Contitutional liberty upheld by semantics?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by wispandex_bulge, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. wispandex_bulge

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    What do you all think about the new administration policy to remove the term "enemy combatant" from the use as a title for gitmo or other detainees that have not been charged?

    From what I understand, although the term has been dropped by the justice dept., the executive branch is maintaining the same authority the Bush administration did by continuing to detain suspects without official charges. Although I cannot substantiate the quote, I have been informed that one explanation offered by the administration is that prisoners taken from combat and non-combat zones alike, while outwardly appearing as civilians may be actually part of a loose netowork of terrorists or their supporters.

    The problem with this line of logic is that take to its conclusion, the administration woudl be within its rights to detain ANYONE without having to establish due cause. I am personally bothered by this fact because I am quit unabashedly unsupportive of Obama's policy, so far. Could he... would he ever attempt to detain me or someone like me just because we are willing to say that we disagree or because we may attempt to show why we and others should disagree? It seems all to easy for Obama to limit the freedoms that innocent civilians deserve. If people refuse to see this truth, what sort of totalitarian Nazi-ist-ish regime might we find ourselves in?

    Back during the election, I said that Obama was more like Bush than McCain. I am unfamiliar with McCain's position on detainees held without charges, but Obamas position seems to mirror Bush's in all but semantics.

    PS It's late, and I'm tired. So I apologize ahead of time for spelling and/or grammatical errors.
     
  2. Bbucko

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    Two words: Jose Padilla.
     
  3. HazelGod

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    My thoughts exactly.

    @ the OP: I'm not sure where you heard this news, but your version has some right-hand spin on it. The whole reason the Bush administration used the enemy combatant label was because their consigliere Alberto Gonzales assured them that doing so would exempt Bush from having to observe the Geneva Conventions re: treatment of POWs. In the case of Padilla, Bush actually suspended habeas corpus, which I'm surprised didn't spark any revolt.

    Obama has gone on record in both word and deed to undo the damage to our rule of law that the last president inflicted on this nation. He needs to go one step further and see GWB
    prosecuted to eliminate the issue of his policies being allowed to stand as precedent.
     
  4. houtx48

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    i have always said once they used that power they would never give it up, repb demo makes no difference.
     
  5. wispandex_bulge

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    OK, I understand that as a given, and how is what Obama is doing, by continuing to detain the prisoners without formal charges any better?

    Could you please tell me exactly what he has done, because I'm just not seeing the improvement.
     
  6. HazelGod

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    You're kidding, right?

    Hundreds of "enemy combatants" have been rounded up by the Bush Administration by dubious means and held in Gitmo for years with no charges forthcoming, much less any trial dates being set.

    In his first couple weeks in office, Obama gave the order to shut the place down and discarded the nonsensical EC label that had been used as a shield for Bush to hide his illegal detentions. That done, nobody expected Obama to just open the doors and let everyone walk out. Just because they've been held without charge doesn't mean they're all innocent and without cause for indictment. (Surely you're not that naive, right?) What he's done is actually force the Justice Dept. to move forward on the dispositions of the detainees, i.e. either get busy charging and trying their cases, or let them go. That's what's different.
     
  7. wispandex_bulge

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    Thats just it. Charges HAVEN'T happened. People are STILL beign detained. Also, going back to your accusation that this was right-spin, that doesn not explain why this article points to criticism by generally left-leaning watchdog groups.

    US drops 'enemy combatant' detention status
    '"The Obama administration's take on detainees is essentially the Bush standard with a new name," said Joanne Mariner, director of the terrorism and counterterrorism program at Human Rights Watch.'
    'In the filing, government lawyers backed Bush's stance to hold detainees even if they are not captured on the battlefield, which American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) executive director Anthony Romero called "deeply troubling."'
    Another article:
    Guantanamo inmates no longer enemy combatants | U.S. | Reuters
    '"This is really a case of old wine in new bottles," said the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, which represents a number of Guantanamo prisoners.'
     
  8. HazelGod

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    Alright, this is the last time I'm going to re-address this point...

    BE REALISTIC. Just like we aren't pulling out of Iraq tomorrow, we aren't shutting the doors on Gitmo tomorrow. We aren't letting all the detainees go scot free, and we aren't filing them all into a courtroom today.

    Honestly...what were you expecting?
    :rolleyes:
     
  9. Hockeytiger

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    We won't actually know for some time. This particular decision I suspect was more political than substantive. But there may be substantive changes in the pipeline. We'll have to see.

    The problem is that there is a big gaping hole in international law over this. They obviously aren't POW's. However, there may not be enough evidence to convict them of any crime, but there is enough evidence to show that they are a danger. So what do you do with them?

    I do agree that the Padilla case was deeply troubling. The previous administration effectively made the argument that they had the right to indifinitely detain any American citizen without even a hearing. We'll have to see what this administration thinks on this issue. Words are nice, but action is where the proof is, and frankly, I haven't seen much in the way of action yet. However, it is rather early, and I can't blame him if protecting the liberties of a bunch of hatefull islamists is not his first priority. It probably wouldn't be mine either.

    IMO, they ought to be handled in a similar way to the mentally ill. In order to detain them for more than a trivial amount of time, the government would have to show by a propensity of the evidence (51%) not beyond a reasonable doubt, that the individual is a danger. Then periodically that status would have to be reviewed.

    That allows due process to occur and satisfies the need for security.
     
  10. wispandex_bulge

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    First of all, I need to apologize for letting myself get off track. At this point, although I am concerned about the rights of detainees that may be mostly innocent, my main concern is for the rights of ordinary citizens of the United States. According to the interpretation of executive power as Obama seems to make it, any voice of dissent could be viewed as a threat to national security for which Obama could detain them without further process. THAT is what worries me most. I'm all for national security, but we must draw and I have drawn the line somewhere.
     
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