Friday, April 26, 2013


NYT Editorial Board--Still Ignorant

Here is a poorly reasoned, unsigned hit-piece on the ever more popular ex-president George Bush (son) in the NYT yesterday. Or at least they think it's about President Bush.

But there is another building, far from Dallas on land leased from Cuba, that symbolizes Mr. Bush’s legacy in a darker, truer way: the military penal complex at Guantánamo Bay where Mr. Bush imprisoned hundreds of men after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, a vast majority guilty of no crime. (Emphasis added).
Are the political prodigies on the Left so afflicted with partisan tunnel vision that when they see the words "penal" or "prison" or derivations from those words, they can only think of the concept of crime and punishment? Because there are prisons which have nothing to do with either crime or punishment. We keep enemy soldiers captured during a war imprisoned not as punishment for any crime but so they don't return to the battlefield and kill more of our guys. We keep them until the war ends. Here is how it works--during a war, when your side captures an honorable enemy combatant, according to the 4 Geneva Conventions, you have to imPRISON him in a camp or PRISON, all the while granting him certain rights as a real PRISONer of War (POW). See what I'm doing there? It sadly won't help those who will not see.

These captured enemy soldiers often haven't committed any crime at all, but merely engaged in war (declared or not) generally while they have the 4 "badges" lawful combatants must have to get POW status under the GCs. If you're waging war internationally but you don't have all the four badges, then you're almost certainly an unlawful enemy combatant; and all we have to do for those guys is follow the 8th Amendment and Ex Parte Quirin before we execute them. The unlawful enemy combatant hasn't committed a crime per se, but he has failed to do the things necessary to get him POW status. This is really basic stuff, and I'm sure 10 minutes of google time would have informed the NYT editorial board of the truth of my statements here. I am also sure that either the authors of the piece don't know this basic history or cynically are ignoring it. Their ignorance doesn't stop there, however.

There are still 166 men there — virtually all of them held without charges, some for more than a decade. More than half have been cleared for release but are still imprisoned because of a law that requires individual Pentagon waivers. The administration eliminated the State Department post charged with working with other countries to transfer the prisoners so those waivers might be issued.
These men are not protected by the GCs because they are unlawful combatants, but we treat them as if they were POWs nonetheless (a mistake, but I say that only because I want us to win the war being waged against us by Muslim Fanatics). That's not good enough for the brainiacs at the NYT. Many of the unlawful combatants we have released from Guantanamo returned to the war against us; so perhaps it is a good thing that we hold on to the ones no one else will take off our hands. Although this is a piece ostensibly about President Bush, it's not really clear in the editorial what administration closed the office seeking to free the unlawful combatants. I'll help out there with this link. If you doubt me, all I can say is that my source was the New York Times. More willful ignorance follows.

That prison should never have been opened. It was nothing more than Mr. Bush’s attempt to evade accountability by placing prisoners in another country. The courts rejected that ploy, but Mr. Bush never bothered to fix the problem. Now, shockingly, the Pentagon is actually considering spending $200 million for improvements and expansions clearly aimed at a permanent operation.
A less blinded-by-bias observer might admit that President Bush wanted to imprison (rather than quickly execute them after a military tribunal) these deadly terrorist away from America so as not to endanger American citizens further. The courts did not reject any such "ploy" but stated that military tribunals were fine (with some completely unnecessary and ill thought-out tweeks based on a fundamental misapprehension of the concept in the GCs of civil war). Oh, and again, is it George Bush who is expanding the POW camp now or has another administration secretly been in place for over 4 years? At whom exactly are the NYT strategic geniuses "shocked"? Is it just some rogue generals inside the Pentagon thwarting the Executive will? Or could it be the current Commander in Chief? (Forgive me for asking the bleeding obvious). The egregious ignorance of the editorial board then disguises itself as the Energizer Bunny.
But whatever Mr. Bush says about how comfortable he is with his “tough” choices, the country must recognize the steep price being paid for what is essentially a political prison. Just as hunger strikes at the infamous Maze Prison in Northern Ireland indelibly stained Britain’s human rights record, so Guantánamo stains America’s.  

Why the challenge quotes around the word tough? Complete mystery to me. And in what way is Guantanamo a political prison? This statement is not merely historically ignorant but plain stupid as well. You mean like the prisons in Marxist-Leninist countries with dictators who fill them with their guiltless, political rivals? That sort of political prison? Like the ones in Cuba and North Korea and Burma? Are the intellectual wizards writing this piece comparing the terrorist bombers and killers in Gitmo to Aung San Suu Kyi and Mahatma Ghandi? Really? Generally political prisoners are people who are in prison because they have opposed or criticized the government of their own country. Is there a single person in Guantanamo who opposed George Bush or the Republicans in an election, or who was a member of the Democrat Party? In what conceivable way is Guantanamo now a political prison, I ask again, rhetorically?

And the final idiocy. I happen to be familiar with Maze Prison and the ten who died of a hunger strike there in 1981. I think that if you did some Jaywalking and asked about the "indelible stain" of the Maze Prison Hunger Strike, you would get a lot of blank stares; and the ones who actually know the history of the reprehensible terrorists of the IRA and INLA held in Maze back then don't think of their imprisonment as anything other than a good thing. It's the IRA and INLA indiscriminate bombing and gun murders which carry the stain to reasonable, well informed people. Of course, the Mensa members at the NYT probably think that murder, manslaughter, possession of explosives and possession firearms by convicted felons is no stain on the guilty but is one on those punishing the guilty.

OK, so I have one final question. Who is worse, the guy who creates the POW camp out of necessity forced upon him by others, but who thinks it is the right thing to do, or the guy who continues to operate the prison even though he thinks the mere existence of the prison is immoral, un-American and a hinderence to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States?

Yeah, the NYT really called out President Bush this time.


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