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Hamdan v. Rumsfeld

Am I the only blogger in the country who doesn't think SCOTUS's Hamdan ruling is anything to get especially worked up about? It seems like everyone else I know is either expressing outrage and indignation or popping champagne corks. What am I missing?

No doubt, the decision was certainly a rebuke of the administration's detainee policies, but how much does it really change? With the application of Common Article 3 status to Hamdan and other detainees, it seems that military tribunals are no longer an option.

But (and correct me if I'm wrong) the Supreme Court does not convey Geneva Convention "prisoner of war" or "civilian" status to the detainees (they don't fit the treaty's definition.) The Court doesn't question the administration's authority to detain them until the cessation of hostilities. They still may be trialed by courts martial, or (and this is very important) not tried at all! Moreover, there is even wiggle room on the tribunals, contingent on congressional authorization.

The president's enemies will relish this nominal defeat, but beyond that it seems like much ado about not very much.

UPDATE: Well, I guess I'm not the only one.


Here's what I guess is a typical American response:
Who's Hamdan?
Who's Rumsfeld?

> Who's Rumsfeld?

He's that guy that shook hands with Saddam Hussein in that picture. ;-)

Rachel, that's a terrible view of the American public...I dare say one that seems to detest that public.


Where's that come from?

Sure, someone could ask me why I openly seem to detest and revile the hard-Left (loooong answer), but even though I see many Liberals as folks who read only surface MSM pablum and dutifully puke it back up verbatum, I still hold out hope that many, if not most, may eventually come around.

Even though I see Leftism/Socialsim as an EVIL, I really think very few people are deliberately and maliciously evil at heart.

Just as there was nothing at all illicit or illegal about the U.S. government using SWIFT to track terror financing, the recent SC ruling did NOT outlaw the Gitmo detentions, nor the holding of such prisoners.

On a positive note, many of the countries these guys came from don't want them back (for very good reason). Many, if not most would almost certainly face death if sent back.

That's why I'd (1) send those guys back that I knew would be killed (saving us the trouble and keeping our hands relatively clean) and (2) I'd also support putting the word out to their al Qaeda cohorts that these guys cooperated with the West - putting them at risk from BOTH their governments and their former cohorts...a real "win/win," that our current governemtn will almost certainly NEVER act upon.

As for me, I never really believed in relying on that kind of information - much of the info that captives have is old, unreliable (false), or out of date already, just as I don't believe in fighting Politically Correct or "surgical wars."

It's better and easier, in my view, to pound a place to rubble, then Nape it, then come in with a "clean-up crew" to sift through the wreckage to find the enemy remains.

It would save a lot of American lives.

What's far more troubling to me than this administration's PC approach to this war, is the Left's virtual glee over anything and everything that bodes poorly for the U.S.

Just as many on the hard-Left are apparently gleeeful over a "resurgent Taliban," in Afghanistan (currently being crushed), and apoplectic, yet hopeful of another "coming quagmire" in Iran, they also seem equally gleeful over the aburd prospect of the U.S. either (1) having to let these terrorists free or (2) giving them their day in a U.S. court.

None of those things will ever happen.

In fact, it's the NATO forces now bearing the brunt of the resurgent Taliban in southern Afghanistan.

Iran has no/zero refiniery capacity of its own (so the U.S. could blockade Iran and basically cut off its gasoline supply, as they're unable to refine crude into gasoline themselves, and none of the Gitmo prisoners will see a day in a U.S. court, nor simply set free...it's far more likely that either Congress will pass a law making Military Tribunals legitimate for "terror suspects," or they'll simply be tried via Military Court Marshalls.

Actually, BNJ, the interpretation I have seen on this ruling, which seems to be correct to my cursory readings about the decision, is that it dismisses the notion of the Unitary Executive and also knocks down the White House's legal theory that the resolution to allow Bush the option to start a war in Iraq (if he fulfilled certain requirements that Congress had set) gives Bush ultimate and unquestioned authority to do things that are extra-Constitutional, which could radiate out to include warrantless wiretapping and other activities. I think that's what has people on one side smiling and the other side ringing their hands.

Anyway, that's how I read what is being said. Understand that many of the things that are foudn to be objectionable and which arise out of the administration's belief in it's powers, such as warrantless wiretaps, have not made their way through the courts to the SCOTUS yet. This decision may affect those later decisions, should they be encountered.

I'm still slogging through the 185 page decision, so I'll have to get back to you on this later.

BNJ, you are certainly not the only one. I tend to trust The Talking Dog's views on these things. He's an attorney and often writes about constitutional issues. If I picked a direction that he leans, I would say that he leans left. Here's his summary of the Hamdan decision:
"The reality is, the Hamdan decision nominally only effects at most a handful of Gitmo detainees; Rear Admiral Harris, the commandant of the prison facililties has said that, other than halting construction on a second courtroom, he envisions little day to day change at the Guantanamo Bay prison camps after the Hamdan ruling."

So no, the leaping and cork-popping isn't as widespread as you might think.

Barry, an observation: you frequently make posts along the lines of, "Am I the only one who doesn't give a rat's ass about X?"

I see this as something positive. More mellow = more gooder.

I think you make some good points and you overall interpretation is correct. What I dont get is something else. Do you really support the approach this administration has taken on this issue? How could you be defending this disastrous administration? And dont tell me they do some things right. Everything the did has been disastrous... And you know it :)

"Everything they did has been disastrous... And you know it." (BW

Could you define "disastrous," on an issue-by-issue basis?

AND please include what you feel the correct action would be in each case.

Purely for the sake of clarification.

Could you define "disastrous," on an issue-by-issue basis?

Well, as they have been disastrous in everything they did, and I mean everything, it is not necessary to dissect their disastrous approaches issue by issue.

If I wrote definitions of disastrous issue by issue, it would take several pages. I would have to write a book. Barry will not be happy with me you exchanging long-long posts in his blog. So, just accept "disastrous in everything", as it is. Believe it or not its true anyway. Cheers.

Actually TAX CUTs that quickened the recovery from the "DISASTROUS" recession that started in the Spring of 2000 (under WJC).

He inherited an economy racked by the Tech Bubble bust of the Spring 2000, exacerbated by the Enron, Arthur Anderson, etc scandals (which also ocurred pre-2000) and further deepened by an attack by a global jihadist threat that was ignored by Bush 43 for eigth months and WJC for eight years...and steered us to an economy with near record low unemployment (4.6%), low inflation (0.4%) and incredible economic growth (5.6% of GDP annually).

With this admninistration we finnaly joined a war that had been waged against unrelentingly since 1992.

Another administration would've mistakenly considered international terrorism a criminal justice matter, instead of a Military one and would've mistakenly believed that you can negotiate with radical pan-Islamists bent on killing anyone who doesn't practive their kind of Islam.

The economy, the war on terorism - GREAT!

The border issue - not so good..."disatrous?"

No, but not so good.

In other words, aside from the border issue (slow to act) and the prescription drug boondoggle (shamelessly supported by the vast majority of Dems, most of whom wanted "EVEN MORE such wasteful spending)...name something even negative, let alone "disastrous" about the past six years of this administration.

JMK wrote:

"name something even negative, let alone "disastrous" about the past six years of this administration."

1. Disaster #1: The Iraq disaster. We went into a war based on (deliberately) false intelligence.

2. Disaster #2: Failure to win the Iraq war. Incompetence at its maximum.

3. Disaster #3: Failure to develop a plan to protect the country from terrorist attacks and prepare to respond to natural disasters. i.e. Katrina disaster. Incompetence resulting from chronyism and cutting of federal funds.

4. Disaster #4: Limiting stem cell research and cutting funding for scientific research (including medical research) altogether. America is traditionally a leader in science and this administration is doing its best to reverse that.

5. Disaster #5: Biggest deficit in the history of the country created from an administration that inherited the biggest surplus in the history of the country.

6. Have you ever been to the gas pump lately?

Need more? The picture of the country today makes Nixon look like a superstar when he was president.

Since your #2 is so egregiously misguided, I think it’s best to start there;

There was “no failure to win the Iraq war.”

The war with Saddam’s Iraq ENDED in less than three weeks, when Saddam’s government fell to Coalition forces.

What you’re apparently calling “the Iraq war” is the post-Saddam insurgency, which is part of a larger regional conflict.

Iraq, like Yugoslavia, is a mix of disparate peoples who don’t particularly like each other (the Kurds hate the Sunnis, the Shiites and Sunnis hate each other)...it’s a very volatile place.

If you’re suggesting that we should’ve left directly after Saddam was removed from power (the “Mission Accomplished” moment), I may well agree with that, though many felt that such a destabilized Iraq would’ve soon become a threat again.

I’d felt that the Kurds in the north would’ve joined the Turkish Kurds to reform Kurdistan, the Shiites in southern Iraq may well have rejoined Iran to reform a large part of old Persia and the Sunnis may have had to become part of Sunni Syria.

Would that have been overly problematic for the U.S.?

I really don’t know, but it’s probably the path I’d have chosen (the path of “least resistance”). The current path, though more costly, was certainly the more humane, in terms of rebuilding a nation that our necessary efforts destabilized (by toppling the existing government).

Both Syria and Iran are encouraging Civil War in Iraq and the global jihadist movement has flocked to Iraq the way they did Afghanistan two decades ago, but with far less success.

Iraq has its own government now and is taking on more of the day-to-day security responsibilities in that country.

On to # 1:

The invasion of Iraq was based on the same intelligence that WJC used to consider such an invasion back in 1998, an invasion which John Kerry supported at that time. (A rare lucid moment for Kerry?)

There is no indication that any of that information changed between 1998 and 2003. All indications are that it didn't, since the rest of the entire world’s Intelligence services (England’s, Poland’s, France’s, Spain’s, Russia’s, the Czech’s, etc) all came to the same conclusion that the CIA did – that Saddam’s Iraq still had WMDs (chemical & biological weapons) and had ties to terrorism (al Qaeda’s Ansar al Islam camps shared a common enemy with Saddam’s government – the Kurds, and operated in that region of Iraq).

In fact, WJC recently acknowledged, in an interview with CNN’s Larry King, that Bush 43 acted on the very same information that he'd had and couldn't criticize the invasion. That’s probably why Hillary hasn’t criticized the invasion either, and as a result, has drawn the ire of the misanthropic and often anti-American “anti-war Left.”

So, there were no “lies,” deliberate or otherwise that precipitated the invasion of Iraq. Once Saddam’s Iraq violated UN Resolution 1441, America and England had no choice but to move forward militarily.

Your #3 vies with #2 for the most misguided of all your statements.

There’s ONLY ONE way to judge the merits of an anti-terrorism policy – RESULTS.

In the nearly FIVE intervening years since 9/11/01, there have been no/ZERO attacks on American soil and numerous terror cells broken from Lackawanna, NY to Liberty City, FL.

That’s the bottom line – the domestic anti-terror policy (the Patriot Act, the NSA wiretaps, etc) have all worked. The “peacenik Democrats" (the extreme and “pro-terrorist Left-wing of that Party) have sought to obstruct and dismantle these programs...er...protections from the start.

#4 is a mere disagreement you have with a policy, not meriting the charge of “national disaster,” even if it were true.

Of course, it's NOT true, since the government hasn’t “limited stem cell research.”

That’s an erroneous statement.

A correct statement would be that, “the Bush administration has curtailed federal funds for EMBRYONIC stem cell research.”

See the difference?

It’s HUGE.

There are other forms of stem cell research being conducted, including umbilical cord stem cell research. Typically, those who deride the ban on federal funds for embryonic stem cell research either don’t know that particular fact, or simply acknowledge that it gets in the way of a good embellishment.

I tend to feel it’s the former.

Especially since the current administration didn’t initiate or even sign that ban into place.

Guess who did???

“Prohibition of Embryonic Stem Cell Research under Clinton Administration"

An amendment to a federal appropriations bill adopted during the Clinton Administration prohibited the use of federal funds to support any research in which a human embryo is destroyed, discarded or knowingly subjected to risk of injury greater than that allowed for research on fetuses in utero.

In November of 1998, President Clinton asked the National Bioethics Advisory Commission to examine the issues associated with stem cell research, balancing all ethical and medical considerations. The Committee issued its report in September of 1999. It recommended that federal funds be available for embryonic stem cell research performed on "spare" embryos donated by couples who created the embryos for infertility treatment.”


#5 is particularly precious for its inane, “wishful thinking” if nothing else;

An “out-of-control deficit?”

Here are the actual facts:

“...Driven by a surging national economy, tax revenues are increasing and the deficit is rapidly shrinking. The president’s deficit-reduction plan looks like it will not only succeed, but will do so years ahead of schedule.

The country was facing the largest projected deficit in history when Bush promised to halve it as a percentage of GDP by 2009. Due to high wartime spending and the residual effects of the 2000–01 recession, the White House expected the 2004 deficit to reach $521 billion, or 4.5 percent of GDP. Bush’s goal was to reduce this to 2.25 percent by 2009.

After all the beans were finally counted, the 2004 deficit came in at $413 billion—roughly 3.5 percent of GDP. The economy had begun expanding, partly in response to Bush’s tax cuts, creating jobs and boosting revenue. This trend continued into the next year, pushing the deficit down to $319 billion in 2005.

This year, the projections look even better. Through the first eight months of this budget year, the deficit is $227 billion—16.7 percent lower than this time last year. That’s largely because government revenues in these eight months have reached $1.545 trillion, up 12.9 percent from last year.

This huge revenue boost means that the deficit is going down even as an out-of-control Congress continues its spending profligacy. Federal spending has already swelled by $130 billion so far this fiscal year—a 7.9 percent increase compared with the same period last year. Such increases can’t be blamed entirely on the demands of the War on Terror, either, as Defense and Homeland Security together account for only 30 percent of Congress’s total spending increases since 2001.

Despite the strong updraft of federal spending, the deficit is on track in the next few years to continue falling until it approaches 2 percent of GDP. This is below the 2.5 percent that has been the national average since 1970, demonstrating that the president’s critics were simply wrong when they claimed that the Bush tax cuts would lead the country into economic ruin.”


Gasoline prices?

Oil is still lower in cost than it was back in 1981 (adjusted for inflation) and lower than Europe’s average cost (around $6/gallon), but that aside, the U.S. government has NOTHING to do with, nor any control over the world market price of oil.

India and China (bless their hearts) are rapidly industrializing (ultimately good news for the U.S.) and are demanding more oil, thus, despite a rising supply, thanks to new technologies Energy Companies are taking more oil from the ground that they did even ten years ago, the surging world demand has brought the price of oil steadily upward

When oil was hovering around $10/barrel back in 1998, Exxon-Mobil’s Lee Raymond bet on surging demand raising oil prices and profits and plowed more than double their profits into R&D.

Our political representative had the very same facts at their disposal and yet failed to connect the dots, the way Raymond did.

We needed an Energy “Marshall Plan” back then, but the politicians of the late-1990s failed us.

Thankfully there are folks like Denny Klein (Hybrid Hydrogen Oxygen System ) and Dr. Ruggero Maria Santilli (Magne Gas) in the PRIVATE SECTOR who point the way to a better future.

Hey! There’s probably a lesson in that (Rugger’s & Klein’s technologies), that it’s best not to depend on government to solve real problems. Real innovation and real opportunities require the PRIVATE SECTOR.

Curiously, your last statement, ” picture of the country today makes Nixon look like a superstar when he was president,” makes it sound like you believe RMN to be one of the worst recent U.S. Presidents.

He was bad, precisely because he followed the same Keynesian policies that LBJ did and Jimmy Carter would. He also presided over the start of the EPA and the advent of race/gender based preferences (“quotas”)...Nixon was a disgrace precisely because he supported so many “Liberal” policies.

Still, he was far from “the worst recent President.” Carter and LBJ vie with perhaps only Andrew Johnson as the WORST U.S. Presidents of ALL TIME.

LBJ started the “Keynesian revolution” (“government spending is good for the economy”) and Carter heightened it and presided over the expected results “STAGFLATION.”

Care to try again???

See BW?

DISAGREEMENTS DON'T = DISASTERS, even though they may seem like disasters to those who disagree.

The current administration has done some really DUMB/negative things;

(1) Not dealing immediately and effectively with our porous southern border.

(2) The prescription drug boondoggle.

(3) The wildly expensive and dysfunctional NCLB Act.

(4) An increase in overall social spending that exceeded the original projections.

ALL of those things are "negative," but none of them are disasters, either.

Of course their also none of the things you seem to disagree with or find "disastrous."

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