AIAW: Republican Blogger LIES Insult Law Enforcement Community (OMG!!!)

Surpise surprise… yet another leftist blogger is outraged — yes, OUTRAGED! — that public opinion has a problem with bringing terrorists to Virginia.

*sigh*

Maybe it was how close the vote was?  Passing 213-212, several Democratic representatives could have tipped the scales, namely Congressmen Connolly and Perriello.  Bearing Drift issued the commentary that seemed to hit the Virginia leftosphere hardest:

Rep. Perriello just voted with Speaker Pelosi on an amendment to allow for funds to close Guantanamo Bay facility and move those detainees to Virginia. Perriello voted against an amendment, offered by Rep. Lewis of California, that would have prohibited the closure – the amendment failed 212-213 with Mr. Perriello casting the deciding vote.

And with what intelligence has the Democratic leftosphere refuted such argumentation!  Cited by AIAW, aznew over at Virginia Democrat:

…a patently absurd argument…

Lowell Feld over at Blue Virginia (the shadow of Raising Kaine) pretty much posts a “what he said” response.  Meanwhile, Drew over at Dem Bones (new blogger?) offers this erudite response:

…this Republican fear-mongering belittles both our prison facilities and our prison guards…

Ah.  Now I get it.  We just don’t trust our prison guards!  Those dastardly Rethugs Republicans?  Just “read(ing) the same talking points” as the other blogs, since naturally Republicans require such things because naturally, our public school educations simply don’t afford such out of the box thinking as “bring the terrorists here, and the problem goes away,” amongst others.

So to be original, AIAW decides to… well… read the same talking points to express her outrage against the very idea that people would be concerned, even bewildered, that we would bring terrorists to American soil.  To wit:

Here’s where it gets personal and why I am outraged. My cousin’s husband is a prison guard in South Florida. As such, he has guarded some of the most dangerous criminals in the Miami-Dade and Broward region, including members of the infamous Columbian (sic) Medellin drug cartel. So, do you really think he’s not up to the job of guarding some of the detainees and that South Florida would be less safe if they were in his care? I don’t.

However, BD and other conservative bloggers, taking their talking points, robot-like, from the Republican Party Central, have a shocking disdain for all civil servants. It is rooted in their anti-government ideology and rhetoric. But believe it or not, the government in a representative democracy is us. It is “we the people.” Sometimes your side or my side loses an election. But there’s always the next one. We are governed by those who win elections. To disdain them is to disdain America and its choices. To disdain our civil servants is to disdain our neighbors, friends, and relatives, many of whom work tirelessly to fight our fires, keep our streets safe, and guard our prisons. To insult them to score cheap political points is to put party before country. And that is unpatriotic.

Now obviously, I’ve highlighted the gems.  I won’t dwell too much on “talking points” critique because the Dems have literally been copying-and-pasting themselves into a whirlwind of false outrage.

But it’s the highlighted in red that just baffles me.  My oh my… what ever happened to dissent being the highest form of patriotism?

There’s no point in listing the litany of Democratic “outrages” during the Bush administration for “cheap political points… put(ting) party before country.”  I happen to agree with the sentiment that party differences stop where America’s borders begin, and deeply regret the fact that Obama-as-candidate and Pelosi-as-Speaker neglected this principle time and time again.  This whole “Dixie Chick” mentality was deplorable then, it’s deplorable now.

But now we’re talking about bringing terrorists here.  For what purpose?  To try them in American courts rather than in military courts-martial?  Here is where the rubber hits the road, and AIAW does her best to meet the challenge.  Unfortunately for her (and the rest of the Virginia leftosphere) this is where the car spins out of control:

America is built on the principle that we don’t hold people indefinitely without a trial. I have served on juries, and I can tell you that an absolute fundamental of American legal jurisprudence is that we are all “innocent until proven guilty.” Judges instruct jurors on that point all the time. Now, that doesn’t give a jury permission to acquit criminals and put them back on our streets. But it means that in America every man and woman is entitled to a fair trial. It’s who we are. We don’t keep people in prisons without their day in court. Communists, Nazis, and fascists do that. We don’t.

In a criminal court, you are innocent until proven guilty.  In a courtroom where the defendant is engaged in an asymmetrical war, has contravened the Geneva Conventions, and is engaged in a martial struggle against America and her interests — you are an enemy combatant.  And in warfare, nations detain enemy combatants for the duration of hostilities and the end of the conflict.  That’s warfare, those are the rules.

Here’s the other problem:  Organizations such as al-Qaeda and nations such as the United States can’t enter agreements on how to fight a war.  In other words, while the Geneva Conventions apply between existing states, it is nearly impossible to apply these rules to a nation and an insurgency.  Taliban, al-Qaeda, and other insurgents/terrorists don’t play by rules that nations who fundamentally require such black-and-white clarity demand.

Bringing the detainees to American soil doesn’t solve the problem.  It may treat the symptoms for a time, it may even give the shallow appearance of problem solving.  We might even be able to try enemy detainees in American criminal courts.  We may feel better about it, sooth our “outrage” for a time, but in the end the problem of terrorism and the status of terrorists remains the same for Obama as it was for Bush.

AIAW offers “that we don’t keep people in prisons without their day in court.”  But we can detain them forever and ever.  President Bush’s policy?  No… President Obama’s policy, as cited in his speech on Guantanamo Bay’s detainees on 21 May 2009:

Let me begin by disposing of one argument as plainly as I can: we are not going to release anyone if it would endanger our national security, nor will we release detainees within the United States who endanger the American people. Where demanded by justice and national security, we will seek to transfer some detainees to the same type of facilities in which we hold all manner of dangerous and violent criminals within our borders – highly secure prisons that ensure the public safety.

So much for innocence until proven guilty, right?  But there’s more from Obama’s speech on Gitmo at the National Archives, statements that should shock the rank-and-file that were so adamantly opposed to the very policies Obama is now assiduously upholding:

We are currently in the process of reviewing each of the detainee cases at Guantanamo to determine the appropriate policy for dealing with them. As we do so, we are acutely aware that under the last Administration, detainees were released only to return to the battlefield. That is why we are doing away with the poorly planned, haphazard approach that let those detainees go in the past. Instead, we are treating these cases with the care and attention that the law requires and our security demands.

Let’s concede for a moment that detainees were under a “catch and release” policy.  If so, why have a Guantanamo Bay facility?  But I digress… we’re not going to release detainees, but we’re going to do what precisely?  Obama expands by jumping through the appropriate hoops:  try those who can be tried in American criminal courts, others under military tribunals (though he never reversed himself, mind you… this is expedient!), transfer other detainees to foreign countries, and release — yes, release — those whom American courts have deemed to be inappropriately detained.  All well and good.

But what about that “fifth” category of Obama’s?  The ones who are true detainees who, if released, will simply rejoin the ranks of al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations and do harm to America’s civilians and interests abroad?  Buckle up… because here’s where Obama gets all Bushian on AIAW:

I want to be honest: this is the toughest issue we will face. We are going to exhaust every avenue that we have to prosecute those at Guantanamo who pose a danger to our country. But even when this process is complete, there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States. Examples of that threat include people who have received extensive explosives training at al Qaeda training camps, commanded Taliban troops in battle, expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden, or otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans. These are people who, in effect, remain at war with the United States.

As I said, I am not going to release individuals who endanger the American people. Al Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates are at war with the United States, and those that we capture – like other prisoners of war – must be prevented from attacking us again. However, we must recognize that these detention policies cannot be unbounded. That is why my Administration has begun to reshape these standards to ensure they are in line with the rule of law.

Now I want you to go back and read those two paragraphs carefully.  I’ll wait…

You got that?

What Obama is saying here is that we are going to continue to detain people for the threats they might pose to the United States.  What’s more, we’re going to codify this in law — detaining people for what they might do to the United States.

Let me re-quote AIAW for a moment:

America is built on the principle that we don’t hold people indefinitely without a trial. I have served on juries, and I can tell you that an absolute fundamental of American legal jurisprudence is that we are all “innocent until proven guilty.” Judges instruct jurors on that point all the time. Now, that doesn’t give a jury permission to acquit criminals and put them back on our streets. But it means that in America every man and woman is entitled to a fair trial. It’s who we are. We don’t keep people in prisons without their day in court. Communists, Nazis, and fascists do that. We don’t.

Outraged still?  Or better put, are you sure your outraged is directed at the right people?

Obama doesn’t discuss who could be detained for these purposes.  Nor does Obama discuss whether Americans will be detained under the same circumstances (though they have before, as Japanese internment camps bear witness to this fact).

Now I know what you’re thinking… Shaun — you’re just misquoting for your own right-leaning, narrow minded, “patently absurd” argumentation.  Well don’t let me convince you; let Obama convince you:

I know that creating such a system poses unique challenges. Other countries have grappled with this question, and so must we. But I want to be very clear that our goal is to construct a legitimate legal framework for Guantanamo detainees – not to avoid one. In our constitutional system, prolonged detention should not be the decision of any one man. If and when we determine that the United States must hold individuals to keep them from carrying out an act of war, we will do so within a system that involves judicial and congressional oversight. And so going forward, my Administration will work with Congress to develop an appropriate legal regime so that our efforts are consistent with our values and our Constitution.

Outraged yet?  So not only are we going to detain people without access to courts (just an “appropriate legal regime”), we’re going to create a system of “prolonged detention” that will be legally consistent with our values — whatever they might be — and our Constitution.

Read that again:  our values plus our Constitution?

So yes — I am opposed to bringing the detainees from the War on Terrorism to the United States.  Moreover, as Americans we should be deeply concerned about the implications of a policy designed to detain people for what they might do as opposed to what they did do.  Finally, I am diametrically opposed to policies being drafted consonant between some sort of brokerage between amorphous values and the rule of law.

Bush’s policies at least allowed the contradiction to be self-evident.  Obama’s attempt to put a veneer of “values” to make things consistent is repulsive to the very ideas with which AIAW claims to be so concerned.  Don’t think this is a right-left argument either — others from the left have voiced precisely the same concerns.

Sure, be outraged.  But be sure you’re outraged about the right things.

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5 Responses to AIAW: Republican Blogger LIES Insult Law Enforcement Community (OMG!!!)

  1. Pingback: Hey, don’t take our word for it, Anon « The right-wing liberal

  2. Golly Mistur Kenney… you’re reely gud at cut n’ paste

  3. Cherry picking quotes does not an argument make. Nobody, left or right, is saying that dangerous terrorists should be released any where. Some people simply believe in the rule of law. In all of your quotes, Obama is simply saying that the U.S. will use legal means, including due process, to keep dangerous people incarcerated, while sorting out those who have been imprisoned who are not dangerous. There are people who have been caught up in Gitmo who are the victim of mistaken identity or who simply were in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s not a criticism. Largely, I would agree that it was better to be safe than sorry and to imprison them until we could be sure of their danger to us. But at some point, there needs to be a legal way to sort out the few genuine mistakes and send those imprisoned mistakenly home – yes home to their own countries – while holding those who pose a genuine threat in a very secure prison – a super max.

    But that wasn’t the actual point of my post. It was a response to a very brief, and not too honest post that simply claimed that Tom Perriello and other Democrats voted to release terrorists to Virginia. And the implication was that our prison system and our guards could not ensure the safety of Americans. It was not based on a talking point – nice try there, Shaun, but on the fact that I have a relative who works as a prison guard. He has guarded some of the most dangerous prisoners in South Florida, including members of the notorious Medellin drug cartel. Additionally, one of my cousins works as a teacher with prisoners at Rikers Island, a notorious New York City jail. The outrage was genuine.

    Don’t judge the all progressive bloggers by the fact that your side sticks closely to talking points for GOP-central.

  4. Shaun Kenney says:

    Dug — I’m awlso reely gud at spelin!

  5. Brian Kirwin says:

    It’s so funny. The Dem bloggers are simultaneously arguing that the amendment didn’t bring the GITMO detainees to our prisons AND that our prison guards are up to the task of housing them.

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