Life's Better Ideas

Occasional links to, and comments on, ideas that I think will make this a better world, and remarks about things that need fixing, too.

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Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Real Torture

If you want pictures of real torture, see the very graphic pictures here, and here. HT vodkapundit.

There's a world of difference between the actions of a few rotten apples in an imperfect nation, who we try to punish, and state sponsored torture as pictured above. One also has to remember that the enemy combatants at Guantanamo were captured on the battlefield.

Here's what the American Bar Association has to say. Here's some commentary on the President's constitutional authority, and a recent news story on the review of the cases of all detainees. Some additional commentary over at cageprisoners from last year's election campaign. And more about the Geneva Conventions. Over at volokh.com, David Kopel comments:
The more plausible analogy to Guantanamo is British interrogation of Irish Republican Army suspects in the early 1970s. Then, the British extracted confessions through "the five techniques": wall-standing, hooding, continuous noise, deprivation of food, and deprivation of sleep. The European Court of Human Rights, in the 1978 case Republic of Ireland v. United Kingdom, ruled that the techniques did not constitute "torture," but were "inhuman and degrading," in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Update: Another torture story here. HT NRO
Update: Read Mark Steyn

1 Comments:

Blogger dave meleney said...

Dave:

I am going to try to tread lightly here.... because last time I posted a comment on your blog you took it to be a hostile comment when I really didn't intend it to be. I hope we can discuss these very difficult issues and still be friends.

Even some of us who oppose a great deal of our President's "War on Terror" can see that comparing Guantanamo to Pol Pot and the Siberian gulag is preposterous. Still, what to do with these prisoners poses difficult questions way beyond the abilities of the average Senator from Illinois. Surely our Constitution doesn't allow that they be held forever without trial does it?

I seem to remember that some of them were arrested well after the major hostilities had concluded... and some on the basis of anonymous reports. Am I off base on that?

You and I have a mutual friend who says the whole country of Afghanistan is (or was) a battlefield and so anyone we arrest there should have been executed long ago because non-uniformed combatants should not even be taken prisoner. That sends chills down my spine and makes me wonder if another terrorist attack might get our country defined as "the battlefield" too. And since the "War on Terror" is said by Gingrich and others to be a multi-decade affair... we could very well see "the battlefield" concept putting most of the Constitution in mothballs for quite an extended period.

We often accuse liberals of ignoring the plain meaning of the Second Amendment... and suggest that doing so undermines the protective abilities of the whole document. We point out that freedom of the press and freedom of assembly may at some future time of stress and difficulty ... become mostly expendable if the promises of the document are not held precious.

With libertarians willing to use "the battlefield" concept so broadly... we may not really have much standing to criticize liberals over the Second Amendment any more. What would be the point anyway? Do you agree with our libertarian-breakfast friend that "the Constitution has nothing to say about how our government treats non-citizens"?

Do you believe, as I think your post implies, that all the Guantanamo detainees were actually captured "on the battlefield"? Would it be surprising to learn that innocent parties can get swept up in an area where fighting is occurring? Especially if some arrests are based on anonymous tips?

yours in freedom,
Dave Meleney

8:24 AM  

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