Care About the Consumer? You're Not Alone


Pop Quiz!

If you write a $20 check -- for, say, groceries -- and it bounces:

A) Your bank is likely to charge you a fee of around $30
B) The store will probably charge you $25 or so
C) A private debt collector may masquerade as the District Attorney's office, threaten you with criminal prosecution, and demand you pay fees well in excess of what state law allows
D) The District Attorney could make a $15 to $30 profit off your mistake
E) All of the above

If you chose E, all of the above, you might already be aware of a deceptive debt collection tactic known as "check diversion".

Check diversion works like this: A private collection agency makes a deal with a local prosecutor (such as a district attorney) to use his name and authority to collect on bad checks. The company then obtains records of returned checks from merchants and sends out letters to the writers of those checks threatening them with criminal action -- and even jail time -- if they fail to pay the original amount owed plus a hundred dollars or more in fees.

The letters look like they're from the office of the prosecutor -- often including the prosecutor's official seal or letterhead -- and make absolutely no mention of the fact that they're really from a private debt collector.

In fact, the collection agencies are "partnering" with district attorneys and state attorneys to collect on bad checks. Part of this partnership involves the prosecutors getting a $15-$30 cut per successful collection.

Jus to be perfectly clear: Public prosecutors -- whose salaries you fund with your tax dollars -- are being paid by companies that rely on misrepresentation to intimidate people into forking over hundreds of dollars in unnecessary fees.

And it's a scheme that Congress might be about to quietly exempt from consumer protection laws.

The House has already passed an amendment [see page 17] to HR 3505 granting the exemption, and the bill is now under consideration by the Senate banking committee.

Leading the charge against the exemption is Public Citizen's Consumer Justice Project. Behind the intensive lobbying effort to ensure consumers are not protected from these false threats of imprisonment is a large check diversion company called American Corrective Counseling Services.

The company's goals may be considered perfectly reasonable -- after all, people should be required to pay their debts. But according to Paul Arons, a consumer attorney who's taking on check diversion, it isn't illegal to write a bad check; it's only a criminal act if there is intent to defraud. In most of the cases pursued by check diversion companies -- like when someone accidentally bounces that $20 check for groceries -- the idea that any sort of fraud took place is laughable.

So those threats of criminal prosecution? Total bunk. As an average person who gets one of these notices in the mail, though, how are you supposed to know it's an empty threat?

According to victims, the collectors represent themselves over the phone as being part of the prosecutor's office. Those individual collectors get a cut of the profits, too, so they have every incentive to use unscrupulous tactics to convince the consumer to pay up.

The prosecutors, of course, don't look for evidence of fraud before allowing the debt collectors to go on the attack. Prosecutors generally don't even require that customers receive notice from the merchant before an account can be pursued by the collector.

In some cases, the fees exceed the maximum permitted by state law [see page 20]. And they come on top of the merchant's fee, the bank's overdraft penalty, and the amount of the bounced check.

For a better idea of how this affects people, read a few of the victims' stories. (If you don't have the money in your account to cover a check, how likely is it that you can pay hundreds of dollars in fees?) Also, read what ACCS has to say about its business model.

Then tell me: Should check diversion companies like ACCS be exempted from the law that prohibits misleading consumers and making them pay more than they owe? Or does this simply open the door for abuses by debt collectors? And what do you think of prosecutors' essentially renting out their authority to these private agencies?

By Emily Messner |  May 3, 2006; 7:42 AM ET  | Category:  National Politics
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Comments

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Emily,
You are leaving something very important out of your article: WHEN does the private company get the go-ahead to go after the bad check writer? You make the senario so simple: Write a bad check and you get this call from the company. It sounds like my mother could end up being attacked by one of these companies for making a simple mistake. My gut tells me that is not the case. My gut tells me that a store would give me or anyone ample opportunity to make good on the check before sending it to a prosecutor. So I'm wondering whether we are talking about the "victims" of this scheme being people who made a simple mistake or people who have written bad checks and never intend to make good on them (e.g., thieves).

You can argue whether the companies are operating properly, ethically, and within the laws and constitution. But your senario implies that if I write a bad check innocently im in for a hell of a time with some company that makes me think its the county prosecutor's office.

If you stretch your argument to the point of obsurdity that is how it will be received. Maybe write about the percentage of bad check writers that end up in this mess or how many actually followed your senario of simply writing a bad check unknowingly and ended up being attacked. From what I have read, it is those bad check writers who's offense has made it all the way to the prosecutor's office. That is certainly not all bad check writers.

Posted by: Sully | May 3, 2006 09:48 AM

Sully,

Regardless of whether the check bouncers are deadbeats or not private collectors should NEVER be able to use the DA's name to threaten people. What's next? Outsource the practice too? How do you feel if the collectors work from India, Dubail, Iraq, Taliban controlled Pakistan? Hello Mr. Sullivan, this is the Al Qaeda Collection Agency and we can have the local DA send you to jail if you don't pay up Haliburton.

Posted by: F | May 3, 2006 10:46 AM

One more thing this is adding further proof that the law making process in this country is corrupt. Laws are whatever some corporate lobbyists pay enough lawmakers to put in whatever bills that must pass.

Posted by: F | May 3, 2006 11:01 AM

Sully,

Each state has it's laws on the books that covers writers of bad checks. There is no standard. I infact was harrassed by one of these companies when my wife ordered some magizines from some slick talking phone sales scammer. They told her that the bill was going to be $43.00 and change for the subscriptions and according to our state's law she had 3 days to change her mind. She called me and asked if it was ok and I told her she could as my wife dosen't ask me for much of anything extra. They told her that they prefered either a chech by phone or a visa debit card which she used. I checked our bank statement that month and the agreed amount was deducted. My wife usually handles the finances (paying the bills etc.) as I spend so much time at work. About 4 months later I just happened to look at the bank statement and there was a $43.00 and change charge against our account to an 800 telephone number, I questioned my wife about it and she said she didn't know anything about it. I told her to call about it the following day. She did and called me at work saying it was for the magizines. When I got home that night I pulled out all the bank statements and they all had that $43.00 charge on them. I told her to call them up and cancel the magizines. She called them and they told her that she couldn't, because it was past the 3 day grace period our state grants, and they refused to cancel the magizines.

The next day I contacted our bank and they said there was nothing I could do to recoup the money, and the only recourse I had was to close out our account and re-open another one with a different card number. Which I did. The following month is when she started receiving threatning letters from attorneys' offices threatning legal action if we didn't pay this ungodly sum of money over $350.00 for 2 magazine subscriptions. I wrote on the letter that we cancelled them and sent it back to the attorney's office. It wasn't 2 weeks later we started receiving threatning phone calls that we were going to have legal action taken against us, we would be reported to the credit bureau's and they were going to put a lein on my pay. They even tried to get my wife to tell them where I worked. I finally got tired of their crap and threatened to turn the whole matter over to our state's attorney generals office including my bank statements and an explaination as to the effect as to their deceptive phone tactics and practices. This was over 8 months ago. Most of the crap has stopped, but every so often (about once a month or so) we will get a call from some collection agencey (different one every the time) asking us to pay this bill that is supposedly owed. When I find out what it's about I politely inform the person (who has no idea what has gone on) what has transpired, what we did and what I threatened to do to that company, they apologize for bothering me and that's the last I hear until they try again to pull their stunts and turn it over to the next unsuspecting collection company. I have turned it over to the BBB and called the States Attorney's Office and that company is presently under investigation.

I do agree that if you inadvertantly write a bad check that most places will let you know and allow you to make payment, and yes if you don't make restitution I know of no place that doesn't have some kind of crimminal offense where bad check writers aren't arrested and either fined, put in jail or both. It is also illegal to impersonate someone who you aren't, and what gives these people the right to preform crimminal impersonation anyway?

Posted by: Lab Rat | May 3, 2006 11:05 AM

Theres also the whole concept of having to pay fees that are sometimes in excess of State maximum fees. Is this fair? There's a reason that the state has set a 'maximum.' Using the DA's name to charge more than that is absurd.

Posted by: Geb | May 3, 2006 11:05 AM

Shoot, just look at the bankruptcy bill that passed some time ago. Its all about squeezing you for every penny that they can....bounced check fees, ATM surcharges, hidden taxes, etc., etc.

You're just a cow to be milked, pure and simple.

Posted by: D. | May 3, 2006 11:05 AM

I should disclose that I am one of the people involved in this dispute, but it really is true that notice is not an issue. Sometimes the merchant give prior notice, sometimes not. It doesn't matter to ACCS. With some stores, ACCS goes straight to the store and picks up stacks of checks. ACCS' own phone scripts for its collectors instruct them that if a check writer says they didn't receive notice, the response should be: "It doesn't matter. If you don't pay, you may be prosecuted. [And as far as the check writer knows, the person telling them this is someone working in the prosecutor's office. The check writer doesn't know that this is an employee at a phone bank in Southern California who gets incentive bonuses based on how much money they bring in].

Posted by: Paul | May 3, 2006 11:16 AM

LabRat wrote:
"It is also illegal to impersonate someone who you aren't, and what gives these people the right to preform crimminal impersonation anyway?"

As I understand it from the links Emily provides above, the state prosecutor does. I think the state prosecutor should be answering these questions since they are the ones delegating this authority. Nothing in Emily's article about them though, and there are many. And the conditions for when and under what circumstances the prosecutor hands the offense over to the company varies from place to place as I found when reading the ACCS's "media coverage" website.

Emily, has anyone sued any of the prosecutors or ACCS for actions against them that broke any laws or constitutional rights?

Posted by: | May 3, 2006 11:24 AM

I wrote:
"Emily, has anyone sued any of the prosecutors or ACCS for actions against them that broke any laws or constitutional rights?"

By checking more links I found the answer to my question. Yes as found under Emily's "taking on check diversion" link above. That suit is a class action in CA.

But what is really needed here is an interview with any of the many DAs who have rented their names to the ACCS to get their reactions to how the ACCS is operating.

Posted by: Sully | May 3, 2006 11:38 AM

Care? Care? This is the "Ownership Society"; caring is not a free market trait.

You ask for compassion from something that is a "process" by which the laws are determined not by humans, but by human interaction and reaction. The "process" is, and always will be, indifferent to human suffering without human intervention and compassion.

Religion AND Government are human inventions developed to mitigate the natural forces of ungoverned process that work by indifferent natural selection. Indeed, too much human interference can be damaging, but not nearly as damaging as the indifferent corrections of natural forces.

WE have collectively chosen this path for the time being and those who stand to benefit, for the time being, from such unrestrained free-marketism will fight to the death to defend it. Don't let the irony of a love of social and economic Darwinism with an all out war against science based on the same throw you off.

What makes the fight even harder, is that they have the money to wage a campaign against change, while all the people have is their collective anger, suffering and pain. It will take a while for such things to overcome well-financed defenses.

The answer is in the middle, but I will of course enjoy watching everyone takes sides...worrying more about being "right" then solving the problem.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 3, 2006 11:41 AM

The point about notice came up in the Public Citizen/NCLC press conference on this issue yesterday. The check diversion companies often say that the consumer gets notice and ten days to pay the check amount before they receive an "official notice" threatening them with prosecution, but the facts in many cases do not bear this out. Instead, consumers often get
no notice at all: The first time they hear of the problem may be when they get
the "official notice" from the check diversion company. For instance, in the case of Simona Pickett--a full-time U.S. Justice Department employee from
suburban Maryland who spoke at the conference yesterday--her first notice
of the problem came in the form of a letter on District Attorney letterhead
threatening her with criminal prosecution. In other cases, the consumer
gets no notice as a practical matter, because the notice period is so short
or because the notice goes to the wrong address.

The notice issue is among many being haggled over in Congress. Notably,
the check diversion companies have been resistent to suggestions that any
exemption be conditioned, at a minimum, on clear written notice to the consumer in advance of any threat of criminal prosecution, sufficient time for the consumer to pay the check amount, and a process for disputing the validity of any charges.

The notice problem is mentioned, among others, in this article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution highlighting the experience in DeKalb County, Georgia: http://www.citizen.org/documents/AJC.pdf. An investigative piece in the Des Moines Register discussed the disparity between threatened prosecutions and actual prosecutions: http://www.citizen.org/documents/DMR.pdf. Both articles demonstrate that these problems are not new. What's new is that Congress is considering exempting these companies from federal consumer protection standards.

Posted by: Deepak | May 3, 2006 11:54 AM

This has apparently been going on for a while because I attended classes under a program in CA when I wrote a bad check.

I can't remember the exact name but I know that District Attorney was in the title. I wish I had seen your article 10 years ago, I had to pay for the classes which I think were around $100 in addition to all the bank and store fees.

Posted by: Brian | May 3, 2006 12:11 PM

In this age of rampant ID theft, don't assume that just because someone got a call from the collection sharks that he or she is a deadbeat. It could be your 80 year old grandma who got conned not once but twice, the second time in the name of the law!

Any DAs who rent out their name to the collection industrial complex should be removed or thrown out of office for corruption.

Posted by: F | May 3, 2006 12:31 PM

Deepak wrote:
"Both articles demonstrate that these problems are not new. What's new is that Congress is considering exempting these companies from federal consumer protection standards."

Are you the Deepak who is the lawyer in the class action against ACCS? If so how many people have sought federal consumer protections from the ACCS?

The more I read the more I find that not only are DAs allowing this, they are happy with it. I'm not sure what the effects would be if federal consumer protections are removed, but state protections, which I have used myself under similar circumstances, would remain. And lets remember that this is a state or county issue considering the authority to go after the bad check writer comes from the state or county DA. I am suspicious though when this congress goes out of its way to remove any consumer protection.

Posted by: Sully | May 3, 2006 12:32 PM

Sully,

You shouldn't be suprised. It is the same congress that tried to intervein in the Florida case with the woman who was brain dead and then tried to lie their way out as the speaker of the Senate did. It's business as usual for the Rewpublican led congress.

Posted by: Lab Rat | May 3, 2006 12:40 PM

And you think it'll be at all different with the Democrats in charge? Bah! Its about $$$$, always has been, always will be.

Posted by: | May 3, 2006 01:30 PM

But, if you're a major corporation, you just declare bankruptcy and walk away from the debt.

Face it, with the red commies in the WH, we're all in danger, especially the Middle Class.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | May 3, 2006 02:03 PM

I agree, we, the Citizens, are just cows to be milked and when we run out of that, then they send us off to slaughter, i.e., no pension (the Corp's file for bankruptcy and no more pension obligations, but bankrupt consumers must pay for every little stinking fee they levy), no affordable healthcare, no nothing.

But our fine Representatives in Congress get to keep their Campaign Money when they retire, the money they got from the people who paid them to make us their cows.

Now that is bestiality.
Just My Opinion

Posted by: Richard Katz | May 3, 2006 03:33 PM

Hey I've got an idea! How about not writing checks you don't have the money to cover? Only in America would we complain about being punished for being fraudulent. I guess next it will be the Government's job to pay the expenses for your bad checks.

Posted by: PC Gorilla | May 3, 2006 04:13 PM

PC Gorilla,

I think you're missing the point. These people do not have an intent to defraud. It's a mistake that is liable to happen to anyone. I am a perfectly law abiding citizen, yet I have overdrafted by mistake on my bank account. It's absurd to think that I should be threatened with criminal prosecution for this.

Of course people who write bad checks should pay back the money, but they shouldn't be bilked out of extra money when they did nothing illegal.

Posted by: PC Monkey | May 3, 2006 04:36 PM

Public Citizen has always been a coercive, fascistic movement. Just selectively so.

They have no problem ganging up with the trial lawyers and east coast DA's to screw the consumer on tobacco costs, fast food costs, "unsafe product" liability so they and the state get richer and the added costs are passed onto the consumer.

On the other hand, when others use the same abusive tools of force they use as SOP, "Public Citizen" are the first to blubber their "shock! and outrage!"

We are indeed in an "ownership society" as afghan Vet says - but it is not ownership of just companies, but of pushing the interests of all those owning the tools of power that matter - in milking the average American. Meaning it is not just an Agribiz fatcat that has the power to get a megamillion ethanol subsidy. A Jewish power broker can get a 100 million extra in tax dollars for Israel by paying 2 million in campaign contributions. A Congressman can get villas, vehicles, and paid courtesans for his defense votes. A DA like Schumer or Spitzer can imply that generous corporate donors are less likely to feel his prosecutory wrath than those that refuse to pass the buck for the greater glory of Chuck and Elliot. Dick Blumenthal can "fight tobacco" while deflecting huge tobacco fees to his former law firm, making him the rainmaker Rose Law only dreamed Hillary could have been.

And other "power brokers" who have milked us good are government employee unions, who have convinced us that more and more government employees with better compensation and benefits than they could get in the private sector are "Our Heroes" who will keep us safe as homeland security functionaries while drawing another full pay check for 20 years as a state cop, or yet another "superteacher" who will somehow educate a lazy, unmotivated, stupid kid intellectually inclined to no more than hoeing plants...

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 3, 2006 04:54 PM

"Should check diversion companies like ACCS be exempted from the law that prohibits misleading consumers and making them pay more than they owe?"

They shouldn't.

Or does this simply open the door for abuses by debt collectors?

It does.

And what do you think of prosecutors' essentially renting out their authority to these private agencies?

Somehow it doesn't surprise me: For the right amount of money, 90% of this country's population will strangle their own parents.

In fairness to the said prosecutors though, compared to the individuals in other professions where salaries are funded with taxpayer dollars, e.g. law enforcerment, govn't bureaucracy, the military, etc, those guys are angels.

Posted by: Emilio | May 3, 2006 05:41 PM

PC Gorrilla,
Here's an idea, how about not allowing private companies to masquerade as DAs so that they can extort more money than the state maximum penalty allows from average citizens that make a mistake? Wouldn't that be a novel idea. DAs that don't allow people to ignore state rulings and encourage it while taking a cut? Can you even imagine?

Posted by: Geb | May 3, 2006 05:43 PM

And does it surprise you, PC Gorilla? We've created companies thats sole purpose it to try to convince you to get their card, so that you buy things you can't afford and pay it back over time. Along these lines, they use cheap gimmicks that often don't match up with what their ads imply.

I like how you complain about Americans not wanting to be punished for being fraudulent while ok'ing a DA sponsored act of private companies masquerading as the DAs office. Nah, that's not hypocritical, right?

Posted by: Geb | May 3, 2006 05:47 PM

Chris Ford,

Your comments are incoherent. How would Public Citizen benefit from higher costs for consumers for products which they don't sell?

They're the only ones in this litigation who are not acting out of any financial motives.

Posted by: Joe | May 3, 2006 05:51 PM

OT -

Our "crown jewel", our vaunted civilian justice system, performed exactly as I expected it would on an unlawful enemy combatant.

If only the Nazi spies and saboteurs had received such "just treatment" in WWII! If the Nazi terrorists had achieved 30-35 million in tax dollars loss per person per trial, and caused thousands of champagne corks to pop in ACLU offices dedicated to advancing the cause of enemy rights? Even if their own terror plot had failed, I'm sure the Nazis would have built lots more subs and planes to drop off more Mongrel Race Killers - with the knowledge even of they failed to kill non-Aryans, Moussaoui-like outcomes awaited.

Moussaoui clapped at the verdict: "America You Lost! I Won!".

He did.

He avoided a military tribunal that would have found him an unlawful enemy combatant in a month for 1/30th the cost. He bled his enemy of multimillions and hundreds of lost man-years in his 5 1/2 year long "criminal civil liberties" fiasco. He had 12 of 12 jurors show he intended to kill thousands in illegal combat but didn't succeed, so he can't die for it...and 9 of 12 say by our moronic death penalty mitigating factors...by his tough childhood, he should be excused.

You gotta laugh.

Having civilians try an enemy soldier is like having the military being made responsible for administering justice in consumer fraud issues.

Stupid.

What's next?

1. Moussaoui pens a book and gives his family the multi-million dollar film rights to "My Struggle" to his mother, who is represented by an Israeli-owned Hollywood marketing firm. He becomes a full-time jail Mullah, making his life's mission to convert other jailed cons into murderous Islamoids.

2. The Almighty Victim Families of 9/11 complain that they are "re-traumatized, re-victimized" by the verdict and demand an additional million dollars per family for "increased Closure" costs.

3. Anti-Death penalty foes assure us that "righteous jailhouse lynch mobs" will "do the justice" they oppose the State from doing.

4. If they could, Binnie and company would be sending "well-done"!! notes to Moussaoui, the ACLU, and anyone who insisted that only civilian justice could best deal with enemy soldiers. They look for more Islamoids who had "unfortunate childhoods" thus exempt from death, to infiltrate America and maybe have Another Big Day For Islam!

5. Democrats like Jane Harmon and Chuckles Schumer, Republican slime like Spector - insist that the verdict proves American justice is fair and reasonable. Meanwhile, people in the ME all but pee in their pants at the weakness and gutlessness of USA law..

6. Certain Americans ask again why an enemy soldier operating outside all Geneva Rules of War is not best prosecuted by military justice people for Geneva violations...

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 3, 2006 05:51 PM

the oil companies are already collecting their debt and reaping the return on their mighty investment. they collect their debt the old- fashion way by resorting to strong armed tactics like hi- way robbery. it is a stick up put gas in your tank and give me all your money. driving is a priviledge but it dont feel like it lately.

Posted by: ssaglia | May 3, 2006 06:39 PM

I would elect a board of lawyers to suggest legislation to correct these kinds of behaviour...


preemptive rulings, ones it looks "like" this other case but it hasn't been acted on, come to court yet....it's a class of crime kinda thing....

bankruptcy laws, overtime, gun laws...

they've all been passed within the last 5 years to protect corporations from you.


nothing has been done to protect you from corporations

in fact your president is robbing the General Fund to pay for his fathers and his buddies occupation of an oil rich nation and area....


to make sure that they get to own the new set of condos in the BVI (British Virgin Islands) that your tax dollars helped pay for....


don't you love it?


I know what I'd like to do with some hemp or sisal.....

.

Posted by: if I were president... | May 3, 2006 07:58 PM

lone "terrorist" has been


_whatever_


who cares?


what kind of sneakers was he wearing? big deal...move on...


we're talking about millions of people not a singular element, your country, your corrupt politicians,


international corporations that outsource your jobs,


sell pieces of American companies and end retirement benefits as they remove your ability to fight back by holding

"you might lose your job if you fight back"

over your head,

as they try to find new peasants to replace you.


.


_he_

the sole purported visible example of the one whom your government _says_ perpatrated _something_ or at least talked about it...and who apparently doesn't like you all...


who cares

_he_ might just disappear...get a face change....move to Miami....you'll see a computer generated image...aged and everything...prove otherwise...for the next 20 years...

.

Posted by: I'm deeply moved that the | May 3, 2006 08:11 PM

lone "terrorist" has been


_whatever_


who cares?


what kind of sneakers was he wearing? big deal...move on...


we're talking about millions of people not a singular element, your country, your corrupt politicians,


international corporations that outsource your jobs,


sell pieces of American companies and end retirement benefits as they remove your ability to fight back by holding

"you might lose your job if you fight back"

over your head,

as they try to find new peasants to replace you.


.


_he_

the sole purported visible example of the one whom your government _says_ perpatrated _something_ or at least talked about it...and who apparently doesn't like you all...


who cares

_he_ might just disappear...get a face change....move to Miami....you'll see a computer generated image...aged and everything...prove otherwise...for the next 20 years...

.

Posted by: I'm deeply moved that the | May 3, 2006 08:12 PM

Hey I've got an idea! How about not writing checks you don't have the money to cover?
Posted by: PC Gorilla | May 3, 2006 4:13:58 PM

One wonders when was the last time PC Gorilla looked at our national debt or current deficit. Or if he/she has EVER bounced a check in their entire lifetime.

Posted by: ErrinF | May 3, 2006 08:17 PM

I think the one point we might be able to all agree on is the need for legal fairness, fundamental fairness, to all parties in dispute.

This requires ethics.

There is nothing new about human nature.
When they figured out long ago that it is truly humanly impossible to serve two masters, I think you can take to the bank.

Government is for the common good of the people and should not be lining its pockets with a shadely little deal like this, which reminds of my observation about business men.

If a business man could, he would get a law passed that required everyone to buy his product.

Posted by: Richard Katz | May 3, 2006 08:22 PM

You gotta laugh.
Stupid.
Posted by: Chris Ford | May 3, 2006 5:51:20 PM

That's how I feel about EVERY post of yours, Chris Ford. Your Moussaoi rant was a perfect example of how self-defeating you are with your right wing extremism. Keep up the bad work, loser. LOL! : )

Posted by: ErrinF | May 3, 2006 08:23 PM

from the olde people,

to pay for the "occupation" while putting your country in debt ot China...


to finance their _oil futures market_ using your country to control their and manage their market investments....

yes, the corporates are leading your country...the Defense Department is the largest check coming from the government banks....

and that doesn't include black corporations...

.

Posted by: actually the government is stealing | May 3, 2006 08:23 PM

require the government

congress,

the judicial system,

the executive system to


obey the same laws you do...


do the Guilliani _thing_


talk about it, it'll happen,


the other things have been having an effect, you're not powerless...


a coherent idea is like a wavefront.

.


remove doubt, act decisively, kick some ess...............

.

Posted by: I reiterate... | May 3, 2006 08:26 PM

not everyone has been appointed by Bush.


there are CIA, FBI, NSA, Secret Service and others that could remove this cabal,

and restore the United States to a reasonable facsimilie of honest government...


they arressted the Watergate burgalars, olde friends of geo h.w. bush...(bay of pigs failures) before,


they can do it again!

comeon CIA, FBI, NSA, Secret Service arrest the terrorists!

take back your country.

remove the coup!!!!!

.

Posted by: as I said earlier... | May 3, 2006 08:30 PM

Chris Ford thinks it's the end of the world that Moussaoui gets a life sentence instead of the death penalty, yet he could care less if Osama bin Laden is captured or not. Just goes to show that the War On Terror will never be won if we let the likes of him wage it. Only a moron like Chris Ford would think capturing a foot soldier is more important than nabbing the top general.

Posted by: ErrinF | May 3, 2006 08:55 PM

If there is anything funnier than civilians trying an unlawful enemy combatant with predictable results, it is a Marcusian traitor like ErrinF saying she actually wants her "Moby Dick" caught so a jury of 12 civilians can explore Binnie's childhood "Father abuse issues" as exculpatory or not.

And....


Only a rather stupid traitor like ErrinF pretends this is not a war of ideology commenced by the Islamoids out on another Jihad -
But instead, a small crime wave directed by a single evil "Mastermind" who needs to meet with his ACLU lawyers ASAP so his "precious enemy rights" are defended.

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 3, 2006 09:17 PM

get lost in your little niche of hate.

Posted by: I guess when there's so much important going on in the world, it's easy to | May 3, 2006 11:14 PM

he is nothing.

unimportant...

less important than a non-renewable energy source,

less important than outsourcing,


less important than corporate greed,


less important than internationalization and downsizing....destroying your country, if it is your country, for all I know you're in orange in Oklahoma...from the tangents you take, and you've not answered my questions if you're white supremacist or aryan nation....that's sort of suspicious, not that I would care, it would just explain the narrowness of your focus and your referral to 30 years ago as the most active part of your memory.

.

Posted by: cogitate on this, | May 3, 2006 11:48 PM

Our Constitution and Bill of Rights exists to protest us from the excesses of a tyrannical government oppressing those that grant it the right to govern over them, not the rights of those actively trying to kill any and all of us by any means possible. Trying to apply courtroom rules to those that by definition, do not respect any of the civilized rules in their conduct toward us is pure folly. If anyone like ErrinF truly thinks people like Zacarias Moussaoui deserve the protections outlined in the Bill of Rights then this nation owes millions of dead German and Japanese uniformed troops a sincere apology for not respecting their right to due process. No more or less.

Not to mention the apologies ErrinF owes to those at Nuremberg, where, unlike what 9 of 12 of his civilian US jurors voted, having a mean Dad and an abusive mother was not enough to exhonorate Nazi war criminals from the tribunal meting out death sentences for violating the rules of war.

Knew this would happen. Having civilians judge enemy combatants like Moussaoui as a criminal vs. a soldier conducting illegal war - makes as much sense as assigning military justice tribunals to handle all product liability lawsuits in the USA.

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 4, 2006 05:58 AM

http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleview/2304/1/1/

Wisconsin Bill to Ban Coerced Chip Implants
The state's legislative branch passed a bill banning anyone from implanting RFID microchips into people without their consent.

[cropped by a very annoyed Emily. Che, you seem to have the memory of a gnat. Once again, I direct you here:
http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/thedebate/2006/03/is_it_civil_war.html#comments
***Please***
Headline and link only.
Try for some reasonable approximation of 'on topic.'
Thank you.]

Posted by: che [cropped by Emily] | May 4, 2006 07:41 AM

He hee...

2004: "Darn you mainstream media, you're ignoring a US ambassador whose visit to Niger exposed Bush!"

2005: "Darn you mainstream media, you're ignoring a UK official whose memo to 10 Downing exposed Bush!"

2006: "Darn you mainstream media, you're ignoring a comedian whose performance at a press roast exposed Bush!"

Posted by: eat a hippie | May 4, 2006 10:04 AM

Playing the mental illness card allows the blind to continue deluding themselves about what University of London, King's College, professor Efraim Karsh calls Islamic imperialism. Jihadists didn't start claiming war on non-believers in 2001 or 1993 or 1948. They have aspired to conquer for ages. These historical claims are "frequently dismissed by Westerners as delusional, a species of mere self-aggrandizement or propaganda," Karsh writes in his new book. "But the Islamists are perfectly serious, and know what they are doing. Their rhetoric has a millennial warrant, both in doctrine and in fact, and taps into a deep undercurrent that has characterized the political culture of Islam from the beginning."
Yet, the bleeding hearts foolishly and suicidally persist with their Poor Little Jihadist propaganda and call for sympathy and understanding for the Root Causes that fueled the 9/11 hijackers, Moussaoui, convicted Islamic shoebomber Richard Reid, the Muslim gunman who murdered two people at Los Angeles International Airport's El Al ticket counter in 2002, and the Koran-invoking Tar Heel terrorist who rammed his SUV into a busy student square at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. And on and on.

On Monday, while Moussaoui's defense team played their violins in court, apologists across Europe and the Muslim world played the same song for the suicide bomber who murdered nine innocent civilians and wounded scores more at a Tel Aviv restaurant. The bomber packed his explosives with nails and shrapnel soaked in rat poison to increase the suffering of the victims.

Police had to pick bits of flesh off the blood-drenched streets and parked car windshields.

But it's not the fault of terrorist Sami Salim Mohammed Hammed and his sponsors at Islamic Jihad. Blame "Israeli aggression" and "anti-Arab racism"!

The dry-eyed know there is one Root Cause for this carnage. It's not America, Israel, racism or psychological imbalances. It's evil. Just evil.

Posted by: smarter than Che | May 4, 2006 10:10 AM

Has anyone, er, driven Ford lately?

Posted by: Dominique | May 4, 2006 10:20 AM

The problems we are having in government today are competely independent of the economy itself. Back in 2000, George W. Bush assured us that if elected, his program of tax cuts and pro-business growth policy would result in a rate of economic growth sufficient to fund the government's needs.

Well, if Bush's economic numbers are to be believed--and there is a good deal of debate on that--we should be enjoying a boom in tax revenues sufficient to fund all of the public's demands on government. Yet, under Bush's management, the national debt and the annual deficit has reached historic levels.

The question is why? If supply side economics is such a great economic theory, why is it that every time it is applied, it gives us crusing national debt and annual deficits for as far as the eye can see? The answer is in the assumptions the proponents make. They assume that spending will remain either constant or even will diminish. That assumption has never held. They also assume that the added revenue flowing into the business sector will translate into domestic plant expansion, additional jobs thereby increasing tax revenues to the government. That assumption has never held either.

The assumptions that supply side economists make have the same ring that the assumptions the neoconservative foreign policy advisors around Bush have made: They rely on faith more than realistic assessments of what human beings will do in a given situation. The business sector did not expand their domestic operations; they plowed their investments into the offshore ventures that were exploding under our trade policies. That is why domestic employment and national income levels have not kept pace.

Posted by: Jaxas | May 4, 2006 11:24 AM

So what is the problem with governemt then? The same as with the argument that supply side economic polices will result in increased government revenues and lower spending. It is a complete misreading of human behaviour. Just as the supply siders misread what business would do with its boon in tax cut revenues, so too in the running of our day-to-day government, do the supply siders miss what governme human behaviour. Individual Congressmen want to maintain their power in Congress. You don't do that by cutting the spending programs the public favors.

It is typical human behaviour to want something for nothing. The biggest problem we have in the running of our government is that our politicians are heavily incentivized to tell people that they can have something for nothing--the so-called "free lunch".

So, what do we get? More tax cuts and more spending. That is the end result of supply side tax and spending policies.

Posted by: Jaxas | May 4, 2006 11:33 AM

PCG said "Hey I've got an idea! How about not writing checks you don't have the money to cover? Only in America would we complain about being punished for being fraudulent. I guess next it will be the Government's job to pay the expenses for your bad checks."

Well, when the government itself is writing more and more bad checks every day, using my social security reserves and making it so my 15yo son owes $50,000 because of Bush's failure to balance the budget - why should you want us to be any different?

I blame the lack of morals in the WH and Congress.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | May 4, 2006 12:26 PM

This does not surprise me. The credit card companies and banks all lobbied and gave Bush and the Republicans money. Look who's calling the shots now? In the last 6 months, I have seen interest go up on my credit cards, which I have always paid on time.

In fact, if this economy is so "great", like Bush keeps touting, why are my property taxes going up every year? We need street repair out front and our city is charging us 8000.00 at 5% interest for 20 years. (there goes an increase in our house payment again). Because of the hurricanes, 99% percent of home insurance went up, even though I live in Minnesota.

If the economy is so great, why are people writing bad checks in the first place? And why would they even care that gas has gone up? We have a great economy folks!! Spend all that extra money that you have!

At the rate this current administration is taking this country, I'm getting more and more inclined to sell my house and car because I just can't afford the basics anymore. Great economy we have!!!

We used to live comfortably, and now at the age of 50, everything is a squeeze and paycheck to paycheck. I did not think this would happen at this stage in my life.

Posted by: JS | May 4, 2006 12:28 PM

Power corrupts. I fear this Executive, have no faith in the Judicial and am ashamed of the Legislature.
What would Davey Crockett do?
Who now holds to the personal sense of honor that we once held dear?
Know this,(1 Tim 3:1-5)in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self assuming, haughty, blasphemers,disobediant to parents,unthankful, disloyal,having no natural affection, not open to agreement,slanderers without self control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power; .....
Gosh, that sounds like now.

Posted by: Brian | May 4, 2006 12:51 PM

Wow, what is up with you Chris Ford. Now, I see no merit to those who come after you personally, but what is with all of your anger?

What are you angry about? That people don't think like you? Or see things like you? I don't get it.

Other than revenge and blood lust, exactly WHAT is accomplished by putting someone to death? Especially someone who never actually killed anyone?

Also, since the laws of land warfare have not evolved to cover exactly what to do with non-nation-state-aligned terrorists we are operating in a very fuzzy area. An area that this administration WANTS to keep fuzzy because it allows them to do all kinds of unlawful and unethical things as long as we never clearly define whether an NNSA terrorist is a combatant or a criminal.

Furthermore, since we have never officially declared war against a nation or even a group then what to do with Prisoners of War or Enemy Combatants? See, if this administration and country et al wanted to really SOLVE the problem, we would work to define within the purview of the laws of this nation and internationally accepted laws of war exactly WHAT we are fighting and how to process those we capture.

You seem to have a very romantic view of death, war and killing. If you need an outlet for that anger, if you are so convinced that killing is the answer...than come on in and join the big team for the big win. Seriously, no Yellow Elephant stuff here. Join up, get trained and serve in the ONLY capacity where decisive actions is almost always in the context of black and white...the battlefield.

I wonder where all this anger would go when you actually have to look through that scope or sight picture and pull the trigger.

Killing is very easy when someone else can do it for you. Even snipers THINK about it...even when they are really bad bad people. Taking a human life is the ultimate decisive act. Since none of us KNOW what happens afterward, we are making a pretty strong judgment.

I wonder how many executions would take place if a victim or a victims relative had to flip the switch or push the plunger. How many could actually look another man in the eye and take their life? I bet not many; and those that could would probably tell a different tale later on in their life.

If you can kill with indifference, regardless of the situation, you are a sociopath. HAVING to kill and WANTING to kill are two very different things.

So please, find the root cause of your anger and work with it. And, if you really want to put yourself to the test, enlist and get in the fight. We can always use well-motivated soldiers.

But, please take it down a notch as you usually have something to contribute.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 4, 2006 01:04 PM

Found out a bounced a check this morning. You know what I did? Walked outside, raised my fists in the air and shouted at the top of my lungs:

"Damn you Bush! Damn you to HELL!!!"

'Cause we all know that personal irresponsibility is the fault of those dastardly neocons!

Posted by: | May 4, 2006 01:18 PM

Well, actually, what we've learned from the NEO-TARDS is that one need only TALK about personal responsibility, not actually engage in any such activity.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 4, 2006 01:44 PM

Neo-Tard? Someone fancies themselves a Steven Colbert!

Speak Truth to Power Dude!

Posted by: C of St. A | May 4, 2006 02:05 PM

Afgan Vet

Though I don't agree too much with your take on things and also Ford's, I guess you grow and start looking at things in a slightly different light as you age. One thing though you do have right is it is quite different when you have to pull the trigger. After being in a senseless war all ready I look at this war a little different. One thing you had that many of us didn't was respect from this nation for our coerced service. You see I didn't have a choice, Vietnam was mandatory if your number came up unless you were a Bush or a Cheney. I agree though that Ford needs to do something about his unbrideled anger, but from my experience with his type, either he's all ready gone off the deep end and would be the cause of a slaughter of innocent civillians for no reason or more than likely end up bawling his eyes out then puking his guts out the first time he he had to kill another human being.

Posted by: Lab Rat | May 4, 2006 02:06 PM

Don't know how on-topic this is by I'm going to echo Jaxas' point. It's clear so many years later that Supply Side Economics fails its own projections and that any evaluation of it should be absent the ever present falsehood "cuts lead to growth leads to higher revenues." Cute idea, empirically unsound. A cursory examination of the CBOs historical data on Government spending/revenue since 1962 should quickly put such notions to rest. Government revenue has increased every year since excluding 5: 1971, 1983 (Reagan), 2001, 2002, and 2003 (Bush, Bush, more Bush).

Tax cuts are always easy to pass because electorates hate taxes. Likewise electorates hate spending cuts. The result is an awesome expansion of government services while the revenue necessary to fund said expansion is simultaneously depleted.

The Good Times Will Soon Be Over.

While the President's party has happily been soaking the economy in economic growth with ludicrous government spending and money-borrowing, the reasonable among us realized that something just doesn't smell right. For our kids that is.

We cannot afford the 200 billion dollars a year we pay to service the debt. And the reason this number is 200 billion, and not 400 billion, is twofold a) We borrow billions of Social Security revenue a year and make interest on it and b) We happened to be fiscally responsible in the late 90s and serviced some of the debt, substantially decreasing how much we owed in debt interest. a) will soon be over when the baby boomers really start enjoying the welfare state. Soon Social Security will be borrowing from other programs as the ratio of workers:retirees continues to plummet. We're already feeling the results of b) as last year marked the largest annual increase in national debt interest since 1995... I'll say it again. The Good Times Will Soon Be Over.

Posted by: Will | May 4, 2006 02:56 PM

Something is rotten in the kingdom of Denmark.

Posted by: Emilio | May 4, 2006 03:08 PM

This government's decidedly flawed. From the other end of the periscope, however, each nation deserves its government.

That those tax cuts would benefit mainly the financially affluent should have been clear as early as 2000.

Posted by: Emilio | May 4, 2006 03:28 PM

I really wanted to fry him...


he makes me so mad, my dad was mean to me, and I like to get mad at people and jump up and down and make big dangerous faces like my dad...


then people will like me, like my dad...

Posted by: that darn arab guy... | May 4, 2006 03:37 PM

prosecuting congress, the judicial system, and the executive branches to serve the nation


and it's citizens,


rather than themselves.


as the Afghan Vet said, it takes no courage to send someone else into battle, especially if you've never gone because dad got you a cush position flying planes for the National Guard


when it was convenient for you to show up...


rewarding cowardice by making him president is good for our moral fibre,


I think we should go to war with Iran, then we'll control all of the oil, in the Middle East, and I'll be able to buy Switzerland with my share,


what are you going to buy with your share?


huh?

Posted by: what's really important is | May 4, 2006 03:42 PM

Well said, Random.

There hasn been no news of Christopher lately. Apparently, Lab Rat's harsh denunciations shamed him to silence.

Posted by: Emilio | May 4, 2006 03:46 PM

CORPORATIONS:

protection from your bankruptcies, while they sent your jobs overseas and you lost yours

no paid overtime, as you had to work longer hours and do more because they got to downsize and sell your jobs to people in Bombay

pharmaceutical companies, were protected from having to compete with other countries for fair drug prices by a presidential intervention...as old people sought cheaper drugs in Mexico and Canada...


CITIZENS:

got to pay more out of their social security benefits for medicine, even though they are on fixed income...to make sure the president had enough money to fund his oil gathering expedition.


got to pay more taxes so that the upper 3% in income could avoid paying their fair share, as we all know that they sent their kids over to fight for our oil rights....


got to send their children overseas to be destroyed in IED explosions because dimwit left 250,000 tons of explosive unattended as he was having the "Mission Accomplished" banner printed up....


the National Guard got it's third _automatic reup_ extended until 2030 as a new patriot act extension....

Posted by: simple: | May 4, 2006 03:51 PM

Katherine Harris can't get elected even though she gave the Florida election to bush over Gore in 2000...

I wonder if she'll put out for the press?

Posted by: regarding bounced checks... | May 4, 2006 04:27 PM

video...and if you want to eat a hippie, I'll put on a wig for a few minutes as long as you eat me.........


he hee

.

Posted by: I'd like that | May 4, 2006 04:29 PM

Bush and GOP Hill leaders have decided that a return to the themes of tax cuts and fiscal responsibility will give them a boost in the midterm elections. As one Washington-based Wall Street analyst then commented, there's arguably an oxymoron in there, as Bush continues to press for tax cuts in a time of war.

In his remarks yesterday, Bush repeated his case that his tax cuts have boosted the economy and that in order to keep the economy strong, the cuts must be made permanent.

In the same speech, he repeated his commitment to halving the deficit by 2009. This analyst asks, "A serious question for Republican leaders is, given just how good they say the economy has been, if now isn't the time for serious deficit reduction, when is the right time?"

Posted by: | May 4, 2006 04:53 PM

Lab Rat - You dodge. You intimate that you did national service because it was mandatory without saying it directly. Leading me to conclude that you never did serve, but wish to lead others to believe it, since you're not too proud - like so many of your generation - of failure to serve or failure to have the guts, skill, and will to win.

We redeemed your sort in the Gulf War, one way or the other.

"more than likely end up bawling his eyes out then puking his guts out the first time he he had to kill another human being."

Another thing that leads me to know your are clueless about the military and take your cues from Hollywood stereotypes. You feel an ache for someone you know was killed on your side. Nothing for the enemy. In fact, I have killed, as long as you recognize killing involves more than being a triggerman, or just a pilot dropping a bomb or the weapons officer punching out a cruise missile. Killing is a "team thing". I found and targeted a warehouse hiding Soviet BMPs - we got six and killed and an estimated 9-12 Iraqis. We felt pride, a sense of mission completion, and at best a dull pity for the poor bastards that never knew what hit them, while wishing we had gotten more. That was just one I know about...likely I indirectly killed more (I hope).

Crying for Ho Chi Minh and all the poor VC was your generation's ruling Lefty elite way to self-indulge yourself with. Imagining soldiers there psychologically destroyed from serving. Always was a bad Hollywood myth. The truth was the Vietnam Vets were more successful, better off with less crime and mental disease in later life than their peers never in the military. And, according to the VFW, over 75% are very proud they served.

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 4, 2006 05:00 PM

Notice how Chris Ford has avoided addressing the truth that he considers Moussaoui more important than Osama bin Laden when it comes to the War On Terror. You may have noticed that he's a tad unhinged as well.
Hey, Chris, maybe if the prosecution team were more competent, Moussaoui would have gotten the death penalty. What, did Bush appoint Michael Brown to run the prosecution as well? Remember the OJ trial and how he got off because his defense team was better than the prosecution team? Same case here. I for one am patriotic enough to stand behind whatever decision was made by the jury of 12 American citizens. You however are unpatriotic and put your politics before country and Constitution each and everytime, what with being a twisted reactionary wacko. It's funny how, when it comes down to it, your political view is revolves entirely around your personal anger and hatred. No wonder so many people here find you so vile and repulsive. What's sad is the fools here that buy into your 'factoids' or that you ever speak to the truth.

Posted by: ErrinF | May 4, 2006 05:30 PM

http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_723.shtml

Who is behind "Al Qaeda in Iraq"? Pentagon acknowledges fabricating a "Zarqawi Legend"
By Michel Chossudovsky

Posted by: and the Lengende of Al QUEERDA!!!! | May 4, 2006 05:42 PM

Afghan Vet goes smarmy:

1. "I wonder how many executions would take place if a victim or a victims relative had to flip the switch or push the plunger. How many could actually look another man in the eye and take their life? I bet not many"

In cultures where the victims decide and do mete out punishment in a blood-for-blood setting, there is little hesitation. In fact, if you allowed victims families to decide the fate of murderers, instead of 20 years of ACLU, lawyers buffers, and duie process -- there would be far more executions in the USA than there are today.

2. "If you can kill with indifference, regardless of the situation, you are a sociopath. HAVING to kill and WANTING to kill are two very different things."

That's another fatuous statement that makes me think your "AfghanVet" byline is just some Lefty pose. In the big scheme of things in wartime, you have to kill to win, unless you are willing to lose by your pacifism and accept the consequences of defeat. But don't think for a moment that soldiers don't attack WANTING to kill the enemy to save their asses, their comrades, and people back home. And kill not exactly with indifference - but with fear, exhultation, and cool detachment to the enemy target taken out.

Something any soldier knows, and which puts you as somewhat of an abherration or worse, an outright fraud for calling Marines storming a beach or Army Airborne hitting a Taliban stronghold and kill or capture the enemy - even get distinguished medals for extraordinary feats of combat..."sociopaths????"

If you ever wore a uniform, you disgrace it and your comrades with "sociopath" remarks. Or you're a fraud. If I saw you on the street, I'd spit on you either way.

3. "So please, find the root cause of your anger and work with it. And, if you really want to put yourself to the test, enlist and get in the fight. We can always use well-motivated soldiers."

More crap. "Root cause" of the people angry at Moussaoui is that he came here on behalf of the Islamoid enemy, seeking to attack us and kill thousands of us.

4. "Other than revenge and blood lust, exactly WHAT is accomplished by putting someone to death? Especially someone who never actually killed anyone?"

Gee, you sure sound like a Vet here as well!
Try starting with the legal reasoning why 8 Nazi saboteurs here in the US got death even if they hadn't yet used their bombs ---for just trying to bring down our buildings while violating rules of war and entitled to no POW protection. Then you might look up the 9-0 Supreme Court decision and see what flaws you can find in the Justices vote.
If you think killing the enemy or meting out death to unlawful combatants is nothing more than "revenge and bloodlust" take it up with the Founders, who happily executed Major Andre (he was just a poor spy trying to kill hundreds but never succeeded because he got caught) and others fighting outside the rules of war..And reconsider your Internet ID as a "Vet" to something more in line with your "love thine enemy, turn the other cheek" pacifist philosophy.

5. "Furthermore, since we have never officially declared war against a nation or even a group then what to do with Prisoners of War or Enemy Combatants?"

It's a Lefty legalistic dodge. No nation has formally declared war in over 60 years, since the UN CHarter emplaced treaties, signed, ending the practice of diplomatically formally declaring war. The last such was the Soviets declaring war on Japan in 1945. But then some fixate on archaic language in the US Constitution predating the UN that says Congress must declare war - though even before the UN Congress found it convenient to NOT declare war in most instances where America used military force. In their trite, infantile minds - the US is legally paralyzed by conflicting legal language that prevents us from all war by law...mandatory pacifism. All wars are illegal unless formally declared, but any formally declared war violates the UN Charter...and no Lefty would ever advocate that!!

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 4, 2006 05:45 PM

Ford, you seem to prove AfghanVet right, whether you mean to or not. You claim to have killed. Your example however, has little to do with what he was saying though. In your 'act of killing' you weren't the sole person, nor is it clear that you were the one that directly pushed the button, pulled the trigger, initiated the killing yourself. You hide behind the 'we' and the concept of 'team.' Which is exactly what AfghanVet is is talking about. You didn't make the choice. And if you think that group mentality or in group vs. outgroup doesnt have effect on the matter, please look at a basic psych course book.

Hell, you even use the term "estimated" when describing how you killed someone. You don't even know exactly. They were in a warehouse. Please, actually address AfghanVet's situation. Changing the subject means you don't actually respond to what he was saying. You're just try to make people think you are.

Not to mention you claim that you were "wishing you got more." Hmmm. Is that your address at AfghanVet's comment of being a sociopath?

Posted by: Geb | May 4, 2006 05:45 PM

I just hope our government, wakes up and worries less about their pensions and a little more about their country and arrest

bush, cheyney, rumsfield, goss, Negroponte and a few other appointed men of the geo h. w. bush legacy of corruptions.....


cheers.

Posted by: there is this and there is that... | May 4, 2006 05:46 PM

that would be appropriate, lands sold, property auctioned off....

liquidations....yes

Posted by: death by firing squad | May 4, 2006 05:48 PM

You've heard it here first, folks. Chris Ford Spits on War Veterans:
"If I saw you on the street, I'd spit on you either way"

Posted by: Geb | May 4, 2006 05:48 PM

I'm making a big angry face like my daddy, who never came home but used to hit my mom a lot before I was born....

Posted by: look at me! | May 4, 2006 05:50 PM

Petty overdrafts leading to hugely overmagnified claims -- it seems as if every little somebody wants to spring into indignation and turn it into a (relative) financial windfall. Call it the California disease.

Think about the $3 charge at the ATM to get 20 bucks from a networked machine. Or the cross-default clause that means when a person is late by a few days on one company's credit card payment, then an entirely separate company is legally entitled to escalate interest charges. The coup, however, was the changes in individual bankruptcy law to impose years of indentured servitude (post bankruptcy) on the unfortunate.

There is no more reciprocity between creditor and debtor obligations. The creditor doesn't accept much less than zero risk of loss of capital in exchange for lofty rates. Even the falsely identified debtor has the burden to show they don't have an obligation to pay.

What I learned from working over a quarter century in the fixed-income securities division of a bank, can be summarized as follows: All debt is a form of slavery.

The spooky thing about the emergent clever little rules to screw the ordinary harmless individual experiencing an occasional lapse in petty retail financial affairs is this: They are structured so that they really, really, promote and seek out individual mistakes to turn their tricks.

The reconstruction farmer signing-over half his crop and any equity interest in his property to get credit for some bags of guano got more respect.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 4, 2006 05:57 PM

In other news, the Stephen Colbert incident this weekend really exposed the Washington press for the bunch of second-rate shills they are. First, they tried to bury the incident and ignore it. Because that failed and the video is all over the web, they are now resorting to personal attacks on Cobert's 'funniness'. Most pathetic is Richard Cohen's recent piece, as well as Dana Milbank's, both WaPo shills. It is so painfully obvious that these brownnosers are trying to earn points with the politicians they want access to. It also shows that the Washington press is more likely to spin and manipulate than to inform. Dan Froomkin has been the only one here on the level about the whole incident.
I for one am applying tougher standards to these Washington journalists, as I didn't realize just how agenda-filled they often are. Nor did I realize how second rate they were... again, smarter Americans find better fields to get into than journalism and politics. For such second-tier caliber people to think of themselves as some sort of 'elite' is a joke. Conforming and kowtowing to the establishment press doesn't make one 'elite'... it makes one beholden to the political elite. The political class, which includes the political parties and the press that covers them, are failing our country, and have been for some time.
Unfortunately, Emily Messner and this blog are an example of such. This blog is essentially a fluff piece disguised as political debate. Emily's take on things is often little more than a high school speech class take on political debate. No real effort is made to actually solve problems, find solutions, or to progress forward. Just a diluted discussion of pre-assigned topics in a clinical, impotent way. For instance, this 'check diversion' topic couldn't be more irrelevant to what's going on today. Emily merely wants to abstractly discuss big money and big politics, not actually do anything about the situation. No wonder so much off-topic discussion goes on in this blog these days; The bloggers are obviously tuning out Emily's fluff pieces to instead discuss issues that matter. The collusion of money and politics does matter, of course, just not in the way Emily has addressed it so far. Which is why we are discussing Moussaoui and Colbert instead.
And, though I'll occassionally pop up here, I have realized that the blogosphere was created for the alternative press and media, not for the mainstream press to try it's second-rate shenanigans. There are a million better blogs out there than anything WaPo has put forth. I invite everybody to give them a try and see if the WaPo blogs compare. You will find that your time is better spent elsewhere if you are really serious about the issues. If you want superficial fluff discussion about important issues, by all means stay here where perpetuating the status quo (i.e. no change) is more important than real progress (i.e. real change). Careerists like Emily Messner, Richard Cohen, and Dana Milbank will be happy to have you here.

Posted by: ErrinF | May 4, 2006 06:02 PM

ErrinF wrote of Chris Ford:

". . . when it comes down to it, your political view is revolves entirely around your personal anger and hatred."
___________

What's the problem with unconcealed anger? John McCain wouldn't be where he is today without a good slug of it. As to hatred, that's a bit more nuanced. The person who doesn't hate something in particular, is a person without character or with no senses. Even Moses threw down the tablets. Jesus chased the money changers out of the temple.

Imputing motivations to other people is a pretty immature preoccupation; really a reflection of a type of mental laziness and a lack of critical thought. Where there is anger or hatred, I'm curious to know exactly why they have their passion. Maybe there's something to learn.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 4, 2006 06:09 PM

Chris & his war stories... Don't be ridiculous, Ford.. Face it: you are too dumb even for the army.

Posted by: Emilio | May 4, 2006 06:09 PM

Emilio-

Constructive stab at the hundreds of thousands of Americans serving in the army. Thanks again for your valuable contribution to this blog.

Posted by: Will | May 4, 2006 06:18 PM

Postscript: Ass.

Posted by: Will | May 4, 2006 06:19 PM

EffinF writes dumbly - "I for one am patriotic enough to stand behind whatever decision was made by the jury of 12 American citizens."

No doubt she is patriotic enough to stand behind whatever decision the Supreme Court makes - also due to her anal-obsessive disorder. Which of course normal Americans refuse to do when they know an OJ Jury or a Dred Scott, Plessy Ferguson decision get things wrong. OJ then gets raped in a civil proceeding that disregards his get out of prison race card draw, and SCOTUS was overturned.

In this case, I agreed with the jury's call. Not it's "Poor abused Moussaoui" rationale of why. But because I thought they were unfit to try a soldier like Moussaoui and would have no choice but to not convict - on grounds criminal law is unfit to try enemy combatants. No more than the military should try Wall Street fraud cases..Laws and courts are set up to work in certain spheres...military, civilian, juvenile, probate. When one court in one sphere tries grabbing a case that should be administered in the court with the laws and systems originally set up to try it, a mess generally results. If the jury had a modicum of intelligence, belied on how easily they were suckered by the "behind every terrorist is a mean mom and an abusive Dad excuse" - they would have rejected it as trying to extend to all persons tried in court that they could be given death for lying to government employees or not waiving the 5th and be given death for a conspiracy doing a crime they had no knowledge of or involvement in.

EffinF - " Moussaoui more important than Osama bin Laden when it comes to the War On Terror."

No one is saying that. Just a psychological projection banging around in your traitorous mind under your tinfoil hat.

EffinF - "your political view is revolves entirely around your personal anger and hatred."

Funny how most Americans political view revolved around their personal anger of the 9/11 hijackers and hatred of Islamoids seeking to kill Americans and other infidels here and abroad! Of course, Bush's mistakes have given Marxists like you an excuse to push back and reclaim some ground lost in your enemy-loving ways by claiming Bush is the enemy too. But have no doubt the "anger" is there even in many of the people that hate Bush and are Democrats, but patriotic ones...just waiting for the next Islamoid attack and ACLU/Marcusian excuse-makers to emerge again to allow their pent up anger to explode even more than after 9/11.

EffinF - "No wonder so many people here find you so vile and repulsive."

Not surprising at all. I find your reaction as an anti-American Marxist traitor to what I have to say - almost identical to the reaction I got from anti-American, pro Islamoid students at U of Cairo.

Peas in an pod in your looking to failed ideologies for how you should think.

Anti-Westerner/Anti-Asians have a certain commonality in their thoughts and ad hominems. They seeth and rage at the Indians and Asians visiting their boards as well as "evil, vile, godless people who should also die after the Americans and Jews do".

The Asians are particularly adept at rubbing in the fact that they were poorer than the Arabs by far just 60 years ago, now are many times more prosperous because their civilization, like the Wests, is infinitely superior to what the Cairenes who support the Muslim Brotherhood will ever attain..Most stinging are the Egyptian emigres that write that Arab backwardness is the problem, not the Jews or Europeans - because they are seeing people in other countries they work in - Malaysia, Latin America, Indonesia, Dubai - moving ahead "while Islamism is causing Egypt to decay further".

The Islamoids are even bigger conspiracy believers than the Far Left. In 2004, the Big one was the Jews poisoning the Nile..

EffinF, you should move to Cairo. You'd fit in quite well with a certain segment of their society.

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 4, 2006 06:27 PM

>> In cultures where the victims decide and do mete out punishment in a blood-for-blood setting, there is little hesitation.


Gee let me guess which culture would that be? Middle Eastern culture? Eye for an eye. Tooth for a tooth? I'm shocked, shocked that the man who revels in insulting 'Islamoids' secretly envies their culture!

>> But don't think for a moment that soldiers don't attack WANTING to kill the enemy to save their asses, their comrades, and people back home. And kill not exactly with indifference - but with fear, exhultation, and cool detachment to the enemy target taken out.


Fear, exultation, and cool detachment? That only happens in Hollywood movies. Sure sign of a wannabe warrior who's never been shot at, who's never spent a night in a ditch, who's never even left the farm!


>> And reconsider your Internet ID as a "Vet" to something more in line with your "love thine enemy, turn the other cheek" pacifist philosophy.


That ain't no pacifist philosophy mate. It's the command of whom two billion people on this planet consider the Son of God.

>> It's a Lefty legalistic dodge. No nation has formally declared war in over 60 years, since the UN CHarter emplaced treaties, signed, ending the practice of diplomatically formally declaring war. The last such was the Soviets declaring war on Japan in 1945. But then some fixate on archaic language in the US Constitution predating the UN that says Congress must declare war ..


>> Never could imagine a righty declaring the US constitution archaic to be replaced by the more modern UN charter! Why do righties hate America so?

Posted by: Chris 'I wanna be Rambo' Ford | May 4, 2006 09:44 PM

>> It's a Lefty legalistic dodge. No nation has formally declared war in over 60 years, since the UN CHarter emplaced treaties, signed, ending the practice of diplomatically formally declaring war. The last such was the Soviets declaring war on Japan in 1945. But then some fixate on archaic language in the US Constitution predating the UN that says Congress must declare war ..


Never could imagine a righty declaring the US constitution archaic to be replaced by the more modern UN charter! Why do righties hate America so?

Posted by: Chris 'I wanna be Rambo' Ford | May 4, 2006 09:51 PM

Chris Ford, your an Archie Bunker.

Will,

A few months ago you debated the point to me of how good the economy is under Bush and I repied "statistics don't lie, but liers use statistics". Now your debating what the other side of the issue? Why the flopflop?

As for my Ford remark, I want to remind you this is a blog debate, not Jeopardy. A little more freedom in blogs to reflect the true feelings of the public. Love it or take a hike.

Posted by: Jamal | May 4, 2006 11:03 PM

I'm not okay with justifying not needing to be effective...

stupidity, using a gun is stupidity....


having an attitude that doesn't examine that is driven by a _mindset_


is useless.


a surgeon, is an instrument of removal, but not to serve the purpose of acting out his anger....


I abhor really stupid people that act out, I don't have a problem with surgery.


arrest and surgically remove...cheyney, rumsfeld, the bush extended family and all appointees from this administration....imprision and liquidate their estates.......


now, tonight.

.

Posted by: I'm okay with hatred, | May 4, 2006 11:20 PM

he is nothing.

unimportant...

less important than a non-renewable energy source, how many people have died for that this year, last year, during Desert Storm?

less important than outsourcing, how many people have gotten behind on mortgage payments, lost their jobs, had factories close down, alcoholism, spousal abuse...


less important than Darfur


less important than corporate greed, how many have moved into the the service sector, how many fit that advertisement on television that says:

"almost lost his job today but he didn't,

just lost his health benefits, but he has cancer....thank your gawd that with what is still left of his salary that he might be able to make payments on this wonderful insurance plan..."


and no one notice that this is an inappropriate commercial for America...


why is it that no one notices that our quality of life is slipping while we're distracted by


an occupation, labeled a war...


destruction of American lives labeled good business practice: downsizing, outsourcing, no-benefits, no guarantee of a job...


less important than internationalization and downsizing....destroying your country and making some people rich.


do you think the bush family is getting richer faster than you are?

are they in the top 3 % ?


did he pass his family some tax breaks?


oh, maybeeeeeeeeeeeee hhhhhheeeeee, he,


maybe you need your own military force and Director of Intelligent Services....like Negroponte,

motto...."he'll say anything to get paid,"

"just keep paying my bills, need someone silenced, I'll take their pension if they talk about the truth,"


they just passed a law to put that into effect while you were busy being distracted by the "terrorist show"

mous sassi

.

_he_

the sole purported visible example of the one whom your government _says_ perpatrated _something_ or at least talked about it...and who apparently doesn't like you all...


who cares

_he_ might just disappear...get a face change....move to Miami....you'll see a computer generated image...aged and everything...prove otherwise...for the next 20 years...

the restaurant is empty and your host has left the table...


_you_

have to pick up the check.

.

Posted by: and you're important to me too... | May 5, 2006 12:06 AM

Ah, this blog isn't so bad. You just have to scroll down and ignore the long posts; mainly Chris Fords, Che's, and the writer who does the underscore ( _ ) all the time.

Posted by: mark | May 5, 2006 12:44 AM

Chris,

NPIC, NIMA, NGA...DIA...maybe Henderson Hall since you have a love of using the term marine...analyst. Imagery analysis is extremely important, but it's not being on the ground and it's not pulling the trigger. Plus, I've worked in some of these places as a contractor, so spare me the melodrama.

Simple fact...if you ENJOY killing human beings, you have a problem. You may enjoy the rush of combat (still have issues), you may enjoy - and never find anywhere else - the comaraderie of serving in battle, you may even enjoy the clearity of the situation...but that is not the same as enjoying killing.

If there is nothing beyond this life - and again, I don't KNOW - then how much greater a poverty is it to have ended the life. And, IF there is a greater reward, a Karmic cycle of rebirth or some other form of afterlife...you will have to answer for your actions - what if it's your victim's God and not yours? What if God, or whatever, really doesn't get the whole...fighting wars for him thing? In this life or after, we must ALL answer for our actions.

Indeed, serving, and more importantly, volunteering to serve, puts you in a position where HAVING to kill is a possibility, but that is different still. Buddhist monks invented the martial arts and yet they are dedicated to pacifism. However, it is clear that there are times, unfortunately, when one must rise to their defense through violent action (it should always be the LAST resort). However, in taking such action, one should not find joy, but profound sadness for not being able to find a different way and for causing suffering even though it could not be helped.

As for you questioning the varacity of my service, I feel no need to justify it with a lengthy response. I will say this, your ideas of what constitutes a warrior and a warrior's emotions and thoughts is woefully inadequate. Again, I suggest you serve first and then cast stones.

Lastly, it would seem you simply cannot respond without personally attacking the person you're responding to. I think that is just sad. Is it because you see everything in black and white, right and wrong? What is it?

Do you even know why you are so angry?

Anyway, I'm sorry you think so little of the destruction of war for some day YOU may be the victim of such violence and the person or people doing it unto you will probably have the same feeling of self-righteousness and anger fueling their actions.

----

On another note, we have released Al Z's bloopers of trying to use a weapon in a video...but did anyone notice he was using a Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW)? My question is this: from where did he get it?

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 5, 2006 10:10 AM

Will,

The postrscriptum of your latest posting (favorably) reflects on your ability at self_critisism. Keep it up.

Posted by: Emilio | May 5, 2006 10:11 AM

Sorry, Emilio, but your little crack at CF being "too dumb even for the Army" hits a nerve with a few of us. Don't be an ass.

Posted by: D. | May 5, 2006 10:19 AM

Jamal-

Perhaps you could be more specific about which position I was disputing. The economy is a complicated thing. I am extremely skeptical that I "flip flopped" on anything. There are things about the Bush economy that are deplorable, such as the rising number of people who live beneath the poverty line. The economic disparity between the super wealthy and the super poor is growing and, regardless of how the "economy" is doing, I think this is a bad thing.

However unemployment is low and economic growth is high. These are essentially being funded by irresponsible fiscal policies; lower taxes encourage investment at the cost of losing *much* needed government revenue. Republican Congress, with Bush's no-veto policy, has drastically increased the size of government. He is essentially borrowing money from future generations and pouring it into the economy. The economic growth we are stealing from our children is undemocratic and immoral.

On this point I have been extremely consistent. Again, perhaps you could clarify my "flip flop".

Posted by: Will | May 5, 2006 10:24 AM

Will, D, come on. You and I all know that the military rarely takes resumes. That is not a judgment, but an observation.

MANY combat arms members, as well as CS and CSS, would probably not score highly on any objective test of intelligence...but that is irrelevant. Most are clever, dedicated, loyal, efficient, athletic and mission oriented. That, combined with an ability to shoot straight, attack a position, and a willingness to serve something larger than themselves, should be enough - and it is for me.

Of course calling soldiers dumb as a generalization is just that, a generalization. But, let's not fool ourselves that we are always the brightest in the bunch.

Come on, you KNOW you're smiling because you're thinking about that "joe" who did that "thing" when you were in.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 5, 2006 10:31 AM

kljljljlljpp

Posted by: ';jkljljlj | May 5, 2006 10:37 AM

kljljljlljpp

Posted by: ';jkljljlj | May 5, 2006 10:39 AM

AfghanVet-

What are you talking about? Neither D. nor I suggested that the armed forces were brilliant. I believe if Emilio wants to spend his time on these blogs exclusively trolling around and insulting individuals, which is about 90% of his posts, he should stick it to the individuals he dislikes and not the hundreds of thousands of dedicated servicemen and women in the United States Army who have done nothing to draw his ire.

Whether or not these people are Einsteins or idiots is, as you said, totally irrelevant. They are as deserving of respect as anyone. I'm not particularly PC so calling Emilio an ass is pretty much the extent to which I care what he thinks about the armed forces. But it's still unnecessary.

Say what you want about Chris Ford for being racist/offensive/combative, but uninformed he is not. And nugatory his posts are not. If you skip past all the naughty words that most of you find offensive there's typically a point and often times it is worth noting.

Emilio's contribution to this thread, and this is characteristic of him, has been 5 posts only two of which have any sort of substance. The other 3 have been one to two sentence snippets assaulting Chris Ford, the army, Denmark, etc. There is no substance. *All* he has are insults.

Posted by: Will | May 5, 2006 10:52 AM

Being informed is more than the ability to spew out data that in his case is more often than not distorted, incomplete, and incoherent. Data in the hand of close minded, prejudicial people are worse than ignorance, it's garbage. Every dictatorial govt in the last hundred years has a Ministry of Information. Why?

Posted by: Minister of Information | May 5, 2006 11:11 AM

Minister et all-

If what Chris Ford says is "distorted, incomplete, and incoherent" you would do this board and yourselves a service to explain which particular facts he offers that are distorted, incomplete, or incoherent. Calling someone a racist is as effective a barb as calling them a racial expletive. It is meaningless. It speaks to their character, not their argument. A racist asserts 2+2=4 with the same authority as the rest of us.

If Chris Ford is such a transparent and mindless racist than I'm sure none of you will have any trouble dismantling his arguments. Go at it.

Posted by: Will | May 5, 2006 11:28 AM

We use 30% less oil per capita than we did in 1970..we did the easy stuff...stopped most electric generation from oil burning, lightened cars, put electronic controls on them. Yet we use 35% more oil as a nation than in 1970. Reason? We added 90 million new Americans, most from unchecked immigration, 3rd World village reunification programs, and their attendent spawn..

Posted by: Chris Ford | Apr 26, 2006 3:33:39 PM | Permalink


Let's take a moment and do some calculations based STRICTLY on Mr. Ford numbers and see if they compute.

US population added 90 million since 1970 per Mr. Ford. Current population is around 300 million (298,605,411 today per US census). That gives us a population of 210 million in 1970. Check.

We use 30% less oil per capita today than we did in 1970. But as a nation we use 35% more oil. Also per Mr. Ford.

For the sake of our computations assume we used 100 barrels of oil per capita in 1970. With a 30% drop we each use 70 barrels today. Check.

Our oil consumption as a nation goes up 35% more per Mr. Ford.

Now the calculations:

For 1970:

Total US consumption = 100 X 210 = 21,000 million barrels.

For 2006:

Total US consumption = 70 X 300 = 21,000 million barrels.


Where's the 35% increase due to population growth Mr. Ford?

As usual numbers don't lie so who's fibbing here?

Posted by: Chrisoroid Fordoloid | Apr 26, 2006 7:31:43 PM |

Posted by: Minister of Information | May 5, 2006 12:06 PM

Apples and oranges, pseudo-poster. 40% of oil consumption is private use. The rest is commercial, gov sector. A 30% reduction in per capita private use from a 1970 net of 400 gal per person lowers net oil to 352 gal per person. 400X210 million = 84 billion gallons. Adding 90 million new Juans, Osamas, and Marias + the small part that is native growth gives us 300 million. But while we lowered oil use for power, we had large increases in commercial use of oil for JIT trucking and aviation (and creep due to population driven congestion, sprawl and gridlock cutting into the post 1970 35% savings) so we are up to 376 gal per person. 376X300 million =112.8 billion gallons net. Which, divided by 84 billion = 1.343.

Or, 35% more oil than we used in 1970.

Posted by: Chris Ford | Apr 26, 2006 11:16:27 PM | Permalink

Note nowhere in his first post did he make any distinction as to private vs non-private use. He completely imputed all the rise in oil consumption to immigrants to push his TRANSPARENT anti-immigration agenda. Now if you are anti-immigrant fine, you are entitled to your opinion. Don't use phoney numbers to justify it.

Second even in his rebuttal he still seeked to mislead:

a. 30% off 400 gallons is NOT 352. Maybe simple msicalculation, maybe not. Still misleading.

b. Now take his "376X300 million =112.8 billion gallons net. Which, divided by 84 billion = 1.343.
Or, 35% more oil than we used..." claim. He used the 300 million total population to calculate his 35% increase in oil use. Of that increase only 30% can be attributed to population growth. Even less of that 30% can be from immigrants. But still he implied the whole 35% to immigration.

c. In all this talk about oil consumption he totally ignored the benefits from increased energy usage. The rise in standard of living, the increased output and efficiency, the longer life expectation, etc.


So please if you can't see thru the TRANSPARENT misuse of numbers, you are easily duped or in denial.

Posted by: Minister of Information | May 5, 2006 12:23 PM

Minister-

I see the inescapable point he is trying to make which is: Conservation doesn't make a world of difference if population growth is unchecked. Open borders will necessarily lead to unchecked population growth. All the conservation in the world won't change the fact that we consumed less per capita in 2000 than we did in 1970 yet overall use has steadily increased.

Chris emphasizes too much on the immigration issue perhaps, but that doesn't mean the rest of us should ignore it completely. It isn't difficult to connect the dots on the global scale. Why is it that among Western nations the only ones that have seen their overall oil consumption decrease also happen to be the ones with low population growth rates (which are to a large degree a function of immigration) -- Japan, UK, Germany, etc.

It's an important point.

Posted by: Will | May 5, 2006 12:40 PM

As for the non stop vitriolic rant against Moussaoui and our jury system, it is typical of a rightwing's limited worldview.

Moussaoui is from all published reports a nut and a nobody. The guy was tried in a court of law by private US citizens who deemed him a bit player provocateur. To insist on making him an example for the death sentence after the jury has rendered its verdict is stupid and shorsighted. We should instead celebrate it as the strength of our system. Instead of giving him his martyrdom, we have shown the rest of the Muslim world what kind of a society he have where private citizens and not some secret military tribunal, not some appointed judges, not even the big bad Bush govt, have the final say in our system of law.

PRIVATE American citizens have decided the proper sentence for a foreign Muslim criminal based on their interpretations of the laws and the facts. Not based on Moussaoui's wish, not the govt prosecutor's wish, not some primodial desire for revenge....


The Muslim world take note! So should rightwingers here at home.

Posted by: Minister of Information | May 5, 2006 12:43 PM

Japan from just yesterday press has an aging workforce problem. So will Germany....


The immigration argument is inherently weak and contradicts the bigger claim that oil consumption is now a GLOBAL issue, i.e. if we don't consume it here they will just consume it there. A claim which CF did make repeatedly.

Posted by: Minister of Information | May 5, 2006 12:47 PM

You really think the Muslim world gives a damn? I mean really? We bend over backwards to show how "tolerant" we are, how "understanding", etc., etc. They torch embassy's and kill people over friggin' cartoons.

Please, call me a rightwinger but I've pretty much given up on Islam as a religion that can be reasoned with.

Personally, have no problem with old Zacky getting life, not a big proponent of the death penalty but I don't think any of this will make a damn bit of difference to the muslim mind.

Posted by: D. | May 5, 2006 12:50 PM

Minister-

There's room to wiggle on determining Moussaois status. Is he a criminal or is he a spy/combatant/agent for an enemy power? Because civilian law only applies to the former.

I think he's an enemy soldier, akin to a Nazi soldier in World War 2 but worse still because he has unlawfully infiltrated our country and conspired to damage us from the inside. If you think the United States should treat its enemies with the respect they deserve then we should respect that this man was a foreign agent and should be treated accordingly; by military law.

We have sent a message to the Islamic world, but it won't be interpreted as compassion. It'll be interpreted as weakness.

Posted by: Will | May 5, 2006 01:22 PM

Collection agencies shouldn't be exempt from the law, but I pin the blame on the various prosecutors' offices that don't allocate resources to enforce the law.

As a businessman, bounced checks are a huge problem. No one cuts the businessman any slack when he can't pay his bills because the check he was given was no good. The penalties need to be harsh enough to make a point. My own daughter bounced two checks. Her bank charged her $25 for each bounced check. Walmart, luckily, didn't. She learned a valuable lesson; having a checkbook is a big responsibility and a check is meant to be as good as money. When you sign that sign you are swearing you have money in the bank to cover your debt.

I have no problems with state and county governments funding their district attorneys' offices with fines collected from those who write hot checks. It makes sense and you can bet they would be aggressive in making sure bounced checks are made good.

Posted by: Robert | May 5, 2006 01:29 PM

I'm afraid my reference to the army in the comment emphasizing Christopher's condition has been taken too literally by debaters D. & Will who, let's face, seem to be not the brightest posters on the blog. Afghan Vet's astute comment, on the other hand, betrays superbly nuanced intelligence. Outstanding, Sir.

Posted by: Emilio | May 5, 2006 01:29 PM

From J's G blog:

The Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 replaced the Quota Act of 1921, which had set limits on immigrants from each nation: no more than 3 percent of that nation's presence in the United States as of the 1910 census. Because the Quota Act was not restrictive enough, especially with regard to the Southern Europeans and Eastern Europeans and assorted Jews who had swarmed to these shores between 1890 and 1910, the Johnson-Reed Act set new limits of no more than two percent of each nation's presence in the United States as of the 1890 census. The measure passed the Senate with only six "nay" votes, and many of the supporters of the bill were precisely the kind of manly men which this blog justly celebrates. Take, for example, South Carolina's Ellison DuRant Smith:

"Thank God we have in America perhaps the largest percentage of any country in the world of the pure, unadulterated Anglo-Saxon stock; certainly the greatest of any nation in the Nordic breed. It is for the preservation of that splendid stock that has characterized us that I would make this not an asylum for the oppressed of all countries, but a country to assimilate and perfect that splendid type of manhood that has made America the foremost Nation in her progress and in her power, and yet the youngest of all the nations."

-------

Seems we've come a long way.

As for Islam, I would point out that until the Reformation and Renaissance, Christianity wasn't all that reasonable. Ironically, it shows EXACTLY what happens when religion is inseparable from politics and yet we have a whole lobby of people trying to do just that.

Indeed, Islam is at a crossroads, but it's a problem we will NEVER be able to fix, only protect ourselves from while they boil over trying to figure it out themselves. But, all actions from the outside will only increase their will to band together.

We (Americans) can all rank on the US, but "God" help you if someone (Non-American) does it. Give them enough rope and they will hang themselves. Ironically, our best hope for grabbing a foothold on this beach was Iran and we decided to ignore them...and now we want to kill them.

Simple is as simple does.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 5, 2006 01:40 PM

Porter Goss gone! Yes!

Please take all of your lackeys with you.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 5, 2006 01:54 PM

So maybe some Muslims don't give a damn. Maybe some do. Who's to say? You live your life the way you think is right regardless of what others say or do. Maybe it will set an example. Maybe not.

As for compasssion, I could care less if the jury had handed out the death sentence instead. The point is twelve private Americans rendered the decision based on laws and facts. That's our strength in this crazy war where even the Pentagon has said cannot be won militarily. The US govt itself decided to try the guy in civilian court, if you guys have a problem take it up with Congress.

It has also been argued that this administration purposely wants to keep the whole issue fuzzy so they can do what they want. Once Congress or the Supreme Court renders their decision, not just the terrorists but the US govt itself won't have any wiggle room left. Ponder that.

Posted by: Minister of Information | May 5, 2006 01:55 PM

"Once Congress or the Supreme Court renders their decision, not just the terrorists but the US govt itself won't have any wiggle room left. Ponder that."

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 5, 2006 02:01 PM

"Minister of information" or whatever trendy lefty nom de geurre he will use tomorrow has an ideological lock on his mind - that refuses to acknowledge one part of reality that conflicts with his beliefs.

All too common, I'm afraid.

First, he rejects the notion of immigration undermining energy conservation helping America become energy independent. Then he says that where people are globally is irrelevant to energy use...ignoring that America's goal is for America to become energy independent - not get Japan through China through Mexico through Brazil there. Every immigrant and descendent of an immigrant is new demand. That negative population growth nations in Europe will soon "achieve" 1990 Kyoto carbon usage goals is obvious except for the present issue and concern of high-breeding rate Muslim populations negating that and many other Euro goals that they belatedly are realizing may be more important than "embrace the Multi-Culti!".

But he gets even sillier with his denial that enemy Jihadis are anything but inept criminals best dealt with by cops who should focus on waiting for "actual crimes to happen" , then lawyers who will safeguard their "enemy rights" so that Muslims will see and admire the sight of tolerant America bending over backwards to treat unlawful enemy combatants "compassionately".

"Moussaoui is from all published reports a nut and a nobody." In the big scheme of things, so was Richard Reid, who almost blew up a plane with over 100 people on board. Reid "suffered" discrimination and had an abusive criminal father, and was a "poor lost soul" before he found Jihad. Same with Mohammed Atta, who appears to have been a bit of a nut because his father beat him for being effeminant and developed a loathing of women as a consequence. Poor baby. Atta committed no overt "crime" before the 1st Stewardess had her throat slashed on his plane, when it was a little too late to "send the cops and ACLU lawyers to manage the crime"!

"The guy was tried in a court of law by private US citizens who deemed him a bit player provocateur."

So would Atta have been identical in "Ministers" inflexible mind if he had been caught before he killed thousands. Atta was doing the identical thing Moussaoui was. The only difference between the two was that Atta was an unlawful enemy combatant that succeeded in carrying out his mission.

9/11's mastermind said Moussaoui and 3 other pilots already trained were to be used in follow-up attacks on the West Coast - using Indonesian muscle - to smash planes into 4 prominent targets in Seattle and California.

"PRIVATE American citizens have decided the proper sentence for a foreign Muslim criminal."

Which reflects the rigid Leftist mindset that there are no soldiers in the world today, only "criminals"...and seeks to reshape law that has existed since America's revolutionary days where we dealt with armed enemy by force on the battlefield and by tribunal if enemy spies and saboteurs were caught. The Founders believed there was a world of difference between a foreign enemy, a traitorous enemy within, and a criminal.

It should be obvious to anyone in today's world as well. There is no "crime" in obtaining floor plans to elementary schools in Virginia, or in attending Flight School to learn how to fly but not take off or land. Or attending enemy soldier training camps in other countries.

But we do know that enemy combat ops depend on such preparations, scouting missions, financing, use of legal cover ID and employment. Actions essential to warfare, covered in military law, but not covered by our civilian "crimal law system". The Nazi saboteurs we caught in WWII had only "entered America without documentation." They never had time to harm a single American. FDR quickly determined, as Washington, the Continental Congress and onwards had in our history that a tribunal was in order.

Moussaoui and the "law enforcement approach" to Jihadi enemy in the last 20 years is the actual historical aberration.

If you so favor PRIVATE AMERICAN citizens giving enemy soldiers the luxury of civilian treatment and civilian rights and law, then surely you favor the same for our own soldiers...let a jury of 12 American civilians determine if an American soldier had a good reason to desert (he had an unhappy childhood!) or disobey rules of engagement (he was simply scared when he fired on the crowd!).

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 5, 2006 02:05 PM

Chris,

If only the law and policies were so clear. I don't necessarily disagree, but you, we and the world lack the ability to CLEARLY define who is a soldier and who is a terrorist. Where is the line drawn and then what are the processes to deal with them once they are caught?

Again, let's all clear it up and then it will be done. The PROBLEM is that BushCo doesn't want it cleared up and is happy to let the courts do the heavy lifting because the time it takes for precendence to be set will give them all the time they need to manuever inside the "fuzz".

Fine, let's make it clear - crime or act of war? Court or tribunal...but make it clear; because either way...the person has rights as defined by our society. If he is a prisoner of war he/she gets Geneva convention rights...if not, then they are a criminal and get the rights afforded under the code of laws of the country conducting prosecution. WHY do you think we have rendition?

Either way, without the "fuzz", BushCo cannot operate the way they want...and they simply cannot have that.

IF WE as a people CHOOSE not to codify draconian measures to protect ourselves, then so be it. That is the greatness of America! Elitest Liberals indeed! Who is being the Elitest now, TELLING us what is good for our own protection...BREAKING THE LAW. The LAW of THE PEOPLE.

So, fine. Public executions for terrorists...no problem...just make it the law.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 5, 2006 02:15 PM

Never mind that, Vet. So you wanna fool around or something?

Posted by: Chris | May 5, 2006 02:34 PM

not a chance, you malodorous f**kwit

Posted by: Vet | May 5, 2006 02:41 PM

Obviously, that is not me...vets would use the term F**k-STICK.

Why even respond?

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 5, 2006 02:52 PM

So which other models do you suggest we follow? Where else has this govt put terrorists on trial? Which tribunals have they conducted?

Or do you think Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, in the middle of the nigh renditions so they can be tortured there and not here, secret prisons on foreign soil to escape judicial oversight, etc. are the models for US conducts in this war? Where are the results to justify such conducts?


The problems with homegrown righwing nuts are they are so easily provoked, so easily it becomes predictable, by foreign Muslim nuts into abandoning our own system of laws and order, of checks and balances for the urge for revenge or short term feel good propaganda gains. Just take a look at the headlong rush into Iraq w/o any regard for long term consequencs. Or worse take a look at Iran's daily verbal provocations knowing full well the weakness the neocons have put the US in not only the Mid East but all over the world.

Maybe it's not a bad idea to treat terrorists as common criminals, not soldiers, not even combatants. At the very least you take away the shine, the luster they use for recruitment purposes.

Posted by: Minister of Information | May 5, 2006 02:52 PM

AfghanVet-

Personal question: Do you think Moussaoi is a criminal or an agent of a foreign power? I understand the need for a transparent classification system, as soon as a civilian court establishes, with Mr. Moussaoi's testimony, that he was acting for a foreign power to harm Americans on American soil, then he ceases to be a criminal dealt with under civilian law. German soldiers are free to travel in the United States today regardless of their participation in WW2 because combat is not criminal.

We shouldn't have tried Moussaoi in civilian court. If the Bush administration is violating the classification structure --by fuzzying the issue of who is or isn't a combatant-- than we need to enforce a reasonable and transparent classification system. That doesn't mean we abandon the tried and trued military tribunal.

Posted by: Will | May 5, 2006 02:55 PM

Lefties, righties, immigrants... Who cares. Minister, you free for a drink sometime you gorgeous beast you?

Posted by: Chris | May 5, 2006 03:02 PM

Moussaoi is a low level non-combatant who didn't do anything. Zargawi is a bigger fish the govt should have yet obviously incapable of arresting.

Posted by: Emilio | May 5, 2006 03:14 PM

Emilio, you can drive my stick shift anytime, you handsome specimen of manhood.

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 5, 2006 03:23 PM

Will,

I think we are in violent agreement for the most part. My question is this...what sovereign foreign power was he working for? Germany was a sovereign nation-state. Al Queada is not.

I don't KNOW the answer because I don't KNOW the law well enough to make a choice. What I THINK is that neither system has currently evolved to handle the phenomonon of non-nation-state-aligned groups or people.

We are at war with an ideology that is a splinter of a religion that has yet to have its Reformation and therefore still mixes politics with religion.

Terrorism is a TACTIC, not an ideology. If you want to fight, and you cannot make laser-guided weapons, you adapt and overcome, and you employ your units within their capabilities. We scoff at the suicide bomber, but you can hardly argue with their effectiveness on both an emotional and physical level.

If you pretty much know you're going to die, most likely with lots of friends, in a stand-up fight with the US without killing or wounding anyone in the process, then dying to take out 10-15 with some being soldiers is not a bad approach.

We say...but they target civilians! I say, Dresden, Hiroshima, etc. Of course, we now call it collateral damage. Again, an observation, not a judgment. To those on the receiving end of a "precision" weapon, they ain't so precise. Dead is dead...how one dies is a matter of tactics.

Yes, we like to believe, for the sake of our souls, that we do not INTENTIONALLY target civilians, but that point can be argued...well I might add...when one looks at the results of some of our most well-intentioned foreign policies.

This is NOT a judgment, but a realization of the environment in which we are operating. If we want our enemies to respect the rule of law...we must do the same. Ideologies LOVE a hypocrite.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 5, 2006 03:32 PM

If that thug Zargawi really had to cut off something, that ought to have been your balls, Chris Ford.

Posted by: Emilio | May 5, 2006 03:34 PM

Right on, Vet. It's like Moussaoi said yesterday on the subject of western values: "Your humanity is selective...".
The man definitely has a point.

The most grating aspect of America, in my view, is hypocrisy.

Posted by: Emilio | May 5, 2006 03:46 PM

I would like to masturbate and ejaculate on Emily's face and massage by thick cum into her lovely hair. I am willing to write a very large check to do that. Okay?

Posted by: hello | May 5, 2006 04:13 PM

Emily Bernstein is a babe. But why did she marry that Aussie bloke. He is a total ass.

Posted by: metawarp | May 5, 2006 04:18 PM

AfghanVet-

Yea, it sounds like we are agreeing more than we are disagreeing.

Regarding Moussaoi I'd like to make an additional point, however. While it is true that he is not a member of a foreign power in the traditional sense that he is not tied to a particular foreign nation, why would such a distinction give us pause? Does anyone reasonably dissent to classifying Al Quada as a Foreign Power? Does anyone reasonably agree/disagree that it is a Terrorist Organization?

The only legal hurdle, in my opinion, is establishing that this person is a member of a foreign power and that foreign power wishes harm upon us. Who cares if Al Quada has no borders?

I think Al Quada is a foreign power seeking to hurt us. I suspect you agree (if not I'd love to hear your rational). So the burden now is merely to prove whether or not Moussaoi is a member of Al Quada. Check.

So why was he tried in Civilian Court? I've yet to hear a sane explanation for why Al Quada is any different than a Foreign Nation that declares war on us besides that they happen not to have borders (which would limit our military action abroad, not our prosecution of captured Al Quada in our midst). I have yet to hear a compelling argument that Moussaoi is not a member of Al Quada, as he admits to being. And I have not heard a convincing case that Moussaoi, though incompetent and a nutcase, did not intend to harm the United States.

If we have established those three why isn't he tried as a war criminal?

Posted by: Will | May 5, 2006 04:18 PM

Mafia? Are they not both a foreign or domestic power?

Again, I think the problem is that the current laws are based on a foreign power being defined as a nation-state. I think the reason this is a problem is that if we were to declare war on Al Queada, WHOSE soverign nation would that allow us to attack? Whose civilians, who HAVE NO CHOICE as to whether a country actively supports a group, would we be authorized to kill as collateral damage?

Of course, we could harken back to the days of laying waste to all, but we as a nation have chosen, and have prided ourselves, on moving beyond that.

Yup, it sure makes things messy. But, we are a better world for it in my opinion.

If the peg holes don't match, then perhaps we need some new pegs and holes. We need to STOP trying to shoe-horn everything into neat black and white boxes and we need to solve the problem.

Of course, to do that, one needs to baseline where they stand...using FACTS not ideology or emotion.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 5, 2006 04:32 PM

I don't believe I'm doing this. Soooo, Chris... What are looking for in a man on a first date?

Posted by: Will | May 5, 2006 04:35 PM

Chris!?.. Chris!?..

Posted by: Will | May 5, 2006 04:43 PM

AfghanVet-

"Mafia? Are they not both a foreign or domestic power?"

I would wager domestic, since the members are American citizens (Moussaoi is not). In any event, if the Mafia declared war on the United States and organized a complicated plan to infiltrate our country illegally, tain and feed themselves on American resources including flight classes, and hijack 4 planes simultaneously and successfully crash 3 of them into their civilian targets, then take credit for the attack, then yes we could very easily declare war on the Mafia and treat them as a foreign power. All identifiable captured members of the Mafia thereafter should and would be subject to military tribunal.

"Again, I think the problem is that the current laws are based on a foreign power being defined as a nation-state."

Why? Do you think this makes any sense? Do you think it is impossible that a non-nation aligned group could accumulate the resources and will necessary to harm American lives? Does an entity need borders to be a threat to America?

I think it's both possible and actual that a foreign power without borders could/does want to kill Americans. Do you disagree?

" I think the reason this is a problem is that if we were to declare war on Al Queada, WHOSE soverign nation would that allow us to attack?"

I raised this point in my post. The concern when dealing with non-national foreign powers is how to appropriately engage them militarily when it necessarily involves invading a potentially unaligned country. This is legitimate concern that needs to be addressed.

But this has nothing to do with captured members of foreign power on our own soil. We avoid that entire debate all together; Moussaoi is in our custody, has admitted to being a member of a foreign power that wishes us harm, and has admitted to wishing harm upon us. If this man cannot meet the proof-burden of Foreign Agenthood then who possibly could?

Thoughts?

Posted by: Will | May 5, 2006 04:56 PM

You're soooo out of your gord, Will.

So what were you saying about that check, metaworm?

Posted by: Chris | May 5, 2006 04:56 PM

OT - Seems that Messner's blog has attracted a few trolls. Hopefully she will avail herself to the WP webmaster and get rid of the person whose ISP signature matches the false posts under other people's Blog ID, the repugnant Emily "cumshot" stuff, and other major transgressions of the rules Ms. Messner has placed for the PRIVILEGE of posting on a major media Blog.

******************

AfghanVet - Yes you proclaim your bona fides just like some SEAL poseurs know the SEAL lingo better than some SEALS, but you talk the therapeutic psychobabble language of the Left about other poster's "anger issues" with 9/11 plotters. And you talk the tired language of moral relativity - as if terorism and total rejection of Geneva and Hague by a foreign enemy is the same as colateral damage in a limited war, or military force in total war. Where Beslan is no different than Soviet scorched earth tactics, where 9/11 is no different than Afghan Vets ---"We say...but they target civilians! I say, Dresden, Hiroshima".

The difference obviously is that we continue to abide by the rules of war. Islamoids hold no rules of war exist save the Qu'ran. That Mecca, Medina, Cairo, Damascus still stand. That the last Muslim in the West who refused to convert to Christianity was not bulldozed into a death pit in 2002.

Then you say to Will that anyone that supports radical Islam - all 100 million or so Muslims falling into Islamoid Jihad - (Holy War) and seeks to infiltrate enemy combat teams using HE, WMD, etc. CANNOT be an illegal combatant, but MUST be a criminal, because NO SOVERIEGN NATION has their oath of fealty.

That's the silly case the Left makes in their "law enforcement model".

Then AfghanVet seeks to excuse most countries in the world from retaliation that are not governed by a democracy:

"Whose civilians, who HAVE NO CHOICE as to whether a country actively supports a group, would we be authorized to kill as collateral damage?"

Stupid idea. AfghanVet would apparantly say that we cannot retaliate aginst any non-democratic country or transnational enemy force, where civilians have NO CHOICE in if the Politburo, El Supremo Caudillo, Islamoid "Emir" decide to kill us. Frankly, Afghanvet, such naivete from a "experienced Defense operative" is so bad I suggest you move on and take a "Ex 'Nam Marine, now a pacifist" persona. SEAL can be dangerous because they look for and visit fakes. Then there is always the "former highly placed conservative who has awakened to the evil of Bush, yet talks pefect Leftist jargon 6 moonths after his reawakening"...

"If only the law and policies were so clear. I don't necessarily disagree, but you, we and the world lack the ability to CLEARLY define who is a soldier and who is a terrorist."

We have tried to define that for 20 years at the UN and have been blocked by Muslim nations that say anyone who kills a Jew anywhere, man woman or child - is a "freedom fighter" because they undermine support of the Zionist Entity.

"Where is the line drawn and then what are the processes to deal with them once they are caught?"

The Executive tried to draw that line and create processes, which were blocked from approval by the Democrats and the Black Helicopter Far Right Republicans hanging on to their John Bircher roots.

"Again, let's all clear it up and then it will be done. The PROBLEM is that BushCo doesn't want it cleared up and is happy to let the courts do the heavy lifting..."

No, Congress refused...and other nations are still trapped in the "law enforcement model" to supposedly deter Islamoid soldiers. And the secular Jews running the ACLU have sued right and Left for "precious enemy rights" of Islamoids captured doing or planning Holy Jihad on us here and abroad.

"Fine, let's make it clear - crime or act of war? Court or tribunal...but make it clear; because either way...the person has rights as defined by our society."

Why was it so clear in past wars yet muddied up beyond recognition in this one is the question you should be asking. Part of the answer is in post-war Europe and America, Leftists took over reshaping law so society could be divided into [victim-oppressor] classes. Add in moral relativity, that no one really in trouble is anything but a victim due to oppression, psychological trauma, "parental abuse". And the drive the Left made towards criminal and enemy rights.

"If he is a prisoner of war he/she gets Geneva convention rights...if not, then they are a criminal and get the rights afforded under the code of laws of the country conducting prosecution."

No, it isn't the enemy combatant is EITHER an honorable POW OR a civilian criminal.

As a "long serving" defense operative, I would expect you to have some basic knowledge of Geneva. It is a reciprocal treaty. If one side doesn't fight by it's rules, the other side isn't obligated to either. Even when both sides are signatories, and I wait with eagerness to hear the Islamoids have decided to sign, unlawful combatants fall outside all Geneva protection. That is why spies, saboteurs, and enemy soldiers seeking to penetrate lines on a battlefield wearing the enemies uniform or no uniform are customarily executed. As for the enemy being entitled to habeas, by 9-0 the SCOTUS said "no"."

" WHY do you think we have rendition?"

Why shouldn't treaties of rendition exist between nations? It beats the Euroweenies saying the whole world must swear fealty to their ICC.


Either way, without the "fuzz", BushCo cannot operate the way they want...and they simply cannot have that.

IF WE as a people CHOOSE not to codify draconian measures to protect ourselves, then so be it. That is the greatness of America! Elitest Liberals indeed! Who is being the Elitest now, TELLING us what is good for our own protection...BREAKING THE LAW. The LAW of THE PEOPLE.

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 5, 2006 06:34 PM

More:

"Either way, without the "fuzz", BushCo cannot operate the way they want...and they simply cannot have that."

No, what has happened is the "enemy rights lovers" have sued and tied up the Bushies with legal challenges and the Democrats have blocked legislation to clear the legal blocks Jihadi-sympathizers have erected....they are content to let the Courts decide if the Bush Administration or the Islamoids and their friends are right.

"IF WE as a people CHOOSE not to codify draconian measures to protect ourselves, then so be it. That is the greatness of America! Elitest Liberals indeed! Who is being the Elitest now, TELLING us what is good for our own protection...BREAKING THE LAW. The LAW of THE PEOPLE."

This has nothing to do with you so-called "law of the people". This has to do with Bush claiming Executive War Powers and some in Congress saying only Congress should have power in setting war policy. A classic Article I vs. II clash, and what we are all waiting on is more Islamoid attacks so Congress can politically go along with the Presidency and avoid the 3rd Branch having to meddle in a dispute best settled between the 2 Branches.

Why wait?

Because many politicians have concluded that 9/11 simply wasn't enough blood being shed to abandon the 60s mindset they cherish and so much of their liberal base cherishes so deeply, or that the Bush crony capitalism model is worth destroying 1st before any consensus is achieved, or the conservatives wish to put that off so as to get more time to clean the courts further of the Lefty America-haters at work in several courts.

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 5, 2006 06:46 PM

Will Wrote,

"Perhaps you could be more specific about which position I was disputing."

My comment that you disagreed with pertained to how Bush's war in Iraq was adding to our federal fiscal budget deficit. My point is that it's adding much more than a drop in bucket and increasing annually with no return on the investment, actually negative return.

As for Emilio, Che and for that matter Chris Ford, we all have our ways of expressing our views, not everyone is like you Will, but they have the right to express their opinions. I enjoy a blog that "takes the pulse of America", not a private club with strict protocol to follow. If Chris Ford insists on insulting fellow debaters, then he can expect to be insulted in return. As far as Chris Ford goes with me, I follow the policy of eminent strike with him, I insult him before he does me. He's just an Archie Bunker. At times he does know what he's debating about and at others he's a clueless insulting idiot. I have noticed he is increasing his attacks on GWB and republicans and taking liberal-lefty-weenie stance on many issues (love it).

Posted by: Jamal | May 5, 2006 06:48 PM

Jamal-

I remember the dispute now. I acknowledge (as I did then) that the Iraq war is costing us more than a drop in the bucket. My proposal in that thread was that we increase Income Taxes by 10% to pay for the war. The proposal would have generated enough money annually to cover the costs of the War in Afghanistan, the War in Iraq, and Domestic War Related spending plus a little extra to start paying back the 250 billion we already owe in back-payments on 2001-2006. I have barked up that tree repeatedly and i agree wholeheartedly that the war is costing us large sums of money that needs to be replenished somehow.

Our point of disagreement was considerably subtler. The idea that Bush has bankrupted us merely with war was just wrong. Bush spends less on defense than Reagen did as percentage of GDP. Clinton spent less then both of them, but not dramatically so. Of the three, Clinton was the only one (with the help of a fiscally responsible Republican Congress) to actually pay for it.

If I took offense and disputed what you said it was the thrust of your claims which, at the time, were aggressively anti-Bush spending. I am not necessarily against spending on defense, I am against starting wars and then cutting taxes because of the pervasive effect it has on electorates; if electorates are conditioned to believe that wars are free then they are far more likely to support wars without factoring in the costs. A 10% increase on federal income taxes would drive the now 60-70% of Americans who disagree with the war firmly into the 80-90s and might encourage a more open dialogue in the future.

But to say that Bush is bankrupting this government with his unprecedented spending on defense is false. He's actually the 2nd stingiest war spender in the past 44 years surpassed only by Clinton. Those are facts.

Posted by: Will | May 5, 2006 07:12 PM

Interesting observations by a female blogger on Moussaoui's trial. Bears on the "therapeutic Lefty meme of law enforcement"...[no criminals or enemy out there really! Just abused children now acting out as adults, who only need a good mommy or psychologist to fix them!]

"ilana" also writes on a mildly pathetic part of the case - where a weeping, crying 22-year service Naval officer broke down in front of her soldier foe because the officer still hasn't "regrouped" from the emotional devestation of an enemy soldier attack - and who was mercilessly mocked by Moussaoui for her blubbering jellyfish act. And what it reveals about Zack...

http://blog.ilanamercer.com/?p=134

Ilana writes:
"Had he sniveled, sworn he had experienced an epiphany, or accepted the diagnosis of schizophrenia he was generously offered, victims may have looked upon him more favorably--as a victim too, perhaps (I can just hear the cliché, "We are all victims of this Islamic deadly ideology.")
But Moussaoui stuck to his guns. Indeed, the Islamic terrorist is perfectly candid about why he kills, or schemes on killing. He doesn't resort to the-camel-ate-my homework excuses, but tells it like he sees it. He kills us because he hates us.

The common criminals inhabiting Western jails, however, have made an art of using the therapeutic idiom, which they imbibe from their psychotherapist tutors, to work backwards and discover the exculpating "roots" of their behavior. Islamic criminals are different. They haven't yet learned that "Daddy doesn't love me" is a sufficient excuse for any crime committed in the West. They don't need excuses--they are proud of their faith and the ghastly deeds they say it commands. These brutes exhibit not the slightest need to give their barbarism a palatable pedigree. It is Western intellectuals and pundits, not Arabs and Muslims, who developed the root-causes theories of terrorism. This is why Islamic criminals are so much more believable. When they tell us why they kill, we can take them at their word.

The evil Moussaoui also mocked Navy Lt. Nancy McKeown, who wept on the stand as she described the death of two of her subordinates. "I think it was disgusting for a military person to cry," he snarled. "She is military; she should expect people at war with her to want to kill her." The sounds of her sniffing meekly in front of him, he said, had made his day.

"Now, her daughter is haunted by fear of losing her. "I must call her when I get to work and when I'm coming home," McKeown sobbed, 4 1/2 years after the attack."

Here I have to agree with him. A representative of the military crying in front of her assailant exudes mush, not mettle. As I pointed out in "Osama's Snickering at our Military," OBL and his ascetic Islamists know full well that "the mentality that pervades the military, including the top brass," is the "let-it-all-hang-out credo," and that one is encouraged to parade emotions like one would a Purple Heart. Islamists despise us for it. More importantly, they don't fear us because of it.

Frankly, I think that in front of the enemy, the military should suck it up."

End ilana's quote...

[When she wasn't audibly sobbing, her shaking caused her many medals to jingle..]

I have to agree somewhat with ilana. When you are a soldier, you are supposed to have decorum, military bearing, and not be weak in front of a possible foe..I watched a Russian Michaman beat a blubbering sailor to a pulp for coming over to a group of us American military and begging money from us for more booze (in a nameless ME port where both camps were welcome) The Michaman was right - in that we had a bit of contempt for the whining drunk - and the beating definitely restored the bearing of the other soldiers.

I mention this not because woman are bad soldiers, or that rear echelon ranks need a warrior spirit, or that a soldier is barred from being an emotional wreck or weeping for fallen comrades if they do it in private or with peers, or even that our Navy got a bit of a black eye from her incident making global media....

But for what it shows about Moussaoui. He was a soldier first. His reaction to the Navy LT was as a soldier. As any soldier would react on seeing a enemy reduced to
pathetic public display of weakness and victimhood. Contemptuous, and verbally telling her to straighten up, as we American military were on the verge of doing with a Russian sailor. Pretending he is a criminal instead of someone proud to serve Jihad after months of grueling military training is our little American conceit for the present...

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 5, 2006 08:14 PM

But for what it shows about Moussaoui. He was a soldier first. His reaction to the Navy LT was as a soldier. As any soldier would react on seeing a enemy reduced to
pathetic public display of weakness and victimhood. Contemptuous, and verbally telling her to straighten up, as we American military were on the verge of doing with a Russian sailor. Pretending he is a criminal instead of someone proud to serve Jihad after months of grueling military training is our little American conceit for the present...

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 5, 2006 8:14:24 PM | Permalink

More pathetic bs from a guy who's probably never served or been in combat. Who's never been shot at, never been under a mortar or artillery attack, never experienced a B52 bombing run directly or from afar. Same with the braggart half nut Moussaoui who probably has never seen combat himself but managed to convince the like of CF that he's a professional soldier.

Talk to someone who survived the jungle of VN or the streets of Fallujah, who came out a POW camp alive but not completely well, before you post your imaginary ideal of the soldier. It exists only in your head and in movies.

Maybe the reason the govt put the SOB on trial here because they know the guy is worthless as an info source but a braggart good for PR domestically. The real masterminds, the Khalid Mohammeds of the world, they hold abroad and get to sing like a canary. You think he talks of his own free will mister? And if Khalid taks taks taks how long do you think the pompous Moussaoui would last?

Posted by: Minister of Information | May 5, 2006 09:26 PM

Chances Minister pays black thugs to beat him up and anally take him?

Pretty high, it sounds like.

Chances Minister was ever under a B-52 strike, shot at, was ever in Vietnam , or Fallujah, or ever saw a big hi-powered mortar other than the "member" he found on a Crips member he submits to? Was ever in a POW camp other than as a tourist apologizing to the guards there for having to bother with feeding American POWs?

Pretty much zero, it sounds like.

Posted by: Minister sounds so gay he is fabulous | May 5, 2006 11:14 PM

Will,

Runaway deficit spending puts this country in a position where it could be forced into bankruptcy. Do you really think that the Chinese government wouldn't use the leverage it's gaining over us in lending money to force our policy or bankrupt us? It is unbelievable how conservatives and republicans can be so stupid. And yes, I do blame those two groups, because they have been running this country for almost six years now and it's time to kick them out of office.

And I don't think you include the total umbrella of national security in your stats or take into account the other spending was due to the cold war. I'm talking about a few terrorists for all this spending with little to show for it. And it's growing every day with no improved results.

It only takes one straw (spending) to break the camel's back (bankruptcy) and in this case it's defense spending on the War in Iraq. A total blunder of a war from conception to a yet undetermined end. I have never tried to hide my opinions of this administration, the reason I don't voice as strongly is due to the fact I don't have to, it's now apparent a majority of Americans agree with me.

Posted by: Jamal | May 5, 2006 11:42 PM

I like simple people so I always say a prayer for you and Chris Ford before I post that you may actually

find peace within you, and forgive yourselves...


...


ha ha ha..

Posted by: Hello Mark, | May 6, 2006 12:09 AM

I like people that are afraid to stand alone or need to stand on ceremony or political correctness as a way of making themselves fit in...

the Martha Stewarts of blogdom...


want to dance?

.

Posted by: D. and Will | May 6, 2006 12:11 AM

and what about these al qqueenda people, those dangerous home decorators?

step out next thing you know your socks match?

oh, so dangerous...eeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww


http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_723.shtml

Who is behind "Al Qaeda in Iraq"? Pentagon acknowledges fabricating a "Zarqawi Legend"
By Michel Chossudovsky

Posted by: and the Lengende of Al QUEERDA!!!! | May 6, 2006 12:17 AM

hello,

.

Posted by: gosh comeon, I like to beat little boys | May 6, 2006 12:19 AM

smells like something from that

"Left Behind," author...


you know sorta cracker everyone that doesn't lick Jesus' butt is going to the dark place...


I would imagine that if Jesus were around he'd be pretty much putting his size twelve up these hatemongers butts...and telling them to quit licking his...


or taste the fury of his Kenneth Coles...

here here....

Posted by: gosh this propaganda from cf | May 6, 2006 12:23 AM

Mou Sassi's comments...

I am easily manipulated and I always react to strangers pushing my buttons....


I am a weak and pathetic posuer crying for my fathers to hold me...

.oh yea!

.

Posted by: oh, and I'm so enraged by | May 6, 2006 12:27 AM

people mock me, do not ever mock me...

or I'll expose you.

Posted by: I really hate it when | May 6, 2006 12:39 AM

and since you can't put logick together,

childish prattle is your only response,

now that is fabulous...care to lick me?


I've never killed anyone that I know of or been in a B-52 run, but hey


I'm okay with that...if I want to kill someone I want it to be someone that I chose...and so far I've had that choice....

If this were WWII or some other circumstances then we'd see


but I do know posuers that have never been in action, you don't have to go to war to see action...walk in the wrong neighborhood in NYC, or talk to Black Girls in Arkansas in 1968 at a college, or confront three guys breaking into your apartment with a pistol...

there's lot's of real opportunities to be present and accounted for, heck telling the truth in a blog where everyone wants to be

"the tough guy" as a way of saying my story is truer than yours,

yeah right,

if you need to puff it up, it's too small.

.

cfs' is too small.

...he's a puffer.

.

Posted by: chances that you're jealous | May 6, 2006 12:47 AM

goes what the president did with Irack is called


FRAUD.


and if you did it, you'd be doing time.


how many people have died, so that this guy can pay his fathers friends back...or should I say loot the United States?

.

Posted by: as far as breakin the law | May 6, 2006 12:53 AM

thing of it is, the oil companies relationship with the United States is the same as your leaders and International Corporations.


EVEN THOUGH THEY GOT HERE ON YOUR BACKS

THEY DON'T OWE YOU A FRIGGIN THING, MUCH LESS AN EXPLANATION OR A FUTURE.


real American companies create better lives for the people that work for them, not just for their CEO's lobbyists or politicians that vote them the laws that they want in place....


hooray for Americas pharmacies that were able to stop the old people from buying drugs from Mexico or Canada at a lower rate...those old geezers might have made them compete....

Posted by: our relationship with our leaders is somewhat flawed.... | May 6, 2006 01:22 AM

What's the deal with rightwingers and their obsession with gays and anality?

What do you think play soldier? A B52 run at night sounds like distant thunders except it's a clear moonlit night? Were those low rumbling sounds that woke you up in the mid of the night far enough away or were they just your empty stomach heaving from hunger?

And how about those Cobra gunships? Don't they look like kites held to the ground by the colored strings of redhot rounds coming down from the sky. It is a ship that flies. Amazing yes?

Posted by: Minister of Information | May 6, 2006 01:45 AM

Those who think that deregulation of banking and finance (combined with adoption of other law an regulation to compel payment, allow harrassment for debt however minor, and use of "credit scores" for job and rental applications) is a positive step for society are clearly those who have never had to worry daily about money. Emily brings up issues that some of us have and do face, practices of the corporate world that we are busily exporting under the name of "globalization" to every corner of the world. The voices in this column and this society who support such behaviors and powers for collectors of debt seem to hold a minimalist view of humanity: there are good and bad people - the good pay their bills, the bad avoid them to the cost of the good.

Think again. In the west, money and power have become one and the same. At the top, there are those who possess or control scarcely imaginable wealth (and therefore power). These will never know a day when there may not be another dollar tomorrow. For them, life is about accruing more money and power; they are completely disassociated from the meaning of a $30 fee. That $30 for some is half a week's groceries, a phone bill, a fill of gas. But for the rulemakers, it is deserved punishment for daring to take the necessary chances of living at the bottom of the hill. So those who support that punishment as "just" have never lived at or near the bottom.

With rare exceptions, these same power-mongers will never be at the front line of war. Nor will they ever face unemployment, inability to meet all their financial obligations by the 30th of the month, being cut off from power, phone, or cable. But the fact that costs are rising (despite "negligible" inflation, one might note) faster than wages by better than 2/1 puts more people in this category every week than statistics can record. And of course, everyone - knowing that such puts them in "deadbeat" status - denies it.

So we have a society led by their "credit rating" doing the dance of the devil. That is, Mammon - greed - calls the shots. The segment of society least able to afford it pays the highest interest rates, is subjected to ATM fees, up to 3 bounced-check or insufficient fund fees per transaction. They can be threatened with prosecution by 3rd parties. Because they're bad people, right? We have a long way to go, friends. And this America is a leader in this economic slavery.

A scenario: a person writes a check for $30.00. Today, the bank processes monthly fees and the $30 balance is now $28. The check is returned for insufficient funds. The bank charges $30 fee for returned check. The merchant charges $30 for the returned check. The bank debits the person's account for $30 for the fee and then charges an overdrawn fee of $20. The person who didn't have $30 is now in debt for $110. Does that make sense? If you thought you could pay just $30, only just but are now in debt for $110? That is what happens to tens of thousands of Americans every day whose bank balances run at the margins of their means. Now you allow a 3rd party to use the power of an AGs office to squeeze an additional $30-$40, and the injustice should be apparent. "The system" takes these huge fees, relative to the ability to pay, from exactly those who least have the means to pay them. Because they can. Because these fees are impossible to resist and because it is clear that they can be charged again and again with impunity, indeed with protection of law.

The demise of debtors' prisons was supposed to have been a recognition that debtors generally became so not out of malice and misdeed but through circumstance. Today's approaches to debt, however, are a return to the idea that some mischief on the debtor's part is responsible and that punishment is appropriate. Since technology puts the tools in the hands of creditors and collectors, the debtor can now be strong-armed to pay debts and fees or be brought before the courts to pay debt, fees, and legal costs. It's clear to me that this picture is skewed against lower-income persons in favor of the wealthy and powerful (and those who cozy up to catch the "drippings").

Maybe that's the kind of society you favor. It's not the one that was promised in my social studies books and classes.

Posted by: Jazzman | May 6, 2006 08:40 AM

I haven't been ignoring the ongoing argument between Chris Ford and almost everyone else. It's hard to miss. And of course, one doesn't know if it's better left ignored or to speak up and become involved. Mom said that's what "they" want. It's drivel. Spew. What few facts relevant to any discussion are contained therein are bent to the purpose of making an argument that doesn't exist. It is distraction, and that seems to be the purpose. I think the less said the better. (So now, did I defeat my own purpose?)

AfghanVet, you're doing good . . . I mean speaking up for what's right. It's always a good thing to do. I just can't figure out why some think they benefit (themselves or any other cause) by doggedly hanging onto convenient, perhaps, but nonetheless falsehoods. Oh well!

Posted by: Jazzman | May 6, 2006 09:02 AM

is not so important as understanding what that means.

in Nazi Germany,

in a United States that doesn't really care for it's citizens any more...a first for me...a new experience.


as is obesity.


about 1/3 of present day Americans could have been side-show/circus freaks in 1964, the year after Kennedy was assassinated...

when morbid-obesity was seen as a form of freakism.


so why people sooooooooo fat?


must have something to do with American society?

.

Posted by: fitting in | May 6, 2006 10:17 AM

I think the signal to noise ratio would improve dramatically by simply removing chris ford, and direct him to the Rush Limbaugh website where he would find kindship and approval.

'cause frankly, 'tis all about the noise for that boy, but I do see some beggining to be won over by his whiteboy supremacists rantings...


so, maybe he can recruit some new people that are looking to fit in and belong to a powerful group that allows them to hate behind masks....call others names from a more perfect place, where they support each other in their predjudices....


coloring within the lines "white?" boys.

.

Posted by: as far as trolls go, | May 6, 2006 10:22 AM

why don't you take some and expose us to some logick, or is that beyond you?

chances are....Johnny Mathis singing....

Posted by: chances? | May 6, 2006 10:29 AM

Jazzman wrote:

"Today's approaches to debt, however, are a return to the idea that some mischief on the debtor's part is responsible and that punishment is appropriate."
___________

For retail borrowers you are entirely correct.

I once regularly saw the committee minutes for bank loan write-offs over $100 thousand. I was more than once amazed to see prominent speculative borrowers of huge sums (tens of millions) forgiven any personal liability for their failures although they had previously pledged personal assets. I recall one prominent builder of office buildings and malls let off the hook under such circumstances. The only possible logic to it I could discern was that in ensuing years he came back and borrowed more huge sums for new projects paying a nice spread against the bank's cost of funds. And, of course, certain social circles might have been displeased to have their buddies actually have to face the consequence of their miscalculations.

Any loan transaction has an inherent risk. When retail borrowers pay a lofty interest charge then that is the reward to the lender for taking the risks of lending to that person and their cohorts. Excepting lofty rates while reserving coercion as an enforcement tool is inequitable; but it does help explain the Muslim prohibition of interest but not of shared equity interest.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 6, 2006 11:00 AM

was from Florida,

that's where geo h.w. bush got his start, CIA/MAFIA/Bay of Pigs...

some say that Kennedy was assassinated by Mafia/CIA/Texas mafia...

didn't geo h.w. bush move to Texas just after the assissination?


do you think there's any connection between the Kennedy assassination and Bush Sr. or LBJ...

isn't Negroponte a George H.W. BUSH man?


and the Florida vote count that gave geo w. bush the election over Gore,


seems like funny things happen in Florida, perhaps it's time to establish an FBI, Secret Service presence down there....sort of look things over, have the boys in Gainesville sort of look over the politics.

.

Posted by: Just noticed that Goss | May 6, 2006 11:11 AM

not everyone has been appointed by Bush.


there are CIA, FBI, NSA, Secret Service and others that could remove this cabal,

and restore the United States to a reasonable facsimilie of honest government...


they arressted the Watergate burgalars, olde friends of geo h.w. bush...(bay of pigs failures) before,


they can do it again!

comeon CIA, FBI, NSA, Secret Service arrest the terrorists!

take back your country.

remove the coup!!!!!

.

take Negroponte home....now.


Honduran yezzman...just say no.

.

Posted by: keeping the United States a place for citizens, not royalty... | May 6, 2006 11:54 AM

Chances Minister pays black thugs to beat him up and anally take him?

Pretty high, it sounds like.

Chances Minister was ever under a B-52 strike, shot at, was ever in Vietnam , or Fallujah, or ever saw a big hi-powered mortar other than the "member" he found on a Crips member he submits to? Was ever in a POW camp other than as a tourist apologizing to the guards there for having to bother with feeding American POWs?

Pretty much zero, it sounds like.

Posted by: Minister sounds so gay he is fabulous | May 5, 200


Like I said CF, righwingers like you are so easily provoked it's predictable. Poke them a little and they lose all their cool. Out go any semblance of learnt civility.

What no more fashionable Islamoid and Mexicano bashing? We are back to gay and black baiting now? Who's next? Jews and Catholics?

Play soldiers like you won't last a week on a real battlefield. You'll be peeing in your pants and crying for mama the first time an RPG goes whoosh by your head...

Here's a suggestion for you, sign up with the French Foreign Legion and you will meet plenty of 'model' soldiers like your hero Moussaoui. And who know maybe they will even teach you the manly art of anal give and take that you so clearly crave.

Posted by: Minister of Information | May 6, 2006 12:56 PM

Minister, the only poking and provocation you need to give me are your sympathies for the enemy.

That others see you as an aider and abettor does not make them "CF".

Who you poke and prod or who pokes and prods you is besides the matter.

It's who you are found embracing in the next Islamoid attack that counts. Americans? Or the enemy?

40 years of anti-Western thought and those who enacted such policy are slowly being cast by the wayside as the West wakes up to the existential threat. And where you stand immediately before the next Islamoid attack will likely determine your career prospects and fate in the West.

Are you a patriot, or are you an enemy sympathizer?

Choose.

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 6, 2006 07:24 PM

authentic citizen?

I would suggest that you are not an authentic anything...


if it were 60 years ago, you'd be called a "drugstore cowboy"


an older somebody that wore the clothes and tried to impress teenagers that they were "real cowboys"...as if putting on the clothes was the same thing as being actively engaged in doing the job...

you're

the toothless barking dawg of a pathetic attempt at pleasing your father...


and quit spoofing me, actually, you're so pathetic at that, it doesn't matter...

it's the work that matters not the name.


you shall know them by their work, and right now my "work" is kicking your butt all over this paper...


so thanks, but actually, I would like it better if you would just tell the truth...then I wouldn't have to clean up after you.

.

Posted by: are you a panderer to hate or an | May 6, 2006 11:41 PM

the minister isn't me, and he is kicking you ess all ovah thisa place and you look good with a cork heel up you butt...


os kep it up chrissy....now peeple now wha you wahk funneee...

Posted by: oh, by the by, | May 6, 2006 11:56 PM

Those who have not read "Pogo" are doomed to repeat it.

Posted by: Jazzman | May 6, 2006 11:59 PM

talkin to yousef

Posted by: I think you r | May 7, 2006 01:22 AM

enemy and it r us.

Posted by: we have met the | May 7, 2006 12:40 PM

a

Posted by: a | May 7, 2006 01:15 PM

Some fun commentary on the Moussaoui verdict.

Mark Steyn writes that the Muslim world is hardly "awed at the fairness" of the Euroweenie or American justice system - they are more astonished - in how it coddles killers and is nothing to fear.

http://www.suntimes.com/output/steyn/cst-edt-steyn07.html

Steyn adds a tidbit on former communist terrorist soldier, now an Islamist advisor, Carlos the Jackal, living in rather posh prison digs and allowed his book deals, letters to Islamists on insurgent tactics to better kill Americans, and conjugal visits from his French lawyer GF. 'Ol Carlos was up before the mighty Euroweenie justice sytem for calling on Islamists to kill Americans. More jail time? No. He was fined 6,000 Euros for "hate speech" directed at others to committ, but avoided a larger fine by the court concluding that much of what he said about killing Westerners, Jews, Americans was just his personal opinion.

Steve Chapman, a liberal still in the "war is just a few misguided people convincing otherwise noble innocent people into doing "crime" against others, wrote that the Moussaoui and McVeigh verdicts show how unfair the death penalty is because both had the best lawyers defending them...and once Americans learn "both sides" from the top lawyers, they would never hand out the death penalty to anyone. And, to Chapman, the problem is we are not spending 10-15 million on other death penalty eligible criminals so we can learn the family dysfunctions that led them to kill....

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/

My opinion? The Steyn piece is far better cognated than Chapman's rationale why no terrorist or mass murderer should ever die for what they did or planned on doing. And it shows that the West in general must have far more of it's blood spilled by Islamists before we are willing to defend ourselves against the war they are bringing to us..

We have only had a few thousand killed by Islamoids. (Being Eurocentric, we ignore the 10 million or so the Islamoids butchered in the 20th Century elsewhere). So more will die before the enemy rights lovers realize the deaths are the consequence of them giving aid and comfort to the enemy...

It took 10 million before the Japs were recognized as evil barbarians, about the same for the Nazis, and the 80 million killed by Communists is enough for most people to say they were bad too. Though the hard Left still thinks they were noble and just "flawed in the execution" (pun intended) of Marxism.

At one point, when we were surer of ourselves in the West, we only had to look on a few hundred being killed by burning in Suttee, having their living hearts cut out by the Aztecs, or strangled by the Thuggee before we decided there was no "multi-culti" or 1st Amendment mandate to "cherish" their different beliefs, but wipe them out. It didn't take long for the Royal Navy to decide to hang a whole crew of "black-hearted Christians on a slave ship they observed dumping living sick slaves still chained up into the ocean..

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 7, 2006 02:34 PM

Take a look at the graphic on page 3 of today's WP article regarding rising expenses for the consumer:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/06/AR2006050601343_3.html

Interest rates (Federal funds rate) directly managed by the FRB were a bait-and-switch tactic to promote Republican empowerment. For all practical purposes it looks like a lethal shot at enticing consumers into over-commitment, and squeezing actual savers into negative real returns -- overall effect being to push to the edge of insolvency the entire American middle class.

Talk about giving out $100 to fund the oil addiction; what we had were interest rates managed to suck in the consumer while stomping on the saver holding something back to fund excessive levels of debt.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 7, 2006 02:56 PM

when it's honest,

but when it's persistent regardless of the topic, it's projection, stuckness...a hard thing in your colon of conciousness...a family drama played out in public.

you shall know them by their work, and right now my "work" is kicking your butt all over this paper...


so thanks, but actually, I would like it better if you would just tell the truth...then I wouldn't have to clean up after you.

.

Posted by: hate is a healthy emotion | May 7, 2006 11:45 PM

The credit industry is this country's Medellin Cartel. It could only operate as it does with the complicity of the thoroughly corrupt Bush administration and Republican-dominated Congress, which enacts anti-consumer legislation in exchange for millions in legalized bribes. They start early, sending credit card solicitations to kids the day they turn 18, encouraging them to spend beyond their means and sucking them into a lifetime of indebtedness.

It's time to take back our country from these swine.

Posted by: Django | May 8, 2006 09:45 AM

Love Mark Steyn, pity the WaPo multi-culti's got their heads so far up their PC arses that they can't appreciate what the man has to say.

Posted by: | May 8, 2006 10:04 AM

Chris Ford wrote,

"It took 10 million before the Japs were recognized as evil barbarians, about the same for the Nazis, and the 80 million killed by Communists is enough for most people to say they were bad too. Though the hard Left still thinks they were noble and just "flawed in the execution" (pun intended) of Marxism."

CF, our an idiot, wake up! Wasn't it the right wing conservatives that commited the Oklahoma City bombing in this country? And the abortion clinic bombings? Wasn't Eric Rudolf a conservative right winger who committed the Olympic bombing in Atlanta?

I'm so happy your a right wing nut job, no room for nuts like you on the left.

Posted by: Jamal | May 8, 2006 10:10 AM

Chris,

Excellent example of saying a lot and addressing nothing. Wow, just like this administration.

For every point you "spoke to", you offered up excuses and attacks on outside entities without answering the questions posed. BushCo has TRIED to develop process, but the President DOES NOT MAKE THE LAWS. Regardless of whether this fits your need for efficient action.

Chris, I think it's fair to say that you are part of the remaining 32% of the BushCo supporters who have been so duped that you simply cannot think objectively anymore - if you ever did. You have either participated in the development of the idiotic strategies and policies of this administration or you have bought into them wholly and by golly, you are going down with the ship. Well, enjoy the ride.

Let's face it, if Bush got up on his desk, dropped his pants, had an intern pleasure him while smoking a joint and reading the Koran while kicking a puppy, you would find some reasoning behind it and try to convince us that it's all part of the wise Republican plan to make this country great.

If you would like to discuss my bona fides personally, we can do so. However, I'm sure your lashing out is nothing more than a reflection on your feelings of inadequacy, which is also reflected on your approach to dealing with the global issues of terrorism. In that, you and Bush share a lot. I'm guessing you choose to attack a veteran because you aren't one (couldn't be one? didn't want to be one?) and simply cannot understand that being a soldier and combat veteran doesn't make one a mindless, illogical war mongerer. Whatever.

Again, if you would care to meet, I am at the Mug pretty much every Wednesday for the next couple of months. Come on in and we can discuss face to face.

The dam has been breached and the lies and icompetence of this administration will be coming to light in the next two years...I hope you're prepared.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 8, 2006 10:23 AM

Hmmm...would I be the only one to suspect that folks who insist on identifying themselves as "patriots" or "veterans" are probably neither?

Posted by: CofA | May 8, 2006 10:30 AM

Will,

You touch upon exactly what makes this war unique. And, despite CF's rantings, THIS country AS WELL AS the world court and UN have NOT addressed how to treat the members of these groups.

So, my question is: should we continue to operate in this vacuum?

Bush says YES because it allows HIM and his idiratti to MAKE UP the rules and process without any legeslative or judicial review. Convenient, yes. Efficient, yes. Legal, probably not. Right, definitely not.

If the UN and the World or, as CF so pleasently describes them, the Euroweenies will not act and create law...then we should. But, we have not and will not as long as BushCo is in charge. And, despite what CF thinks, I think this is NOT in our best interest in the long run.

Again, I don't know whether it's best to treat a member of a non-nation-state aligned fighter as a criminal or a soldier, but we either need to choose one or develop a third with all attendant legal processes and proceedings.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 8, 2006 10:40 AM

CofA,

You certainly could make that charge, but you would probably be wrong a great deal of the time. My handle is something I've used since I started blogging in 2003. I'm sorry if that offends you.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 8, 2006 10:41 AM

CF,

You must have a fax machine with a direct line:

"The President has requested that all members of his cabinet and sub-cabinet incorporate message points on the Global War on Terror into speeches, including specific examples of what each agency is doing to aid the reconstruction of Iraq," the May 2 e-mail from USDA speechwriter Heather Vaughn began.

The e-mail, sent to about 60 undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and other political appointees, was also sent to "a few people to whom it should not have gone," said the department's communications director, Terri Teuber . The career people, we are assured, are not being asked to spread the great news on Iraq in their talks to food stamp recipients, disadvantaged farmers, enviros or other folks.

The e-mail provided language "being used by Secretary [Michael O.] Johanns and deputy secretary [Charles F.] Conner in all of their remarks and is being sent to you for inclusion in your speeches."

Another attachment "contains specific examples of GWOT messages within agriculture speeches. Please use these message points as often as possible and send Harry Phillips , USDA's director of speechwriting, a weekly email summarizing the event, date and location of each speech incorporating the attached language. Your responses will be included in a weekly account sent to the White House."

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 8, 2006 11:05 AM

Afghan-

If your concern is that Bush is unilaterally determining who is a "terrorist" and who is not then we share that concern. This is also completely irrelevant to the Moussaoi case.

It was exhaustively determined in civilian court that Moussaoi --by his own admission and undisputed evidence-- was a member of Al Quaeda. Bush did not make him a member of Al Quaeda. Bush did not designate him Al Quaeda and then proceed. The government brought a case against someone and it was proven in the course of trial that this person was a member of a foreign power that wishes harm upon Americans.

As far as I can tell the only thing that has changed, legislatively or substantively, on this issue since 1940 is national will. Moussaoi is a member of a foreign power, like any German, Japanese, N. Korean, Vietcong, or Iraqi soldier or spy was/is. The distinction you seem interested in regards the national boundary of Al Quaeda. To me, and I think to many Americans, such a distinction is completely and totally meaningless.

Do I think we need a transparent well checked process to determine what distinguishes a "terrorist" from a "librarian"? Absolutely. Do I think such a burden was exhaustively and fairly met for Moussaoi? Absolutely.

Disagree?

Posted by: Will | May 8, 2006 11:17 AM

I think my only divergence is that I do not think that our laws and/or international law and/or the law of land warfare lumps non-nation-state personnel into a "foreign power" even if they are part of a defined group.

I'm not saying this isn't logical, but being logical does not make it so in the eyes of the law - do you see the distinction? I don't disagree with your logic...I just don't think it has been codified as such.

Is there a difference between a ground soldier from Al Queada caught on a battlefield in Afghanistan and a would-be bomber caught in an American city? Again, we want to say "Yes", but once you scratch away the surface, from a legal standpoint (war law or criminal law) it gets a little tricky.

See, if a soldier does dispicable things on the battlefield they will be prosecuted via UCMJ, Military Tribunal or War Crimes Court. But, a "terrorist" planning to board a plane is not on a battlefield and although they may be doing the bidding of this "foreign power", they are also committing a crime. Either way, they have rights other than being held as a POW indefintely.

Now, this brings up the whole POW issue. How do we know when a war on an ideology or non-nation-state group is over? Are we seriously going to hold POWs for life without trial or tribunal?

I think that some greater minds then here need to sit down and figure this out to ensure that we ARE on the moral high ground despite the low ground our enemies take.

Thoughts?

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 8, 2006 11:28 AM

Afghan-

If the current laws do not codify entities such as Al Quaeda as "foreign powers" then it is only so because they could not predict such entities. Al Quaeda is an international terrorist organization that wishes harm upon the United States. It operates with soldiers and spies; many of the latter successfully plotted an attack, infiltrated our country, and successfully executed that attack.

The above are not in dispute, right?

What is disputed is if Al Quaeda is a "foreign power". You think we need a legislative process to address that point, I think one already exists.

If you think that Al Quaeda has no national boundaries is irrelevant to its ability and will to harm the United States, as I do, AND you think the laws were codified in a particular way that doesn't address it because the law could not predict Al Quaeda, then you agree either those laws needs to be changed immediately or that we can prosecute Moussaoi by military tribunal consistently with the spirit of the law.

Our criminal system is reactive. I do not think we should be reactive in responding to Terrorists. I consider Al Quaeda is a threatening foreign power. I am not interested in waiting for individual "crimes" before "prosecuting". If we have a member of Al Quaeda, and it is proven that they are a member of Al Quaeda in a transparent way (as is the case with Moussaoi) then there is no question that they should be held until the conflict is over. Since Al Quaeda is obstinated by an ideaology to war with the United States, it is likely that such people will be detained indefinitely for the rest of their miserable lives. That's unfortunate for them. Good.

This is an important distinction. Wars with countries can end with treaties or one side surrendering. Wars with idealogical entities that exist solely to perpetuate acts of war on nations cannot end without the elimination of one of those parties. Again, bad for the loser. If we aren't the losers, (open question with the way the west is ankle-grabbing for the Islamic world) good.

"Are we seriously going to hold POWs for life without trial or tribunal?"

There is a difference between holding someone in Gitmo who may or may not be innocent for life without transparently proving that they need to be there, and handing over Moussaoi to a military tribunal after transparently proving (with trial) that he is a member of a foreign power at war with the United States. If someone has a "trial or tribunal" and it is determined that they are a member of Al Quaeda then I don't find anything problematic about holding them indefinitely them until the conflict is over.

Do you?

Posted by: Will | May 8, 2006 11:53 AM

Actually, yes. From a cost perspective if nothing else and from a perception perspective as well. Like it or not, one of the things we fight to make better is perception in low-intensity warfare. Suffice it to say that we will have to let them go sometime and the longer we wait, the worse it will be perceived.

Back to law. The problem is that we cannot, as a nation of laws, merely assume that a law covers something it did not anticipate. One of two things must happen. Either, Judges will interpret the law as best they can and the Judicial System et al will come to a conclusion -OR- Congress/UN/Military/World Court will develop a new law to cover the unforseen threats.

So, merely having the President, or anyone, designate Al Queada as a foreign power doesn't cut it. Because, in doing so, you are affording them rights that they would otherwise not have under the law. These rights would then have to be tested via the courts system (something that makes Ford's head explode). Of course, you would then have to figure out if they should go to court and if so, whose.

Re: POWs - If, as a nation, we decided to DECLARE war on this "foreign" power then holding POWs until the war's end is legal. However, it then begs the question, what defines peace and the end of the war? Does anyone who swears allegiance to Al Queada or whomever have to be dead or imprisoned? And, what if we did succeed in killing them all and letting God sort them out, what happens when we release the thousands of people we have been holding? And, if the war is over and you have no mechanism to charge them ciminally, then what?

Let's figure it out NOW, so we don't have to half-ass it later.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 8, 2006 12:23 PM

Afghan-

"Actually, yes. From a cost perspective if nothing else and from a perception perspective as well. Like it or not, one of the things we fight to make better is perception in low-intensity warfare. Suffice it to say that we will have to let them go sometime and the longer we wait, the worse it will be perceived."

I find this point utterly ludicrous. I agree that our perception is important, but in warfare you never weigh perception vs. valuable and necessary military action. It hurt our perception with the German army when we landed on Normandy just as it hurt our perception every time we kill an enemy soldier. But never was it suggested that we abandon invasions or lethal ammo to combat enemies merely on perceptual grounds.

The perception is secondary. You do not capture the enemy just to release and please them. If we take your argument to its (il)logical conclusion then at some point we just surrender; because warfare necessarily involves one side doing something that the other "perceives" as quite rude.

Not that we need to take the argument that far since releasing enemy soldiers back into the general population where they can engage in terror is by itself illogical, not to mention retardedly irresponsible and immoral.

"Back to law. The problem is that we cannot, as a nation of laws, merely assume that a law covers something it did not anticipate."

Yes we can. And we do. All the time. As far as I can tell here in Texas there is no law that codifies a Segway scooter as a pedestrian or non-pedestrian vehicle. Yet our invasive police force goes ahead and prosecutes them just the same for jay walking.

Treating Al Quaeda as a foreign power is a perfect candidate for immediate pre-legal action. First, because it's such a simple stretch to call ignore its non-border-having status since the now apparent crucial characteristic a foreign power has is not the amount of land it controls but its willingness and capacity to engage in acts of war with others. Second, because it is so absolutely necessary. This is not enforcing jay walking statutes on Segwayers, it's combating terrorism which saves human lives. For us to tie our hands because it is "illegal" or more accurately "not currently and explicitly legal by laws not designed to codify such entities", is immoral. And irresponsible. And totally self defeating.

"One of two things must happen."

You left out the third option which is: A dirty bomb goes off in Chicago or Washington D.C. or Generic Large City In America killing thousands of Americans and making the legal process essentially meaningless. Not to mention ruining my civil liberties for about 5-10 years and rightfully so because such things are secondary when you face the existential threat of terrorists with large scale weapons already infiltrating American cities and using them. Again, failure to proactively engage such people is immoral.

"Either, Judges will interpret the law as best they can and the Judicial System et al will come to a conclusion -OR- Congress/UN/Military/World Court will develop a new law to cover the unforseen threats."

That is unless of course Judges interpret it the wrong way and force us to "reinterpret" it for them the right way; namely a lengthy legislative process where ineffectual members of Congress will battle over details. In the mean time, Moussaoi goes on trial in a civilian court. In the mean time, we will cross our fingers hoping that no one dies as a result of sloth-like Congressional or Judicial processes.

Let me just make it clear what the wrong decision is: That Al Quaeda is not a foreign power and that members of it are just honest civilians up until that moment when they detonate themselves and commit a crime. Or unless we have overwhelming evidence that they participated in a conspiracy to commit a crime in which case we will hold them for 10-20 years after costly due process establishes that the real reason they conspired was because their dad was mean to mommy. They will remit checks back to terrorist organizations with jail-written book sales. Take that, Al Quaeda.

As for your second suggestion, waiting for UN, Congress, "World Court" to amend such deficiencies in codified laws, we know it isn't true. Because it is 2006 and we are still having a "debate" about what Al Quaeda really is. When will their status --as people who want to KILL YOU AfghanVet-- be determined? 2011? 2015? If five years later isn't unreasonable then what is?

"So, merely having the President, or anyone, designate Al Queada as a foreign power doesn't cut it."

Ok, well now I'm asking you. Do you think Al Quaeda is a foreign power? No because they don't have borders? Ok, how about they are Non-Foreign-Power-That-Gets-Special-Foreign-Power-Status-Because-They-Still-Want/Can-Kill-You. Will that work?

I don't care if the President declares it, Congress legislates it, or it is spelled out in a hidden message in my dogs feces; Al Quaeda is a foreign power or should be treated like one. For all the reasonable and substantive reasons such as THEY WANT US DEAD and THEY HAVE PROVEN CAPABLE OF MAKING GOOD ON THAT CLAIM. Are the two of us even disagreeing about this claim? If you think Al Quaeda should be treated a certain way just say so. But don't say "We can't do X because the law prohibits X even if X is reasonable." The law should be reasonable, and when it isn't the law is wrong. In this case it is also immoral. One of those laws that was made to (not even) be broken.

"These rights would then have to be tested via the courts system (something that makes Ford's head explode). Of course, you would then have to figure out if they should go to court and if so, whose."

And in the meantime... Moussaoi goes on trial. And is convicted. Five years later.

"Re: POWs - If, as a nation, we decided to DECLARE war on this "foreign" power then holding POWs until the war's end is legal."

I already declared war on Al Quaeda. My representatives will not do it officially so I must do so by ignoring laws that do not codify "Foreign Nation" in ways they couldn't possibly have predicted. This is the moral thing to do.

"However, it then begs the question, what defines peace and the end of the war?"

I think we've established that a war against an ideologically funded group with the goal of Engaging In War With the United States Perpetually can only end with the destruction of either this group or the United States. It's unfortunate that possibly the rest of my lifetime will be spent in some form of limited but perpetual War against an idealogical foe. In any event, I didn't start the fight though, so it's crying over spilled milk.

"Does anyone who swears allegiance to Al Queada or whomever have to be dead or imprisoned?"

Yes, and of course. In so far as a member of Al Quaeda is someone who wishes to harm the United States then yes. If Al Quaeda changes management, abandons Kill-Americans as its idealogical basis, and becomes an international flower delivery service, we can probably work with them.

"And, what if we did succeed in killing them all and letting God sort them out, what happens when we release the thousands of people we have been holding?"

We don't, that's the point. You don't release people who want to kill you. It's immoral to do so.

"And, if the war is over and you have no mechanism to charge them ciminally, then what?"

The war is not over if they still have the capacity/will to kill you. That means the war can only be over if these people are in your custody.

Posted by: Will | May 8, 2006 01:11 PM

Will,

You're missing the point. We are not talking about whether to act, but HOW to act. I do NOT exclude covert action when necessary, nor do I exlude overt acts of hostility. But, we hold ourselves up as a nation of laws and therefore we cannot simply suspend them when it's convenient, no matter how expedient it may be. I'm sorry, but if you feel that we should suspend the laws of this nation, or circumvent them to prosecute a war, then we will never agree.

Again, it's not whether, but how.

As for sacrificing civil rights, sorry, not me. I fight for these things; I don't see the usefulness in giving them away because I fear an attack. Do we fight for safety or liberty?

"They are content to pay so great a price as their own servitude to purchase dominion over others."

- Sallust, First Great Roman Historian

And if perception isn't important, why is our bus the only one in the World Cup not presenting the flag of our nation? If you think winning hearts and minds is not a course of action in counter-insurgency, then I refer you to:

http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fmi3-07-22.pdf

You seem to think that this is a stand-up war like WWII, but it's not. This is a Global Insurgency that cannot be fought on terms of set-piece battles and drawn lines. It calls for a much more complex approach...true Joint Warfare...that involves all mechanisms of our Government, not just the military. EVERY time a government tries to fight an insurgency with purely a military approach...they get their ass handed to them...unless they are willing to wreak complete devestation upon the insurgents and dismiss all judgments and collateral damage.

Friedman described this as "Hama Rules" and he is right. Assad had a burgeoning problem with Muslim Radicals in Syria and he buried them...literally. He killed every man, woman and child in the village that was the center of radicalism. And then, he had his engineers bury the town to the rooftops. That is an approach, but not one I think this country et al or the civilized world would condone.

We are left to fight this counter-insurgency within the parameters WE voluntarily place ourselves within. YOU and other like you may not like the law, or the innefficiencies of our government, but it is what we have to work within -OR- we must vote to change it. However, we cannot simply dismiss our laws until we change it the way some want it to be changed. That is Democracy and that is the rule of law. THAT is what I volunteered to fight and defend.

"The law is reason unaffected by desire."
- Aristotle

"The end and perfection of our victories is to avoid the vices and infirmities of those whom we subdue."
- Alexander the Great

"Justice (revenge?) is the end of Government. It is the end of civil society. It has ever been and ever will be pursued until it is obtained or liberty be lost in the pursuit."
- Alexander Hamilton

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 8, 2006 01:55 PM

Afghan-

"I'm sorry, but if you feel that we should suspend the laws of this nation, or circumvent them to prosecute a war, then we will never agree."

That is stronger language then I would use to characterize my position. It is not a matter of suspending the law, it is a matter of including a group of people --Al Quaeda-- under a law that does not nor could not make explicit mention of them. They are a Foreign Power.

"As for sacrificing civil rights, sorry, not me. I fight for these things; I don't see the usefulness in giving them away because I fear an attack. Do we fight for safety or liberty?"

Civil liberties are worth fighting for. When the fight is existential, when your survival as a country (with civil liberties) is threatened then these are secondary. Dead people have no liberties, civil or otherwise. All liberties are weighed against their negative effects. I cannot go into public intoxicated, though I'd like to, because doing so puts other people at a risk of being threatened, harmed, or drunkenly harangued by me. Society has deemed the liberty of people not to be harangued by drunks as more important than the liberty of those drunks. The liberty of people not to be threatened by terrorists outweigh the liberty of people not to carry around national identification cards, or to be searched before getting on an airplane. We make these trade offs daily. Where survival is threatened these trade offs are more drastic. Civil liberties can only be established in safe societies.

"And if perception isn't important, why is our bus the only one in the World Cup not presenting the flag of our nation? If you think winning hearts and minds is not a course of action in counter-insurgency, then I refer you to..."

No clue where this came from. I made the opposite claim explicitly: "I agree that our perception [<-how we are perceived] is important..." Also just because I think PUBLIC RELATIONS is a terrible reason to hand over enemy soldiers doesn't mean I'm completely antipathetic towards winning hearts and minds. Winning hearts and minds is crucial.

"You seem to think that this is a stand-up war like WWII, but it's not."

Besides a few tangential analogies between German soldiers and Al Quaeda, what have I said that could possibly cause you to reach this conclusion? I know it is not a stand up war. You are preaching at me.

"EVERY time a government tries to fight an insurgency with purely a military approach...they get their ass handed to them...unless they are willing to wreak complete devestation upon the insurgents and dismiss all judgments and collateral damage."

Al Quaeda is not an insurgency. Also I haven't proposed a "purely military" approach. I'm not even sure what you are referring to.

"YOU and other like you may not like the law, or the innefficiencies of our government, but it is what we have to work within -OR- we must vote to change it."

And I'm asking YOU whether or not YOU personally think that members of Al Quaeda should be tried in civilian or military court. I'm of the opinion that they should be tried in the latter. I show my support of this in many ways, one of which is voting, another of which is to "ignore" the not-broken law that you seem to think is violated by that.

I respect that this is a nation of laws. I can do so without agreeing or abiding by each and every law many of which I find unreasonable or immoral. I often speed (though I appreciate that there is a legislative process that establishes such things). For YOU to condescendingly tell me that I should abide and support laws I find woefully irresponsible and self defeating is of little consequence to me.

How do you personally feel we should treat members of Al Quaeda? Because your refusal to actually disagree with me on that is looking increasingly suspicious. Your disagreement seems to be that a process you hold dear has been violated by Bush, which is fine. I understand that disagreement. What I don't understand is your insistence that we should treat Moussaoi a certain way because "That's the law" when the law could not predict such people. Further the debate about how the law allows us to treat him is completely secondary to the more important debate which is how we SHOULD treat such an individual. Establishing the latter will inform us on how to ameliorate the former.

Disagree?

Posted by: Will | May 8, 2006 03:05 PM

1. AfghanVet - I think if there are any rants, they come from a peculian mindset you have that America's national policy is solely determined by Congress and they laws they wrangle up for us, assuming the all-wise Courts say it is permissible. In your scheme of things, the President Acts as a sort of Master At Arms or Capital Police for doing as Congress wishes.

2. You seem to think that any Article II Power regarding foreign agents assigned to the Presidency may be stripped by Congressional Law.

3. That by Clintonesque word-parsing, you believe with the Leftists that the only war that can exist is when Congress declares war, but the Congress also signed treaties with the UN, Japan, and Euroweenies saying that formal declarations of war are prohibited. Thus, war is outlawed by statute. World peace reigns but when those dastardly Presidents do the "illegal things" every one since Truman's days 60 years ago have had to do. And obsolete language in the Constitution about privateering and letters of marque (barred by naval treaty since the early 1800s) cannot be used legitimately. Nor can we even say we are at war because other than pirates, the Framers only thought a nation could wage war with us.

So in your legalistic mindset, after 9/11, we should have had a few years of debate and legislative action to pencil-whip the Constitution in shape or formally withdraw from the UN and NATO so "war could formally be declared to satisfy the ancient MAGIC Words"....and then and only then, could we go past the DA's and defense attorneys dealing with Al Qaeda and hit them back.

4. This follows on the heels of the two great "law enforcement approach" triumphs. The 74 million spent on the Tim McVeigh trial to prove he was guilty when he said he was guilty....And the 53 million spent on the 1st WTC bombers, which proved to them and the world through their stiff jail sentences and the sheer triumph of their criminal convictions that "crime doesn't pay". And deterrance was established so that anyone even contemplating another attack on the WTC could expect severe jail time, thus saving lives and buildings like the WTC from the now-deterred Islamoids...who knew America's vaunted lawyers awaited perps and would defend or prosecute them. The wisdom of this is proven by Al Qaeda staying away from the bombing of buildings in Amer....well, not exactly...

5. You seem to think there is a one-sided time limit, and one-sided Geneva obligation in the declaration of perpetual war with no rules Radical Islam made on the lands of the infidels. That somehow, they can go at us for generations as they say, but we must have a humane time limit in how long we can keep their captured combatants before having to release them so they can return to killing infidel civilians or soldiers. 3 released from Gitmo were found in the field trying to kill us again. And Geneva was never set up to bind only one side, despite how much some liberals say it "shows how compassionate America is".

6. Al Qaeda has many lawyers advising it on how to "game" Western legal systems that were never structured to deal with an extranational military threat, and how to use Arab nations to tie up the legal definition of what a terrorist "is" in the UN, and all UN agencies for the last 30 years.

Unlike military law, which covers the whole span of activities needed to support enemy spies, scouts, financiers, and the actual "tip of the spear", civilian law quite properly has never concerned itself with what enemy team members behind lines do to set up an attack.

There is nothing "wrong" in civilian law with 3 Islamoids attempting to get the floor plans, evacuation plans, and location of all police resources around 5 Virginia elementary schools...or single Islamoids testing the effecacy of individual airport security measures. Or running a ring providing money and false ID to Holy Mujahadeen warriors seeking to bury themselves in Canada...

But that stuff is happening and we either pass sweeping laws banning all US citizens from checking on their kids safety in elementary school, make providing ID and money to any illegal a major felony offense to deter a small number of terrorists under those new sweeping civilian laws - or we recognize that enemy combat teams are not civilian criminals and are only really able to be successfully dealt with under military Law and Geneva Conventions that outlaw unlawful enemy combat, fighting outside all rules of war, and intended to protect civilians.

There is no need as Afghan Vet says to "change law" - military law already exists. Most Americans believe Al Qaeda and other Islamoids, even US citizens involved, serve as soldiers to a foreign enemy. They are not civilians except to the Lefties and ACLU types that have tried their best to tie this up in court for decades and preserve the "traditional law enforcement approach" to terrorists, and preserve their rights...like claiming mitigation because their mother was mean and their father abusive...

7. And Will is correct. All the legal parsing you advocate over the next 5-10 years to achieve your perfect legal definitions and try to block the loopholes in civilian law or the mass indictment of All Americans as potential terrorists so every American is under the same laws as we wish to have unlawful enemy combatants affected by will blow up in your legally punctilious face. Either by the rad bomb or other attack that causes catastrophic damage and ends the "due process for terrorists" era as we finally sweep Lefties out of any position of power for our existential safety. Or people rebel against all-inclusive onerous laws intended to thwart enemy combat teams here that affect all Americans equally since we are too PC to say who the enemy is. Rather than accept "all American civilians are herefore banned from firearm ownership because they might be unlawful Jihadis", the expected response would be..."OK, you court lawyers refuse to apply military law, and insist enemy combatants are civilian criminals, we accept that, but vote so all Americans are not affected, just Muslims, by a range of profiling laws."

You forget, AfghanVet, military law was also designed by the Founders to protect the rights of civilians by carving out a separate sphere of jurisprudence for our own soldiers and enemy soldiers conduct, so that laws of war and military discipline did not encroach on civilian rights. Insisting enemy are civilians jeopardizes that. The biggest danger in the Moussaoui trial was prosecuting lawyer's insistance that Conspiracy overrides the 5th in making any American Civilian culpable for any "crimes" they didn't know were going to happen because they don't immediately self-incriminate and name all associates. A notion that can go past the absolutely just desire to make Moussaoui pay as an unlawful enemy combatant involved in ops intended on killing tens of thousands of us and wrecking our economy...to affect a pure civilian crime like being in a drug ring..Imagine the Moussaoui precedent - "we busted you, but you took the 5th and refused to tell us about your drug dealing associates who had evidence on you and could burn you in court or in prison for informing. Then 3 months later 3 of those associates robbed another drug gang and killed them all..and even if you had no knowledge this was to happen, the fact that you didn't rat them out and possibly allow us to stop it means you are now facing charges of not possession of 2 ounces of coke with intent to sell, but 7 counts of capital felony murder since Moussaoui removed the 5th Amendment as protection..."

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 8, 2006 03:12 PM

Will,
Perhaps I'm wrong, coming into this argument late, but it seems that your last paragraph in this post (May 8, 2006 3:05:46 PM ) shows some non-understanding of what AfghanVet has been saying. In previous posts, he seems to be taking the approach that we need to actually define what Al Quaeda combatants should be treated as. He's mentioned in prior posts that Bush keeps the distinction fuzzy so as to be able to use whatever stances suit him at the time. It seems AfghanVet is actually trying to get at the heart of the matter, which is how do we actually treat them. It would appear that he wants it spelled out in law specifically, so that the fuzziness that Bush and Co. have been manipulating can no longer happen.

Or perhaps I'm wrong.

Also, you state,
"All liberties are weighed against their negative effects. I cannot go into public intoxicated, though I'd like to, because doing so puts other people at a risk of being threatened, harmed, or drunkenly harangued by me. Society has deemed the liberty of people not to be harangued by drunks as more important than the liberty of those drunks. The liberty of people not to be threatened by terrorists outweigh the liberty of people not to carry around national identification cards, or to be searched before getting on an airplane. We make these trade offs daily"

This doesn't seem to prove the point you are trying to make. In the case of public intoxication, the argument can be made that one group's liberties are suspended because they can interfere with another groups liberties. These people still have the liberty to be intoxicated, so much as it does not interfere with anyone elses liberty.

In your case on terrorism, the jump to taking away everyones liberties so as to protect another liberty is circumspect as it does not stop a group from potentially harming another so much as end most liberties as we know. You may be ok with sacrificing your liberties so that you *might* not be killed regardless. I am not. You claim that they are secondary to survival. You appear to break from the founding fathers in this belief.

Personally, I'm of the school of, "Give me liberty or give me death." It seems to me that was what America was founded on. By denying liberties 'in the intent of saving US lives,' you slide down the slippery slope of creating a justification for denying all liberties, always. With this thinking, one could easily make the case that because leaking information regarding torture or hidden bases in Europe can be detrimental to the US and various US lives, freedom of speech should no longer be free. Is this what you want?

Posted by: Freedom | May 8, 2006 03:25 PM

Freedom-

"This doesn't seem to prove the point you are trying to make. In the case of public intoxication, the argument can be made that one group's liberties are suspended because they can interfere with another groups liberties. These people still have the liberty to be intoxicated, so much as it does not interfere with anyone elses liberty."

That is my point. Civil liberties only exist whereas they do not threaten other people's liberties. In a society that is constantly under an existential threat, "civil liberties" endanger the entire society. You probably thought it was awful invasive of the government to require you to have an actual drivers license. It is invasive. It is also absolutely necessary.

What is "necessary" is a function of the society and what it is willing to suffer. If a dirty bomb goes off in a major American city you will find out that Americans care less about their "civil liberties" than they do about finding and eliminating those responsible in our midst.

It is incredibly naive to think that the United States is somehow above temporarily sacrificing civil liberties to combat a foe. Ignoring historical precedent, just imagine if 100 million Americans were killed instantly by foreign terrorists. Your "right" to private library records would become awfully difficult to protect if the library was blown up.

"You may be ok with sacrificing your liberties so that you *might* not be killed regardless. I am not. You claim that they are secondary to survival. You appear to break from the founding fathers in this belief."

And you, like me, live in a society where we've lost merely 3,000 individuals. Right now you are not willing to sacrifice precious liberties which isn't unusual. You also haven't sacrificed security to any significant degree. I hope it stays that way, for both our sake.

Anyways this is a peripheral argument. I never said that we needed to further restrict our civil liberties, I'm saying that's just the reality of what will happen the day after... a dirty bomb or other comparable attack on America. AfghanVet and you are naive enough to say "Nuh uh! Not on my watch!" That's why it won't be the decision of people like you.

"With this thinking, one could easily make the case that because leaking information regarding torture or hidden bases in Europe can be detrimental to the US and various US lives, freedom of speech should no longer be free. Is this what you want?"

No, this is not what I want. Cute straw man though. What I want is effective judicature of a single admitted and proven beyond a reasonable doubt member of Al Quaeda. What I want is for us to prevent another attack on American soil so that my precious civil liberties, which I love and cherish as much as the next one, will never be wrought meaningless by a large scale terrorist attack killing hundreds of thousands of people.

Posted by: Will | May 8, 2006 03:50 PM

Freedom:

Perhaps I'm wrong, coming into this argument late, but it seems that your last paragraph in this post (May 8, 2006 3:05:46 PM ) shows some non-understanding of what AfghanVet has been saying. In previous posts, he seems to be taking the approach that we need to actually define what Al Quaeda combatants should be treated as. He's mentioned in prior posts that Bush keeps the distinction fuzzy so as to be able to use whatever stances suit him at the time. It seems AfghanVet is actually trying to get at the heart of the matter, which is how do we actually treat them. It would appear that he wants it spelled out in law specifically, so that the fuzziness that Bush and Co. have been manipulating can no longer happen.

------

YES! Thank you.

Chris, you took your meds today. That's great. I'm sorry, but you have not addressed the very real situation of "intent". One should not be investigated for actions that COULD lead to hostile action without REASONABLE suspicion that the INTENT is to do harm.

So, the question(s) become(s), how do we establish intent? How do we target individuals of interest? And, once so established, how do we establish a relationship between the person and some "group" that we have "declared" war on? And, without oversight, how can we ensure that innocents are not being swepped up in the process?

Your answer seems to be: trust me. And to that I say...NO FREAKIN' WAY. BushCo et al cannot be trusted to make rational decisions based on reasonable legal interpretation.

See, BushCo doesn't want oversight of it's wiretapping because it doesn't want to justify WHO is being tapped. WHY? Because it would not meet the established legal standard. If it would, then why hide it? We can spy on Americans all we want, we get the Brits to do it for us...ECHELON anyone?

You say...well, if you have nothing to hide...then why do you care? Because inevitably, they will abuse the system and prosecute someone or use the information in a way that will be detrimental to a person who has done nothing.

Lastly, from a practical standpoint, sniping bad guys based on non-open-source information isn't terribly effective...ask the Israelis. They do it all the time and they end up perpetuating the cycle.

As for this war NOT being an insurgency I STRONGLY disagree.

"An insurgency is an armed revolt or insurrection against an established civil or political authority, such as a constituted government or an occupation by an invading force. Persons engaging in insurgency are called insurgents, and may engage in regular or guerrilla combat against the armed forces of the established regime, or conduct sabotage and harassment in the land."

This is indeed a GLOBAL INSURGENCY inspired by Religious bigotry and a frustration with the growing hedgemony of the world. Now, this doesn't mean I condone it or even understand the approach to their frustration, but it doesn't change the facts.

We ARE fighting an insurgency and the reason we are doing so damn poorly is because we are fighting it conventionally for the most part. We are fighting an idea...a bad one no doubt...but an idea none the less. Ideas cannot be defeated by arms alone.

As for our latest forray into terrorist prosecution...what was the end result? I believe it was the same as it would have been regardless of whether it was a tribunal or civilian court of law. Again, which is best...I do not know. I will not make a choice in the absence of information in order to choose a side.

To me, we must find a way to legally and with appropriate structure deal with the growing insurgency. This means direct action, this means diplomacy, this means legal prosecution. As to WHO gets WHAT and WHEN...THAT is what I am saying needs to be developed and implemented by the US Government et al...not just the Executive branch.

Hey, maybe BushCo has it right, then let it be codified into law and stand the test of debate. If we as a nation choose to allow for detention without end, torture, surveillance of Americans and the like...then so be it...we will live with our choices. However, please do not tell me what is good for me and just ask me to "trust you" because experience tells me that that is a losing proposition.

It's amazing what fear will do to the rational mind.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 8, 2006 04:04 PM

You claim its a strawman. I claim it isn't so far as we've been arguing, as you yourself used a comparison scenario of public intoxication to prove your point. I was merely expanding upong that line of thinking. You use intoxication as your frame for reference . I interject freedom of speech instead.

You claim:
"That is my point. Civil liberties only exist whereas they do not threaten other people's liberties. In a society that is constantly under an existential threat, "civil liberties" endanger the entire society. You probably thought it was awful invasive of the government to require you to have an actual drivers license. It is invasive. It is also absolutely necessary."

No, I don't actually think driver's licenses are invasive. When they are available to all that qualify be being of an age tested to be statistically mature enough to handle driving and intelligent enough to pass a certain test, I don't think it's invasive so much as it saves lives while keeping potential killers off the roads. In this case, liberties aren't restricted unless you are dumb enough/not responsible enough to kill others by negliegnce and lack of skill. And driving does take a certain amount of skill. And no where is driving considered a liberty or right. It is a privellege for those that qualify. If you don't like having a license, don't get one. Either you don't drive then or you drive, get caught and face the consequences. In no place does the bill of rights list driving.

You speak of restricting freedoms to save lives, on a large scale. Who defines what saves lives? You claim I don't care because it was only 3000. I claim I don't care if it was 3 million. Or more. We as a country pride ourselves on our liberties; on our treatment of individuals and the democracy that allows this to exist. Cheney himself criticizes Russia for backtracking. Cheney is criticized for praising Khazakastan when it is just as bad in terms of erosion of democracy and liberties. We as a people pride ourselves on these things. Its one of the things that can be argued to be part of what it means to be American. No arguement by you or Ford stressing we should be able to give up these rights or treat enemy combatants just as poorly as they treat us will change this. We are Americans. Either we are held to a higher standard of holding onto our rights and beliefs regardless, or we are no longer Americans in the sense of what this country was founded on. You may be ok with that. I am not.

And you seem to want to nitpick phrases. You state,
"AfghanVet and you are naive enough to say "Nuh uh! Not on my watch!" That's why it won't be the decision of people like you."

Where have we claimed the decision would be made by us? I realize it won't. For the most part, Americans have become lazy and are willing to go with the flow, forgetting what this country was founded on or who it was founded by. I'd like to think a great many people would stand up against this. I am not naive enough, as you claim though, to not expect the opposite.

Posted by: Freedom | May 8, 2006 04:18 PM

Will,

You are operating under the expectation that we can stop all attacks if we just kick the crap out of anyone who looks sideways at us. I'm sorry, but we simply do not have the resources for such an approach. We all operate under the triple constraint and we simply cannot pursue such a policy on our own. And, because the rest of the world seems to think we're a bit looney, then maybe we need to take a step back and reconsider our approach.

There are a WHOLE lot of Muslims out there and more and more of them tend to not like us very much. Give each one of them a stick and enough anger and we would be in trouble. We simply cannot plug all the wholes without crushing our economy and our way of life.

So, we are left to do what is REASONABLE and AFFORDABLE and PRACTICAL. We weigh the risks and we mitigate those that have either the highest chance of occurring or the most devastating impact. However, what we CANNOT do is attack ALL possibilities at all times. It's not possible or practical.

It's called economy of force. If we chose to piecemeal our forces to cover all possibilities, we will fail to achieve a breakthrough anywhere.

I for one would rather live free and in danger than completely safe and under the thumb of a government official, in a country awash in debt, in a world that hates me just for being American and in a country that subjugates it's own citizens out of pure fear. Hey, but that's just me.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 8, 2006 04:23 PM

Freedom-

You win. I do not want to argue about civil liberties with you because your unserious views on such matters do not interest me. Sorry for wasting your time.

Afghan-

I want to clarify this so we can end it. I agree with you that the methods for determining whether a person is "Al Quaeda" cannot be solely privaledged to Bush or any agency. There must be transparency, oversight, and it should be proven without a reasonable doubt.

These are doable. In Moussaoi's case he was proven to be a member of Al Quaeda and it is beyond a reasonable doubt.

Now the question is how do we treat individuals like this --who are afforded due process-- and it is determined that they are members of an international organization that wishes harm upon us. I am of the opinion that we are at war with Al Quaeda, just as if we were at war with Germany or Japan in WW2, and that members of Al Quaeda should be treated as Germans and Japanese were.

Ignoring your transparency concern for a moment, which does not apply to Moussaoi anyways, do you think we should treat him as a civilian? That's a personal question I'm asking you. Do not respond with "The law states X." I don't care what the all-powerful-infallible law says. I'm asking what you think. If the law is untenable, irrational, or immoral than I am under no particular compulsion to respect it just "because it is law."

How do you want to define Al Quaeda?

Posted by: Will | May 8, 2006 04:26 PM

Afghan-

Why did you put my name at the top of your 4:23 post? You assert one spurious "expectation" of mine that I am "operating under" and then rant against it. I don't even know what it is you are trying to address in that post.

Posted by: Will | May 8, 2006 04:29 PM

Will,

It's a great question. How do we handle a proven member of a global terrorist unit? Making it even MORE problematic...how do we handle a member who has merely plotted to do harm and witheld information (conspiracy) and has not actively engaged in hostilities?

My answer is, I don't know.

My personal opinion is that each case will have to be looked at individually. WHY did we prosecute him via civilian courts? If we had treated him as a POW...we would most likely have to let him go at some point...assuming we can "win" this thing.

The ironic thing is that as a soldier I can kill 100 people in combat and not be charged with a crime, but held as a POW. But, a terrorist agent may not kill anyone and only plan to do so and then what?

Without the use of national law, how else could we prosecute or incarcerate? I mean, he was caught by a civilian law agency, not the military. Also, how do we PROVE affiliation? Mind you, if we can PROVE such a thing, then perhaps he should be a POW or a SPY. But, that would probably require the exposure of sources and methods in how we KNOW he is a member.

This is NOT a simple or easy problem. This is why I have a problem with simplistic approaches...and no, I am not commenting on your opinions.

I think, in the end, he got the appropriate sentence for conspiracy to commit terrorist acts against this nation. Whether it comes from civilian courts or a military tribunal is, to me, at this point, irrelevant.

It's like being shot with an arrow and arguing over how best to get it out AFTER an successful operation to do so.

As for prevention of further attacks...it will have to be a joint effort by all involving both passive and agressive action.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 8, 2006 05:16 PM

Will,
Thank you for gracious acceptance of loss. You might not think the matter is serious. I surely do.

Posted by: Freedom | May 8, 2006 05:37 PM

Afghan-

"If we had treated him as a POW...we would most likely have to let him go at some point...assuming we can "win" this thing."

Why? What is special about Prisoner of War status that preempts someone from being a prisoner... for life. Al Quaeda exists to fight America, that is its mission statement. If we are at war with Al Quaeda, then members of Al Quaeda are in a perpetual state of war with the United States. Lifetime Prisoner of War status. Why do you find this problematic? Are you frustrated that we might be in an unwinnable war?

"The ironic thing is that as a soldier I can kill 100 people in combat and not be charged with a crime, but held as a POW. But, a terrorist agent may not kill anyone and only plan to do so and then what?"

Uhm, you can be held as a POW even if you don't kill anyone. And many American soldiers were held as POWs without actually having killed someone. That's one of the important distinctions between a reactive Civilian court system and a Proactive military one; the former is concerned with punishing crimes the latter is concerned with preventing them.

In warfare one needs not to have actually committed a "crime" to be an enemy soldier. I am unconcerned with finding the enemy guilty; I am more concerned with ensuring they do not perpetuate terrorist acts.

"I mean, he was caught by a civilian law agency, not the military."

Relevance? Whomever catches a criminal has jurisdiction over them? So I guess that rules out extraditions then, huh. Does that mean if the armed forces captures someone trying to rob a bank they get to try them in military courts, then?

"Also, how do we PROVE affiliation? Mind you, if we can PROVE such a thing, then perhaps he should be a POW or a SPY. But, that would probably require the exposure of sources and methods in how we KNOW he is a member."

Secondary to the Moussaoi issue. It was proven in a civilian court that he was a member of Al Quaeda. He admitted to being a member of Al Quaeda. We KNOW he is a member of Al Quaeda. In this particular case it is not a measure of how, but of what we do after we have. Are you disputing that Moussaoi is a member of Al Quaeda? If not, how do YOU know?

"This is NOT a simple or easy problem. This is why I have a problem with simplistic approaches...and no, I am not commenting on your opinions."

My concern is that you have a problem with *any* approach since you've offered none. I've offered a theoretical that you have not denied sufficiently: if we KNOW (assuming we had an omniscient machine that told us with 100% certainty) that someone is a member of Al Quaeda than why punish them in Civilian Courts? I am confident I can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Moussaoi is a member of Al Quaeda.

"Whether it comes from civilian courts or a military tribunal is, to me, at this point, irrelevant."

Sigh. Then why are you debating this point? Is it because you do care? Is it because you rant endlessly about how the current process lacks transparency (and it does)? If outcomes are indistinguishable then what do you care whether someone ends up in civilian or military court?

Is it because outcomes are NOT indistinguishable? I'd say that's the entire strength of the military court process. Whereas civilian courts will require some crime to be committed (and people might die) before acting a military court has only to establish a strong link to Generic Terrorist Organization. Good enough for me.

"It's like being shot with an arrow and arguing over how best to get it out AFTER an successful operation to do so."

The doctor used an unclean knife. I was fortunate and did not get an infection, but that doctor will know how I feel afterwards.

"As for prevention of further attacks...it will have to be a joint effort by all involving both passive and agressive action."

Vague.

Posted by: Will | May 8, 2006 05:38 PM

Will,

Your proposals would not pass Constitutional review. THAT is the problem with your proposals. The military cannot operate withing our borders AND when it is operating within a foreign country, we operate under an agreement that spells out the limitations of our ability to enforce the laws of that nation. So, unless we invade and occupy, then we have no jurisdiction to enforce laws. And, IF we invade, the soldiers we capture are covered by the regulations for handling POWs in a time of war.

So, in fact, if a soldier catches someone in the act of a crime, someone other than a US Soldier - and THAT can sometimes STILL be tried in a civilian court, the soldier turns the person captured over to the ruling authority of the host country. So, your jurisdiction issue is wrong.

As far as being a POW for life...I would ask any of our POWs if they would want that to be an option. There is a problem with holding people for life as POWs without defining the parameters of the war first - thereby defining the parameters by which a soldier can be set free.

You have missed my entire point, which is that a SOLUTION cannot be defined until we define the problem, i.e. what is terrorism and what is an act of war? Who or what constitutes a "foreign power" and what rights do we have to prosecute a war against either a non-nation-state foreign power or a non-foreign power? What is a crime and what is an act of war? Who is a soldier/"freedom fighter", and who is a terrorist/criminal?

Now, if you can develop a reasonable solution to THOSE questions, one which will pass Constitutional review, then we can talk about your "proposed solution".

We disconnect because I do not believe that we can simply dismiss an enemy combatant or criminal without due process...SOME due process. We are a civilized nation of laws and if we abondon that ideal for expediency or revenge, then we have lost our soul while winning a simple tactical victory.

I'm sorry if that confuses you or makes you angry, but that is what I signed up to fight for 19 years ago.

I ask that you please read the following and then comment:

http://faculty.ed.umuc.edu/~nstanton/FM27-10.htm

http://www.cs.indiana.edu/statecraft/warpow.html

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/90-8/index.html

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 9, 2006 09:10 AM


§ 23. Jurisdiction of United States courts and judges


Release date: 2005-03-17

After any such proclamation has been made, the several courts of the United States, having criminal jurisdiction, and the several justices and judges of the courts of the United States, are authorized and it shall be their duty, upon complaint against any alien enemy resident and at large within such jurisdiction or district, to the danger of the public peace or safety, and contrary to the tenor or intent of such proclamation, or other regulations which the President may have established, to cause such alien to be duly apprehended and conveyed before such court, judge, or justice; and after a full examination and hearing on such complaint, and sufficient cause appearing, to order such alien to be removed out of the territory of the United States, or to give sureties for his good behavior, or to be otherwise restrained, conformably to the proclamation or regulations established as aforesaid, and to imprison, or otherwise secure such alien, until the order which may be so made shall be performed.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 9, 2006 09:16 AM

Status-of-Forces Agreement [SOFA]

Status-of-forces agreements play a vital role in preserving command authority, guaranteeing fair treatment of individual service members, and conserving scarce resources. Consequently, an important first question to ask in planning an Air Force operation or activity overseas is whether an agreement exists. Your servicing legal office can help you answer this question. How to proceed in the absence of a status-of-forces agreement is a separate matter requiring a decision at the highest policy level.

Status-of-forces agreements are not basing or access agreements. Rather, they define the legal status of U.S. personnel and property in the territory of another nation. The purpose of such an agreement is to set forth rights and responsibilities between the United States and the host government on such matters as criminal and civil jurisdiction, the wearing of the uniform, the carrying of arms, tax and customs relief, entry and exit of personnel and property, and resolving damage claims.

Status-of-forces agreements generally come in three forms. These include administrative and technical staff status under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Privileges, commonly referred to as A and T status; a "mini" status-of-forces agreement, often used for a short-term presence, such as an exercise; and a full-blown, permanent status-of-forces agreement. The appropriate arrangement is dependent upon the nature and duration of U.S. military activity within the host country, the maturity of our relationship with that country, and the prevailing political situation in the host nation. Specialists who work status-of-forces agreement issues within the Air Force, the office of the secretary of defense, and the department of state are available to help make this assessment and to assist in negotiating any necessary agreements.

The SOFA is usually an integral part of the overall military bases agreement that allows U.S. military forces to operate within the host country. Each SOFA is negotiated separately with the host country (although the United States has a multilateral SOFA with NATO members). Generally speaking, SOFAs have no standard points of differences; some, however, may deal with particular circumstances unique to particular country.

Negotiating a SOFA begins with the assumption that the presence of U.S. military forces is in the interests of the host government as well as the U.S. government. The starting proposition is that the host country exercises complete authority over all of its territory and over anyone who is in that territory, subject to any agreements that make exceptions to that authority.

Although each SOFA is unique, all SOFAs normally deal with issues necessary for day-to-day business, such as entry and exit of forces, entry and exit of personal belongings (i.e. automobiles), labor, claims and contractors, and susceptibility to income and sales taxes. In situations where U.S. forces will be present for a lengthy period, SOFAs may also deal with ancillary activities such as postal offices, and recreation and banking facilities.

More importantly, SOFAs deal with civil and criminal jurisdiction. They are a vital means by which the Department of Defense carries out its policy directive "to protect, to the maximum extent possible, the rights of United States personnel who may be subject to criminal trial by foreign courts and imprisonment in foreign prisons."

Most SOFAs recognize the right of the host government to "primary jurisdiction," which is to say the host country exercises jurisdiction for all cases in which U.S. military personnel violate the host country's laws. There are two exceptions, however, which generally apply only in criminal cases involving U.S. forces personnel: When the offense is committed by Americans against Americans ("inter se" cases), and when the offense is committed by Americans in carrying out official duty. In these situations, the United States has primary jurisdiction over the accused American.

As a minimum, these agreements uniformly provide that the United States--and not the foreign government--has the primary right to exercise criminal jurisdiction over U.S. personnel for offenses arising out of the performance of official duty. In this way, the U.S. government ensures that its officers and employees remain accountable only to it for the way in which they perform their functions and duties. In those agreements that give host nations primary jurisdiction over some offenses, other than official duty, Department of Defense personnel are protected by fair trial guarantees, including provision of defense counsel, interpreters, trial observers, and prison visits. Similarly, relief from taxes and customs duties conserve limited defense dollars. Claims provisions provide for prompt payment to third parties who have suffered loss or injury as a result of U.S. military activity, but within a formula of checks and balances that protects against excessive claims while maintaining good host nation relations.

In 1998, 5,092 cases were processed by host country governments under SOFA -- these included minor offenses involving the operation of motor vehicles, such as reckless driving. And as of June 1, 1999, there were 41 military personnel serving sentences in foreign prisons.

U.S. military commanders are responsible for seeing that individuals under their authority who run afoul with host-county laws receive fair trials from the host country under all circumstances. DoD directives list 14 "fair trial" safeguards or guarantees that are considered applicable to U.S. state court criminal proceedings by virtue of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. These safeguards include the right of the accused person to be tried without unreasonable delay, to be tried by an impartial court, and to be protected from the use of a confession obtained by torture, threats, or violence.

Under American law, the burden of proof is on the government in all criminal trials. While U.S. military commanders must consider U.S. trial rights, they are directed by DoD not to consider a trial by the host country unfair merely because it is not identical with trials held in the United States. Nonetheless, if the U.S. commanding officer believes an American under his authority is not being protected under the host country's legal system because of the absence or denial of constitutional rights the accused would enjoy in the United States, he will request that the host country waive its SOFA rights. If the host country authorities refuse, the U.S. commander will inform the Department of State to press the request through diplomatic channels. U.S. military commanders may seek waivers from the host country for reasons other than the absence of trial protection, and in most countries waivers are routinely granted.

Differences in culture and differences in legal approach can cause problems. Some of the crimes that the local government may consider to be very egregious, the United States may not and vice a versa. The U.S. government, however, is very much concerned that justice be done, that the accused be punished appropriately, and that the case be settled within a reasonable period of time. In some countries, it is not unusual for a case to take five years for completion. In contrast, the U.S. military strives to process a case within 90 days.

The United States recognizes that as threat perception diminishes around the world, so too does general tolerance for the presence of foreign troops. In addition, there is a growing misperception by almost every country that the SOFA in that country favors the United States, particularly vis-a-vis SOFAs in other countries.

Today's world is a complex one. Not only does the US continue to station forces at fixed bases in Europe and in the Pacific, but the US is are pursuing initiatives that include access arrangements to support force projection and the Partnership for Peace program. Other initiatives, which were previously used, are being pursued with greater intensity--foreign military sales, exercises, individual and unit exchanges, and visits. In addition to traditional military operations and humanitarian relief efforts, the US is now engaged in new undertakings such as drug interdiction and U.N. peace operations.

At the end of the Cold War, the U.S. had permanent status of forces agreements with approximately 40 countries. Today the number has grown to more than 90 which means the U.S. has agreements with 46 percent of the more than 190 nation-states comprising the world community. The U.S. government and the Department of Defense has devoted considerable attention to these agreements over the past few years. For any overseas activity, whether an access arrangement, peacekeeping, military exercise or foreign military sales case, unit exchange or aircraft visit, careful thought should be given to the questions of what status-of-forces agreement arrangements exist and what additional arrangements are necessary.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 9, 2006 09:21 AM

Afghan-

Let me clear up few points because you insist on assigning views to me that I do not hold.

"We disconnect because I do not believe that we can simply dismiss an enemy combatant or criminal without due process...SOME due process."

This is not a position I have taken. You've assumed, incorrectly, that I am trying to justify Gitmo, or the process used by the President, or some other process that I have not endorsed.

The one concrete example I have stood behind in this discussion is Moussaoi who has not received just SOME due process, he has received enormous due process. Five years of due process. His membership in Al Quaeda is beyond dispute.

I will ask once politely that you cease attributing this position to me. I am not advocating Bush's way of doing things. I am not advocating a total elimination of due process. I am not trying to eliminate oversight. I'm asking what you would do IF due process exists and IF it proves beyond a reasonable doubt that someone is a member of Al Quaeda.

On to your post:

"Your proposals would not pass Constitutional review."

My proposal is to try members of Al Quaeda as if they were members of a foreign power the United States is at war with. You can squabble with my definitions all you want; I'll keep on rejecting your Al-Quaeda-As-Unique-Non-Country-For-Lack-Of-Borders explanation as irrelevant. I do not care about Al Quaeda's borders. I care about that capacity and willingness to do harm.

And I'm pretty sure the majority of this country agrees with me about pursuing Al Quaeda as an enemy we are at war with.

If I can establish that Al Quaeda is a foreign power, which isn't an enormous stretch, there is a precedent whereas members of a foreign power we are at war with were tried by military tribunal. The defendants charged that their "rights" to civilian court access were blocked. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled against them. That's Constitutional Review.

"The military cannot operate withing our borders..."

Wrong, it has and it can. And when this process was taken to the Supreme Court they unanimously approved of the process.

"So, in fact, if a soldier catches someone in the act of a crime, someone other than a US Soldier - and THAT can sometimes STILL be tried in a civilian court, the soldier turns the person captured over to the ruling authority of the host country."

And if the FBI catches an enemy combatant they turn them over to the United States military.

The only reason I mentioned jurisdiction is because you offered this unique bit of lunacy to describe what it *really* is:

"I mean, [Moussaoi] was caught by a civilian law agency, not the military."

And you thought this means he should be tried under civilian law. The corollary is that whomever catches a person has jurisdiction over them, which is stupid. Jurisdiction is not determined by apprehension.

"So, your jurisdiction issue is wrong."

Uhm, no. My jurisdiction is spot on. German sabateurs were captured in Chicago and New York in 1942 (?) by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (NOT the military). The FBI dutifully handed over the suspects to the United States military where they were tried in a military tribunal. Defendants alleged that they were denied their rightful access to civilian courts in accordance with the fifth and sixth amendments. The Supreme Court, the entity responsible for "Consitutional Review", found their arguments lacking in merit and ruled against unanimously.

"As far as being a POW for life...I would ask any of our POWs if they would want that to be an option."

If POWs determined their own treatment there wouldn't be POWs; they'd all ask to be released immediately.

"There is a problem with holding people for life as POWs without defining the parameters of the war first - thereby defining the parameters by which a soldier can be set free."

I've described the parameters and why they necessarily require lifetime POW status. If you are at war with a foreign power that exists solely to war with you then you are fighting a battle with no end. Until such time as Al Quaeda or the United States ceases to exist, this fight will rage on.

You seem to think there is something wrong with keeping a POW for life... but nothing at all wrong with keeping Moussaoi in prison for life so long as he is tried in Civilian and not Military courts. Why?

Moussaoi and his ilk are not victims.

"You have missed my entire point, which is that a SOLUTION cannot be defined until we define the problem, i.e. what is terrorism and what is an act of war?"

I have already defined it, a few times now. I have defined Al Quaeda as a foreign power we are at war with. Rather then responding to this charge you insist that "we must continue to define the problem and have a national dialogue about what it means to be a terrorist and what it means to be at war." And you somehow think this "dialogue" will spontaneously occur. Nevermind that when presented with an ideal opportunity to have such a "dialogue", here on this blog, your only responses have been these descriptive gems:

"My answer is, I don't know."
"My personal opinion is that each case will have to be looked at individually." -as opposed to what? Not looking at cases individually?
"As for prevention of further attacks...it will have to be a joint effort by all involving both passive and agressive action."

And all the while you peddle these non-answers you demand that the rest of us have a "dialogue" about it to determine where this nation stands.

Here's a debate topic, Afghan. Person X has not committed a crime but is an admitted member of Al Qaeda. Due process (with transparency and oversight) has established that Person X is a member of Al Quaeda. Lacking a crime, this person cannot be tried under civilian law and are released into the general population. Do you think this is moral? Don't Americans have a right to know that the Civilian Courts they so depend are allowing Al Quaeda members to exist in the United States up until the moment they detonate themselves in a restaraunt or capture a stewardess on an airplane?

So how will you try them, Afghan? "Conspiracy to commit crime"? And what if they have not even conspired to do so yet? Do we just monitor members of Al Quaeda until such time we can snag them?

This is unacceptable.

"Now, if you can develop a reasonable solution to THOSE questions, one which will pass Constitutional review, then we can talk about your "proposed solution"."

Done. The United States is at war with Al Quaeda. Members of Al Quaeda are members of a foreign power we are at war with. Members of Al Quaeda are subject to Supreme Court unanimously protected military tribunals as any soldier we are at war with would be. We do not have to wait for Al Quaeda to commit crimes to apprehend and keep them since the "crime" is being a member of a foreign power we are at war with.

If you are going to respond to this please address the substance. Do not say "Listen, you don't just get to define these things, we need to have a DIALOGUE" --because that's what we are having Afghan. Or trying to.

Posted by: Will | May 9, 2006 11:36 AM

"I'll keep on rejecting your Al-Quaeda-As-Unique-Non-Country-For-Lack-Of-Borders explanation as irrelevant. I do not care about Al Quaeda's borders. I care about that capacity and willingness to do harm."

- That is NOT how we define an enemy by law. THAT is the problem. You WANTING it to be so, does not make it so.

"If I can establish that Al Quaeda is a foreign power, which isn't an enormous stretch, there is a precedent whereas members of a foreign power we are at war with were tried by military tribunal. The defendants charged that their "rights" to civilian court access were blocked. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled against them. That's Constitutional Review."

- We have NOT declared war on anyone or anything.

"Here's a debate topic, Afghan. Person X has not committed a crime but is an admitted member of Al Qaeda. Due process (with transparency and oversight) has established that Person X is a member of Al Quaeda. Lacking a crime, this person cannot be tried under civilian law and are released into the general population. Do you think this is moral? Don't Americans have a right to know that the Civilian Courts they so depend are allowing Al Quaeda members to exist in the United States up until the moment they detonate themselves in a restaraunt or capture a stewardess on an airplane?"

- You case is the crux of the problem. IF we HAD declared war on Al Queada, which we have not, and probably cannot given our current definition of a foreign enemy, then merely being a member makes it a crime for which punishment can be implemented ranging from deportation to jail time. However, because we have NOT declared war, being a member of a designated terrorist organization is NOT a crime. It would be akin to declaring anyone who is a member of the Communist Party is a criminal...Ann "Brass Pole" Coulter not withstanding...we've already been through that.

"So how will you try them, Afghan? "Conspiracy to commit crime"? And what if they have not even conspired to do so yet? Do we just monitor members of Al Quaeda until such time we can snag them?"

- In fact, that is EXACTLY what we do. First, that is the way the law works and works well when we communicate and work with facts, not speculation and ideology. Second, we can learn a whole lot more about the cell or organization if we watch and then arrest when the threat is imminent. Third, if you arrest immediately, then you raise the flag for those we DON'T know about and then they get away to fight another day. Lastly, Freedom of Assembly is a Constitutional Right. If you don't like that, then work to repeal it...good luck with that.

"Done. The United States is at war with Al Quaeda. Members of Al Quaeda are members of a foreign power we are at war with. Members of Al Quaeda are subject to Supreme Court unanimously protected military tribunals as any soldier we are at war with would be. We do not have to wait for Al Quaeda to commit crimes to apprehend and keep them since the "crime" is being a member of a foreign power we are at war with."

- No, not done. We have, by law, NOT declared war on anyone...to include Iraq. You are arguing circularly now. Your root argument is false and therefore negates the rest of your argument; no matter how logical. Did you not read this:

"
§ 21. Restraint, regulation, and removal


Release date: 2005-03-17

Whenever there is a declared war between the United States and any foreign nation or government, or any invasion or predatory incursion is perpetrated, attempted or threatened against the territory of the United States by any foreign nation or government, and the President makes public proclamation of the event, all natives, citizens, denizens, or subjects of the hostile nation or government, being of the age of fourteen years and upward, who shall be within the United States and not actually naturalized, shall be liable to be apprehended, restrained, secured, and removed as alien enemies. The President is authorized in any such event, by his proclamation thereof, or other public act, to direct the conduct to be observed on the part of the United States, toward the aliens who become so liable; the manner and degree of the restraint to which they shall be subject and in what cases, and upon what security their residence shall be permitted, and to provide for the removal of those who, not being permitted to reside within the United States, refuse or neglect to depart therefrom; and to establish any other regulations which are found necessary in the premises and for the public safety."

"After any such proclamation has been made, the several courts of the United States, having criminal jurisdiction, and the several justices and judges of the courts of the United States, are authorized and it shall be their duty, upon complaint against any alien enemy resident and at large within such jurisdiction or district, to the danger of the public peace or safety, and contrary to the tenor or intent of such proclamation, or other regulations which the President may have established, to cause such alien to be duly apprehended and conveyed before such court, judge, or justice; and after a full examination and hearing on such complaint, and sufficient cause appearing, to order such alien to be removed out of the territory of the United States, or to give sureties for his good behavior, or to be otherwise restrained, conformably to the proclamation or regulations established as aforesaid, and to imprison, or otherwise secure such alien, until the order which may be so made shall be performed."

- So...first declare war...and notice it says nothing about a foreign power...and then please tell me, from reading the above Title information: who has jurisdiction?

Again, your premise is that mere affiliation should be a crime. Well, that is ONLY true in a time of DECLARED WAR. So, the question you should be asking is: why haven't we declared war on Al Queada?

I suggest that we have not, because we cannot due to the fact that we currently have no way of declaring war on a non-nation-state entity. The laws of this nation, the treaties we have signed and the laws of land warfare currently do not address the phenomenon of the GLOBAL, NON-NATION-STATE TERRORIST. And, if we do have the mechanisms, then why don't we use them?

This question brings us back to the fuzziness this administration likes. If we could and we did declare war, then the process for handling these people would be clear and then we couldn't use rendition, torture by proxy, secret prisons, POW Camps without Red Cross oversight or assasinations.

Do you get it now?

We, meaning this administration, doesn't want it to be clear because they can operate much more to their liking in the vacuum that is left with this new type of global warfare.

So, again, define by law the descriptions of what we are up against and either integrate those definitions into our current legal structure or develop new law to cover that which we cannot with current statutes. THEN, ask me what we should do.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 9, 2006 01:17 PM

Afghan Vet - "Your proposals would not pass Constitutional review. THAT is the problem with your proposals. The military cannot operate withing our borders AND when it is operating within a foreign country, we operate under an agreement that spells out the limitations of our ability to enforce the laws of that nation."

Not true at all. The Constitution specifically allows the Executive, meaning the President or Executive of a State (governor) to suspend habeas corpus and impose martial law in times of invasion or insurrection. Furthermore, Congress has vested in the Executive additional certain "triggers" to impose martial law as part of Presidential Emergency Powers Act. The military acting within our borders and empowered to arrest is common. The 60s riots and several hurricanes since then are the most recent examples. The last time the military was empowered to arrest and try Americans was in WWII. American citizens in Hawaii, Alaska, and the Naval District of Washington State were under military police and military courts for 3 years. Additionally, besides the famous nazi saboteurs, military courts and NJP applied to all soldiers and civilians directly under military jurisdiction. (Examples being civilians in certain top-secret projects stateside, civilians aboard military vessels, American civilians accompanying military forces in foreign countries.)

"We disconnect because I do not believe that we can simply dismiss an enemy combatant or criminal without due process...SOME due process. We are a civilized nation of laws and if we abondon that ideal for expediency or revenge, then we have lost our soul while winning a simple tactical victory."

That is not true. In wartime, all resources must be allocated towards winning the conflict, not on the frivolity of pulling combat troops out of the struggle to "testify" in POW due process proceedings. Or to have a military that structures so that we have 3 lawyers for every combat soldier.

That is why there was no "due process" for the millions of captured Germans, German auxiliary nationals, Japanese, Italians...Who knows, perhaps if we had given each POW a "trial" we would have found the stray Italian civilian or two told to throw on a uniform and fight or die...the courts could have luxuriated over the legal nuances of Japanese civilian crews of torpedoed ships taken along with troops aboard as POWs and stuffed in prison camps. But they didn't. War doesn't permit such extravagences and diversion of resources.

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 9, 2006 03:38 PM

We have not declared war on anyone. The President has very FEW options under the current BUDGET vote to give him powers to act. You are ASSUMING the current interpretation of the law by the AG and others on BushCo's staff are correct. The PROBLEM with that is that these interpretations have NOT been reviewed by Congress or the Courts and therefore are suspect.

It is becoming clear that the Executive Branch has overstepped its bounds and is most likely in violation of the War Powers Act as well as several Constitutional violations.

Furthermore, until such time that we get rid of the current majority, we will have no such oversight as we both know that exposing the acts of this administration will destroy the Republican Party to the tune of the Nixon Administration. We are only seeing the beginning of the end of incompetence of this administration and those who have worked to sustain it.

Again, declare war, and then this will be settled. Until that time, we must work within the legal system as it stands. Unfortunately for you and those who prescribe to your view, being AT WAR is not the same, in a rule of law sense, as prosecuting a DECLARED WAR.

------

Bush was following a practice that has ''been used for several administrations" and that ''the president will faithfully execute the law in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution."

But the words ''in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution" are the catch, legal scholars say, because Bush is according himself the ultimate interpretation of the Constitution. And he is quietly exercising that authority to a degree that is unprecedented in US history.

- Boston Globe

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2006/04/30/bush_challenges_hundreds_of_laws/?page=1

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 9, 2006 04:04 PM

Afghan-

"That is NOT how we define an enemy by law. THAT is the problem. You WANTING it to be so, does not make it so."

And pedestrian laws in Texas make no mention of Segway scooters, yet those laws go on applying to Segway scooter riders nonetheless.

The law is wrong. Not because the law is wrong but because it couldn't possibly have been expected to predict entities like Al Quaeda. Do you think the law is correct? How would you, AfghanVet, personally amend it? Do you still hold to the demonstrably false view that only nations-with-borders can harm us?

"We have NOT declared war on anyone or anything."

Uhm, then what are you a "Veteran" of, exactly?

You mean, no super official declaration of war by Congress? Like the kind they've refused to issue since WW2? So historians should stop calling Korea, Vietnam, the first Iraq, and Afghanistan wars? I guess we'll have to remind Japan and Russia that they are still formally at war.

Congress did authorize the use of force, consistent with 50 years of prior practice used in Korea (which was also supported by the UN), Vietnam, Iraq 1 (UN supported), and Afghanistan (UN supported). And in those "wars" (<--note scare quotes) we killed people, took POWs, and generally followed the rules of warfare. And the difference between Korea/Vietnam/Iraq Uno and Afghanistan is that the latter was preceded by an attack on American soil that killed more people than Pearl Harbor. All this without a formal declaration. If it walks like a duck...

I am not authorizing war crimes. I am not authorizing torture. I am merely trying to establish that for the past 50 years Congress has been excercising its Article 1 right to declare war without utilizing formal declarations of war. For you to say there has been NO declaration of war suggests that Congress has remained silent on the matter. This is false. S.J. Resolution 23 on September 18th passed and authorized "the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States." Further, "That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."

I want to repeat that I am not condoning everything the President has done. I am, however, responding to your claim that we have not declared "war" on Al Quaeda. While this claim is somewhat true, that we have not formally done so by giving them Super-Special-War-With-Us-Status-Reserved-For-Axis-Powers-In-World-War-2 our legislative branch has authorized force against them. And we have taken POWs. And we have killed people. And they have killed some of ours. And if it walks like a duck...

"IF we HAD declared war on Al Queada, which we have not, and probably cannot given our current definition of a foreign enemy, then merely being a member makes it a crime for which punishment can be implemented ranging from deportation to jail time."

So the reason we cannot engage in warfare with Al Quaeda is because we have not formally declared war on them. Not that we could, according to you, since for reasons that escape me a "definition" prevents us from fighting an enemy.

Formally Declaring war is an antiquated concept. Countries do not formally declare them anymore. The United Nations is against it. Grievences are now settled either through the use of unilateral "declarations of force" (which strangely involve all the characteristics of formally declared wars) or multilateral United Nations Super Sponsored Events, like Afghanistan for example.

"However, because we have NOT declared war, being a member of a designated terrorist organization is NOT a crime."

That's strange, because in so far as Al Quaeda (terrorist organization) makes you complicit in the attacks of 9/11, the Legislative branch of the United States has authorized the use of force against them.

"In fact, that is EXACTLY what we do. First, that is the way the law works and works well when we communicate and work with facts, not speculation and ideology. Second, we can learn a whole lot more about the cell or organization if we watch and then arrest when the threat is imminent. Third, if you arrest immediately, then you raise the flag for those we DON'T know about and then they get away to fight another day. Lastly, Freedom of Assembly is a Constitutional Right."

Er.. well... uhm... Not exactly. What we did is seek them out in another country and kill them without jury or trial. And you're right, it wasn't a "crime" they were "convicted of". Merely being members of Taliban/Al Quaeda was enough for us to aggressively pursue their death.

You were there, remember?

"So...first declare war...and notice it says nothing about a foreign power...and then please tell me, from reading the above Title information: who has jurisdiction?"

I'm reading from Ex Parte Quirin:

"[The Government] also insists that petitioners must be denied access to the courts, both because they are enemy aliens or have entered our territory as enemy belligerents..."

The Supreme Court unanimously agreed, granting jurisdiction --not to the civilian courts where the Nazis felt they could best attain their fifth and sixth amendment rights-- but to military tribunal.

"Again, your premise is that mere affiliation should be a crime. Well, that is ONLY true in a time of DECLARED WAR. So, the question you should be asking is: why haven't we declared war on Al Queada?"

Didn't you already answer this question? Al Queada threw the dictionary at us and defeated any chance we had at a formal declaration of war because they fail to meet the "definition" of Foreign Government. Not that it would matter if Al Queada was a foreign government because even then the Legislative Branch, having decided that formal declarations of war were antiquated, has seen fit only to issue "authorizations of force" (which walks like a war) for the past 5 decades. And, as a matter of fact, in seeking to kill and eliminate Al Queada, Congress *did* authorize the use of force against Aghanistan because it happened to be an easily defined "Foreign Nation" that incidentally was housing Al Queada. And we did not go to war because we hated Afghanistan or the Taliban, we went to war with them precisely BECAUSE of their unique relationship with Al Queada. And some lay people might interpret that as a declaration of war against a terrorist organization that killed more Americans on American soil than Japan and Germany combined.

I don't care about qualifying Al Queada membership as a "crime". This model of criminalizing behavior is irrelevant to me. What concerns me is that people who hatch plans to kill people, who have formally announced their intent to kill people, are free to do so until that moment when they detonate themselves. In which case it is too late.

"The laws of this nation, the treaties we have signed and the laws of land warfare currently do not address the phenomenon of the GLOBAL, NON-NATION-STATE TERRORIST."

So if the laws do not apply to GLOBAL, NON-NATION-STATE TERRORISTS why do you keep insisting that the law puts them under civilian jurisdiction? You can't simultaneously throw the book at my while you insist that it does not nor could not possibly address Al Queada.

So, if we really are wading through extralegal terrority who is to say that your understanding of things is any different then mine? I at least address reasonable concerns; namely that Al Queada wants to kill you and is permitted to do so up until that moment that your neck and their box cutter become intimate with one another.

My position is this: Having recognized that the laws are outmoded to deal with this threat I proceed without them. If anyone feels like this is unlawful let them address my concerns. If they say "the law doesn't address whether we can do this or not!" I reply: "AfghanVet told me that 'The laws of this nation... do not address the phenomenon of the GLOBAL, NON-NATION-STATE TERRORIST'."

If you think not-breaking the law to try Al Queada in military courts is unlawful explain why. Do not say "the laaaaaaaw!" Because as you admitted the law addresses no such thing.

"We, meaning this administration, doesn't want it to be clear because they can operate much more to their liking in the vacuum that is left with this new type of global warfare."

And yet this administration has no power to declare or not declare war. It is Congress that has failed to declare war, not the President (who I am not a fan of, by the way).

"So, again, define by law the descriptions of what we are up against and either integrate those definitions into our current legal structure or develop new law to cover that which we cannot with current statutes. THEN, ask me what we should do."

Are you serious? If you do this again I am ending this discussion immediately.

Posted by: Will | May 9, 2006 04:09 PM

Afghan Vet - "- We have NOT declared war on anyone or anything."

Oh, BS, Afgan Vet. Now you are back to the anal fixation on the MAGIC WORD that Congress Must Utter instead of what they did authorizing the US to invade Afghanistan and take out Al Qaeda and the Taliban. (By killing, bombing, invading - sounds like Congressionally-authorized war, doesn't it??)

This Lefty fixation is that war is no longer possible by law. Thus all war is "illegal" because the UN said so 60 years ago. (The last war formally declared was Russia on Japan 61 years ago before the UN banned it's dimplomatic use).

Because we joined the UN and accepted their Charter saying nations may no longer formally declare war. But-but-but, anti-war Lefties raise their voices in triumph....ONLY CONGRESS CAN DECLARE WAR AND WE CAN'T WITHDRAW FROM THE UN - SO END OF STORY! END OF STORY! WAR IS OUTLAWED!

That sappy thinking ignores the 485 wars fought since the UN magically ended war by feel-good fiat.

You can legal nuance a la Kerry all you want. Congress voting to have US forces invade and kill the Islamoids sure sounds like war to me.

"Again, your premise is that mere affiliation should be a crime. Well, that is ONLY true in a time of DECLARED WAR. So, the question you should be asking is: why haven't we declared war on Al Queada?"

The circumstances are obvious. Only your question asked in a Socratic fashion is fatuous.

"The laws of this nation, the treaties we have signed and the laws of land warfare currently do not address the phenomenon of the GLOBAL, NON-NATION-STATE TERRORIST."

But our law and international law recognize that natural rights trump any man-made law and obviate it. Law is only a mechanism to realize and protect those natural rights, not an end in itself. Self-defense or the defense of others for preservation of property or life is the highest natural law. Thus if I see a man with a knife to a young girls throat raping her, I can disregard the law against having my 9mm outside the house, stroll right past his "no tresspassing signs", issue threats to blow his head off contrary to state threat ordinances, then if he refuses to desist, violate around 6 laws regarding illegal discharge of firearms in a crowded neighborhood, and spatter his brains.

You seem to be saying we should have all our legal ducks in a row and make law "perfect" before self-defense. Will has properly observed that is nuts when people are trying to kill you. The law must follow and adapt to necessary acts of self defense that cannot wait on the law. Or the laws must rationally be put in abeyance - as in my example of violating dozens of laws and ordinances to save a life.

"This question brings us back to the fuzziness this administration likes. If we could and we did declare war, then the process for handling these people would be clear and then we couldn't use rendition, torture by proxy, secret prisons, POW Camps without Red Cross oversight or assasinations.

Do you get it now?"

I'm afraid you are the one who doesn't "get it". There is nothing Bush and all of us want more than Islamoids starting to wear distinguishing "Holy War" uniforms, with clear rank, chain of command, and Jihadi discipline....with the Islamoids contracting to the Geneva Convention Treaties.

It is not Bush or Congress or the Courts (generally, though some are utter clueless idiots on this) that have introduced "fuzziness". The Islamoids are the ones who deliberately have. Maintaining WE must operate in strict black and white rules while they can operate in the fuzzy gray zone of no rules, but are due all privileges as if they were following black and white rules.

Their enemy sympathizers, including you, AfghanVet, maintain they are due their claimed "rights."

Geneva is quite clear on unlawful enemy combatants. To save innocent civilian life, recognizing the danger unlawful combatants operating outside uniform put them in, Geneva denies them the POW protection you and other enemy-rights lovers wish to give them arbitrarily.

Want all the "evil Amerikkka" stuff of secret prisons, interminable stays in camps, full POW rights to go to Islamoids? Fine, work out a deal with the Jihadis so they sign Geneva and abide by it's terms to complete the 2-Party contracting status that puts Geneva in force. Geneva has no binding legal force on a warring party willing to abide by it if the other warring party rejects all of Geneva. It is NOT a unilateral convention.

Our POW obligations to Al Qaeda or other like-minded Islamoids under Geneva are essentially Zero. Legally, we could execute them all under Geneva rules as unlawful enemy combatants not protected by Geneva...

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 9, 2006 04:31 PM

"And pedestrian laws in Texas make no mention of Segway scooters, yet those laws go on applying to Segway scooter riders nonetheless."

- I say challenge it in court and have the interpretation of the law settled. They are doing EXACTLY what you say you are doing and that is "ACTING" in the absence of specific legal codes. Does that make it right?

"The law is wrong. Not because the law is wrong but because it couldn't possibly have been expected to predict entities like Al Quaeda. Do you think the law is correct? How would you, AfghanVet, personally amend it? Do you still hold to the demonstrably false view that only nations-with-borders can harm us?"

- How do we know the law is wrong? It has not been tested or even used. As far as changing it, I would do what I told you I would do in the previous post. Define the entities involved within a legal framework...AND THAT DOESN'T MEAN CIVIL OR CIVILIAN COURT ONLY AS WE PROSECUTE WARS UNDER THE RULE OF LAW AS WELL!!! Then, once defined, integrate into our existing legal framework...civil or war...and then write NEW law to cover that which cannot be integrated. THAT'S HOW GOVERNMENT WORKS IN AMERICA!! OR, IS SUPPOSED TO. You did take Government Class in High School...right?

"Formally Declaring war is an antiquated concept. Countries do not formally declare them anymore. The United Nations is against it. Grievences are now settled either through the use of unilateral "declarations of force" (which strangely involve all the characteristics of formally declared wars) or multilateral United Nations Super Sponsored Events, like Afghanistan for example."

If that is so, and I believe it is as well, then change our laws to deal with the emerging threats of today to ensure we know how to deal with this threat in the future. WHY IS THAT SUCH A HARD CONCEPT? That does not mean, "don't act now", it means stabilize through immediate action and then adjust to deal with it appropriately. Why is it such and either/or proposition for you?

"So if the laws do not apply to GLOBAL, NON-NATION-STATE TERRORISTS why do you keep insisting that the law puts them under civilian jurisdiction? You can't simultaneously throw the book at my while you insist that it does not nor could not possibly address Al Queada."

- I'm not. We prosecute wars via the laws of this country and the world...not just criminal conduct. I'm talking about developing law that allows us to deal with emerging threats with ALL possible government resources to include military and civilian. Clear enough?

"My position is this: Having recognized that the laws are outmoded to deal with this threat I proceed without them. "

- AND THERE IS THE PROBLEM!!! No one will argue that reacting to an attack requires decisiveness, but not proceeding on the same path for 5 freakin' years. If Congress has done nothing...who's to blame, the one's on control and it ain't the dems.

And, by the way, being a member of the Taliban does not make you a target in Afghanistan. They are a recognized political party in Afghanistan and therefore they could wear T-shirts and still not be picked up. I know, because as you say, I was there and had to deal with the idiots.

And, if we are so interested in taking down Al Queada...then why aren't we in the mountains of Pakistan? You say we are there covertly, perhaps, but apparently not with enough force to capture a guy who can make videos. And since I've been lucky enough to have been shot at by Paki border guards during pursuit, I can assure you that our allies aren't always our allies.

And finally, our boy in question was captured in the US. Because we have not declared war, and because we have not for some time done so formally as you say, and yet have conducted military operations, it is UNCLEAR what to do domestically from the standpoint of intelligence collection, agent apprehension and combatant capture. Again, it is the non-clarity that is the difference between where you and me stand on this issue.

Act...yes. Act in the absence of law (civil or conduct of war)...No. Initially, you may have to, but that should only be a short-term fix. Why, because the abuses you claim to be against occur and NO ONE is held accountable. And without accountability, and adherence to the rule of law our ability to conduct a counter-insurgency is weakened.

I ask you...why would the President NOT want clarity in how to legally proceed with the conduct of the "war on terror"?

I assume, that as the President and nominal head of the GOP, if he wanted it, he would get it, no? He wants clarity from his AG and others who will say what he wants to hear, not what is right or within the law. Why do you think ol' Goss baby was made head of the CIA...to install apperetchiks to keep the truth from being told. Too bad his boys like hookers. That my friend is a tyrant and a dictator.

Absolutely, let's pursue those who would do us harm, but let's do so rationally and within the laws of this nation and our treaties so as to ensure that we can WIN a global insurgency, not just protect ourselves tactically.

Where do we draw the line without a legal definition of who is our enemy and who isn't? Do we do as Chris suggested and just round up all the Muslims? What about Hammas? They are an elected poltical party. Why aren't we rounding them up?

Trust me, I get it. I fought it on the ground. But, we simply cannot go after every person who dislikes our way of life or carries a Koran. So, I ask you, if we delcare Al Queada the enemy without such legal definitions as I have requested, how do we prove BEFORE action is taken, that someone is a member?

When someone is shooting at you, it doesn't really matter...but those aren't the ones we need to worry about. HOW do we prove they are a member without operating within prescribed laws for legal and intelligence investigations?

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 9, 2006 04:51 PM

Will,
First off, on a personal note.
"Veteran:
A person who is long experienced or practiced in an activity or capacity: a veteran of political campaigns.
A person who has served in the armed forces: "Privilege, a token income... were allowed for veterans of both world wars" (Mavis Gallant).
An old soldier who has seen long service."
-Courtesy of Dictionary.com.
Notice how being apart of war is not a key factor in any of the three points mentioned. If you'd like to nitpick someone's name to underscore their arguement, I recommend you at least make sure the definition you are operating under is correct as well as making sure there aren't any other meanings it can take.

That said, I'm surprised this arguement is still going on. Both Will and Ford are attacking AfghanVet for his comments regarding the fact that we are not formally at war. Both are saying this is stupid and that Al Queada is a foreign power that must be dealt with with miltary force yada yada yada.

Meanwhile, Will does not seem to be addressing the actual issue that AfghanVet seems to be discussing. That while Al Queada is a threat and action should be taken, the specific miltary action and tribunals called on by Will and Ford are not happening specifically because of our current administration. As noted by Vet, the fuzziness allowed by the current administration causes them to be able to circumvent certain rules. Vet simply thinks the declaration would clear things up on our end and allow things to be set in stone and easily interpreted and acted upon.

Ford, however, claims this fuzziness is only the result of the Islamic terrorists themselves. It would appear he suggests that our law systems and miltary systems are unable to deal with this and that we are paralyzed by this dastardly plot of being a terrorist organization, otherwise we would have acted.

Well Ford, thats perhaps the stupidest thing I've ever heard you say. Even if this fuzziness is intentional, it is not beyond our means to simply get rid of the fuzziness. Much by operating as we are now, only with set parameters regarding enemy combatants, could this problem be addressed. Often mentioned are the German sabatuers caught and executed during WWII. I'm assuming they weren't wearing uniforms then, so the presence of hidden terrorists shouldn't be as much of a hinderance on our end as you claim.

And for the last time, the argument regarding ignoring Geneva rules and the simple acts of humanity that make you despise the left is getting old. Whether you like it or not, we as the USA have claimed that we are better than the opposition; that our democracy, and morality, and our views of civil liberties and ways of life are superior to the oppresive regimes of our enemies. We use this justification, the justification of being the better man, to convince ourselves and other countries that we should go into random places and mess around. So whether you like it or not, as much as it galls you, we must maintain the image of being better. Torture et al. doesn't do that Ford. Sorry, but you have to find you S&M elsewhere.

Posted by: Freedom | May 9, 2006 04:56 PM

Chris,

I will not become my enemy to defeat my enemy. That does not mean I cannot conduct war on a savage level, it means I will follow the rule of law as prescribed by this nation, I will not circumvent for mere expedience. I will accord all rights, either by our laws or those of the treaties we have signed, to all my enemies, no matter their intent or actions. You don't like that, well tough. I will not stoop to their level...even though it seems you already have.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 9, 2006 05:13 PM

Afghan-

"I say challenge it in court and have the interpretation of the law settled. They are doing EXACTLY what you say you are doing and that is "ACTING" in the absence of specific legal codes. Does that make it right?"

No, it just makes them "not wrong". See, it doesn't take an ivy league education to realize that a person on a Segway Scooter is a pedestrian and subject to pedestrian laws. Just like a person on roller skates is. Or someone on Moon Shoes. Or someone in Nikes. Or slippers. Or a person in a wheel chair. Or peg legs. Or someone crawling down the street. Or someone walking on their hands. Or crab walking. Or pushing a stroller.

You seem to think that something is allowed if and only if it is explicitly stated in law. That's not the case. The laws are guidelines that reflect a code of rules as best as they can. They try to address future events as best they can. Segway Scooters is essentially a non-issue because they Pedestrian laws can address them. Turns out they couldn't predict entities such as Al Queada. It's unfortunate, but no reason for us to jeapordize American lives until All-Powerful-Congress addresses why a Foreign Entity That Kills Americans should be treated more favorably then Foreign Nation That Kills Americans.

"How do we know the law is wrong? It has not been tested or even used."

Because I can walk outside and approach any American in the United States in America and say "So do you think the United States is/should be at war with Al Queada?" and they will say "Uhm... Hell yes we should/are."

Or I could use this "debate" as evidence since you are so reluctant to even disagree with me. You think we need a "legal process" to address this "complicated issue". Fine. And what would your solution be? Would Al Queada be treated as criminals, free to commit "crimes" up until the moment that people start dieing? Or would you treat Al Queada as you would treat Talibani soldiers in the Afghanistan War? --OOOOPS! I meant Afghanistan Non-Formal-Declaration-Of-War-But-Kind-Of-Close-Congressional-Authorization-Of-Force-To-Kill-The-Enemy.

"Then, once defined, integrate into our existing legal framework...civil or war...and then write NEW law to cover that which cannot be integrated. THAT'S HOW GOVERNMENT WORKS IN AMERICA!!"

And in the meantime people may get killed. But at least we'll be legal!

Or, as actually happened, in the meantime 5 years later our country is a global embarrasment. And some second rate terrorist proved himself, with extensive media coverage, capable of bringing our legal system to its knees in front of the whole world. And laughing at us the entire time. All this so we could demonstrate to everyone how "fair" our legal system is... fair enough to keep someone in prison for 5 years without conviction.

Moussaoi won.

"If that is so, and I believe it is as well, then change our laws to deal with the emerging threats of today to ensure we know how to deal with this threat in the future."

Sigh, see this is what YOU don't understand. We are not mindlessly beholden to a piece of paper that has "LAW" written at the top. Anti-sodomy laws existed throughout the country for decades without any attempt to change or amend them in spite of the fact that no one faced charges... why? Because law enforcement acted appropriately to the people's wishes without waiting for legislative change to address the "ins and outs" of why sodomy may or may not be in the best interests of society.

You're the only one who seems to think there is an interesting or relevant amgiguity between Al Queada and Nations-That-Want-To-Kill-Us. Why should we wait for the laws to be changed (hoping all the while that people do not die as a result)? To vindicate whom exactly? You?

I understand that we are at war with Al Queada. I suspect you understand this as well, yet remain shackled to legalese for reasons that are beyond me.

"We prosecute wars via the laws of this country and the world...not just criminal conduct. I'm talking about developing law that allows us to deal with emerging threats with ALL possible government resources to include military and civilian. Clear enough?"

No, as a matter of fact your proposal is not clear AT ALL. Foreign threats should be dealt with by both military and civilian mechanisms. So do Civilian courts determine what color socks Terrorists must wear but the military gets to pick shoes? Or is it a quota thing, like the military gets to handle 43.91% of all captured POWs but the Civilian courts get the rest?

I've offered an extremely clear way to handle things. If someone can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, transparently, to be a member of Al Queada then they should be handed to the military for trial consistent with 200 years of American war tradition. Chew on that *PARTICULAR* example. Do you agree/disagree? Do not cite the LAW because the law is a reflection of how things SHOULD be. I want you to either concretely dissent with the above or agree. I want your PERSONAL opinion.

"No one will argue that reacting to an attack requires decisiveness, but not proceeding on the same path for 5 freakin' years. If Congress has done nothing...who's to blame, the one's on control and it ain't the dems."

Is that what this is about? Democrats and Republicans? The reason they have not done anything for 5 years is because Congress is excellent at making itself irrelevant... which is why Moussaoi embarrased our country in a civilian court. And as much as I love blaming the Republicans for everything that happens while they control 3 branches of government, it's hard to imagine a Democratic Congress doing things any differently.

"Again, it is the non-clarity that is the difference between where you and me stand on this issue."

Fair enough. And you are using the non-clarity to push a particular view and I am using the non-clarity to push a particular view. The difference is that my position is reasonable because AS A MATTER OF FACT Al Queada is at WAR with us and members of Al Queada want to KILL YOU and it is our moral obligation to ensure they do not do so. And waiting until some particular member of Al Queada blows themself up in a restaraunt is, to me, incredibly stupid and self defeating. Disagree?

"I ask you...why would the President NOT want clarity in how to legally proceed with the conduct of the "war on terror"?"

Because he's a jerk? Because he's submissive? Because it would require he quit his job as President and run for Senate/Representative so he could participate more actively in the legislative branch which repeatedly refuses to dictate such things?

Our discussion is not about Bush. I don't care about your grievences with Bush. My concern is that there still exist people in this country who think Al Queada is just another organization --like Greenpeace or the NRA-- and that we cannot declare war on that type of entity. I think this approach is stupid. I feel confident that if many people in America hold this view many others could die.

Does a system of categorizing "terrorists" from "not-terrorists" need to be transparent (when possible) and have oversight? Sure. But Moussaoi got all those things and when I insist that he'd be better off in a military court where swift justice would preempt a national embarrasment, you argue with me! When I suggest that pursuing Al Queada, even the ineffective members who have not yet committed a "crime" because purchasing box cutters is perfectly legal, is of tantamount importance --you disagree with me!

"So, I ask you, if we delcare Al Queada the enemy without such legal definitions as I have requested, how do we prove BEFORE action is taken, that someone is a member?"

Uhm, Moussaoi trial. I'm talking about Moussaoi. Do you think he's a member of Al Queada? Why not?

Posted by: Will | May 9, 2006 05:30 PM

Freedom-

"If you'd like to nitpick someone's name to underscore their arguement, I recommend you at least make sure the definition you are operating under is correct as well as making sure there aren't any other meanings it can take."

I'm not trying to nitpick his name, I'm pointing out that simultaneously signing oneself as "AfghanVet" while undermining the idea that Veterans of the War in Afghanistan actually participated in a WAR is absurd. He knows Afghanistan was a war, he was there. He knows that guns were fired, people were killed, and POWs were taken. He knows that if a UFO traveled to Germany in WW2 and Afghanistan in our recent war there, it would come to the conclusion that the two things witnessed shared enough qualities to be classified with one another.

"That while Al Queada is a threat and action should be taken, the specific miltary action and tribunals called on by Will and Ford are not happening specifically because of our current administration. As noted by Vet, the fuzziness allowed by the current administration causes them to be able to circumvent certain rules. Vet simply thinks the declaration would clear things up on our end and allow things to be set in stone and easily interpreted and acted upon."

What planet are you on? First off, Vet's love affair with a Formal Declaration Of War is brand new, within the last 2-3 posts. We were trading concerns about other issues before he brought it up.

Secondly, in case you haven't checked it out in a while the Executive Branch cannot and does not declare war on nations. If anyone is to blame for not declaring war on Al Queada (which cannot happen anyways, according to AfghanVet), it is Congress. There inaction suggests that Congress has no interest in "clearing things up" or more likely that Congress is perfectly willing to follow 50 years of precedent and refuse to declare formal war.

And it wouldn't "clear things up" because people like you and AfghanVet would still obsfucate this entire discussion by insisting that people like Moussaoi deserve to be tried in our Western Gem of a civilian trial system... subjecting the rest of America to national embarrasment as one second rate terrorist makes us all look like a bunch of idiots. And wins.

Posted by: Will | May 9, 2006 05:41 PM

Will,
Just because you say we can declare war on Al Queada doesn't mean we as a nation can. You keep claiming things like, "I've offered an extremely clear way to handle things. If someone can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, transparently, to be a member of Al Queada then they should be handed to the military for trial consistent with 200 years of American war tradition. Chew on that *PARTICULAR* example. Do you agree/disagree? Do not cite the LAW because the law is a reflection of how things SHOULD be. I want you to either concretely dissent with the above or agree. I want your PERSONAL opinion." If I understand correctly, it seems that AfghanVet has offered just this approach. He simply feels it needs to be spelled out in law, so that as a a nation we actually follow this line of thinking. The point is, up to this point, we haven't been. As you claim, Moussaoi won. And why is this? Some would claim it is because he wasn't put in front of a military tribunal, but instead the civilan courts. So, if this is your claim (if not please correct) then please explain how your 'solution' fixes this and how it can be implemented when it apparently isn't.

Posted by: Freedom | May 9, 2006 05:49 PM

Will,
Claim to not be nitpicking his name to undermine his argument all you want, but if it walks like a duck....

That said you claim:
"What planet are you on? First off, Vet's love affair with a Formal Declaration Of War is brand new, within the last 2-3 posts. We were trading concerns about other issues before he brought it up."

His argument on this matter regarding the fuzziness of law interpretation by the adminitration seems to be concurrent through his other posts.

"Secondly, in case you haven't checked it out in a while the Executive Branch cannot and does not declare war on nations. If anyone is to blame for not declaring war on Al Queada (which cannot happen anyways, according to AfghanVet), it is Congress. There inaction suggests that Congress has no interest in "clearing things up" or more likely that Congress is perfectly willing to follow 50 years of precedent and refuse to declare formal war."

No where did I claim the executive branch has that authority. Thank you for assuming that I did. What I did claim, however, was that the executive branch is using this fuzziness to manipulate the situation to their benefit, rather than pushing/calling for legislation to actually put the situation in definable terms. And please remember, it is a republican congress that has a large history of following suit with their president up until just recently. One of the things that the current repblican parties success has been attributed to is the fact that almost all fall in line with general party thinking.


"And it wouldn't "clear things up" because people like you and AfghanVet would still obsfucate this entire discussion by insisting that people like Moussaoi deserve to be tried in our Western Gem of a civilian trial system... subjecting the rest of America to national embarrasment as one second rate terrorist makes us all look like a bunch of idiots. And wins."

Really? I'd actually be arguing for him to be tried in civ court? Well look at that! I learn something new everyday. You have asked people not to put words or arguments in your mouth that you have not said or claimed. I ask you to not do the same. In case you haven't noticed, the fact is Moussaoi was actually tried in civ court. And I, and most likely AfghanVet, had nothing to do with that outcome. Now I ask you Will, why was it tried in Civ court? And what could have helped make sure it was tried in a miltary tribunal?

Posted by: Freedom | May 9, 2006 05:56 PM

Also Will,
AfhganVet's May 4, 2006 1:04:47 PM post addresses the concept of the Administration using the lack of formal declaration of war, so this statement, "First off, Vet's love affair with a Formal Declaration Of War is brand new, within the last 2-3 posts. We were trading concerns about other issues before he brought it up" is inaccurate. While he never explicitly states, lets declare formal war, he cites the lack of it as a large problem.

Posted by: Freedom | May 9, 2006 06:11 PM

Freedom-

"...then please explain how your 'solution' fixes this and how it can be implemented when it apparently isn't."

My solution is to quit treating Al Queada as a "criminals" and instead treat them members of a foreign power we are at war with. This "fixes" the very serious problem of approaching each individual member of Al Queada as somehow immune from prosecution until such time that they commit a crime.

My solution to this problem is to vote for people who will effectively implement this strategy.

"His argument on this matter regarding the fuzziness of law interpretation by the adminitration seems to be concurrent through his other posts."

I guess it was concurrent with his ludicrous insistence that, for reasons not discussed, POWs must necessarily be released at some point. Or his heroic summation of how best to deal with this complex legal issue: "I don't know."

I have no problem with you supporting AfghanVet, but he and I have spent much time over the past few days discussing a flurry of issues. He can speak for himself.

"No where did I claim the executive branch has that authority."

But you said the executive branch "allowed" it, which is functionally the same. I guess technically you are right since the administration did "allow" Congress not to officially and formally declare war consistent with 5 decades of precedent of not doing so. But I guess by that definition of "allow" I'm as complicit in Congressional inaction as The President is. So are you.

Now here's where things get insane. You seem to think that AfghanVet's central disagreement has something to do with Bush/Republicans/Democrats/Congress. In fact I've not argued for Bush throughout this thread. So either you've misinterpreted what he's written thousands of words trying to defend, or he has. Because if his central response "point" to me is that "Bush is ..." then he isn't addressing MY points. Or he's just talking to himself. In either case I'm not "missing" his point because I don't care what Afghan or you or Chris Ford thinks of George Bush.

To your last paragraph - Point taken. Since you've smugly accused me of putting words in your mouth without actually putting words in your own I will ask a blunt question: Do you think Moussaoi is a member of a Foreign Power that we are at War with? Do you think Moussaoi should be tried in civilian or military courts? Do you think we should pursue members of Al Queada only after they have committed a crime?

Maybe I won't have to put anymore words in your mouth if you come clean on all these issues. My issue with AfghanVet was not that he was putting words in my mouth that I had not stated, it was that he was putting words in my mouth that I had explicitly stated the opposition to.

Posted by: Will | May 9, 2006 06:16 PM

I am going on vacation and will return Monday to address responses. Have a good week/weekend.

Cheers.

Posted by: Will | May 9, 2006 06:28 PM

Will,

"Do you think Moussaoi is a member of a Foreign Power that we are at War with?"
Yes.

"Do you think Moussaoi should be tried in civilian or military courts?"
Military.

"Do you think we should pursue members of Al Queada only after they have committed a crime?"
No.


However, I do not agree with your methods of righting the problem. Simply clarifying law so that people must interpret the situation a certain way would easily end the fuzziness that the administration basks in. To only vote for someone who implements the strategy as you interpret it leaves room for all the people and areas that you can't vote for to interpret it differently. Theres a reason why Moussaoi was tried in civil court. With things open for interpretation by individuals as you suggest (not trying to put words in your mouth. This is what is seems based on your feelings that formal war should not be declared and instead leave it to voting in people that think the same way you do), instead of clear cut, differing interpretations have allowed something to happen that shouldn't.

In regards to the executive branch comment, please refer to my post regarding congress and the president. In regards to being responsible complicitly, I'm with you on that one.

Posted by: Freedom | May 9, 2006 06:32 PM

Natural Law? Whatever Chris. I've been to several countries that run on "natural law" and you are welcome to move there any time. Of course, you would last about a day.

But, your reference to "Natural Law" speaks volumes about you and your behavior on this blog. We DON'T live by NATURAL LAW because over many thousands of years the human race has developed laws and codes based on religion, group survival and man-made government. We have prospered because of it.

But now I see why you are so angry and so bitter towards those different from you. You think that if only we played by the Natural rules, you would be better off. You look around you every day and see people more powerful, richer, with more friends and you cannot for the life of you figure out how someone as smart as you can't have what they have.

So, you blame the "liberal system" for creating a playing field that allows your "natural" abilities to put you on top. Hell, I think I've figured out the whole NEO-TARD psychosis. You feel your "God Given" talents and rightful rewards are either being denied to you or threatened by such liberal rule of law.

How sad.

It explains why you get so angry when you are challenged here and then lash out personally at those who would be so bold as to challenge your "wisdom". You just cannot handle not being the "alpha male". You care nothing for solving problems, merely being right and proving yourself better.

Indeed, how sad.

Natural law. I pegged you for a NEO-TARD, just not a simpleton.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 9, 2006 06:36 PM

Will,

Let's go at this from another direction and see if we can get to the root cause of the problem.

WHY...was he tried the way he was?

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 9, 2006 06:38 PM

Oh, and the whole hero complex thing...equally sad.

Seriously, your example of a man raping a woman is the zero-sum game that is the basis of all NEO-TARD direct action. What if...this really terrible thing were to happen. Well, let's just all sit in our homes and do nothing by read the Bible and pray that our enemies (read anyone not like us) are smited by those brave enough to do the killing for us to ensure we live safely.

Bad things happen to good people. Deal with it. THAT is life. Man-made law is intended to try to keep that from happening because NATURAL Law cares nothing about the arbitrary human definition of a "good" person.

The fact that you would even try to talk to the rapist first before you would "put 6 bullets in him" tells me everything I need to know about your "hero" complex. You probably see yourself doing just that over and over in your mind. Finally, you would earn the respect you so justly deserve. And yet, you're not a cop and every recruiting station you have ever passed was never blessed with your presence.

See, if you were indeed an alpha male, governed by natural law (even given the extenuating circumstances YOU describe), you wouldn't even say "freeze" first. You would just shoot; shoot to kill. Why, because you don't have to and immediate action was warranted. But you don't care about solving the problem, you care about how it makes you look, hence the hollywood, dirty harry approach.

But, as we have covered before, actually killing another human by your own hand isn't heroic and isn't easy - no matter how much they deserve it. So, keep shooting at those paper targets and hope and pray you never have to use your weapon or prove that you are the alpha male you want to be.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 9, 2006 06:53 PM

AfghanVet "I will accord all rights, either by our laws or those of the treaties we have signed, to all my enemies, no matter their intent or actions. You don't like that, well tough.."

1. Funny you call yourself Vet while claiming no actual war exists. Even funnier, you claim that no warning needs to be given before using deadly force and that 6 shots of a 9mm is needed to "spatter brains" which definitely marks you as a military poseur.
2. Funny we fight Islamoids with troops, not cops and attornies.
3. Funny the legalistic mindset you have that war can only be fought with nations - and other belligerants are criminals - sort of falls apart when you look at other extranational military forces based on tribe and religion that previously swarmed over other civilizations in the past in unrestricted warfare. The Mongol Horde was a loose affiliation of nomadic tribes bonded by blood. Previous Islamoid mass butcheries have not come from "Muslim nations", but from ethnicities bonded by religion into the House of Islam which is in perpetual war with Dar al Harb (Us infidels) - literally the House of War. Yet we somehow fought them with military and did not give their warriors civilian trials.
4. Funny your love of enemy rights extends so far that you would at some time free captured Islamoids to return to jeopardize the real "AfghanVets" in Afghanistan, as 3 already have.

Freedom - "Now I ask you Will, why was it (Moussaoui) tried in Civ court?"

Because civilian lawyers in Justice sensed a multimillion-dollar money making opportunity (57 million in legal professionals, expert witnesses, lawyer lackeys costs), and a 4-year plus career-building opportunity.
Plus a certain arrogance in presuming that civilian lawyers are now entitled to decide outcomes for everything...even enemy combatants..and the civilian Courts are somehow best qualified to micromanage all details of war-fighting.
It sure played out well for the Islamoids, as American lawyers gave the enemy the latest in a huge string of victories over the infidels...

Freedom - "Just because you say we can declare war on Al Queada doesn't mean we as a nation can."

No, it just indicates that you are another person whose anal fixation on the letter of law presupposes that it is impossible for any nation to defend itself if enemy forces find "legal loopholes".

The fakir AfghanVet claims natural law - not that he ever heard of them - of Rousseau, Locke, and Hobbes - which give intellectual validation to societal models created to uphold natural rights with freedom constraints imposed by societal ruler and law - is superceeded by statutory law. Nonsense. AfghanVet claims law is higher than anything else but fails to understand the civilizational imperatives law comes from.

AfghanVet fails to acknowledge the highest natural law is security of life and property.

Without which Locke, Rousseau, and Hobbes all agreed that all "rights" and laws thusly derived from natural law ARE FALSE AND MEANINGLESS.

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 9, 2006 10:19 PM

Afghanvet - "Bad things happen to good people. Deal with it. THAT is life."

Dare I say that is why people like Will and myself wish to destroy the enemy while folks like you wish to defend their "precious enemy rights". Which is good in a democracy. It offers people a clear civilizational choice on who should end up on the ash heap of civilization and who should prevail.

"Man-made law is intended to try to keep that from happening because NATURAL Law cares nothing about the arbitrary human definition of a "good" person."

No, all your babbling does is show you know NOTHING about the underpinnings of natural law that anchor Constitutional and statutory law.

Afghanvet Poseur - "See, if you were indeed an alpha male, governed by natural law (even given the extenuating circumstances YOU describe), you wouldn't even say "freeze" first. You would just shoot; shoot to kill. Why, because you don't have to and immediate action was warranted. But you don't care about solving the problem, you care about how it makes you look, hence the hollywood, dirty harry approach."

Au contraire, psuedo, enemy rights loving "Vet".

When possible, fair warning is given. In California, following the Gulf War, 2 Mexican junkies stupidly tried to steal my Navy LTjg's Harley and were met by him with a .22 and me with 12 guage backup. Both of us had been involved, peripherally but directly responsible, in attrition of Iraqi targets. (killing vehicles and AAA and crew). You don't pull a weapon unless you are ready to use it....killing the Mexicans would have violated a zillion laws, but if they had produced a weapon at the biker, I would have protected him. No hesitation. Self-defense is not "Hollywood" as a fake soldier like you claims. It is something that 3 million people a year do without your trite values.

PS - NEO-TARD is another dead giveaway you are not a Vet, but another stinking Lefty posing as one. Not as big as your insistance that Al Qaeda be freed to shoot troops in Afghanistan, but significant...Because I and most conservatives reject both the Jewish neocons and their ACLU Jewish counterparts.

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 9, 2006 11:24 PM

Chris,

Your unadulterated hate is impressive. If you would like to compare resumes, I would be glad to buy you a beer.

Your reference to NATURAL LAW shows how absurd you are. The basis of Christmas and Easter celebrations are based on Pegan rituals, does that mean we should revert to such things to be more fundamental?

If you and your ilk were so dead on about how to fight this global insurgency, we would have captured OBL and we would have succeeded, albeit under false pretenses, in Iraq. The proof is in the pudding and the proof is that NEO-TARDS like you have tried all of your grand theories based on your perception of natural law...and you have failed miserably.

I will enjoy watching all of you crawl back under the rocks from which you came over the next two years. That is of course, if many of the NEO-TARDS can stay out of jail long enough to find the rocks.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 10, 2006 09:30 AM

Lack of clarity brings this:

NEW YORK -- Former National Security Agency director Bobby Ray Inman lashed out at the Bush administration Monday night over its continued use of warrantless domestic wiretaps, making him one of the highest-ranking former intelligence officials to criticize the program in public, analysts say.

"This activity is not authorized," Inman said, as part of a panel discussion on eavesdropping that was sponsored by The New York Public Library. The Bush administration "need(s) to get away from the idea that they can continue doing it."

Since the NSA eavesdropping program was unveiled in December, Inman -- like other senior members of the intelligence community -- has been measured in the public statements he's made about the agency he headed under President Jimmy Carter. He maintained that his former colleagues "only act in accordance with law." When asked whether the president had the legal authority to order the surveillance, Inman replied in December, "Someone else would have to give you the good answer."

But sitting in a brightly lit basement auditorium at the library next to James Risen, the New York Times reporter who broke the surveillance story, Inman's tone changed. He called on the president to "walk into the modern world" and change the law governing the wiretaps -- or abandon the program altogether.

"The program has drawn a lot of criticism, but thus far former military and intelligence officials have not spoken up. To have Adm. Inman -- the former head of the NSA -- (come) forward with this critique is significant," said Patrick Radden Keefe, author of Chatter: Dispatches From the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping, who sat on the panel with Inman and Risen. "Because of the secrecy surrounding this type of activity, much of the criticism has come from outsiders who don't have a firm grasp of the mechanics and the utility of electronic intelligence. Inman knows whereof he speaks."

http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70855-0.html?tw=wn_index_2

Let me guess Chris, Admiral Inman is a poseur too.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 10, 2006 09:47 AM

Ford,
Thanks for reading my posts earlier. Had you, you might have noticed that I've already posted the definition of Vet, which shows that even if the conflict in Afghanistan is not considered a true war, the term veteran can still be applied.

And in an attempt to prove your points, you actually prove mine.

You state,
"Because civilian lawyers in Justice sensed a multimillion-dollar money making opportunity (57 million in legal professionals, expert witnesses, lawyer lackeys costs), and a 4-year plus career-building opportunity.
Plus a certain arrogance in presuming that civilian lawyers are now entitled to decide outcomes for everything...even enemy combatants..and the civilian Courts are somehow best qualified to micromanage all details of war-fighting.
It sure played out well for the Islamoids, as American lawyers gave the enemy the latest in a huge string of victories over the infidels..."

That's exactly what I'm getting at Ford. And how do you address this problem and get people tried in the tribunal and not civ courts? By erasing the fuzziness that the administration revels in and actually codifying law. Which is what I've been arguing for who knows how long.

You also state,
"No, it just indicates that you are another person whose anal fixation on the letter of law presupposes that it is impossible for any nation to defend itself if enemy forces find "legal loopholes". "

Funny that I've actually stated that I feel we are at war, whether the letter of the law states it. Funny that Moussaoi was tried in civ court rather than miltary tribunal, using the legal loop holes you decry. Funny that again you are proving my point.

What was my response to the first point of this post? Codify law so that there is no room for fuzziness and multiple interpretation. Obviously, despite any claims you make regarding our status of war, there is room for debate and legal manuevering. So why not fix it? The system is allowing these legal loopholes so address the problem and leave no more room for loopholes. If anyone is arguing against us being at war and using war powers Chris, its you, by your absurd notion that just because you think its one way, it is. Based on the civilian trial and millions spent in civilian proceedings, you should realize it isn't. So address the actual problem instead of passing blame as to why it has happened.

Posted by: Freedom | May 10, 2006 11:09 AM

if this is an occupation,

which it appears to be, unlike Afghanistan,

this is not a debate about "war"


any more than we could consider the American Indians, an indigenous population, invaders.

right,

want to play?

.

Posted by: I think the point is this | May 10, 2006 06:13 PM

_they_


the powers that be,


wanted to make this a _civil_ case,


that was front page news for over a week,


with constant diatribes from this mousi sassi guy.....trying to raise the blood pressure of the people of the United States


to rally behind the "Remember 9/11" flag


just like remember the Maine was a foist so Teddy could ride up San Juan Hill


or Remember the Alamo, so we could acquire Texas and California

Posted by: you really need to ask why, | May 10, 2006 06:17 PM


Just noticed that Goss

was from Florida,

that's where geo h.w. bush got his start, CIA/MAFIA/Bay of Pigs...

some say that Kennedy was assassinated by Mafia/CIA/Texas mafia...

didn't geo h.w. bush move to Texas just after the assissination?


do you think there's any connection between the Kennedy assassination and Bush Sr. or LBJ...

isn't Negroponte a George H.W. BUSH man?

and the Florida vote count that gave geo w. bush the election over Gore,


seems like funny things happen in Florida, perhaps it's time to establish an FBI, Secret Service presence down there....sort of look things over, have the boys in Gainesville sort of look over the politics.

.

'specially since it seems like that part of the country may be gearing up to put in Prince Jebadude

Prince Neil shoulda done time.

.

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