Red, White and Yellow?

It’s being reported this morning that prisoners from the Guantonomo detainment facility will be transferred to an upgraded prison in Illinois, pending congressional approval. Prepare for some major cable news thumb-sucking.

“Hide the women and children,” the cable news fear mongers and Obama Administration critics will effectively shriek. “Put America’s enemies in someone else’s country, because Americans are too frightened to have them on our soil.”

Yes, on our soil. Behind mammouth walls, barbed wire, security cameras, dozens of armed guards, and hundreds of watchful and hostile prisoners.

This from the nation that successfully imprisons 2.3 million people, including countless serial killers. This from a populace that has more guns per capita than any other in the world waiting to greet any escapee. This from the people that gave the world the saying “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” This from a country with a history shock full of acts of courage that dwarf this.

Really? National security NIMBY in the “home of the brave?”

– Loveland
freedom tax nice

20 thoughts on “Red, White and Yellow?

  1. Mike Kennedy says:

    I don’t think most American are afraid of having them here. I think, however, that many of us are appalled at the idiotic decision to give them the same rights as we have under the Constitution.

    This has never been done before, and Holder looked totally stumped and confused when called on it before Congress. I can see why.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      Re: Fear. “By more than 3-1, they (national sample of Americans) oppose moving some of the accused terrorists housed there to prisons in their own states.” – Gallup/USA Today

    2. Joe Loveland says:

      Many are reluctant to admit fear even when they feel it, which I suspect is why pollsters haven’t been including the world “fear” in their questions.

      So, there is some mysterious reason that an endeavor that will create jobs during a period of severe unemployment is wildly unpopular, but I don’t have specific data about the reason. Do you have a more plausible explanation than fear?

      Clearly Republican operatives think there is a fear issue to fan. Whit Ayers, a Republican pollster, and Ed Gillespie, a W political adviser, reportedly distributed a survey in April indicating strong support for the idea of keeping “people who would kill Americans” at Guantánamo. In that wording, there might be subtle clues about what emotion they are picking up in their monitoring of the populace.

  2. Jon Austin says:

    I keep meaning to post something on this and never get to it, but Mr. Loveland’s post is more eloquent than anything I could have come up with. Certainly, it’s more timely.

    “We are a nation of laws.” We like to say that on the left, the right and the center. It’s one of the few things left that seems to cross the political boundaries. It means, to me, that nobody – not the President, not the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, not the private walking point on patrol in Kabul, not me sitting in my comfy chair at keyboard – is above the law and that we play by the rules.

    This is a challenge, particularly in difficult times, particularly when we are scared and threatened. But, if we are going to claim the mantle of being “the shining city on a hill” or the “beacon of liberty,” meeting those challenges require sacrifice on everyone’s part who wants to claim this moral high ground. It can’t be, “We’re the beacon of liberty, except when we feel like we can’t afford to be.” It can’t be a shining city on a hill if it sit atop a dark dungeon of torture and expedience.

    “Freedom isn’t free.” I see that on a fair number of bumpers and I hear it in debate as a reminder that we send our men and women in harm’s way in defense of our liberties. It’s also used sometimes as a classier way of saying, “The ends justify the means.”

    Rarely, though, do I hear it used to express the full meaning of the phrase: freedom requires a sacrifice from ALL of us who enjoy its benefits. Not just the soliders who put their lives on the line and their families, not just through taxes, certainly not by shopping.

    Freedom requires all of us to accept some measure of risk that evil people will use those freedoms to hurt us.

    Freedom requires us to give our most unyielding and despicable opponents – the ones who would find joy and fulfillment in killing you, me, my family and yours – the protections of the laws that protect us.

    Freedom requires us to hold ourselves to the standards we set for ourselves even when our enemies do not. It requires that we apply justice evenhandedly to our side and theirs.

    These ideals are constantly at war with the real world and we fall short of them every day. The last time the country felt as threatened as it does today, we imprisoned 120,000 Americans in camps for the crime of being of Japanese heritage.

    There are even some extraordinary circumstances where I would personally act against those principles (if I believed, for example, that torturing a suspect on September 10, 2001 would have given me information to stop the 9-11 attacks, I would have done so). Even so, because we are a nation of laws, I would do so with the knowledge that I might be judged by those laws to have acted without just cause.

    Those situations, though, are extraordinarily rare and – from what I know about their cases – apply to almost none of the residents of Guantanamo, some of whom have been held without trial, without due process, for eight years.

    Bring ’em to the U.S. Try them in open court under the laws of our country. Put the best prosecutors we can find up against the best defense attorneys willing to serve. Let the defendants have their days in court, let them rail against the things that they hate about America. Let them offer up their most robust defense and let them be judged by an impartial jury. This is the promise we hold out to ourselves.

    – Austin

  3. Newt says:

    Austin: What “law” grants foreign nationals who have never set foot on American soil the right to access our court system?

    1. PM says:

      Well, I’m not a lawyer, but still, it is pretty clear–if they are allowed access to our courts of law it will be because our courts of laws feel that some law that is binding on those same courts of law (in their determination) allow them that access.

      Clearly, no court will give them access if that court feels they have no right to access (note that I am equating access with a trial–many courts will grant a hearing in order to determine if someone or some case should have access–and may well deny access).

      1. Newt says:

        You hit the nail on the head: Courts that “feel.”

        I want courts that follow laws.

        There is no law that grants non-citizens access to the American jurisprudence system. In a 5-4 vote n June 12, 2008, the Supreme Court fabricated such a right.

        With one more election cycle and the replacement of Bader-Ginsburg or Kennedy and America will remedy this error.

      2. PM says:

        Ahhh, so you have answered your own question–the law that allows this is the United States Constitution! According to no less an authority than the United States Supreme Court (that would be the supreme authority, at least in our country).

        Glad to have that cleared up.

    2. Dennis Lang says:

      Have we concluded that the prisoners being held are guilty and therefore not deserving of a fair trial? Hang them now. Why should a human being in America be denied that opportunity–to allow justice to take its course? We are afraid of what exactly?

      1. Minnesotan says:

        I think we’re afraid of making these prisoners even more of martyers to their followers. Right now they are out of sight, and to a certain extent out of mind.

        Execute them (the likely result of a trial) and they are even greater heros to their followers and governments/citizens that don’t like America.

      2. PM says:

        I do not think that they are out of mind of potential terrorists at all. It is not as if there is a lack of so called martyrs that potential terrorist recruiters can use.

      3. PM says:

        Another point on this issue–we already have lots of terrorists in our prisons! And why would terrorists be any more of a threat than mafia mobsters, gang members, serial killers drug lords, or former heads of foreign states (Manuel Noriega)?

  4. Newt says:

    In Boumediene, Kennedy’s opinion was based on precedents of foreign nations (which is horrifying).

    Forgive me, but American courts are supposed interpret U.S. law – not invent rationale using precedents from abroad.

    Where there is no applicable law (granting foreign nationals access to our courts), the U.S. Supreme Court is supposed to toss such cases back to Congress to entertain. What the Cort did in Bomediene was create law outside the legislative process.

    Like I said, all this will be remedied with the next election.

    1. PM says:

      But isn’t US law largely based on English Common Law? And isn’t English Common law based, at least in part, on Roman Law? And aren’t all laws, supposedly, based on the Mosaic Laws? you know, the 10 commandments and all of that?

      I mean, seriously, most legal codes are based on prior precedents, so there are really very few legal principles or legal codes that are completely de novo, right? I mean, they all tend to go back to a common ancestor (think of it as a sort of legal evolution).

      Seems to me like you are getting all hot and bothered over nothing.

      1. PM says:

        I assume that is your opinion. Or is there a Supreme Court Ruling to that effect? If so, please enlighten us.

        Otherwise, I think that you will need more than what you have provided here to convince us of the validity of your opinion.

  5. Mike Kennedy says:

    My point is that most American have the opinion that these people should have been tried by military tribunals, not by U.S. courts of law. I agree with that. This was an attack against a country, not an attack against a specific person or class of people. Holder has not come up with a single instance where people who have attmepted to attack the U.S. have been tried in civilian courts. It’s because he can’t. I don’t care where they are tried. I care how they are tried.

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