Things That Ought Really Not Have to Have Been Said in a Congressional Hearing, Yet Alas Had to Be

“I’m not aware of any situation in the world where there is a system of jurisprudence that is recognized by civilized people where an individual can be tried and convicted without seeing the evidence against him,” said Brig. Gen. James Walker, U.S. Marine Corps staff judge advocate.

“I don’t think the United States needs to become the first in that scenario,” he said.

– “US generals criticize Bush plan on terrorism trials,” Reuters, September 8, 2006

I really doubt history is going to be kind to George Bush on this whole “alternative interrogation and trials” thing. To which I say: Good.

105 thoughts on “Things That Ought Really Not Have to Have Been Said in a Congressional Hearing, Yet Alas Had to Be

  1. It’s … interesting … that this comes from a high-ranking military legal expert.

    It is depressingly often these days that I am reminded of the exasperated parental humor of the form, “Why do I even need to say these things?!”

  2. Well, I don’t want him thrown into a jet engine, or anything. I just want all his damn fool notions checked by an adversarial Congress through January 20, 2009. That’s not too much to ask.

  3. John, you have to admit that, in terms of things we’d like to see, the image of that whole crew being hauled out of the White House in shackles is about the same as a bikini-clad Heidi Klum holding a bacon-double cheeseburger in one hand and a chocolate eclair in the other.

    Oooo… Happy thoughts…

  4. Although, given the track record of Generals who say things off point, I expect a resignation soon. Also, given how much the DoD has ignored the JAG for the civilian lawyers they’ve brought in, his comments might not go so far. At least somebody with metal on their sleeve remembers their oaths.

  5. Dan:

    “John, you have to admit that, in terms of things we’d like to see, the image of that whole crew being hauled out of the White House in shackles is about the same as a bikini-clad Heidi Klum holding a bacon-double cheeseburger in one hand and a chocolate eclair in the other.”

    No, I don’t really need that, because I think that would be more trouble than it’s worth. I just need them to be blocked from doing anything stupid, and then for the electorate, Republican and Democratic and everyone else, to pull their heads out of their asses and vote for people who actually respect the Constitution in 2008. That’d do me fine.

  6. Steve, I agree with your comments re: military members speaking their conscience rather than towing the party line being forced to resign. Too many people forget that vets who are currently serving don’t get a lot of choice in when, where and how they perform their duties (that whole pesky civilian control of the military thing). So when a military member has a crisis of conscience and speaks up, it’s a safe bet that they’re not long for this world.

  7. John,

    Respect for the constitution? Surely you jest. Based on current events, it was my impression that our constitution was written on an etch-a-sketch.

  8. I dunno. That whole bikini-clad hot woman thing would likely cause me a world of trouble too, but it’s fun to think about for a moment.

    In kinda the same way, a perp walk for crimes against the Constitution is a fun to think about, even if I know it’d be a bad idea if it really happened.

  9. I am a strong believer in the “run-off” election style. Require that the winner have greater then 50% of the vote. They do it in Texas for the gubernatorial election…The election of a President should demand more of a clear majority then who gets to be the Governer of Texas. GBW’s 30% “mandate” would have been bypassed entirely and there would be many more Afghanis alive today.

    Of course, I am also in favor of requiring citizens to vote by law and other crackpot ideas…grain of salt and whatnot.

  10. Unfortunately the Perp Walk would lead to a major Constitutional Crisis that would leave John Boehner as President. That might be worse that letting the electorate speak.

  11. If something surprising but not completely implausible happens in November, and the Perp Walk happens in January, we might end up with President Pelosi. Of course, even if a Perp Walk happened, I think we’d find that those doing the walking would attempt to keep their offices. I don’t think it would be the first time something like that happened.

  12. J. Scalzice, him say: Well, I don’t want him thrown into a jet engine, or anything. I just want all his damn fool notions checked by an adversarial Congress through January 20, 2009. That’s not too much to ask.

    Yeah, I don’t want him to be turbine julienne’d either, I just think the Bush Administration V 2.0 will go out with them looking like mach 10 sh*t on toast.

  13. Bush needs a forcible bit of prison sex inflicted on him by some huge Marine who missed the birth of his daughter so that George could fatten up Big Oil with the blood of the American poor.

  14. Dane,

    Love the crackpot ideas. Although I firmly believe that the military should be under civilian control, I also think those wielding the control should be veterans…real veterans, not arm-chair warriors.

  15. Dane,
    Sorry, can’t follow you down the whole “requiring citizens to vote” path. Do you really want people who are so stupid and lazy and don’t care about their country to the extent that they can’t even get off the couch to vote actually REQUIRED to vote?

  16. Yes Jerry Arwood, us “leftists” just want to surrender the country. You pegged it EXACTLY. Anyone who doesn’t believe exactly like you is a traitor. Your awesome analytical skills have figured it out! I mean, how could anyone deny the utopian nirvana of peace and prosperity the Pres. Bush has bestowed upon us? Only someone like myself, whose mind has been poisoned by studying law and national security at a godless heathen liberal university, where they use BOOKS and stuff! (The horror!)

  17. jerry arwood:

    Why, sure, jerry. And most of you rightists enjoy taking a fresh hot squat on the Constitution, right?

    If you’re going to say ignorant and idiotic things, jerry, try to say them away from my site, if you please.

  18. We need an update to Godwins law: Anyone who, in a political debate, refers to their opponent being either a leftist or facist, without evidence to back up such a claim, immediatley loses the debate.

  19. jerry arwood,

    I served 17 years in the U.S. Navy, much of it deployed away from my friends and family, defending your right to question my patriotism. If you have as much credibility as I do on the issue of defending the constitution, then I’d like to hear what you have to say. If not, then I suggest you put your money where your mouth is.

  20. Well, to be fair, PeterP, I’m sure all those generals in the US Armed Forces that are on record opposing these new terrorism trials are as flaming pink liberal queer as it is possible to be. Because that’s how you get to the top of the US armed forces: By being flaming pink liberal queers.

  21. It’s all clear now! THAT’s why I was never promoted to flag rank – I wasn’t a flaming pink liberal queer! Maybe I should loosen up…

  22. New methods have be tried for new situations, things that don’t work are thrown out, things that do work will be utilized. This is not hard guys, I mean, besides the BDS stuff.

  23. “The right to a full and fair hearing requires the accused have access to the evidence used to convict them, even if it is classified information”

    John:

    Yes, this means that every ex-Taliban and Al Qaeda member will get a fair trial. But it also means that they will have more information about how our government pursues them.

    This, in turn, will ultimately put your family (and mine, for that matter) at greater risk.

    If this is where your priorities lie, so be it.

  24. “Ah… The “If you grant them basic human rights the terrorists win” argument.”

    Ah…The “fail to address the point your opponent has made because it would be ideologically inconvenient to do so” argument.

    No, I am all for giving them food and water…I would treat them much better than they treated women and homosexuals in Afghanistan..So that one is a red herring. I’m just not for revealing classified information in the process.

    If it comes down to a choice between a slightly less fair trial for Yusef the Taliban Member, or revealing information that Yusef the Taliban Member could potentially use to launch another 9/11–well, that’s an easy choice for me. Sometimes you have to make unpleasant choices. Tough.

    You and John, however, are much more concerned Yusef the Taliban member…And that is fine with me…Just be honest about your priorities.

  25. Greg:

    “This, in turn, will ultimately put your family (and mine, for that matter) at greater risk.”

    Oh, bullshit. Put your bowels back into your body, there, Greg.

    What puts my family at rather greater risk is my government deciding that only some people deserve the full course of law. If you choose not to understand the implications of such an act, that’s your business. But that’s the schism, isn’t it: Between those who think “security” is more important than rights, and those who think rights lead to greater security.

  26. Greg

    Yes, that’s true. And it also means that the completely innocent guys there will get a fair trial. And yes, there’s probably a colorable argument that doing so puts us all at greater risk.

    I suppose we could go the route of total security, doing whatever’s necessary to preserve our families, rights be damned.

    Or we could stick with the Constitution that’s shaped our values and served us well for over 200 years. We’ve managed to stay survive and defeat some fearsome internal and external enemies in that time, including ones with the much greater destructive capabilities than Al Qaeda. And we’ve retained the values that made our nation great.

    That’s where my priorities lie.

  27. I see that I ask a rhetorical question and get personal attacks. Guess I won’t be purchasing any of your books John.

  28. Ah, cram it up your ass, Jerry. Your “rhetorical” question was idiotic and it got the response it deserved. You weren’t attacked, just your stupid comment. If you can’t parse the difference, that’s not my problem. As for not buying my books, the sort of person who tries holding a book sale over my head is the sort of person I don’t need as a reader. Good riddance.

  29. >

    No John, you are wrong. In the context of the discussion about Islamic terrorism, your family is at risk because the terrorists want to kill Americans, and they can easily take advantage of our open society in order to do so. (That was proven 5 years ago.) As I am sure you are aware, plans for 9/11 began when Clinton was president; so Al Qaeda didn’t attack us a reaction to the policies of Bush.

    As for “deserving the full course of the law”: We cannot apply the rules of domestic criminal justice to a war against international terrorists. For example, several years back we assasinated an Al Qaeda member in Yemen with an automated drone. Obviously this would not be an acceptable way to handle a domestic crime suspect. War is not the same as crime, and cannot be addressed by the same tactics and according to the same rules. (Understand this point if you understand nothing else in this post.)

    >

    John, you are wrong again. In times of war, certain individual rights have always taken a backseat to national security in limited contexts. During WWII, the government told Americans how much sugar they could buy, how much rubber they could use, and when the residents of coastal cities could turn their lights on. All I am saying is, when we have to make choices regarding our treatment of Al Qaeda members, let’s err on the side of our own security.

    What bothers me most about your posts is that you really *don’t* seem to get the big picture: that there *is* in fact a dedicated Islamist terrorist network that is working 24/7 to come up with new ways to kill us all. You really seem to believe that Bush is worse than bin Laden.

    Everyday there is a new story about Islamic terrorism, Islamic oppression of women, etc., etc. These stories hardly ever elicit a peep out of you…But let the U.S. government curtail the rights of an Al Qaeda member–and you are ready pontificate at length.

    As I said, I think your priorities speak for themselves.

  30. Another proposed corollary to Godwin’s Law: during a heated argument, anyone invoking the image of Heidi Klum holding an eclair automatically wins.

  31. “What bothers me most about your posts is that you really *don’t* seem to get the big picture: that there *is* in fact a dedicated Islamist terrorist network that is working 24/7 to come up with new ways to kill us all. You really seem to believe that Bush is worse than bin Laden.”

    What many of us don’t get is why the existence of an Islamist terrorist network would:

    – justify turning the Constitution into confetti.

    – justify going after the wrong bad guys, as we did in Iraq.

    That’s what we don’t get. The terrorists-out-to-get-us we understand just fine, thanks.

  32. Greg:

    “We cannot apply the rules of domestic criminal justice to a war against international terrorists.”

    Bah again. Oddly enough, we’ve been attacked by terrorists before 9/11 and managed to give them trials using the courts without irreparable damage to our own way of life. So pardon me if I don’t get vaporous about the possibility of doing so again.

    Moreover, you know what? When the actual military of the United States — which is to say, the fellows who are currently fighting the terrorists you are so apparently weak in the knees about — says that it’s important to give these people the full course of law, I’m inclined to believe they know what they’re saying. But they have to deal with them on a 24/7 basis.

    I’ll tell you what, Greg, it actually and genuinely disgusts me on a moral and philosophical level that so many so-called “conservatives” seem so willing to chuck out the Constitution of the United States because they can’t hold their bladders at the idea of the Islamic terrorist network. These “conservatives” are weak, they have no appreciation of what it means to be an American and I am ashamed that one of their ilk sits in the White House and is so monstrously incompetent to handle the job of protecting us that all he can think to do to get a handle on it is weed-whack his way through the protections that have made us Americans for more than two centuries.

    This isn’t a question of security, Greg. It’s a question of competence. A competent president administration would have found a better balance of security and rights than this one has. This one doesn’t give a damn about rights, and it hasn’t given a whole lot of security, either. It’s the worst of both worlds.

    I don’t seem to get the big picture. Give me a break.

    “You really seem to believe that Bush is worse than bin Laden.”

    Oh, bah. No one would be happier than I to stuff a rocket down bin Laden’s gullet. Would that I had a president who was competent to have done such in an amount of time under five years and counting.

    “As I said, I think your priorities speak for themselves.”

    They sure do, and I’m proud of them. However, ultimately I don’t think our priorities are all that different, actually; we differ on how best to achieve them.

    Jerry Arwood:

    By all means, Jerry! I’m a big believer in fresh starts. Make yourself at home and welcome.

  33. “What many of us don’t get is why the existence of an Islamist terrorist network would:

    – justify turning the Constitution into confetti.”

    This is a gross exaggeration. During WWII, there were probably people who interpreted rationing as a movement toward socialism. Moreover, foreign enemy combatants are not U.S. citizens. The constitution says nothing about how much classified information we have to give POWs. My guess is that Thomas Jefferson would not have been in favor of sharing military secrets with the British during the Revolutionary War.

    “- justify going after the wrong bad guys, as we did in Iraq.”

    I think that the war in Iraq is a wasteful use of American blood and treasure. I would pull out, let the Shiites and Sunnis slaughter each other, and focus on fulfilling our energy needs through some other means besides Middle East oil. So no argument from me on that point.

    Just for the record: On balance, I am no fan of Bush. But I am even less a fan of the Islamo-maniacs who are out to kill us.

  34. Greg, well, I’m glad to see you’re still on the “Blame Clinton” team.

    I’m willing to die for my freedom, Greg. I signed on the dotted line long ago. You, as it’s made obvious by your posts, would rather loose your freedoms to save your butt. Al Qaeda attacked on President Bush’s watch, that makes it his problem. Considering President Bush was exceptionally proud of his ability to get out of the Oval Office by 5pm before 9-11-01, I’m willing to say he wasn’t fully engaged and his lapse gave Al Qaeda their opportunity. That was what was proved 5 years ago.

    As for the “assassination” of Qaed Senyan al-Harthi, he was a legal target, a fugitive, and a declared combatant against the US. He was not in custody of the US, he was still on the field. If you understand nothing in this post, understand that there is a difference between an enemy in the field and an enemy in custody. If we aren’t willing to try them with the rights and freedoms, those things you and I treasure, or we can’t win, then let’s shoot them. Shoot them now. After all, they’re all guilty. Because if we jail anybody they are guilty, right? Just like Tom Delay. Oh wait, you may object to that. Guess then there must be a chance that the people in Gitmo may also not be a threat. Say like the Uighurs we have there. Once somebody is in your custody on the battlefield they become your responsibility.

    This is why I would like to find that nice sergeant who captured Saddam. “Son,” I’d say, “this is a fragmentation grenade. Let me explain the concept of ‘fire in the hole.'”

    Rationing isn’t limiting rights. This is so obvious a statement I can’t really grasp how you could equate the two. One is about consumer behavior, the other is about the things we have fought and died for. Not being able to buy enough sugar to bake or cook with has nothing to do with rights.

    What bothers me is that the rest of us got the threat of Al Qaeda back in the late 90s (at least those of us paying attention to global issues and knew the name of General Musharraf), the NeoCons stuck their head in the sand because they were more interested in keeping brain dead people alive and saving us all from the scourge of scientific thought.

    The Taliban had been curtailing women’s rights and prosecuting wars against other religions, and the “bleeding heart” liberals decried it. NeoCons were too busy fighting homosexuals right to employment and to live free. That they screamed whenb Clinton tried to hit Osama that he was “wagging the dog” only shows their cluelessness to the real threat. That the NeoCons keep their blinders on and miss all the other injustices going on around the world, injustices that are feeding a new generation of terrorists (the Pan-Africans) only continues to demonstrate that they aren’t the people who should be protecting us.

    The President tells us that they attack us because of our freedom and liberty. I wish he would rather protect those ideals instead of denying the enemy their motivation.

    As for Bush being worse than Osama, I’ll remind you that President Bush was the one who took back his “dead or alive” pledge. President Bush gave up on justice being done to Osama. I want his head on a spike. If the NeoCons aren’t man enough to do it, let me. The Cleveland Museum of Art has a great executioners sword that would do the job nicely.

  35. If it comes down to a choice between a slightly less fair trial for Yusef the Taliban Member, or revealing information that Yusef the Taliban Member could potentially use to launch another 9/11–well, that’s an easy choice for me. Sometimes you have to make unpleasant choices. Tough.

    If it’s a choice between setting up star chambers, possibly indefinitely, and slightly increasing the possibility that terorists will strike us successfully again, well, that’s an easy choice for people who remember what being an American is supposed to mean.

  36. Steve says: “Greg, well, I’m glad to see you’re still on the “Blame Clinton” team.” Then he proceeds into a lengthy discussion about Neocons.

    Steve, I am not a Neocon. I didn’t vote for Bush last time around, either. And I would gladly take Clinton back at this point. So there. My only motive in mentioning Clinton was to dissuade John from obsessing so much about Bush that he forgets about the big picture. Long after Bush is out of office, we are still going to have Islamo-maniacs to contend with. So let’s take off our Bush blinders.

    As for “loosing my freedom to save my butt:” How is withholding classified information from foreign POWs an infringement on my freedoms? Or yours, for that matter?

    Although this is a minor point: you are incorrect in stating that rationing was not a curtailment of rights. Economic freedom (which includes the freedom to buy as much sugar as you can afford) is a freedom too. The constitution was not written solely to protect the freedoms to protest in the public square and publish underground newspapers. The founders envisioned economic freedom as a fairly large chunk of the “pursuit of happiness.”

    As I mention in my earlier posts, the Bush Administration is guilty of multiple blunders. But I’m not going to lose any sleep if they restrict the rights of Gitmo detainees to read classified information. Sorry, but in the big scheme of things, that’s a trade-off I can live with. And one that you should be able to live with as well.

  37. Greg:

    “Sorry, but in the big scheme of things, that’s a trade-off I can live with. And one that you should be able to live with as well.”

    Um, no.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one, there, Greg.

    Mmmm… another juicy quote:

    “It would be unacceptable, legally, in my opinion, to give someone the death penalty in a trial where they never heard the evidence against them,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has played a key role in the drafting of alternative legislation as a member of the Armed Services Committee and a military judge. “ ‘Trust us, you’re guilty, we’re going to execute you, but we can’t tell you why’? That’s not going to pass muster; that’s not necessary.”

    Right on.

  38. Greg, if you’re not a NeoCon, I apologize for lumping you in that group. Your arguments, however, pretty much mirrored their astroturfing campaigns, and this is why I jumped to that conclusion.

    “How is withholding classified information from foreign POWs an infringement on my freedoms?”

    It’s called “due process.” It means that, among other things, the accused has the right to challenge evidence and witnesses brought against them.

    Given that these will be military courts, there are already slightly different rules of evidence. Given that a JAG General, the people who do this for a living, thinks we can live through this, I’m willing to listen to their professional judgment. After all, if there is compelling evidence, these people are not going to be getting out for a very long time. To argue the issue that we’re going to disclose “classified” material, about crimes the accused committed, and then the military judges and juries (as I remember a military jury doesn’t need be unanimous, but only a majority) are going to say, “that evidence doesn’t convince us” only demonstrates the point that after many years, we don’t have reasons to hold them. If we have “classified” evidence, the case should be a slam-dunk. The accused isn’t going anywhere for a very long time. If evidence is presented that the accused can’t challenge for cause or veracity, that’s not a trial, that’s a lynching. They won’t “read classified” information, it will be, “we have this evidence against the accused.” Nothing more will be shown than that which addresses the actions and guilt of the accused.

    Would the accused please step out (elapsed time), bring the accused in. You’re guilty. Next.

    That’s not a trial, that’s a star chamber.

    “Or yours, for that matter?”

    If any one of us is denied our rights, all of us could be denied our rights. Remember how President Bush promised that no American citizen would be held indefinitely as an enemy combatant? Then Jose Padilla came on the scene. I’m not saying Padilla shouldn’t go to jail, I’m just pointing out that the President drew a clear and bright line, and then crossed it.

    While I am no longer available for duty, I know people who are. While some enemies don’t follow the rule law, that doesn’t excuse us. And it gives us the moral high-ground. I would hate to be the ones to cross the line into barbarism first. It jeopardizes the lives of those who wear the uniform and cheapens our country. If we are the “land of the free and the home of the brave” it’s high time we stood up and behaved like it.

    Rationing to conserve materials, or the energy to create materials, for a war effort isn’t curtailing “economic freedom.” As for “economic freedom” I’ll only point out the myriad of laws governing corporations and commerce and that the US has had three economic systems since its inception (mercantilism, agrarianism, and capitalism). That the Congress was set up to regulate interstate commerce pretty much proves my point and disproves your thoughts on what the founders wanted. The “right” to buy watermelon at Christmas doesn’t exist.

    Long before Bush was in office terrorists, including those who follow Islam, Christ, and no god at all, threatened us. We’ve defeated them before using the civilian criminal justice system and plain old police procedures and tactics. These thugs aren’t any better.

    In the big scheme of things I want to retain my right to live in a free society, to have my citizenship and all the rights that pertain, to be human and to have my inalienable rights. That’s my goal. Don’t make an argument for me, I’m big enough to make my own choices. I do not agree with you about trading off rights. You want to have less rights, try China. I understand there are great economic opportunities there and they will keep you very safe.

  39. Greg,

    Putting it briefly:

    There are three classes of people that a fair trial with disclosure of the evidence benefits (in this context).

    The accused, including Yusef the alleged Taleban member. I know this bugs you, but remember that he may actually have been turned in by someone who dislikes him.

    Our servicemen and women – and indeed, any sundry reporters, aid workers, or other useful folk in a war zone – who may find themselves in the hands of the enemy. If we respect the human rights of our captives (and justice is a human right), these people have a better chance of coming back alive.

    You, John, me, and everyone reading this comment. Once a fair trial is perceived as a luxury, only for “safe” situations, how long before more situations are declared “unsafe”? We brush against the people dedicated to our security more and more often – when we fly, when our purchases of cellphones attract the attention of the FBI, etc, etc. Speaking personally, I want fair trials with disclosure of evidence to be an unbreakable norm.

    Who wins when fair trials are suspended?

    Anyone looking to call America a global hypocrite, fighting for freedom without cherishing it itself.

    Tyrants, according to the founding fathers, and I’m inclined to believe them. Whether the current administration is in that class is a matter for debate. Whether a future administration could be in that class is indisputable.

  40. Immediately after the attacks back in 2001, there was a certain overuse of the phrase “…then the terrorists have won”, which probably reached a nadir when Kelsey Grammar suggested that if he were unable to attend an awards ceremony then a terrorist victory had been achieved.

    It’s a shame that the phrase was used so hyperbolically, because there was an important truth in it. A successful terrorist attack does not, in itself, constitute a victory for the attackers. In and of itself, it gets them no closer to their strategic goals.

    Al-Quaeda’s principle goal was to force the U.S. to withdraw its military from the Middle East. For them, the 9/11 attacks were actually a horrible failure. Whether or not the Bush administration were already previously planning an invasion of Iraq, the 9/11 attacks were whence they obtained the political leverage to get an intervention approved by Congress.

    Consequently, the 9/11 attacks led to a vast increase in the size of the U.S. military presence in Iraq – and I don’t think Al-Quaeda are smart enough to have planned the response as a “heightening the contradictions”-style strategy.

    The thing with terrorism is that it can only succeed if you permit it to succeed. The thing about asymmetric warfare is that the smaller side doesn’t have the wherewithal to obtain victory through its own means – it has to manipulate its enemy into achieving its victory for it.

    The problem with “then the terrorists win” or “you just want to surrender the country” arguments is that they’re rarely, if ever, founded upon an understanding of what the terrorists in question are trying to achieve. There’s a tendency to view the strategy (terror, pain, misery, death, disruption) with the goals, and that leads to woolly thinking, and people getting angry with each other because they arguing with people without ever understanding each other’s predicates, and thus can only interpret their opponents arguments by their own predicates (where they rarely look good).

    ******

    On the subject of fair trials and tribunals, my first reaction is that “The Trial” was meant to be an unsettling portrait of absurdity rather than a blueprint for a real legal system. A legal system rigged against defendents has a number of practical problems, not least amongst which is the lack of safeguards against pressure on the prosecution to obtain convictions at any cost whether they’re correct or not (this happens in the normal legal system, why would this one be any better?) The rights inherent in defendents in the normal legal system aren’t there to inconvenience honest lawmen, they’re there to prevent a weak entity (the defendent) being unfairly persecuted by a strong entity (the state), and to counter-balance the possibility of human error within the state.

    Whilst a narrowly legalistic case can be made for the argument that American rights only apply to American citizens, it’s not morally compelling – if a right is fundamental to yourself, how can you consider witholding it from another human being. The rights guaranteed in the U.S. constitution derive philosophically from the unalienable rights (including liberty) with which the U.S. Declaration of Independence argues all men are endowed. Not just U.S. citizens, but all men. Not that there’s been any worthwhile guarantee that these military tribunals would only be applied to foreign nationals anyway.

    The core of the fundamental argument against the tribunals, however, is that pursuing your own interests as if other people weren’t also human is fundamentally immoral. One of the reasons that terrorists are is that their tactics view people as targets whose lives and rights are irrelevant to the pursuit of their own goals, and that they get to decide who else makes sacrifices for their cause. This is not a path to be chosen lightly.

  41. I’m not so sure Bush is going to be looked back at as a bafoon. I didn’t think Reagan was all that hot and look how honored he was when he passed away. Granted I was much younger then and not as involved in politics but still.

    As far as rationing goes and comaring WWII to what we have now. I wish there was rationing and bond drives and all the other things that showed that the effort was an important task that was going to require all of us to contribute. It is too easy to use those neat toys when only the family’s of the victums know. I much prefer the fashion of actually declaring a war and getting the home fires burning than the President sending our troops to break things and kill people and bulling Congress to let him do it. I fear a War on Terror is just nebulous enough to keep us in fear forever, without there actually being anything to be rationaly afraid of. More people died this last long weekend than did on 9/11 from traffic accidents, where is the War on Driving? Broomfield, a bedroom community of Denver and Boulder, is going to open the largest memorial to 9/11 this weekend and my first question was “why?”

  42. Snarkwarrior:

    “So we leave the war on terror to the lawyers eh?”

    No one here’s said that, and you look like a simple fool for suggesting that’s the argument that’s being made.

  43. Snarkwarrior:

    “What I’m saying is that leaving the war to laywers and their gospel of due process is inviting suicide.”

    And what I’m saying is that there’s not a single person here who has suggested that leaving the war to the lawyers is a good idea, so your attempt to suggest so is a cheap rhetorical trick to to gain points on a subject that no one arguing. Which makes you look like a fool. If you don’t want it to be noted that you’re making foolish statements, don’t make them.

    Your apparent understanding of what is being discussed here appears to be rather limited, so I suggest you go back and read the whole thread. Greg, for one, makes the points you appear to be trying to make rather better than you did.

  44. Snarkwarrior:

    “So if you’re not suggesting it should be left to lawyers what alternative do you have?”

    You’re still trying to frame the argument in a manner that is not relevant — it’s not the either/or situation you wish to describe it as — so answering your question is pointless, as it is predicated on bad reasoning.

    If you want a substantive answer to your argument, you need to make an argument that is based in reality. Your reduction of the problem is bad and not worth discussing. Come back when you can do better than false choices. The rest of us are trying to have a useful discussion, and you’re not contributing anything to it.

    As a prod, any further blatherage from you that is in the form of this same stupid argument will be deleted. You’ve had a couple chances to reframe your argument into something substantive and useful, and you haven’t. I’m not inclined to keep giving you space to blather simply because you’re under the impression your blather is actually an argument.

  45. Greg, does the name Khaled El-Masri mean anything to you? Because it should. here’s a bit about his story

    Without the laws and regulations John Scalzi, myself, and others support, what happened to him will continue, and there will be no justice allowed when it does happen.

    So stop trying to frame this as Scalzi and others wanting to have some sort of special rights for terrorists. It’s disingenuous, and disrespectful. All we want is a single standard of justice. The one the country was founded on. If you want to shred that standard, be honest, and tell us that you think it’s obsolete.

    I certainly don’t. We faced a much more dangerous menace from the communists. Those people had nuclear weapons capable of destroying the entire world.

    Need I remind you that the overreaction from HUAC and other absurd anticommunist ventures did nnothing mroe than divide the country and destroy important civil rights *of Americans*?

    I guess I do. Perhaps you should go look up Iran Contra as well. A good deal of Bush’s team were involved in that. That’s what comes of ignoring constitutional law in times of conflict.

    Speaking of disrespectful –

    Snarkwariornah Johnny, like many liberal…

    It’s John’s own blog, you dipshit.

  46. Greg,

    As I mention in my earlier posts, the Bush Administration is guilty of multiple blunders. But I’m not going to lose any sleep if they restrict the rights of Gitmo detainees to read classified information. Sorry, but in the big scheme of things, that’s a trade-off I can live with. And one that you should be able to live with as well.

    Here are the problems I see with depriving the gitmo detainees of their legal rights.

    To start with, the big unspoken assumption is that if a person is a Gitmo detainee then they must be a terrorist. This assumption has gotten us into problems during our torture interrogations because the torturer has been told (and believes) that the prisoner is guilty of something. In the case where the prisoner is guilty of nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time the torturer will push even harder, assuming the prisoner is a guilt ‘hard case.’

    The second problem I have with the ‘so what if we treat terrorists unfairly, they do worse to us’ argument is that it leads to big problems down the road. The problem with all the abuses is that it lays the seeds for future hatred of America down the road.

    We are going to be feeling the outcome of Bush’s bungling in the middle east for many years to come. We’ve created a new generation of middle easteners who hate us for our abuses.

    Our policies are making things worse for the future.

  47. OKay, Snarkwarrior. I count three sentences with no humorous content ending in “LOL”. Are you aware of the meaning of the acronym? Did you complete primary education, because anytime I see LOL tacked on that liberally, it reminds me of my little sisters Xanga blog. Just saying…

  48. I detect no thought in your posts. Nor any snark, really. Just bad manners. Go play Counterstrike or something; you’ll find lots of your kind there.

  49. We are going to be feeling the outcome of Bush’s bungling in the middle east for many years to come. We’ve created a new generation of middle easteners who hate us for our abuses.

    Sorry for going a bit off-topic here, but we’ve made a lot of enemies as a result of our using innocent Iraqi citizens as “human shields” in this dreadful, irrational war under this foolishly stupid notion that “it’s better to fight them there…”

    In light of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s findings that there was no connection between Iraq and 9-11, Bush’s own current statements that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11, and no proof of a connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda, there was absolutely no reason to abandon our persuit of those who attacked us in order to supposedly police some broken, arbitrary U.N. Resolution.

    Personally, I think it’s becoming increasingly clear that Bush used the tragedy of 9-11 as a means in which to exact a personal family vendetta against Saddam Hussein. Add to that the convenient breakdown of intellegence regarding our reasons for going into Iraq, and yes. I think they should all be hauled out of the White House in shackles. The lives lost as a result of Bush’s folly can never be justifiable under the auspices that we are fighting a war on terror when, by his own words, that is pretty much the very last thing we are doing.

    Unfortunately, Bush’s Terror Tour ’06 is in full swing this fall, and he’s spoon feeding the rhetoric of fear to the masses who want to remember 9-11, but are we, as a country, truly seeking any sort of justice for the nearly three-thousand lives lost that day?

    Sorry, but I just had to get that off my chest while I still have the right to do so.

  50. Unfortunately the Perp Walk would lead to a major Constitutional Crisis that would leave John Boehner as President.

    …yes, but it would be a friggin’ field day for comedy writers world-wide. All it would take is one TV newsbot mispronouncing his name just once, and the floodgates would open.

    Also, where did all the trolls come from? Is this site on some kind of drive-by hit list?

  51. Kiro:”I’m not so sure Bush is going to be looked back at as a bafoon.”

    It’s kind of an interesting question. Theres an argument to made that Reagan is so revered currently because a lot of the policies he put in place are still the modus operandi of the current crop of neoconservatives. As such, its to be expected that they would hail him as a savior. I suspect it will take several generations to get a neutral opinion.

  52. Whew… For a minute there, I thought when John was talking about trolls, he was talking about me.

    For the record, if I do post something insulting obnoxious, or utterly, irredeemably dense, you have my permission to delete at your whim without any griping or whining from me, Mr. Scalzi.

  53. I said:

    What many of us don’t get is why the existence of an Islamist terrorist network would:

    – justify turning the Constitution into confetti.

    Then Greg said:

    This is a gross exaggeration. During WWII, there were probably people who interpreted rationing as a movement toward socialism. Moreover, foreign enemy combatants are not U.S. citizens. The constitution says nothing about how much classified information we have to give POWs. My guess is that Thomas Jefferson would not have been in favor of sharing military secrets with the British during the Revolutionary War.

    Now I say:

    Hold the phone. We’ve had Americans held in detention without access to council. We have an executive branch that OKs wiretapping without getting the approval of a court that was set up for that express purpose by Congress (a court which, by the way, has accepted virtually every request brought before it). We’re torturing people.

    If the Constitution isn’t being pureed, I’d like to know exactly what is happening.

    Look, we’ve been through worse before, far worse. During more than 40 years of cold war with the Soviets, in which we faced almost-instant annihilation, a string of US presidents, Republican and Democratic, resisted the temptation to to take a tinkle on the Bill of Rights on the grounds that it would somehow make us safer.

    When we behave this way, we are being disrespectful to the memories of Americans who were braver in more dire circumstances. And if channeling dead statesman is somehow a respected mode of argument, then I’ll say that if Thomas Jefferson saw what was going on today, he’d barf. Or whatever they called it back then.

  54. Snarkwarrior:
    “Soldiers don’t wear ties into combat and chins aren’t cleanshaven. Uniforms aren’t pressed and bathing is, well, erratic at best. Is this situation any different? Should the Bill of Rights be extended to terrorist combatants? Is it a suicide pact?”

    You’re comparing the relaxation of dress codes in difficult circumstances to abandoning the moral and philosophical foundations of a nation in reaction to a circumstance which poses no threat to the fundamental fabric of that nation?

  55. Equating your fundamental rights to “starchy rules and regulations is worrying, but misquoting for effect is not a valid debating technique. “Poses no threat to the fundamental fabric of your nation” was the full clause in question.

    Firstly, WMD are neither as destructive nor as easy to procure as you think. Even basic explosives are difficult to obtain, and much harder to deliver than you think.

    Secondly, a threat to property or life is not a threat to the fabric of a nation unless it happens on a really major scale. Put it this way – Lebanon as a nation is still intact, even after several weeks of bombing from one of the most lethal, well-equipped air forces in the world.

    Whilst a tragic loss of life, and a serious loss of property, the 9/11 attacks did not inflict any serious damage to America as a nation – neither its institutions, traditions and philosophy, nor its manufacturing base or economy took any major damage.

    As I wrote several comments above, in asymmetric warfare the only strategic victories available to the smaller side are the ones granted to them by the larger side.

    At the end of the day, you need to analyse both what your enemy is fighting for, what you are fighting for, and what your allies are fighting for in order to understand what’s going on. And when I mean allies, in this instance, I mean internal as well as external.

    Al-Qaeda’s core motivation is to force the U.S. to withdraw militarily from the Middle East. This is what you are fighting against.

    The Bush administration’s stated motivations are (in simplified fashion): to preserve America as a nation (its values and its institutions) and to preserve the safety of its citizens. This is what you’re fighting for. Its unstated (but widely understood) motivation is to bolster America’s economic hegemony by ensuring strategic control of core commodities. This is what you also end up fighting for.

    Of these three American aims, only one has been successful. The starchy rules and regulations being abandoned *are* America – they’re its philosophical and moral bedrock. In losing them, you lose the battle for America.

    The safety of its citizens – well, American soldiers are almost all American citizens, and their casualty levels will reach the level of the 9/11 attacks within one or two years. All the while, their mission has not enhanced the safety of the American citizen. Quite the reverse – anti-Americanism is everywhere in the Middle East, and makes it very easy for Al-Qaeda to recruit. Then you’ve got circumstances like Katrina, when a well-equipped ready military at home might have saved many lives.

    And the strategic control of core commodities. Yeah, that’s failing too, right now. Iraq’s oil-output is at its lowest ever, and there’s not much chance of getting it back online for decades with current level of anarchy over there.

    The core of the argument – it’s one thing to consider renouncing your values if it will help you to achieve other goals. That’s a difficult decision. But to renounce those values and to *fail* to achieve those goals….

  56. SnarkWarrior: Interesting that no further attacks have occurred in the United States since 911. But that’s somehow twisted to prove our forward leaning positions on Islamo facist terror is a failure.

    I’m not going to touch the “forward-leaning positions” part, but I don’t think anything has to be “twisted” for our efforts to seem like failure. You need to do only two things for that: 1) open up a newspaper any day of the week and count the number of dead from terrorist attacks and 2) tell me where Osama Bin Laden is.

  57. To quote Snarkwarrior
    “There is precedent for suspending civil liberties during wartime although it’s over 100 years old.!

    Didn’t they also use to, a hundred years ago –
    hang them pesky coloured people when they got uppity
    deny women the vote
    walk knee deep in horse-pucky (you would be at home there)
    die of simple infections
    manufacture everything by hand
    not have X-rays, so you could die from a simple fracture
    think tobacco was good for you
    thought heroin and cocaine were good for you
    have to go round Cape Horn

  58. Snarkwarrior:

    “But relaxing civil liberties during existential threats has occurred before and ought to be given serious consideration instead of partisan rhetoric.”

    Well, there’s a difference between “serious consideration” and “rubberstamping,” the latter of which this administration appears to seek.

    I’m all for serious consideration, but I also have a very high bar for messing with a system that works well. I also have to consider to whom I am entrusting these additional powers, and personally speaking I haven’t the slightest bit of confidence in the competence of the Bush Administration. As I note time and again, this isn’t a liberal or conservative thing, it’s a competence issue, as in, Bush ad his people don’t have any.

    And yet again, if the actual military says that the administration’s legal plan is bad, I’m more than willing to give them creedence. This is where your “liberal” argument is exposed as a sham, incidentally, Snarkwarrior, unless you want to posit the theory the military is currently run by liberals.

    Again, all of this had already been disposed of earlier in the thread, had you bothered to read it before commenting.

  59. So nuclear bombs, gas, or germ weapons in your mind with the potential to kill hundreds of thousands is not destructive as I think? I kinda think it is man and who can seriously argue it isn’t?

    I can. Killing hundreds of thousands with Gas is quite difficult and requires an awful lot of gas; Al Quaeda is likely to only manage a few tens in an attack. Nuclear bombs are, of course, increadably destructive, but require expenditures well out of the reach of terrorist groups, or many nation-states for that matter, to produce. Available germ weapons are quite ineffective. Really, the nuclear weapons are the only option here that’s worthwhile for Al Quaeda to explore, and just who is going to give them “the bomb”?
    (Dirty weapons are another option, but they’re more a weapon of mass hysteria than mass destruction. They can make an awful mess though.)

    I can’t believe you said that. The economic damage was in the billions pushing the country further into a recession but that doesn’t qualify as ‘serious damage to America as a nation’ to you. Again another incredible statement.

    Budget of the Federal Government of the United States of America: revenues: $2.119, trillion, expenditures: $2.466 trillion (2005).
    Again, the economic damage is not something to be sneezed at, but really, have some perspective.

  60. Re: Andrew Wade and Snarkwarrior

    Qoute:
    “So nuclear bombs, gas, or germ weapons in your mind with the potential to kill hundreds of thousands is not destructive as I think? I kinda think it is man and who can seriously argue it isn’t?”
    Reply:
    I can. Killing hundreds of thousands with Gas is quite difficult and requires an awful lot of gas; Al Quaeda is likely to only manage a few tens in an attack. Nuclear bombs are, of course, increadably destructive, but require expenditures well out of the reach of terrorist groups, or many nation-states for that matter, to produce. Available germ weapons are quite ineffective. Really, the nuclear weapons are the only option here that’s worthwhile for Al Quaeda to explore, and just who is going to give them “the bomb”?”

    To start a debate on the effectiveness of WMDs is, at best, losing sight of the point. The 9/11 terrorists didn’t utilize what would be considered a convention WMD, but its effectiveness was incredible. Tim McVeigh utilized a U-Haul and fertilizer with excellent results (from his perspective). The point is that the terrorists are not as worried about the number of deaths they inflict in a single instance, as they are the long term goals that they are working to achieve which is to change the worlds thinking to their way of thinking. In the case of the Islamic terrorists, the goal is to defeat the enemy which is the West, and our culture in general. The use of terrorist tactics is a form of combat when used in these situation, not criminal behavior.
    These groups are not stupid. They realize that they are no real military threat if they were to attack the western nations head on. They have to find ways to circumvent this disparity in military strength. To do so, they have studied their history (the terrorist conflicts of the UK/Ireland and Basques/Spain) and philosophy of warfare (Sun Tzu), and have created a strategy that is pretty good. They’ve set out to weaken their enemy the only way they can which is to weaken our will to want to fight at all. In other words, they want us not to want to fight, and then to be fearful enough to want to stay at home and not make waves.
    I think that the Bush administration has, at least, seen that this is the problem we face. And, by the same train of logic, we have to seek to destroy the sentiments that make the terrorists able to fight. The terrorist aren’t fighting by themselves. They have help, fueled by anti-western sentiment, from the communities in which they live. We, the west have to change this way of thinking on the ground in the region. I ‘m not say that there haven’t been mistakes along the way, however if the course that has been laid out is seen through to the end, I think that ultimately we will see the reason for the terrorists to fight diminish or disappear all together. We will have succeeded in removing from the current enemy his will to fight.

  61. Another proposed corollary to Godwin’s Law: during a heated argument, anyone invoking the image of Heidi Klum holding an eclair automatically wins.

    that’s sexist, heteronormative, and eurocentric. what if i’d rather see a shirtless vin diesel holding a taco?

  62. Snarkwarrior:

    Within the past month, a number of arrests were made in London which prevented what would have reportedly been a significant terrorist attack. Do you know how the terrorists involved in this plot were caught? Good old fashioned police work by Scotland Yard. Is traditional police work the only way that we should fight terrorism? Certainly not. But is it one of the effective tools we have to prevent terrorism? Absolutely, and if you keep denigrating it, people might think you’re not serious about terrorism.

  63. Snarkwarrior:

    “I don’t consider lawyers sitting comfortably behind desks to be the spokesman for our military.”

    Oddly, however, our military does, so what you think about it doesn’t really enter into it.

  64. that’s sexist, heteronormative, and eurocentric. what if i’d rather see a shirtless vin diesel holding a taco?

    Ew.

    Shirtless Ioan Gryffud holding a bratwurst and a cold lager?

    Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow holding a bottle of rum?

  65. Wow.

    Of all the back and forth, I think this is the most important point:

    it actually and genuinely disgusts me on a moral and philosophical level that so many so-called “conservatives” seem so willing to chuck out the Constitution of the United States because they can’t hold their bladders at the idea of the Islamic terrorist network. These “conservatives” are weak, they have no appreciation of what it means to be an American and I am ashamed that one of their ilk sits in the White House and is so monstrously incompetent to handle the job of protecting us that all he can think to do to get a handle on it is weed-whack his way through the protections that have made us Americans for more than two centuries.

    It happens our host said this.

    What’s so extraordinary about the second Bush administration is that it makes Reagan’s look liberal by comparison.

  66. Laurie Mann:

    “It happens our host said this.”

    Indeed I did, and I’ve seen nothing in this thread to suggest this is does not continue to be the case.

  67. Snark: Why would you avoid the subject of our current global posture? Surely you’re not afraid to admit the Bush admin has successfully disrupted Al-Qaida these past 5 years?

    As to the first, re: “forward-leaning positions”–This is a euphemism that suggests to me, and I will concede perhaps only to me, progress on the ground that I just don’t see. And my example of Bin Laden still at large is indicative of that lack of progress. No, I don’t think his capture ends the war–but then, I didn’t say that. You said I said that. Not so. Read the post again.

    As to the second, re: afraid to admit a successful disruption of Al-Qaeda–Look, you’re the one who framed the debate as a global move to topple “Islamo fascism,” and again, I see no disruption of that. Certainly, there have been no successful attacks against the U.S. But if the Bush Administration wants credit for that, they MUST take blame for the failures on other fronts, including as but one of MANY factors their inability to capture the most wanted man in the world.

  68. Hello All, I have read about half this thread and I am faced with the choice of writing this or reading the rest, so you guys lose.

    The US is the last reigning super power and the best model for global government we have (there is always room for improvement). Our strength is not merely democracy; it is a constitutional democracy with a bill of rights and the ever popular three branches of government. We have been a stable and reasonably fair country because the rule of law has prevailed (even when the majority doesn’t like it) for 225 years. Governmental power is sufficiently dispersed so a coup is incredibly hard to engineer and it doesn’t hurt that Americans tend to distrust authority.

    We can never be safe, not in the way that it is being sold to the public by insipid politicians. To preserve freedom you must continue to enjoy freedom and the steps required to “make us safe” are too expensive, to intrusive and too damaging to our founding principles too allow freedom to prevail. We will not win this war with security or bomb detectors or military tribunals. We will win because our system is better. We have a country where the exemplary can excel, where the average can contribute and enjoy their lives, and where the mediocre have a chance to improve or at least survive. It is not perfect, it needs to be improved at almost every level, but the whole package beats the living crap out of the alternatives.

    To win we have to stick to our principles and continue to balance the rights of the individual against the rights of the masses. If this puts us at a disadvantage then so be it, our strengths must overcome these disadvantages, not dismantle that which has made us great. This is even more important in this time, in this place where humanity faces the daunting task of transforming itself from a loose conflagration of tribal societies to a global steward.

    The world is in it’s adolescence and experiencing the rush of new hormones. Transhumanists live next to Kalahari bushmen; if this isn’t a model of maturation I don’t know what is. The US is the intellectual jock, big enough to protect himself from all comers, with enough vision to lead yet very bewildered at why others resent him; he also has gotten a bit lazy because all of this has come naturally and a little easy (ok I’ve thoroughly flogged that analogy).

    The 3000 people murdered on September 11, 2001 will not die in vain and to deviate from the rule of law because it is safer and more expedient demeans their death. If we are to prevail then we must do so because what we have to offer is the future and not the illusion of the past, a place to go, a refuge of ideas and ideals not the noose of an angry mob.

    America, conservative and liberal, must pull it’s head out of our collective ass and start speaking the truth. Opinions may differ, but lying and distorting truth, for the short term win, will screw us all in the end. I’m winded now, I will return later and take my medicine like the pinko girly man I am.

  69. A few tens of thousand is still thousands in excess of the September 11th attack

    I meant a few tens of people killed, not a few tens of thousands of people killed. Aum Shinrikyo only managed to kill 12 people with nerve gas, though admittedly they did hurt an order of magnitude more.

    … Far too much for comfort wouldn’t you say?

    Frankly no. The threat of fatty foods pose to me is too much for comfort, and I have made some changes to my diet. The threat Al-Quaeda poses, not so much. Now, I’m not proposing that as a culture we simply ignore Al-Quaeda, that would be silly. But it simply doesn’t make any sense for me to be personally afraid of Al-Quaeda; there are far better things to be afraid of. It makes sense, for instance, to try and make stairs and steps safe with things like handrails, and standard step sizes. (Falls on stairs and steps kill about as many people as Al-Quaeda does.) But stairs don’t scare me. Neither should Al-Quaeda.

    And how are you to know what Al-Qaida is capable of acquiring? You’re probably in no position to have access to the most recent data available. Relying on slanted news reports alone or John Stewart would be a foolish gamble. lol

    I don’t know what Al-Quaeda is capable of aquiring, and I’m not chuckling. But, except for nuclear weapons, “WMD” are hard to disperse. We don’t need secret CIA intelligence to know what is involved in using a WMD, the information is out in the public domain.

    A little hard currency for the North Koreans might be motivation enough to surrender a small WMD or two wouldn’t you say?

    They might sell a few tons of sarin I suppose, the dear leader is a nutter. That’s not a comforting thought. But I really doubt Al-Quaeda has the capabilities required to leaverage such a stockpile into tens of thousands of deaths.
    It’s not that WMD are not a concern, it’s that the concern has been grossly exaggerated. Except for Nuclear Weapons, which are truely the stuff of nightmares. But Al Quaeda getting their hands on even one is very unlikely. (Do you have any idea how much it costs to make one?) I don’t stay up nights worrying about the odds of a half-kilometer meteorite hitting the Earth either. Now when India and Pakistan start sabre-rattling, then I start getting a bit nervous.

    “Budget of the Federal Government of the United States of America: revenues: $2.119, trillion, expenditures: $2.466 trillion (2005).
    Again, the economic damage is not something to be sneezed at, but really, have some perspective.”
    If it’s relatively minor, fine but then why disingenously claim this is the worst economy since Hoover?

    1. I’ve claimed no such thing. I have no idea who you’re confusing me with.
    2. My purpose in presenting the the budget was to give a sense of the size of the U.S. economy. Yeah, it’s not the best choice. But it is something to compare the “billions” of dollars of damage allegedly inflicted by OBL to.
    3. In case it’s not entirely clear, I’m not saying the deficit is “relatively minor”. In fact I’m not saying anything at all about the deficit. It is the “billions” of dollars of economic damage allegedly caused by OBL that is “minor” relative to the size of the United States economy.

  70. At the risk of going off on a tangent…

    I’m curious: What happens to the underlying philosophy of snarkwarrior and his adorable ilk — you know, the one that boils down to “dissent is treason” — when the liberals (er, lol?) take over the White House and/or Congress?

    Just a thought that struck me. I’m curious how it strikes you?

  71. Snark Warrior,
    Should the Bill of Rights be extended to terrorist combatants?

    See this shows one of the problems I mentioned earlier that happens all the time – you talk about “terrorist combatants” but chances are you really mean “alleged terrorist combatants.”

    We need to be very vigilant about guarding the rights of people accused of crimes because it is so easy to thinking of those people accused of crimes as automatically guilty of crimes.

  72. SnarkWarrior,

    When you dismiss what I say with a wave of your hand and the label “Bush Derangement Syndrome” and you call me a “kid” I see no point in furthering this discussion. You’ve got all your ports blocked and doors barackaded and there is no point talking to you.

  73. Snark Warrior

    “By law, we can shoot the people of Gitmo since they are terrorists and not soldiers of any nation but we don’t.”

    What law is that? I am unaware of any law (military or civilian) that entitles us to kill unarmed prisoners in our custody. I believe most countries require a trial (not my area of deep expertise so others feel free to pitch in here).

    “We shot German medics caught carrying sidearms in WWII.”

    They were armed soldiers on the battlefield, once they were captured we didn’t.

    “the stomach to kill the enemy seems absent by liberals today.”

    Send in special ops and make the bad guys dead, rain Hellfire missiles down upon them, turn their own against them and put a bullet though the right head at point blank range; hell given my 25 years of martial arts training I’ll do it with my hands.

    I don’t know many liberals who have a problem with killing the enemy (my hippie mother in law excepted), but given that this administration has screwed up just about everything they have attempted to do, I’d like to make sure that the enemy is the enemy and not the Hallal butcher down the street. I also have no desire to gut our system so we descend to their level; we are bigger and better and should be able to beat them by our rules even if they choose not to play by them.

    As one of the few liberals I know who saw the potential of a quasi-democratic Iraq, I realized very early in the game that this group of incompetents was not going to be able to pull it off. This administration is not made up of statesmen or leaders, merely self serving politicians. The boots on the ground problem at the start of the war indicates the political games BushCo was willing to play; and it borders on treason.

    The pentagon had planned for 10 years how to handle Iraq, and the administration tossed it aside and overruling the professional soldiers and cut the troop numbers essentially in half. The reason they did that was so the cost and impact of calling up the reserves would not be apparent during the mid term elections. This is putting the administration’s own political well being ahead of the vital interests of the country; treason.

    Iraq could have waited until Afghanistan was over, generally a good idea to finish what’s on your plate before going for seconds. If we spent our time finishing the job OBL would be dead by now. Iraq could have been waged competently so that it would not become the training camp is has become. Originally Iraq had no connection to terrorists, now it does; mission accomplished.

    “I see no proof that he’s actually acted against the Constitution”

    The courts seem to think that the proposed tribunal structure is not constitutional.

    My wife has informed me that I have spent too much time on this so I must bow to a higher power, there is much left unsaid here.

  74. But Al-Qaida isn’t offering you the choice to avoid their ‘diet’.

    Unfortunately not…

    And their results sound far more permanent and nontreatable wouldn’t you say?

    I suppose. But death from falling down stairs (my second example) is pretty permanent too.

    You represent the liberal attitude that Islamo facism isn’t a big deal.

    Leaving aside the fact that “Islamo facism” is a B.S. term, that’s simply not my attitude. It it terrorism in North American specifically that I don’t think isn’t that big a deal. Worth trying to prevent, yes, but not the sort of thing that calls for turning our societies upside-down. What is a big deal is the potential of extremist elements of Islam to gain political power — de facto or de jure. But countering them in the social arena is not-trivial and requires some thought. It’s well worth doing–though in many cases I fear anything we’d do would be counter-productive.

    Let the cops handle it right?

    Essentially yes. With one exception, where I break with many of my liberal fellow travellers. And that is disrupting the operations of the terrorists in Afghanistan was well worth doing.

    It worked out so well with the folks at Khobar, Cole, and elsewhere.

    Police work is not without it’s failures, yes.

    And I sincerely doubt Al-Qaida is less threatening than falling down a flight of steps.

    Deaths from “[f]alling on and from stairs and steps”, 2003, American: 1,588¹
    Deaths from 9/11: 2,973².
    Deaths from the war in Iraq, American: 2,667³.
    Deaths from the war in Afghanistan, American: 344⁴.
    Deaths per year vaguely attributable to Al-Quaeda, American, averaged over the last five years: 1,196.
    1,196 < 1,588; Al-Quaeda kills fewer Americans than stairs and steps.
    You see, I did not just pull the comparison stairs and steps out of my ass. I did, in fact, look up some of the figures I’ve just given before making the comparison. Because humans are notoriously (in some circles) bad at estimating risk.
    ¹ http://www.nsc.org/lrs/statinfo/odds.htm
    ² http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_11,_2001_attacks
    ³ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_invasion_of_Iraq
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._invasion_of_Afghanistan

    lol

    No.

    Hope you never run for serious office.

    I think it’s a safe bet that that’s not going to happen. But I do vote.

    And you beat the dead horse about the need for Al-Qaida to make nukes rather than buy one.

    A nuclear weapons program still costs money, whether it is Al-Quaeda running it (hah), or the North Koreans. Many billions of dollars. (The Manhattan project in 1996 dollars is $20 billion, or $5 billion / per bomb.) No doubt it can now be done with a lot less, by using publically-available information on bomb-building, and by taking your time. But I would be very surprised if North Korea could produce Nuclear Bombs for under a billion dollars a bomb. The poppy fields of Afghanistan can actually generate that sort of income, but Al-Quaeda is only going to be able to access a small slice of that pie. So what, North Korea is just going to give Al-Quaeda a billion-dollar bomb? (That’s assuming they even have one). Now if you know of an actual expect on the subject, I’d like to hear him/her. Because I am not one.

    Did Hezbollah make the missiles they fired into Israel? What if someday they are supplied with gas or germ weapons to go with those Iranian missiles?

    They may be able to increase their effectiveness somewhat. Which would be a tragedy. (As indeed 9/11 was. I am _not_ denying that).

    But lets not think about that. There are regimes now with nukes (or will soon have) that seem more than willing to sell to anyone.

    “Seem”? What is the basis for that perception?

    Being a Brit, the consequence of your relaxed attitude wouldn’t affect you as much as us I suppose.

    Canadian actually. To be sure we’re not as much of a target as the United States is right now, but we are a target. There was a bomb plot on Canadian buildings foiled but a few months back. It would not suprise me to see an Oklahoma-city sized attack in Canada sometime in the next decade. Neither would Al-Quaeda managing to blow up a plane or two despite our increased security suprise me–securing planes is a hard problem. But I’m not expecting to see another 9/11.

    As for the economy, I was assuming you were a Democrat because that’s the canned attack they always use. And yes it may seem like a small sum to lose but I wonder what your perspective would be if London were to suffer an equivalent loss?

    s/London/Toronto/. It would be a blow to the Canadian economy (which is quite a bit smaller than the United States economy). But we would weather the attack and go on. I don’t mean to sound blasé about the possibilty of such an attack; it does make sense to try and prevent it. But the risk simply doesn’t justify more than superficial sacrifices of our liberty.

  75. Re: Snarkwarrior

    Quote:
    “It may be impossible to alter any way of thought without military intervention. The Order of Assassins led by Hasan Ibn-al-Sabbah wasn’t reduced by dialogue or counter ideas but by the Mongols when they laid siege and destroyed their fortress of Alamut. The Nizari sect seems to still be around but whatever influence they have today is nill.”

    I’m sorry I gave the impression that there was any combat scenario in which the military would not have some role. We are talking about the “War” on terror. The a military’s goal is to aide in gaining it’s nation/state victory over their enemy. My point was not whether or not our military should have gone to fight in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Indonesia, but how they go about doing it. At this point, there is no turning back. We have to fight this fight. But to continue to fight this war in the old ways that served us so well in WWII, and then so poorly in Vietnam, is to set a path to defeat. We are fighting ideologically centered groups, and as such we must fight them in the ideological realms as well. The enemy is fighting us on the political, moral, and philosophical levels as well.
    To use your analogy, the US is the fortress of Alamut, and the terrorists are the mongols. With the pervasiveness of mass media in the world, the terrorist have an equal footing when it comes to the battlefield of ideas. If they effectively harness this power, as they seem to be doing at the present, they could, in effect, destroy fortress America from the inside out by taking away our will to fight, and letting their way of thinking take over. We may still be around, but the stature of the US in the world would be nil.
    That’s why I think that a serious discussion about what we need to do to win this war is needed. We need to stop bickering, flinging ad hominem attacks at each other, or our elected officials.
    I think that we needed to fight this fight. Were there mistakes made in the prosecution of this war? Maybe. However, I think most people have lost sight of what we are fighting for, and who we are fighting. It’s not about whether we found one WMD, or a thousand, it’s about national security, and defense of our form of civilization. We are not fighting some bunch hick, sheep herders. We are fighting educated and well organized groups, with the support of the people of the society around them, bent on destroying our way of life, and replace it with theirs. This is the source of their will to fight. This is what we have to put down. The military must be able to work in both realms, and according to an article in US News and World Report (vol 141, number 9/ Sept. 11, 2006; “Men on a Mission” pg. 36-38) the military seems to realize this as well.

  76. Just two more things for the SnarkWarrior and then I’m out:

    1) Eric Rudolph didn’t have satellite surveillance or U.S. special forces trying to find him.
    2) Pancho Villa? Really? We can’t expect that the U.S. military would have caught Osama Bin Laden by now because they never found Pancho Villa? In 1917?

    LOL.

  77. Snarkwarrior, you know, for somebody who keeps clamin what a good job this administration has done defeating Al Qaeda, you certainly still seem to be afraid of them.

    And I’ll compliment you on the improvements on both your arguments and writing style in such a short time. It’s almost as if you’re a different person.

  78. Each use of ‘LOL’ after a humour-free statement results in an immediate five-point apparent-IQ deduction. Snarkwarrior is currently running at a deficit of 65 (ctrl+f shows 13 uses, excepting quotes).

    The 1993 WTC attack (in his litany of Clinton “failures”)? All perpetrators were successfully prosecuted and rotting in jail, using the U.S. Constitution in its unblemished glory.

    The U.S.S. Cole? I’m a Canuck who has nothing but disgust for the W admin and those who bend over backwards to defend it, but even *I* don’t expect a U.S. president to personally protect every single heavily-armed warship stationed in a ‘hot zone.’

    You really need longer arms if you’re going to reach that much, Snarky.

  79. At the risk of veering off topic, I find it very funny (lol!) that the commenters on this thread are being called “leftists”. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a leftist comment on this site. I’d love to dredge up some Black Panthers and Communists just to leave some real leftist comments. I’d bet money Snarky would be in apoplexy. Some day I’ll have to take the time to enlighten him on the evils of capitalism. lol ;)

  80. Is it not possible that military lawyers trend liberal? Could that be one factor why they don’t pursue more combat related specialties? Just a thought.

    My own, experience—which you can take as unscientific, purely anecdotal evidence—is that the JAG-bound folks I went to law school with in the mid-90s tended to be vocally conservative and tended to join organizations like the local chapter of The Federalist Society, a conservative legal group. If I assume that those folks were a representative sample, then I can only infer that most JAG lawyers trend to the right. Given that the JAG prefers to recruit lawyers and that legal training is a substantial investment of time and money, it’s also safe to assume that JAG lawyers typically are kept out of combat because, putting it bluntly, they’re too valuable an asset to be risked in combat. (Training or recruiting a new JAG lawyer to replace a dead or injured attorney costs the government more than training or recruiting an 18 year old.) It should also be noted that JAG lawyers tend to be older, since they’re entering service in their late 20s (at the earliest).

    It might be pointed out at this point that President Bush has managed to alienate thoughtful and educated conservatives—I know a number of people (including lawyers) who are straight-ticket Republicans and castigate the President’s Constitution-shredding or (clearly embarrassed, obviously reluctant to criticize and unable to defend) change the subject now when the President’s policies are mentioned. (At least one of these, a good friend, used to get into heated arguments with me—she now is conspicuously silent or has shocked me by agreeing with me.)

    Relying on judges to make decisions on war and security is asinine given that they aren’t accountable for their actions or incompetent rulings. Your fear of addressing the substantive issues and wailing about ‘conservative’ excesses proves liberals like you aren’t serious about winning or trustworthy with national security. But we can’t question your patriotism. Oh no. lol

    Nobody has suggested that we rely on judges for decisions regarding war and security, and as far as I know, no judge has ventured so far out-of-bounds. We rely on judges to make decisions about the Constitution and the laws of our land, and this is a power that has been the prerogative of the courts since Marbury v. Madison and logically follows from the establishment of the courts by the Constitution as a separate and coequal branch of government.

    The claim that there is any “lack of accountability” on the part of judges has become a generic (and boring) rhetorical flourish on the part of conservative ditto-head types who don’t understand the line they’re parroting. Judges are accountable to the higher courts, to the Constitution, to history and the people—you will not find a judge (liberal or conservative) who does not want desperately to do the right thing. No judge wants to go down in the books as the one who made the wrong call; as insignificant as it may seem, pride and honor are strong incentives to do what is right and required by the laws.

    For those of us concerned with civil liberties, those liberties are the substantive issue. If Washington is razed to the ground again, we will survive as a nation only if our principles survive. Granted, a WMD would have more impact on the nation’s capitol than the British occupation, and one shouldn’t be flippant about millions of lives lost—but if our nation’s principles can survive the burning of the White House once I have reason to hope it would survive it again in the unlikely event it came to that. Indeed, one reason September 11 was a failure for al-Qaeda is that the group failed to imagine that the destruction of a vital banking center and damage to a major military planning HQ wouldn’t leave us on our knees, weak and scrambling. We are not, however, a nation geographically or ethnically, surrounding one city or comprising one tribe. We are a nation on paper, a country united by a set of ideas, notions of what an ideal nation might look like. Destroy Washington, and Congress and the Court may convene in Philadelphia; destroy the Constitutional principles that protect life and liberty and there is no united nation to speak of, regardless of where its figureheads meet.

    By the way: (1) I am a proud liberal and take no offense at being called one (indeed, thank you); (2) I agree with Ambrose Bierce’s correction of Dr. Johnson, to paraphrase: patriotism is the first refuge of the scoundrel. Proud as I am of our Constitution and it’s ideals (and the oath I swore when I became a member of the North Carolina state bar obliges me to protect it even if I wasn’t already so inclined), I don’t care for those who would drape themselves in a flag and scream that those who are against them are against us all. (I am from a nation of laws, not a nation of a flag.) By all means, question my patriotism: if those you defend are patriotism’s proponents and exemplars, I would prefer being an American.

    Adopting a purist and unreasonably idealistic approach to democracy is unstable and unsustainable. And you’re wrong; we have suspended the ‘rule of law’ in the past when necessary and it seems pretty necessary right now. By law, we can shoot the people of Gitmo since they are terrorists and not soldiers of any nation but we don’t. We shot German medics caught carrying sidearms in WWII. Roosevelt did it so why don’t we? It’s a troubling issue that the stomach to kill the enemy seems absent by liberals today.

    Come again? There is nothing unreasonable in maintaining that without the principles on which we have come together as a nation, we are nothing but a group of people with divergent interests that would do just as well on their own. That issue, actually, was settled during the same era in which the suspension of habeas corpus you’re so fond of occurred. If we are not one nation under the same Constitution, we might as well be two (or fifty). And that Constitution includes an entire appendix about having things like a right to a trial and a right to face accusers—elements so important that the ratification of said Constitution was made contingent, by some members of the Continental Congress, on including the Bill Of Rights. (It should be noted that many of those who opposed the Bill Of Rights did so because they feared the rights were too limited, and government might take license to abrogate anything not specifically mentioned.)

    We cannot merely shoot POWs, by the way. The abuse of POWs was, in fact, one of the chief issues at the Nazi war crimes trials, since genocide (ironically) was not technically against the law at the time: the shooting of British escapees, on the other hand, was a clear violation of treaties that Germany had signed before the war. Leaving aside the moral issues, the legal issues are not in your favor on this one.

    Finally, I would personally say that suspensions of civil liberties by Lincoln and Roosevelt were nadirs of their respective presidencies. I am too realistic to argue against their real or perceived “necessity” and am not interested in engaging anyone on that particular issue. But I will say that citing them as precedent does not arouse any sympathies with me. Suspending Habeas might have been necessary, but even conceding that doesn’t mean it was good or desirable or admirable or that we should be eager to repeat it.

    I believe the President hasn’t broken the laws but rather taken a more expansionist interpretation of them. I see no proof that he’s actually acted against the Constitution despite all the spittle from the left. The Bill of Rights is not a suicide pact. We’ve done our best to preserve it otherwise the people at Gitmo would really be unhappy right now.

    Bypassing the wiretap court to institute wiretaps that the Administration thought would not be approved was clearly a violation of the law and an arguable violation of the Fifth Amendment and the President’s obligation to preserve and defend the Constitution (including the parts he doesn’t like). AG Gonzales has all but conceded that the Administration purposely bypassed the courts and Congress because they thought that they would be denied under existing law or unable to gain legal approval through the legislature. Which is all but conceding the violation of the law.

    Trying prisoners without allowing them to confront the witnesses against them (something Bush has proposed) would be a violation of the Sixth Amendment principles recently set forth by the United States Supreme Court in Washington v. Crawford. That opinion may lack weight with you, since the author, Justice Scalia, is a left-wing, ultra-liberal, bleeding heart civil libertarian who clearly feels the President should be stripped of all power so that activist judges can promote an anarchist liberal agenda.

    Oh, LOL.

    You don’t understand conservatives at all do ya? Dissent alone, isn’t treason but it’s often stupid when it argues no intelligent point. When simple Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) is substituted for argument, it’s hard to treat you kids seriously. Hatred is not a policy, nor is it a solution. You guys need to change your playbook if you want to change minds. But I hope you never do. Lol

    And yet many intelligent points were made. And nobody has bashed Bush for being Bush—only for his policies. And I don’t think I saw anything especially hateful; indeed, it’s hard not to point out that the Bush family has not been subjected to anything approaching the bile that got issued against, say, Chelsea Clinton for simply being related to somebody that some conservatives hated.

    As to the “playbook”; I will not defend anyone’s personal attacks on anyone else. Not from either side of the spectrum. (Enjoy them sometimes, perhaps, but not defend them.) The playbook I see on these threads is one of mustering facts and logic—not a bad plan for a rational society.

    Speaking of which: thank you, Mr. Scalzi, for hosting these conversations.

  81. Well said Eric, better than I could or did. I am certain there are conservative voices out there with equal integrity. Please take back your party, this country needs reasonable people to disagree, find consensus, and implement solutions. The ongoing childish bickering, between liberal and conservative extremists is paralyzing constructive governance in a time when it is sorely needed.

    John how the hell do you find the time to write with all of this clamor; I to appreciate what you host here, but please I need more to read (the sound of impatient toe tapping can be heard in the background).

  82. Ok, dealing with “secret evidence”, lets propose a hypothetical and how you would deal with it.

    Hypothetically, say we have an informant inside AQ named Bob. Bob sneaks a tape recorder into a meeting where an act of mass murder is proposed, and assigned to Achmed. Bob then smuggles the tape out to the CIA, and when Achmed arrives in the US, he is arrested before the plot can be activated, thus saving lives. Achmed demands a speedy trial, and wants to see the evidence against him. Bob meanwhile has been sending tapes out to US agents in a constant stream, at great risk to his life.

    How do you try Achmed, and not get Bob killed, along with his family? We’ve already figured out how to keep Bob alive as an informant (i.e. don’t tell any member of Congress), but is it possible to make the information he sends out into “Evidence”?

    Pre-9/11, the answer was “Heck no” Post-9/11 I would have to say “Yes, but only in the most restricted fashion possible.”

  83. Georg,

    Replace “al Qaeda” with “the Mafia” or “a drug cartel” and you have a situation that the courts and Federal prosecutors have dealt with successfully for decades. One of the reasons Bush’s arguments for secret courts and hidden evidence fall flat is that we have procedures protecting informants. Sometimes those procedures work, sometimes they don’t—but we’ve still been able to successfully send mobsters and drug lords to prison.

    At this point, there’s usually someone who tries to say terrorists are different, but those folks aren’t keeping their eyes on the cup the marble was put under. Terrorists may have different agendas and goals than organized criminals, and sometimes their crimes may be different, too. (Although if you look at the activities of the Mafia in Italy or the former Escobar cartel in Colombia, the reality is that the crimes themselves may be identical, too.) And it will often be proper to deal with terrorist cells in a foreign country using lethal force, be it an overt military action or a covert operation, so the issue isn’t whether the courts should solely handle terrorism. The real issue is: when it is appropriate to use legal mechanisms to prosecute an alleged terrorist for his crimes, what kind of legal mechanisms should be used?

    At that functional, mechanical level, prosecuting one kind of criminal who secretly organizes a conspiracy to murder lots of people isn’t all that different from prosecuting another kind of criminal who secretly organizes a conspiracy to murder lots of people. The mechanisms that have worked in the past to prosecute mobsters, drug lords, white supremacists, and terrorist dilettantes like Timothy McVeigh et al. ought to work against terrorists. Those include things like in camera review of evidence by the presiding judge in chambers and witness protection programs. (As to this latter, it might be noted that “Bob” is probably safer from al Qaeda in Kansas than he would be from the Gambinos….)

    …is it possible to make the information he sends out into “Evidence…?

    I think the answer before 9/11 and after is “yes” either way.

  84. This may not be clear in my response: of course, “Bob” will have to testify. You can’t just play the tape. With “Bob” on the stand, however, you’re probably getting the tape in.

    This means, just as with an organized crime case, that “Bob’s” usefulness as an infiltrator will end with his appearance on the witness stand. That’s part of the cost of doing business.

    Sorry if I glided over that in my earlier response.

  85. Time also protects the informant here. Currently we are talking about prosecuting people detained 4-5 years ago. In the case of a crime family maybe you are still looking for evidence that far out. In the case of a terrorist organization that is at war with the US military and the rest of NATO, I think that one would have rolled up the network long before. In this case we are trying to kill the other guys first rather than prosecute them.

  86. >My guess is that Thomas Jefferson would not have been in favor of sharing military secrets with the British during the Revolutionary War.

    John Adams was so concerned about the view The Enemy has of justice in the United States that he became the defense lawyer for the soldiers accused of murder in the “Boston Massacre”. If he was worried enough, during the escalation into the Revolutionary War, about the British thinking that Bostonian justice was the “justice” of a lynch mob, how do you think he’d feel about people being held indefinitely without charges, just for one example?

    >Certainly police work helped but so does a little law in Britain that allows them to detain suspects without charge for, I believe, 28 days.

    Twenty-eight days? Psh, that’s nothing, *we’ve* got people who have been locked up for *years.*

    >Even when your friends reveal secret wiretapping and financial transaction programs that demonstrated, at minimally proven damage to privacy, an effective disruption of Al-Qaida and other Islamist groups.

    Yeah, funny thing about “minimally proven damage”–hard to prove anything without, you know, evidence. Hard to have evidence if the only people evaluating the program are the people who are gung-ho groupthinkers about it.

    Maybe we should have published the same articles with the same information about those unconstitutional programs with the addition of a statement saying, “These programs have been proven to significantly damage privacy. However, the evidence is a journalistic secret and therefore we cannot reveal it.”

    The Constitution was not meant to extend rights and freedoms only to law-abiding citizens and even then only ones who aren’t accused of breaking the law. It was meant to prevent the government from abrogating natural and God-given rights and freedoms, on the assumption that a government given free rein becomes tyrannical. Do we have any evidence otherwise? Do we know that if we let the government bypass due process for some classes of accused criminals, it’ll never ever dare do it with other classes of accused criminals? (And that they’ll never re-classify the accused as they see fit? And that they’ll never oops, accidentally torture or detain indefinitely innocent people?)
    Even if the Communists really were a threat, HUAC was the worse of the two; even if Martin Luther King, Jr. was an evil Satan-worshipping anarchist I-don’t-know-what-all, J. Edgar Hoover did way more damage. If we win the battle for our country’s safety but lose the battle for our country’s soul, have we really won?

  87. Dear Gwen, I clicked over to your blog because I was curious. I want to say that I am impressed and encouraged that a 16 year old, girl or boy, conservative or liberal, has somthing to say about this. Good job, stay engauged, I have this bad feeling it’s going to be people like picking up the pieces in a few years, sorry we’ve left such a mess.

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