10 April 2006

A RESPONSE To Comment On My Previous Post - GOOD DEBATE GOING HERE

My "Deny...Then Rationalize" post received a comment from "Subsunk". I felt this comment and my response graduated the debate and called for a new post.

Subsunk writes:

"Now, in my opinion Bush heads the most criminal administration in our history exercising massive abuses of power. I say this because we are in a war which at its foundation violates the Geneva Conventions on many levels. Intelligence was manipulated to duplicitously gain the trust and support of the American people. He and his administration willfully trample human rights to further an agenda of control, power and greed. I say this also because he is a proven liar. He tells Americans they should be willing to sacrifice their liberty for security. A concept that wholly goes against the American philosophy."

So who has manipulated intelligence? The administration who has kept it secret, or the press who has leaked only that which makes the government look evil? And once the intelligence has been declassified and released, who has claimed that it was done for political purposes? The Time article on prisoner 063 breathlessly claims to delineate "torture" of a detainee who is supposedly treated to "extremes" of hot and cold (from 60 degrees to 80 degrees), sleep deprivation (4 hours of sleep daily for 7 weeks), withholding of food and water (unless the prisoner finishes answering the question asked and for no longer than 3-4 hours), and items of clothing (hats and gloves to handle religious items, not underwear, pants, or shirts). And you believe that constitutes torture?

I worked harder and longer on my ships for years than this. If you consider these methods torture, then you are the weakest excuse for humanity I have ever seen. My troops suffered more than this twit on their best day because they WANTED to be better than he is.

You claim the Geneva Conventions have been violated, yet there is NO, I say again, NO evidence of wholesale violations whatsoever. Sure a couple of dozen servicemen have been prosecuted and punished for abusing detainees. Less than 5 have been acused of killing or severely injuring detainees. That is better than the murder rate in America as a whole. There is no violation of the Geneva Conventions because there has been no significant abuse. France abuses more prisoners in their own prisons because they are the third worst prison system in Europe. And conditions in Middle Eastern prisons are 10x worse. So who is the torturer here?

Now who is the proven liar? She who insists there is manipulation of intelligence (which I have personally seen, by the way), lies from the Chief Executive (which have not been seen, unless you can point them out and I can show you what he actually said in the transcript), and "willfully trampl[ing] human rights to further an agenda of control, power and greed" (where? -- show me where your personal rights have been infringed? Have you been imprisoned or fined for saying what you want, going where you want, or sleeping with whomever you wish?).

Show me the violations, dear. Then I'll believe you. Until then, I guess I must quote you about yourself:"the PERFECT example of your ease with distorting the truth, distorting statements, spinning it to suit your view and then stating it as if it were fact."

"I respect your opinion but disagree with you resorting to name calling. That solves nothing."

Carry on, dear. I guess I will wait for your answer. I also guess I won't hold my breath.

Subsunk

My Response:

Subsunk,

Thank you for adding your thoughts. Let me first say that I think you jumped to an assumption here that my references were largely about alleged torture. Although I could not condone torture at all, I believe there to likely be a very fine line between gaining needed intelligence by any means and torture and I don't pretend to know where that line is or should be drawn. I believe the convictions so far regarding torture have been justified as needless denigration and torture cannot become a routine American practice. We are trying to maintain the "rules of war" against an enemy who doesn't operate within the rules, this is bound to back up on us at times.

As far as specifics with regard to actions by this President and this administration.
Bush and his administration misled Congress and certainly the American people about his urgent reasons for taking us to war. And if you want to argue that he was completely unaware that the intelligence was false, then who is responsible? Also, that argument is hard to make when we know that Bush (in the SOTU) told us that Iraq was buying uranium from Africa when he already had the reports that this evidence was completely forged. If he did not have a pre-determined plan to go to war no matter what, why would he make this very public and blatant lie? He also maintained the WMD lie when he knew the UN could not and never did find any evidence of this. He also maintained the lie of falsely linking Iraq to Al Qaeda.

One has to consider so much when discussing Geneva conventions violations (as well as violations of other international treaties).

1. Bush administration authorized a war of aggression against Iraq - a sovereign nation.
2. Bush administration authorized and still authorizes conduct of the war that involve the commission of "war crimes". This is not just the torture issue although this is widely argued but even the method of previous and current attacks. Under the Geneva Conventions and customary law, it is a war crime to launch indiscriminate attacks affecting the civilian population or civilian objects in the knowledge that such attacks will cause excessive loss of life, injury to civilians, or damage to civilian objects. The distinction between combatants and non-combatants is fundamental to all humanitarian law. You can go all the way back to the 6 day "shock-and-awe" bombing campaign on Baghdad, a city of 5 million people.
3. In October, 2001 Cheney and Addington committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions by directing that a Presidential order be drafted authorizing the indefinite detention without charge of detainees and their subjection to military tribunals.
4. In January, 2002, Gonzales committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions by advising Bush in written memos to suspend the application of the Geneva conventions to detainees.
5. On February 7, 2002, Bush committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions by issuing in February 7, 2002 a Memorandum stating that Geneva Convention does not apply to detainees, "unlawful combatants".
6. In October 2001 Bush issued a secret finding authorizing the CIA to kill those he designated, either US citizens or non-citizens, anywhere in the world.


Human Rights Violations:

Subsunk, I am sure you don't mean to say that I have no right to point out human rights violations unless I myself have somehow been personally violated? These crimes are committed against a nation, a people. However, that being said, my human rights are violated by this administration by the continual attempt to subvert the constitution and use it as their tool to deny rights instead of protect them.

1. Bush authorized the secret, illegal, warrantless wiretapping of US citizens. Even arguments that we should be willing to sacrifice liberty for security does not make it any less of a subversion of the constitution.

Also, the US Human Rights Network last year took the unprecedented step of sending a detailed memo to the Bush administration cautioning them to look at their egregious human rights violations. I can't imagine anyone trying to deny these blatant and proven truths.

1. Coercive and unreliable interrogation techniques that amount to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment have been defended and promoted
2. Criminal trials have been conducted in military tribunals that do not provide adequate transparency or due process protections.
3. Foreign nationals have been deported to third world countries where it was likely they would be tortured.
4. More than one thousand immigrants in the US were rounded-up immediately after September 11th in a manner that was arbitrary, discriminatory and violated basic human rights

Furthermore, this administration has still failed to ratify half of the major international human rights treaties, including:

1. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified by every other country in the world except Somalia).
2. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (ratified by 177 countries -- over ninety percent of the members of the United Nations).
3. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ratified by 97 countries).

Subsunk, from someone who studies, collects research and works diligently to remain aware, even this lengthy response feels like the tip of the iceberg. When I read your (almost) challenge to respond, my first response was - whew, where do I begin? You sound like an intelligent person with access to interesting information that places you in a good position to debate this and I happily discuss it with you. I offer you my interest and my attention to anything you bring to the debate.

17 comments:

Subsunk said...

Woah, too much to answer at once. Let me take the ones I can speak about, and go research the rest. I do have a job in my real life.

You say,
"Bush and his administration misled Congress and certainly the American people about his urgent reasons for taking us to war. And if you want to argue that he was completely unaware that the intelligence was false, then who is responsible? Also, that argument is hard to make when we know that Bush (in the SOTU) told us that Iraq was buying uranium from Africa when he already had the reports that this evidence was completely forged. If he did not have a pre-determined plan to go to war no matter what, why would he make this very public and blatant lie? He also maintained the WMD lie when he knew the UN could not and never did find any evidence of this. He also maintained the lie of falsely linking Iraq to Al Qaeda."

Since Congress saw the EXACT same intelligence reports that were presented to the White House (there is no such thing as intel given only to the Pres which doesn't also then go to the heads of the Senate and House committees if they wish it), how could they have come to the same conclusion and recommended war if he is lying or manipulating intel? As for the American people being lied to, his words and the words of the inspections teams are here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021007-8.html ; http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/01/20030128-19.html ; http://www.lib.umich.edu/govdocs/duelfer.html ; http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/951nmtfi.asp ; http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/004/357lnryy.asp ; http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/004/354tdeij.asp ; http://www.rotten.com/library/history/terrorist-organizations/al-qaeda/ ; http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=092503F

He says the regime has chemical and biological weapons and are attempting to pursue nuclear weapons. And they did and they were. Unless you live under a rock, you should not ignore the evidence (from the deputy commander of the Iraqi Air Force) to date that 56 flights and several truckloads of chemical weapons and materials were escorted by Russian and Iraqi personnel to Syria. Seventeen of the supposedly destroyed shells and materials were found in Iraq after the war began because the Iraqis didn't keep track of them and move them with the rest. Biological weapons materials and labs were discovered and dismantled. Only technology and scientists remained of the nuclear weapons programs. Programs in the context of the words in his state of the union address.

Who is responsible for the failure of intelligence to know what Saddam Hussein's administration was up to? Saddam, the CIA and the intelligence community, the Congress which eliminated the use of criminals and human rights violators as CIA informants, the entire intelligence collection and law enforcement system. People are only human, after all. The last perfect human was crucified despite walking on water.

The UN did find evidence of WMD and did press Saddam for truth in his disclosures. He is the one who lied. And there is ample evidence to prove it.

Again, in 2002, tell me you would not have pursued vigorously the actions we took against Saddam, given what you just experienced on 9-11.

We'll continue this after I get my morning chores done. Les, this is going to take several days to get through. I can innundate you with links but it will take me days to comment on them to you. Your generalizations about lying may end up using lots of bandwidth. Are you ready for that? Don't want to break your bank.

Subsunk

C'est Moi said...

I will take your points one by one:

"Since Congress saw the EXACT same intelligence reports..."

I understand this Subsunk, but my belief and my argument is that Congress saw manipulated intelligence. It is also my position that the evidence supports that theory. Here, we disagree on what the evidence tells us. Based on the information that Bush and his team did actually receive (from the UN inspectors, CIA, etc) I find his statements, his assessment of the threat and his rationale for taking us to war to be lies.

"how could they have come to the same conclusion and recommended war if he is lying or manipulating intel?"

They did so BECAUSE the manipulated intelligence (which we now KNOW was false) gave them a completely untrue representation of the situation.

"He says the regime has chemical and biological weapons and are attempting to pursue nuclear weapons. And they did and they were."

You cannot say "well Bush was right" by posing these superfluous arguments. The findings of the Presidential Commission tells us clearly that intelligence was "dead wrong" in the pre-war assessments of Iraq's weaponry. That is the truth, that is the way of it, that is inarguable. President Bush had no choice but to accept that and as soon as he knew there was no denying that, he shifted his public rationale for invading Iraq to "regime change" and "spreading democracy in the Middle East".

"Who is responsible for the failure of intelligence to know what Saddam Hussein's administration was up to? Saddam"

Subsunk I have to say, I have never before heard it argued that Saddam was responsible for the reliability of US intelligence. With that said...Saddam was a liar, a butcher, a brutal dictator and a horrific slice of world history, but Saddam's actions are not up for debate here, are they? We are debating President Bush's actions.

"Again, in 2002, tell me you would not have pursued vigorously the actions we took against Saddam, given what you just experienced on 9-11."

No. Then (in 2002) I wanted justice, yes. I wanted to believe my President. If you are asking me if I was duped like everyone else, yes, in large part I was. That was a time when this country was so closely knit in our grief. I complacently agreed with "doing something". My issues (then) were the constant changes in reasoning for military action. That seemed to change every time I flipped cable news channels. Also, as much as I tried, I could find no evidence linking Saddam / Iraq to Al Qaeda. Suspicions and nagging questions turned to anger, resentment and horror over the cost of human life, when the truth started coming out.

"Your generalizations about lying may end up using lots of bandwidth"

Generalizations??! Subsunk, just how much more specific could I have been?

Subsunk said...

Les,

I'll get to the post above later, let's continue your Fisking.

"One has to consider so much when discussing Geneva conventions violations (as well as violations of other international treaties).

1. Bush administration authorized a war of aggression against Iraq - a sovereign nation.
2. Bush administration authorized and still authorizes conduct of the war that involve the commission of "war crimes". This is not just the torture issue although this is widely argued but even the method of previous and current attacks. Under the Geneva Conventions and customary law, it is a war crime to launch indiscriminate attacks affecting the civilian population or civilian objects in the knowledge that such attacks will cause excessive loss of life, injury to civilians, or damage to civilian objects. The distinction between combatants and non-combatants is fundamental to all humanitarian law. You can go all the way back to the 6 day "shock-and-awe" bombing campaign on Baghdad, a city of 5 million people.

OK, Let's dig in. I may not get to them all, but I will try.

1. The Bush administration authorized a war of aggression against a soveriegn nation. --- No the administration asked for a declaration from Congress, who provided same. That means, legally, that the Congress and the President are guilty of any offense which may have been committed. I'll reming you that this was not a Republican controlled Congress. The House was majority Republican, the Senate essentially 50-50 with a large majority voting to direct combat offensive operations should Iraq fail to comply with existing UN resolutions (14 of them to be exact). The declaration is here.

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=107_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ243.107

Read it all. It explains why war was authorized by Congress (296-133 in the House, 77-23 in the Senate, Oct 10-11, 2002) and executed in March 2003. Congress again reaffirmed its support on 20 March 2003 with House Congressional Resolution 104 of 2003 in support of the troops on the eve of war (which I have in pdf, but can't otherwise link). So my answer to you is that your implication that the administration authorized the war is wrong. Congress authorizes it, the administration asked for it, and got it, and then the administration executed the operation. I guess you might see this as nitpicking, but that is actually how it happened.

Then your statement implies this is the wrong thing to do. I guess my question on that is what else is there to do if you have exhausted diplomacy and sanctions? If you claims sanctions weren’t implemented effectively enough, then I refer you to the Duelfer report who says that exactly, and that this allowed the regime to procure dual use chemical weapons equipment, but that no precursor chemicals were bought. However, the regime had the capability of producing chemical weapons in 3-6 months after procuring the precursors (Duelfer Part III pgs.6-8). Duelfer also says that Biological Weapons programs were maintained until 1996 when Husayn Kamel defected, identified the programs to the UN, then was lured back to Iraq and killed for his defection. The BW stockpiles were destroyed shortly after this period. Seed stocks were maintained by scientists who produced them for our inspectors in 2003, when they were destroyed after the major combat operations were completed. (Duelfer Part III. Pgs. 134-136)

If you think diplomacy could have worked, then how come I can’t get you to see my viewpoint, eh? Stubborn or what? Now try to make Saddam give up whoring and drinking, babe. Let’s see where that gets you.

On to the next point:

2. Bush administration authorized and still authorizes conduct of the war that involve the commission of "war crimes". This is not just the torture issue although this is widely argued but even the method of previous and current attacks. Under the Geneva Conventions and customary law, it is a war crime to launch indiscriminate attacks affecting the civilian population or civilian objects in the knowledge that such attacks will cause excessive loss of life, injury to civilians, or damage to civilian objects. The distinction between combatants and non-combatants is fundamental to all humanitarian law. You can go all the way back to the 6 day "shock-and-awe" bombing campaign on Baghdad, a city of 5 million people.

Excuse me, but just where does it say bombing targets in a city is a war crime? If I bomb dozens of targets in Baghdad, and theoretically kill no one, then where is the war crime??? Now the news reports at the time claim approximately 55 innocent women and children killed by bombs from the US strikes. However, after action reports indicate that these folks were most likely killed by Iraqi surface to air missiles fired at nonexistent targets in Iraqi airspace, and when they fell back to Earth (the law of gravity not having been suspended), their warheads exploded killing several people in a marketplace. The palaces and military targets in the city contained NO civilians and there are no reports of even any military casualties from the Iraqi military. We bombed empty buildings and killed very few, if any noncombatants. The Geneva Conventions are here: http://www.genevaconventions.org/

I have reviewed them. I find nothing which says attacks on Saddam’s palaces, seats of government, government installations or other military targets are prohibited from being attacked. There was nothing indiscriminate about the attacks launched. The bombs went where they were designed to go. In fact the pertinent articles say this:

Art. 57. Precautions in attack

………….

2. With respect to attacks, the following precautions shall be taken: (a) those who plan or decide upon an attack shall: (i) do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects and are not subject to special protection but are military objectives within the meaning of paragraph 2 of Article 52 and that it is not prohibited by the provisions of this Protocol to attack them; (ii) take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack with a view to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss or civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects; (iii) refrain from deciding to launch any attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated;

………….

(c) effective advance warning shall be given of attacks which may affect the civilian population, unless circumstances do not permit.


Assume I am correct that the targets in the shock and awe campaign were reasonable military targets. Since neither you nor I are military planners, we shall assume the military men whose job it is to determine this did their job. (Bush doesn’t pick the targets ,ya know)

Since they are not civilian targets they are legal. Since no civilians were deliberately targeted, and actions (such as sizing of the bombs and trajectory of attack) were taken to avoid hitting innocents, where is the war crime???? Ah, look at item iii), you say. To which I point that it says prevent … loss of civilian life ….. which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. If this bombing campaign can kill or destroy enemy command and control to prevent the Iraqi military from effectively fighting the US military, then the war is shortened, fewer military and civilian casualties will occur, and lives are saved. If America has to slug their way into town, then I guarantee many more Iraqis would have died than have died to date.

Guess that’s all I can get to tonight. I’ll keep on going tomorrow, dear. If I am not swamped at work.

Subsunk

Subsunk said...

3. In October, 2001 Cheney and Addington committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions by directing that a Presidential order be drafted authorizing the indefinite detention without charge of detainees and their subjection to military tribunals.
4. In January, 2002, Gonzales committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions by advising Bush in written memos to suspend the application of the Geneva conventions to detainees.
5. On February 7, 2002, Bush committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions by issuing in February 7, 2002 a Memorandum stating that Geneva Convention does not apply to detainees, "unlawful combatants".


So grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions were directed by Bush-Cheney? Let's examine what the Geneva Conventions say here, shall we?

Convention III applies:

Art. 2. In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in peace time, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.

The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance.

Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof.

Art. 3. In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions: (1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria. To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons: (a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; (b) taking of hostages; (c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment; (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples. (2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for. An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.

The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.

The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.


So far it sounds like we've done everything applicable under Convention III regarding POWs. I'm sure we will disagree over what constitues "(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment" but let's put that one till later, shall we?

Art. 4. A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:

(1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict, as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces. This doesn't apply to al Qaeda, might apply to the Taliban if they meet some restrictions.

(2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions: (a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;[ I could argue whether "bin Hidin'" meets this definition] (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance; [not even close on alQaeda] (c) that of carrying arms openly;[OK here except suicide bombers who are too incompetent to pull it off don't count in this one, I would have to say] (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war [and here we meet the crux of the matter --- nothing, I say again, NOTHING in the laws of War allows alQaeda to target innocent civilians (Iraqi women, children, or men not under arms, behead foreigners, withhold food, water, shelter, or religious items from their own captives), and meet this definition].

(3) Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power. [can alQaeda be deemed such? Make your case. I don't believe so, but there is room for your case here]. All the rest are not applicable, but I'll leave them in:

(4) Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labour units or of services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received authorization, from the armed forces which they accompany, who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card similar to the annexed model.

(5) Members of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices, of the merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.

(6) Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

{And here we have the treatment of Iraqi insurgents, who are treated under the Geneva Conventions and treated satisfactorily under them. No torture has been involved, although I am sure you will argue that "(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment" have been systematically applied, and I will argue that point later.)

B. The following shall likewise be treated as prisoners of war under the present Convention: (1) Persons belonging, or having belonged, to the armed forces of the occupied country, if the occupying Power considers it necessary by reason of such allegiance to intern them, even though it has originally liberated them while hostilities were going on outside the territory it occupies, in particular where such persons have made an unsuccessful attempt to rejoin the armed forces to which they belong and which are engaged in combat, or where they fail to comply with a summons made to them with a view to internment.

(2) The persons belonging to one of the categories enumerated in the present Article, who have been received by neutral or non-belligerent Powers on their territory and whom these Powers are required to intern under international law, without prejudice to any more favourable treatment which these Powers may choose to give and with the exception of Articles 8, 10, 15, 30, fifth paragraph, 58-67, 92, 126 and, where diplomatic relations exist between the Parties to the conflict and the neutral or non-belligerent Power concerned, those Articles concerning the Protecting Power. Where such diplomatic relations exist, the Parties to a conflict on whom these persons depend shall be allowed to perform towards them the functions of a Protecting Power as provided in the present Convention, without prejudice to the functions which these Parties normally exercise in conformity with diplomatic and consular usage and treaties.

C. This Article shall in no way affect the status of medical personnel and chaplains as provided for in Article 33 of the present Convention.

Art. 5. The present Convention shall apply to the persons referred to in Article 4 from the time they fall into the power of the enemy and until their final release and repatriation.

Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.

[OH, Look!!!! "persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal", as in military tribunal. A process required by the Geneva Conventions when a combatants status is unsure, and one which has been effected for all prisoners to date, even the idiots at GITMO. I think it is safe to say we've followed the Conventions.]

Art. 6. In addition to the agreements expressly provided for in Articles 10, 23, 28, 33, 60, 65, 66, 67, 72, 73, 75, 109, 110, 118, 119, 122 and 132, the High Contracting Parties may conclude other special agreements for all matters concerning which they may deem it suitable to make separate provision. No special agreement shall adversely affect the situation of prisoners of war, as defined by the present Convention, nor restrict the rights which it confers upon them.

Prisoners of war shall continue to have the benefit of such agreements as long as the Convention is applicable to them, except where express provisions to the contrary are contained in the aforesaid or in subsequent agreements, or where more favourable measures have been taken with regard to them by one or other of the Parties to the conflict.

So now we are through reviewing. Bored yet? I see no case for saying that

Now on to cruel and degrading treatment. A detainee is washed, clothed, fed, given water, their religious books, given exercise, sheltered, and even allowed to mingle with the other prisoners occasionally. None of this is degrading treatment, right? Just their freedom has been taken away, like the freedom of our prisoners in maximum security prisons in the US.

How is a detainees treatment any different than a normal prisoner? Well he gets interrogated for intelligence information. So using TIME's transcript and log of prisoner 063's interrogation as typical we find that he has been subjected to sleep deprivation (no more nor less than 4 hrs of sleep in a 24 hr period) for up to 7 weeks. Again, it sounds like one of my submarine patrols, so I don't consider it torture because I did it willingly. But I LIKE the way it sucked.

He is refused food or water or bathroom pitstops? Only when he refuses to answer questions and he refuses to drink his water. The logs show the interrogators insisting he drink his water before he can go to the bathroom ad avoid answering the questions posed to him. He is well fed unless he refuses to eat on his own, and is frequently offred food and water.

Humiliating treatment? They put a bag on his head with a smiley face and danced with him. Sort of like asking a girl to dance with you the first time when you are the ugly kid in school. Guess you never got over that either, did you dear? I just kept asking until some stupid gal said yes because I had a bag over my head. It has its advantages.

Dogs used? No one was ever bitten by the dogs unless you count the illegal idiots now in US federal prison after conviction on Abu Ghraib abuse charges. How that can be laid at Rumsfeld's, Bush's, or even any generals door is beyond me. When the troops disobeyed orders for humane treatment, it is tough to say, the General made me do it!

Extremes of hot and cold. Well since my wife makes me sleep in a room with the AC cranked down to 65 degrees at night and then pulls the covers off me with her tossing and turning because she is still too hot at night I guess that constitutes torture. Whattaya gonna do, outlaw Menopause? And as for it being too hot, I slept in the open many a summer night with the temperature over 85 degrees in some cases and my grandfather and grandmother did all their life. That was torture. But it wasn't illegal torture. And neither is this.

The logs says no one got hit, except the guards by the detainees. No one got hurt. Everyone got medical attention during interrogation. And the rules were followed. So where did the allegations of torture come from? From FBI agents who thought POWs and combatants have to be read their rights. Have to be given lawyers. Have to get their one phone call.

This is war, not the trial of the US based Gambino crime family. These are not US citizens. They do not have rights except under the GCs, they do not get a phone call, they do not get a lawyer. They get a Commanding Officer of their own who is their one and only spokesman because that is what the GCs say. They should elect a CO. They should kick out the lawyers and refuse to say anything if that is their positon that they deserve the rights of the GC. And FBI agents who have no clue about what is legal under the laws ofr war and the Geneva Conventions have no business spouting out what they think are violations of some idiots civil rights when he in fact has none of those rights.

Fact is, they DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to any legal protection of the United States. That is like saying the Japanese POWs held in Saipan during WWII deserved lawyers on their behalf. The position is Stupid, dear. Please don't subscribe to it.

Again, I will work on the other items tomorrow after I actually do some work. It would behoove you to actually read the language of the statute you quote before you cast a stone saying someone has violated it. Failure to do so is like wrestling with a pig. It just gets you dirty, and the pig likes it. Oink, oink, my dear.

Subsunk

PS, I know you will never change your mind, but I don't mind arguing with you anyway. It passes the little time I have in a meaningless and silly way, but it amuses me.

C'est Moi said...

This really should not be about changing the other's mind. And a fair exchange of ideas is never a waste of time.

A lot to take in here and I cannot reply this afternoon, but I will try to review again this evening and respond.

C'est Moi said...

Ok Subsunk, I will attempt some brevity here...(my item numbers will not match yours, I am just taking each point and numbering them myself)

1. The Congress acted on manipulated intelligence. You can't fault anyone (including the American people who offered support) when they were armed with false information.

2. Regarding exhausting all other options. Should Saddam have violated 1441 or others and diplomacy and/or sanctions didn't work, of course I would agree with military action, but that is NOT what happened is it? NO, this administration lied their way into war by making false claims - completely unrelated charges. Bottom line lies....WMD and a completely falsified link between Saddam and Al Qaeda

3. On the bombing campaigns: Neither one of us can perform a body to body count on casualties. But really, you must know the cost in human life. Also, you know as well as I do that the palaces were hardly the single targets. This was a leveling of huge city. It was meant to be "shock and awe" and our cowboy lived up to it.

"refrain from deciding to launch any attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated;"

Yeah, I think a strong argument can be made here. Thank you but I do not need a link to the Geneva Conventions, I have read them. It is my opinion that anyone who has read them must realize there is a strong case to be made for this particular war crime.

4. "Since they are not civilian targets they are legal..." No Subsunk, it is not that simple. www.genevaconventions.org"

5. It is also very important to remember while discussing this that the threat assessments and intelligence (that justify this war and each individual attack and bombing campaign) were completely bogus.

6. Regarding the information you provide regarding... "(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment". Agreed, we can go into that further another time. I have already stated that I believe this to be a sub-argument, if you will. (Considering that I feel going to war was illegal to begin with).

7. (Not being Military myself), I will say - of course there are perfectly legal military tribunals. However, they are to be performed with some transparency and due process.

8. Subsunk, regarding degrading treatment...come on. We already KNOW POW's have suffered degrading treatment. The cases of this are widely and well known. No question here.

9. "Sort of like asking a girl to dance with you the first time when you are the ugly kid in school. Guess you never got over that either, did you dear?" There is no need for personal attacks Subsunk. We are getting along so well, let's not resort to such childishness. My school experience (which I actually enjoyed very much) has absolutely nothing to do with this debate.

10. "Dogs used?" "Extremes of hot and cold"... I have never made an argument regarding dogs or temperature so I cannot comment here.

11. "This is war, not the trial of the US based Gambino crime family". I am sorry if it doesn't help to flame anger and a desire for vengeance, but even in war, the American process is supposed to be honorable. There are laws......and better yet a code of honor that sets Americans at war apart from other combatants. Do you really want to overlook that? Do you really want to toss that out the window and have this country's standard be "Hey, it's war."

12. "It would behoove you to actually read the language of the statute you quote before you cast a stone saying someone has violated it." Subsunk, do you really believe (given the conversation we have had so far) that I have not read this material? That would be an unintelligent assessment of your adversary. We might disagree on if laws have been broken, but don't assume for one minute that I utter one word without knowing the material and the facts.

Subsunk said...

"We might disagree on if laws have been broken, but don't assume for one minute that I utter one word without knowing the material and the facts."

OK, dear. So you're not unprepared, just wrong.

Les, I think the information I have pointed out already casts sufficient doubt on your case for war crimes. If you can't agree with that and point to some legal doctrine instead of opinion, then you certainly haven't made a sufficient case for prosecution of any crimes.

"This was a leveling of huge city" Baghdad was not leveled. Grozny was leveled. You obviously don't know the difference. The pictures we saw on our TV screens of the 3rd Infantry and Ist Marines entering Baghdad were absolute proof that the bombing in Baghdad was much less than leveling. Most buildings were untouched, and the hotels full of journalists were all still standing. [If we had leveled the place, that would have been my first target.]

If you are going to make the claim that neither of us actually can count or suggest how many civilian casualties there were, then how in the hell can you suggest there were any war crimes? If you aren't going to go in to court with evidence, then stop making foolish arguments.

If intelligence was manipulated, then who do you claim did the manipulation? If you read the Duelfer report, it is clear that the intelligence we received was accurate regarding what Saddam thought and directed. However, when his OWN PEOPLE lie so overwhelmingly to him that even he believes they are succeeding at making strides in BW/CW research, then the problem is not our intelligence, but his lies.

Investigations by bipartisan commissions have found that there was no manipulation of the intelligence at all. It was just wrong. I blame the Congresses of 1976-1990. You blame Bush. Personally, I believe the 20 tons of sarin found in the foiled Jordanian bombing plot is part of Saddam's WMD stockpile. Feel free to look it up, babe.

Regarding your no. 9, the context is that the girls wouldn't dance with me because I was too ugly, my dear. This is not an insult to you. This one is on me, dear. No insult to you is intended, but if this type of joke makes you upset, you need to get a life.

If you aren't going to be swayed in the least by the actual statutes, and the evidence, why are we doing this?

Subsunk

C'est Moi said...

Ok, I am going to let go of a bit of my diplomacy as you keep making little snarky comments.

Sub, I think the information I have pointed out casts sufficient doubt on your argument. See? We can both make the same claim. You may think that I am just unwilling to see the truth and I think you must be blind to the obvious truth.

You cloud good arguments with things like "If you are going to make the claim that neither of us actually can count or suggest how many civilian casualties there were, then how in the hell can you suggest there were any war crimes? If you aren't going to go in to court with evidence, then stop making foolish arguments." I was giving each of us some latitude here as we are not in Iraq, but since you took the gloves off....how many more reports and images of mothers carrying their dead babies out of destroyed buildings would you have needed to see to believe their were a shocking number of civilian deaths? Foolish arguments? Tell that to the families of the dead.

Who manipulated the intelligence? Do you not remember my original argument? Bush is guilty of launching an illegal war, committing war crimes. Lying, lying, lying. Now before you jump into yet another silly, Stepford like statement that I am generalizing and have not stated where and why I see violations of the law, go back and read my very specific claims that include Geneva articles, international law and specific dates.

Sub (let's try this again), the pre-war intelligence we were spoon fed was FALSE, UNTRUE, A SHAM, FLIM FLAM, BOGUS. No matter how many times you say "it is clear that the intelligence we received was accurate regarding what Saddam thought and directed", does not change the fact that is was F A L S E.

"No insult to you is intended, but if this type of joke makes you upset, you need to get a life." You grossly over-estimate your ability to upset me. I need no other life, mine is fine and even tho the comment was directed toward me, I only felt that it was silly and had nothing to do with our debate.

If you only commented here in an attempt to sway me, then you have made a mistake. I believe no matter what, it is the exchange of ideas that is important. If you are looking to "sell" someone, you are in the wrong spot.

Also, just as an fyi...Not that I don't just love being refered to as "dear" or "babe", but my name is Megan.

Subsunk said...

Nope, no intention to sway you. Just looking to see how rigid you are in your position. Obviously facts won't sway you, language won't sway you, and you are not open to reasonable arguments. Just seeing how deeply your BDS goes. Apparently to the bone.

"how many more reports and images of mothers carrying their dead babies out of destroyed buildings would you have needed to see to believe their were a shocking number of civilian deaths? Foolish arguments? Tell that to the families of the dead."

How many more faked photos and false reports will it take before you admit that maybe some of the ones you see are staged and false. Not all certainly, mistakes are made, bad things happen. But it all depends on who you trust. You don't trust the word of military personnel at all. You trust only the word of leftist journalists, insurgent mouthpieces, and anyone who hates George Bush.

Guess you've made your choice on who you support. It isn't those who fight the war, those who lost loved ones in 9-11, Afghanistan or Iraq or anywhere else that radical Islam must be confronted. And it certainly isn't with those who believe we have to fight injustice and oppression by Radical Islam against ALL of the innocents all over the world.

"Sub (let's try this again), the pre-war intelligence we were spoon fed was FALSE, UNTRUE, A SHAM, FLIM FLAM, BOGUS. No matter how many times you say "it is clear that the intelligence we received was accurate regarding what Saddam thought and directed", does not change the fact that is was F A L S E."

You don't read the reports I linked, do you? No matter what you say, false is different than lying. Wrong is different than lying. Mistaken is different from lying. Bush didn't lie. If your position is that the intel is false, then Saddam, his generals and scientists, the CIA, DIA, numerous foreign intelligence agencies, and the press (from which several reports received input) ALL lied to the leadership of this country and did so for years. Whose fault is that? The hundreds of thousands of civil servants paid for by your and my tax money? Or George W. Bush. I know what your answer is. Mine falls elsewhere, but I don't blame dedicated folks who made mistakes for making those mistakes honestly.

Guess you've placed yourself squarely on the side of those who behead innocents because they are not Muslim, blow up kids standing around US soldiers receiving candy just because they were friendly to the soldiers, those who kill children, plant explosives inside their dead bodies, and then blow up the parents when they come to claim the body, those who insist on deference to Mohammed, but care not and speak not when a Christian is threatened with death because he chooses to believe something other than the Koran. Have you stated any of these positions? Not to my knowledge. I'm sure you would tell me you never said anything remotely like this.

But you have aligned yourself with those who have. If you aren't part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. Don't think I'm describing you? Guess you have no time for introspection, Megan.

I don't care what your name is. I don't care if you don't like being called babe or dear. I don't care if you agree with me. All I ask is that you quit making it harder to succeed by following a discredited, unpatriotic, and counterproductive belief system in this war.

I'm not holding my breath waiting on you, though. Thanks for the opportunity to prove that your mind is made up and the EXCHANGE of RATIONAL ideas is not really what you are looking for. It was amusing and enlightening, my dear. But not for you.

Subsunk

Shane said...

I'm sorry, Sub, but you seem to have a narrow view. Yes, people have been thrown in prisons and fined over meaningless crap. The ones who haven't can't do the things Americans are meant to be free to do out of fear of imprisonment or other courses of punishment. I swear, America is getting more communist everyday. The greed and power trips are getting REALLY old.

Subsunk said...

Shane,

Yes, I do have a narrow view. I believe in Victory for my country. I believe in survival for our way of Life and our insistence on Liberty and Fairness for everyone who supports the Constitution. I don't believe in liberty for those who want to tear it down, or oppress me because I don't want them taking my money, my guns, my wife or my life. I don't believe because you say people have been imprisoned and fined "over meaningless crap", that said crap was legal. If they are in jail, then it is likely they did something illegal or warlike to get there. And that includes Gitmo jihadis.

Why do I believe they are guilty? Because it is war, and guilt or innocence is not at issue. Many Prisoners of War are guilty of nothing but serving their country. They drive trucks or cargo planes or provide medical care to soldiers and the local populace. They kill no one. But if captured they are imprisoned along with the rest of the soldiers because they support the war effort. This is no different. There is no legal recourse for a POW. They have to wait until the war is over.

And as for the assertion that they aren't POWs, then they certainly are being treated like POWs or enemy combatants because they had weapons on them and fought against Americans when caught. I know my military personnel. They are normal everyday Americans. They are Democrat and Republican and Libertarian, and Independent. They have most of the values all of us have, including making sure the people we are holding are truly guilty, or finding out the facts and letting them go if they are innocent. (This has happened in numerous cases.)

None of you have the facts. None of you knows a damn thing about whether these folks are guilty of warlike behavior or not. So until the war is over, these jihadis need to be kept out of the war, or be killed on the field of battle without taking prisoners. Which is more humane, Shane?

And the "people" you claim can't speak out because they are afraid of what will happen to them -- how is that different than me speaking out against the lunacy espoused here that America is automatically evil because we hold jihadis and arhabi without a chance of release, especially when we catch them in the act, when they automatically return and try to kill us again and again when we release them? For years, my opinions have been ridiculed by all in the Democrat party, and the press because I believe the country I fought for, my father fought for, and my grandfather and great grandfather settled deserves to be defended against Evil Men who try to harm its citizens and property. I have been afraid to speak out publicly because some liberal would then label me a racist or a criminal, or just stupid because I believe it is my right to own a gun, my right to keep the money I make, and my right to kill anyone who is trying to kill me first.

I am afraid no more because finally I see that I MUST speak out against injustice from the left because they would rather stifle my opinions and my feelings beneath the propaganda of liberalism and the bias of the press. I must be bad because I am a Rethuglican. I must be bad because I am military. I must be bad because I own a gun. I must be bad because I want to choose to give my money to the Catholic Church instead of the ACLU or NOW. Liberals and the press have said this so many times I throw up everytime I hear it again.

The people who sympathize with Meg on this site are all good people, I am sure. I just happen to think they are wrong and that they are contributing to extending the war, and trying to obstruct every facet of American Foreign policy by pretending they know better than the people they hired/voted in to do that job for them. I don't like things other Presidents have done. But I followed their orders and supported their policies without reservation. Enthusiastically, and as if the orders were my own.

Why can't you and Meg support the policy decided on to win Victory instead of supporting the enemy who wishes to Defeat?

Subsunk

C'est Moi said...

Sub, welcome back. I don't mean to interrupt a comment of yours to Shane but I just wanted say a few things. First, I (as well as most here) will speak their mind, but you will always be welcome to share your thoughts and opinions freely here. Clearly you are a loyal and patriotic American. I respect that no matter what side of the aisle you are on. I do wish you would know of me and most on my side that dissenting does not mean we are un-American, un-Patriotic or against the soldiers.

We all want victory Sub, victory just means something different to all of us. Victory (in part) to me is to stop the cost in human life as soon as possible and yes this is fueled by the fact that I feel this is an ill-conceived war. Sub, I cannot just blindly support policy that I believe to be not only wrong but criminal. To do that would be wholly un-American.

Subsunk said...

Megan,

Very well, ma'am. I am sure you think you are doing the right thing. That does not mean I have to agree with it. That does not mean I have to listen to it. And it doesn't mean I have to support it. But I do have to defend it. And what hurts a soldier most is knowing that the offering of his life, which he has voluntarily offered to defend the country (not Bush or Clinton or George Washington), is not appreciated by a large number of his countrymen. And that is what words casting the war as a mistake, the country as misguided, and the leadership as Evil leads him to believe.

You have no concept of the damage you do when you question the motives of the war. Our Men and Women KNOW that what they are doing is right, worthwhile, and defends America from future harm. They see it every day. And they see the enemy of civilization every day in Iraq. They are sure the fight is just, and the results are worth their lives. And words to the contrary hurt their spirit and their souls, and lead them to believe they are unworthy of respect and the love of their countrymen.

You also have no idea how you are prolonging the suffering by insisting we stop before radical Islam is stamped out. More and more will die from appeasing the Evil in Islam than from confronting it. This is seen emphatically throughout this war. Look at Mosul, Fallujah, Ramadi, and Baghdad. The people who lived there were afraid of jihadi's with guns. They refused to live with their neighbors and with us after they surrendered.

The US refrained from crushing the insurgency with indiscriminate bombing, killing of anyone looting, and withholding fire against jihadi's hiding behind women and children. We could have easily conquered this country by using the tactics of WWII and carpet bombing them until their cities truly were leveled, no one alive in them. We could have indiscriminately shot them down wherever we found them, with adequate legal justification. But we didn't because we ARE the Good Guys. We want to give the innocent hope. And that allows the Evil ones to survive to kill us further.

This war will take a long time. If you stop before Islam is changed, you will only increase the death toll on both sides in the next attacks. Your insistence on "stop the killing" of thousands now, means the absolute Death of millions and tens of millions in less than a decade, on both sides of the equation. History has a firm and unyielding lesson in this regard. Just because you don't think every Islamic country in the world, which says Death to America daily, isn't a threat, doesn't means you won't wake up to poison gas in your town, nuclear explosions in your city, and plagues visited on your families from Islam because you are an infidel and deserve Death.

But the day it becomes illegal for Me to speak My mind is the day You have lost Your rights. I have not lost them when I am in the minority and I am shouted down by all the rest of the country. I still have the right to speak. I may be wrong, but I can still tell anyone and everyone what I think at the top of my lungs.

And today, you have those exact same rights as you had on 10 September 2001. No one is in prison because this government doesn't like what he has to say. The arhabi and jihadis are in prison because they give support, both financially, physically, and through technical support, to my enemies. And that is against the law. It is also smart to put them in jail for breaking those laws.

So I ask you to examine closely what you say. Limit the hateful rhetoric. Ask yourself if you would address your father or mother in the same tones as you use against the leadership of the country. Would you call them Liar? Would you say they care nothing about soldier's lives (when W so obviously does -- have you ever seen a President tear up when he talks to them? Never before.) if you knew that every life is precious to our Generals, Congressmen, and the President? Including the jihadi's. Would you accuse them of only being in this endeavor for the OIL?

Thank you for your patience, ma'am. I may be mistaken, but I believe you have heard the last of me here. I hope you and all on your side will have long and happy lives. And that the Men who will surely die to give to you those lives, free of religious oppression and killing, are always in your prayers and thoughts, as they are in mine.

Subsunk

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