Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stalag Gitmo

I carried a Geneva Convention card along with my military ID in what we referred to as our "combat wallet." It was a heavy plastic envelope that held those two IDs and some currency. When we went flying in SEA we left home without our American Express card despite Karl Malden's advice.

We also wore a uniform and we had very detailed and undeniably restrictive ROE. Despite what you might have heard from John Kerry and Jane Fonda we did not bomb civilian facilities indiscriminately.

There are rules of war. When you conduct terrorist activity you don't get the protections of those rules. When you detonate bombs at random against civilians, women and children, you forfeit a lot of protections. When you wear no uniform, carry no identification and represent no nation, you can't expect the protections of the Geneva Conventions. If you aren't within the United States, citizen or not, you can't be guaranteed the rights of the US Constitution. That is what an unlawful military combatant is about.

We're watching a Supreme Court confirmation hearing on the propaganda box today. It seems inconsequential in the greater scheme of things, but American Thinker helps link it to a critical issue:

Redefining the Relationship to Those Who Would Kill Us

Approaching the issue of those incarcerated in Gitmo from the emotional perspective of civil justice is a serious mistake. To ascribe American ideals in this situation is to ignore history. We can look back to Lincoln's suspension of habeus corpus during the Civil War to find precedent for detention of hostiles. We can review the Nisei internment camps in World War II. We can visit POW camps that are now historic sites like Fort Stanton in New Mexico where German merchant marine sailors were held. Some of those prisoners were uniformed miitary, some were an ethnic group wrongly abused, and some were decidedly non-combatants.

But all were held until cessation of hostilities. The group at Gitmo represents an entirely new classification and one that is very much more deadly. To treat them like mis-handled petty criminals who need their Miranda rights read to them is stupid.

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