top bar
QuickTopic free message boards logo
Skip to Messages

TOPIC:

Camp X-ray trials

(not accepting new messages)
^     All messages            116-131 of 131  100-115 >>
131
Jonathan Vos Post
06-18-2006
01:58 AM ET (US)
If it is to be akin to a Making Light Open Thread, I'm torn. On the one hand, I found it irresistable to be open, honest, sometimes funny, poetic, and mathematicoscientific. On the other hand, I used up a lifetime of blogging there, and seem to have annoyed some people enough to have incited assault & battery, and other nasty behavior from people whom I initially admired. All in all, it might be bad to tempt me to overpost, and I might again be misinterpreted to the point of hostility. Better that I try to stay on-topic. Still, you're in charge, and emergent behaavior of your active audience may surprise us. Thanks for asking.
130
Andrew G
06-17-2006
01:15 PM ET (US)
For some reason I've started getting an error when I follow the link to the movable type threads. I still seem to pick up the RSS feed though.
129
Dave Bell
06-17-2006
03:26 AM ET (US)
Like a Making Light Open Thread?

Not immediately.

Carrying over this one?

I think I've said all I want to. I don't know about anyone else.
128
Charlie StrossPerson was signed in when posted
06-16-2006
03:03 PM ET (US)
Hello-o-o in there?

Do you guys want an open topic on my shiny new Movable Type thingy? (Hint: blog comments without adverts).
127
Noel Maurer
06-15-2006
03:27 PM ET (US)
Jonathan, your post is some sort of sarcastic joke, right?
126
Jonathan Vos Post
06-15-2006
11:14 AM ET (US)
Of course we're at war. Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, et al. are venues for World War V. World War III was Korea + Vietnam + Cold War, starting as WW II ended, and ending in 1997 with the final dissolution of the CIS as rump-state of USSR. World War III falls between World War I and World War II in the number of uniformed U.S. troops. World War IV was Desert Storm. Even if its overt shooting was officially just 100 hours, the size of the coalition, number of troops, amount of materiel qualifies as World War. The USA made a profit, with allies doing so much heavy lifting. Not enough profit, however, beyond Bechtel and Fluor Daniels' rebuilding Kuwait City. Hence World War V was launched, intentionally to last roughly as long as World War III, eviscerate the Constitution of the USA (inclduing cutting Congress out of the war-declaration business), give the US permanent Mid-Eastern bases, thumb noses at the Geneva Convention, and consolidate the American Empire. Or so I've been saying for several years.
125
Andrew G
06-15-2006
11:12 AM ET (US)
Noel Maurer: "Andrew, say more! After all, there are three conflicts, which are linked but not identical. One is a counterterrorism campaign against Al Qaeda and other radicalized "Islamists." (I lack a better word for the ideology.) The other two are counterinsurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. I see the parallel with the Barbary Wars for the first, but it's not entirely obvious."

Well, it goes beyond the US historical involvement in the Barbary states. The threat of piracy and terror wasn't ended until they were occupied by France and Italy. US, English, and Dutch puntative attacks kept the piracy down, but it took an occupation and restructuring of governance to stop it completely.

The US occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan are like that. If we had just struck against Al Qaeda and other terorists, they would likely creep back after a couple years, like Barbary piracy did.

The US isn't a colonial power like France was, so our solution is to create stable local governments in the countries that will prevent terrorism and be our allies.

Of course, the analogy breaks down because the world to day is far different than it was in 200 years ago. The threat isn't geographically isolated in a few states, but rather spread out requiring far more effort and intervention than the Barbary Wars did.
124
Noel Maurer
06-15-2006
10:02 AM ET (US)
Dave, in the interest of fairness (since I strongly agree with your broad argument) I should point out the Taliban were not recognized by the United States as the legal government of Afghanistan. How does that affect the applicability of the Conventions? Similarly, considering that the Taliban have not surrendered and continue to mount offensives in Afghanistan, would it not be possible for the United States to continue to legally hold many of the detainees as prisoners of war?

Andrew, say more! After all, there are three conflicts, which are linked but not identical. One is a counterterrorism campaign against Al Qaeda and other radicalized "Islamists." (I lack a better word for the ideology.) The other two are counterinsurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. I see the parallel with the Barbary Wars for the first, but it's not entirely obvious.
123
Andrew G
06-15-2006
09:13 AM ET (US)
Noel Maurer: "Anyhoo, I'm very surprised that only Andrew (I think it was Andrew) has disputed Steverino's premise, which is that we are at war. Of course, you'd first have to define "war," and then if you do decide that you're at war, you'd have to decide what parts of the legal system you're willing to throw out. Me, not so much, but then again, I'm planning on going to Afghanistan in September, so my tolerance for risk might be higher than most.

I think it's a war, of sorts, just not like any others we've had in the past century.

The closest is probably the Barbary Wars, where you have a fuzzy line between piracy and state warfare.
122
Dave Bell
06-15-2006
03:31 AM ET (US)
Noel, the war/not-war question can be argued both ways. Different sets of rules apply, and the legal condition of being at war is distinct from the rhetorical War Against Terror.

The trouble is that the situation seems to be being manipulated by the US Government. When they want to do things, like tear up the constitution and use it as an ass-wipe, the US is at war, and the president has dictatorial powers. And if the state of War gets in the way of doing something, it's not-war, and the enemy are "illegal combatants", and they're not safeguarded by any requirement for a trial. US Constitution? Nope, there's a war on.
121
Dave Bell
06-15-2006
02:56 AM ET (US)
Mr. Stirling, it is not merely the "broadest plausible interpretation": the circumstances in which Geneva Convention protections MUST be extended to a state not one of the High Contracting Parties are explicitly stated in the Conventions. And that rule is what you claim to be only "plausible".

Article 1, in all four conventions, is as I quoted. I believe that it is plausible to regard it as a SHOULD statement, placed there as a guard against using lawyerly hair-splitting to escape the duties which the High Contracting Powers have accepted.

And I think you forget what the Taliban were. Until we kicked them out, but supporting a different faction in another dirty little Afghan civil war, they were the legitimate, internationally recognised, government of Afghanistan. Hence it is stupid to claim all Taliban are unlawful combatants. It's so stupid that short planks would refuse to associate with you.

Al Qaeda, whatever we're using the label for, wasn't ever a government. It makes a difference.
120
Noel Maurer
06-15-2006
02:15 AM ET (US)
Gosh, this thread is very amusing! I am very much looking forward to meeting you in person sometime, Mr. Stirling. Please remember, however, that I am just as forthright and hostile in person as I am on the net.

Anyhoo, I'm very surprised that only Andrew (I think it was Andrew) has disputed Steverino's premise, which is that we are at war. Of course, you'd first have to define "war," and then if you do decide that you're at war, you'd have to decide what parts of the legal system you're willing to throw out. Me, not so much, but then again, I'm planning on going to Afghanistan in September, so my tolerance for risk might be higher than most.

Someone might also want to dispute Steve's premise that the poll data in the Muslim world translates into millions of people willing to engage in organized violence on American soil. Just sayin'.

You also might profitably question his premise that American actions do not affect the number or propensity of Muslims willing to do harm to the United States. There is quite a bit of counter-evidence there, for someone who really wants to engage him. Me, I like to believe that a person actually reasons logically from consistent premises that are congruent with both empirical reality and my own moral beliefs before debating them. YMMV.

Steve's also a bit confused on the legality of Camp X-Ray, but that's merely a factual issue. FWIW, Phil Carter's blog has a lot of solid and informative debate about the issue. Personally, I'd prefer to check up on these things the old-fashioned way, by asking the lawyers who work across the river.

There is an interesting article in the WSJ about CPT Carter's attempts to get the Iraqis to build a legal system in which institutions like Camp X-Ray would be impossible, despite the fact that Iraq is indeed fairly indisputably engaged in a civil war.

I hope that everyone will stop with the stupid WW2 analogies: too many of the basic premises just don't hold.

Oh, while I'm here: Steve, who did you kill, and where? Why? Or am I misreading the following: "When I speak of violent death, I'm speaking of something I've seen first-hand, done, smelled, and cleaned up after"?
119
Tony Quirke
06-14-2006
11:35 PM ET (US)
Since neither of those conditions is applicable to the Taliban or al Qaeda and their ilk, the Conventions are simply irrelevant. We're under no restrain but our own unilateral will here.

And your proof, Stirling, that everyone currently being held without trial is a member of the Taliban or Al Qaeda is...?

With the precedents set so far, there's nothing to stop your door being bashed in and you dragged off to confinement and interrogation without trail or habeus corpus for three years, just because George Bush said so.

Admittedly, this particular example wouldn't be that bad. But it could happen to half-way decent Americans as well, and that would be bad.
118
S.M. Stirling
06-14-2006
07:38 PM ET (US)
Dave Bell I think that definitely puts some limits on how much you can ignore the Convention if Al Qaeda or Afghanistan are not "High Contracting Parties".

-- nope. The rules apply only to the contracting parties vs. a vs. each other; they're mutual concessions and confer no "human rights" on individuals.

At the broadest plausible interpretation, they could apply to a side which _explicitly accepts_ the Conventions and which _in practice makes a good-faith effort to abide by them_.

Since neither of those conditions is applicable to the Taliban or al Qaeda and their ilk, the Conventions are simply irrelevant. We're under no restrain but our own unilateral will here.
117
S.M. Stirling
06-14-2006
07:25 PM ET (US)
Randy Beck: Read the report and you'll see that many of them are in custody simply because they're members of al Qaeda, the Taliban, or an affiliate.

-- yeah. Any member of a terrorist group is a legitimate target for killing or capture. Any member captured is an enemy combatant and may be kept indefinitely.

Again, it's not a criminal investigation and nobody's being arrested for trial. They're on the other side and you kill or capture them as opportunity offers.
116
S.M. Stirling
06-14-2006
07:21 PM ET (US)
Andrew: So the idea that Taliban or other Islamic fighters are somehow less legitimate than a member of a state military or mercenaries rings hollow to me.

-- it's a matter of methods. The traditional Western law of war, as codified in the Geneva Conventions(*), say that there are limits on who can wage war, and on how they can do it. Essentially, you have to be a government controlling a state or an entity aspiring to the status of a state, like a rebel or secessionist movement. This leaves out bandits, pirates, terrorists, and so forth. Those are the "enemies general of human kind" and can be treated like vermin.

To be legitimate, the forces fighting have to be organized under a chain of command answering to the leaders of the state/movement/whatever; they have to carry weapons openly, and they have to wear uniforms or some identifying mark.

In other words, they have to clearly distinguish themselves from civilians. They can hide physically, but they can't pretend to be harmless bystanders.

Civilians, unless they take up arms under these provisions, have to passively obey whoever's occupying the place they live.

If the other side abides by these rules, you're constrained as to what you can do to them -- eg., you're supposed to let enemy combatants surrender, treat them in a certain way once they're under your control, not deliberately target civilians (though attacking defended places which _contain_ civilians is fine) and so forth.


(*) not the 1977 codicil, which was an attempt at political sabotage by the USSR and its minions, and which we did not sign.
^     All messages            116-131 of 131  100-115 >>