Saturday, September 30, 2006

Military Commissions Act of 2006 and judicial review.

I was recently sent this, and I think we'll be seeing it a lot.

The new law very clearly asserts itself to be above the petty jurisdiction of the courts...

`(e)(1) No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the United States who has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.

`(2) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3) of section 1005(e) of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 (10 U.S.C. 801 note), no court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any other action against the United States or its agents relating to any aspect of the detention, transfer, treatment, trial, or conditions of confinement of an alien who is or was detained by the United States and has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.'.

And paragraphs 2 and 3 aren't really any help.

I was a little curious, so I checked out this "Military Commissions Act of 2006" in original form. On page 58, *right* nearby the quoted paragraphs:
950g:
In general, except as provide in subparagraph B, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit shall have exclusive jurisdiction to determine the validity of a final judgement rendered by a military commission ...

Obviously if a law is specifying the appellate jurisdiction of that law, it's not going to say: "Or anybody else who decides they want to claim jurisdiction." They specify how the rules are setup, and those rules can be declared unconstitutional. But if not, they specify exactly how any of these actual individual military commission decisions (status or guilt) make their way up to the supreme court. There is no curtailment of judicial power here.


Yeah, the analysis was obviously disingenuous at the source, and that disingenuity has been propagating through the indignant left who haven't read the bill themselves. I don't blame them. If I wasn't suspicious, I wouldn't have looked through all 86 pages myself.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Did Bush 'lie', or are we lying to ourselves?

Analysis of an "Iraqi detractor" given screen time on MSNBC.
http://newsbusters.org/node/7553

I don't get it... I didn't think Saddam had really anything to do with 9/11. I didn't think Saddam had very much to do with Al Qaeda either. I didn't think Saddam had a significant stockpile of WMDs, yet I found all the other reasons for invading quite compelling both before invasion and now.
The whole Saddam/Al Qaeda connection was generally appropriately couched in intelligence obfuscatory wording... basically, you could apply the same quotations to a lot of other governments, so it's not really significant. There were times, however, when Bush' wording on WMDs made me wince.

That said, I don't know anybody who a) thought Saddam was privy to any important Al Qaeda information, or b) had a significant stockpile of WMDs.
So I ask, why are people who claim they were 'lied' to so pissed off, when they didn't believe such statements in the first place? It's not like *they* were betrayed. I don't know anybody... *anybody*, who says "Well, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, being commander in chief, and now I feel betrayed." Might as well tack on a "... because I was to lazy or stupid to pick up a god damn book, read the *first* thing about our enemies, and realize that there's zero probability that Saddam had any knowledge of the 9/11 attacks."
Seriously... I know a lot of people who just weren't interested, and didn't care much... but they're not going off all the time now about how terrible it is that *they* feel like they were lied to.

As much as we like to feel like we're the center of the world, and that what we do wrong or right dramatically affects the rest of the world in some mysterious way, it doesn't. The jihadists with whom we are at war, don't give a shit what we say or do, unless it's a mass conversion to islam and complete submission to *them*. There are going to be more of them whether we invade another middle eastern country or not. There are going to be more of them whether Bush is an idiot or not. And there are going to be more of them whether we divide this country in half in a war of who said what and when and why, or not.

I don't understand what the problem of this picture is. Why is America still blind to this massive threat? Why haven't we bound ourselves together and beat the shit out of our enemies first, before turning on each other? We should have republicans and democrats competing to show us how aggressively they'll wage war upon this sick ideology if elected, rather than trying to prove how sensitive they are to the feelings of muslims around the world. I guess the only conclusion that may eventually be drawn, is that a capitalist democracy may be an inferior form of government to an islamic theocracy, in that it cannot bind its people together to recognize an existential threat.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fixing what isn't broken.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-brooks8sep08,0,1173986.column?coll=la-opinion-columnists

I just stumble across lines like these, and it makes it extremely difficult to continue reading:
-- Right after 9/11, America had the world's sympathy. Since then, anti-U.S. sentiment has increased sharply.

First off, the world's sympathy doesn't do *anything* to protect us against our enemies. The US has never relied on the sympathy of diletantes and dictators before, and it never will.

-- Militant Islam used to be a "niche ideology," ... But today, thanks to the invasion of Iraq and the Bush administration's nasty little habit of torturing detainees, militant Islam is an ideology with millions of adherents

Uhh.. yes.. hard core "militant" islam used to be a niche ideology, but that was much further back, around 700AD. Radical islam (or somewhat justifiably called 'real islam') drove the Soviets out of Afghanistan (with Pakistani help), pushed the russians out of Chechnya, launched several wars against Israel, and more. At every turn, the appropriate leaders have told us exactly what their plans are, to re-establish the greater islamic nation encompassing all muslims.
This is nothing new. Even the muslim brotherhood, the forerunner and brother organization to many islamic terrorist groups started close to a hundred years ago.

-- (talk of torture by Bush admin)... Do we think this is going to win any hearts and minds in the Islamic world?

Again, the US should not, and hopefully will not place the security of our country in the hands of foreign powers, and *definitely* not the "Islamic World". We can only bargain with such aggressive powers from a position of strength. That's the way the US always has approached conflicts in the past.

-- We went to war in Iraq because Iraq, like Mt. Everest, was there. And we approached the Iraq war as if it were 1941, not 2003. We had a fine plan for pummeling the Republican Guard, taking Baghdad and ousting Saddam Hussein — but no plan for preventing postwar Iraq from deteriorating into civil war or becoming a terrorist training ground.

I think I need to inform the author of the reasons we invaded Iraq. It's amazing that she has failed to inform herself of them in the entire three year time span. We don't have plans for post-war whatever? I'm sure the plans were there, and that they currently are being implemented. I think expecting things to be settled and quiet within three years of the overthrow of a dictator who's been in power for 30 years is a bit ambitious.

-- No, Mr. President, I'm not feeling safer. The administration's war planners are yesterday's men: They talk tough, but they never learned the lessons of Vietnam, much less the lessons of 9/11.

I'm not certain what 'lesson' the author supposes we should have 'learned' in Vietnam? Not to interfere in other people's affairs? Whatever happens in your neighbor's house is his business, whether it results in women with black eyes or not? The hippies will try their best to stop you from finishing the job you started?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Go DK, hate our military

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/9/4/162734/2668

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Not political, I know. Irwin had two small children. I'll never understand parents who put themselves in such positions of danger knowing that a misstep can leave their children without a parent.
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I believe this is a slur against our military personnel who have small children at home. It becomes more and more difficult to square the Kos with it's claim to 'support the military, despise the mission' with every such posting.