip to one of the numbskulls in the UK attacks. To me, giving someone a phone chip does not make them a murdering terrorist. Haneef told Aussie police he did this. A confession like that is hardly the act of a crafty international terrorist.

I don't know whether you travel around the world much, but if you do, you realise that as you go from country to country, it's common to carry a phone body and buy chips that work on differing countries' telcom systems. When you move from the U.K. to Oz, as Haneef did, your U.K. chip is useless. It's something you paid good money for, and comes with its own telephone number, which gets recycled by the phone company if you don't use it. So instead of losing the investment and the number, you give it to your second cousin, the fellow doctor.

That's how I read it, at least. Perhaps there are other sinister facts of which I am unaware. The Aussie authorities have not revealed any thus far. What they've done is locked up a fellow on flimsy charges, during an election year here when John Howard's Liberal Party needs a hot-button issue to counter the disgust with which so many people regard them. I'm cynical, so I regard the Haneef affair as that.

People like me who are sceptical about various right-wing governments' actions on terror threats do not deny there is a problem. But, as Cohen made a point of with this column, sensible analysis is needed instead of hysterical over-reaction. Which side are you on, son, which side are you on?

Posted by: Bukko in Australia | July 14, 2007 06:58 PM

Bukko: Here's the key to your post:

"That's how I read it, at least. Perhaps there are other sinister facts of which I am unaware."

Now, you don't seriously think they are going to reveal everything about what they know about this plot, do you? And yes, I know all about SIM cards and their usage-you think the Crown should accept the suspect's explanation, given this fact situation? I don't think so!

Because Haneef's lawyers allege that he simply gave a SIM to his distant cousin's use obviously does NOT mean, however, that Haneef knew NOTHING ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING ON-and his FLIGHT, with a ONE WAY ticket to India is what we call in the US "conscious evidence of guilt" (they have a similar legal phrase in Australia). You'll have to wait until the Commonwealth presents its evidence this week about Haneef's connection to the plot in his bail hearing. He should not be granted bail, in my opinion.

Meanwhile, over on The Scotsman's website, is this jaw-dropping story:

Red Tape Stops Checks on 9 out of 10 Terror Suspects"

http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1102602007

Bukko, I think you need to join the discussion on the UK's Scotsman blog, you'll feel right at home there-AND SOME OF US FEEL STRONGLY THAT A HIT OF REALITY NEEDS TO BE INJECTED INTO THE BRITS' BRAINS, PARTICULARLY THE SCOTS, WHO CAN'T SEEM TO GET THEIR MINDS AROUND THE FACT THAT THEY HAVE A VERY REAL WAR ON TERROR GOING ON IN THEIR TINY COUNTRY OF LESS THAN FIVE MILLION-(LET'S LEAVE THE 2,000! TERRORIST SUSPECTS IN ENGLAND OUT OF THE PICTURE FOR THE MOMENT!). 150! "viable" suspects in Scotland alone!

Here, in the US, in this country of almost 300 million, we don't have anything close to 150 "viable" terrorist suspects; it's mind-boggling what the Brits are NOT doing to combat the threat to their homeland.

150 in Scotland alone, and that's just who they have identified. Yet the Scots, like their English compatriots, and unlike the whole rest of the world, unlike the Italians, the French, the Germans, the Spanish, etc., just can't seem to go proactive, they are still residing in their pre 9/11 mentality.

We have to thank our friend Ron Noble at Interpol for at least daring to broach the subject of questioning British operations on the war on terror, which threatens not just their world, but the rest of the world as well.

Posted by: Arrabbiato | July 15, 2007 03:44 PM

Follow-on to the Haneef saga which you would appreciate, Arrabi.

The doctor got bailed out of jail for $10,000. No more evidence than a SIM chip; so much for your theory that the government had some secret goods on him. The magistrate overseeing the case had no grounds to hold him indefinitely for however many years it takes for a trial. Haneef was not off the hook -- he was still facing court. But there's a quaint notion here that used to be cited in the U.S. -- "innocent until proven guilty."

Only, it doesn't apply in Australia any more either. At least if you're an immigrant. As soon as Haneef was released on bail, the immigration department revoked his visa and sent him to another jail. Why? Because he's suspected of associating with terrorists. And if you're in Australia without a visa, you get thrown into an immigration prison. They're strict with visa regs here.

So Haneef, who hasn't been proven guilty of anything except being a relative of some half-assed terrorists in Pom-land, will stay in jail until such time as he is tried and/or deported. (He might prefer the latter -- that one-way airline ticket you mentioned was to fly back to India, where his wife had just given birth.)

It's quite sad. We spend most of our lives mouthing slogans about what great lands of liberty we are, with all these noble principles that govern us. But when "special circumstances" are invoked, we find that our countries aren't much different to any other pissant dictatorship.

Posted by: Bukko in Australia | July 16, 2007 06:28 AM

arrabiato: Explain, how does an attack on the UK directly affect the whole world?

Posted by: Rhett | July 16, 2007 12:47 PM

djmagaro: I might take a stand to support impeachment myself, but consider the speaker of that quote; I guarantee you old Will/Edward de vere/Francis Bacon/whoever didn't intend it to be believed at face value (revolution doesn't become right just because it is revolution; however in this instance I do believe that Bushco needs to face some accountability, but in a court (preferably international).

Posted by: Dc | July 16, 2007 12:58 PM

Bukko, I have a general question. You've mentioned Australians are generally well-informed about world affairs and the present administration's actions; I recall some Australian head (possibly the prime minister) basically echoing "if we don't get them there they'll come here" and questioning Obama's commitment to the cause. Do you recall the quote(s) to which I'm referring? Was that typical?

Posted by: Brett | July 16, 2007 01:03 PM

Will have to look at the abovementioned story on Britain later, but if the British have more class to take measuredly and in stride a risk to which they are far more immediate (and with which they were burned two years ago, and as you say, unlike them, the US is separated by an ocean), I find a great deal to be said for that. If they possibly should be a bit more vigilant, but far preferable to me that than the seeming hysteria and paranoia (possibly expoitative)that Arra.. appears to support.

Posted by: Stan | July 16, 2007 01:15 PM

arrabiat, I saw your support later, but I still ask the question . For instance, the the UK doesn't do something, the rest of the world is obligated to increase security? Do these "increases" guarantee safety? "Terror" can't in this jet age bypass the UK?

Posted by: Brett | July 16, 2007 01:23 PM

Brett, it was John Howard who made the comment about Obama, and he was roundly shouted down in the Aussie media for it. The put-down was partly for being wrong, but also partly because people here seem a bit fearful of interfering with the political campaigns of the new colonial master.

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