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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Mr. Nice Guy

It'll probably be a rare day in the next few months when I feel compelled to say something nice about both of the presidential candidates at the same time. But today is one of them. First up, Barack Obama, who went Cosby on us and said some things that needed to be said:

Barack Obama celebrated Father's Day by calling on black fathers, who he said are "missing from too many lives and too many homes," to become active in raising their children.

"They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it," the Democratic presidential candidate said Sunday at a largely black church in his hometown.

And I said John McCain would probably like the Supreme Court's Gitmo ruling. In fact, he correctly calls it one of the "worst decisions in the history of this country."

Mr. McCain noted that he opposes the continued use of facilities in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to house War on Terror prisoners arrested outside the United States, but he said Thursday's ruling goes dangerously farther than he and other moderate Republicans would have wanted.

"We made it very clear that these are enemy combatants," he said.


Tue, 06/17/2008 - 8:02am

Your (and McCain's) opposition to habeas corpus is just mind-boggling to me. It's a fundamental element of liberty to check the executive's unfettered power to imprison people indefinitely without review.

>>We have made it clear that these are enemy combatants.<<

"We" have done no such thing. Some employees of the executive branch have made allegations of such without giving the accused or anybody else any meaningful ability to determine whether those allegations are accurate or trumped up pipe dreams.

How long before we get to a definitive "we had to kill liberty in order to save it" moment?

Tue, 06/17/2008 - 8:45am

And some of "we" -- I think Gen. Petraeus -- said at one point at least 60 percent of the detainees probably didn't belong there at all. Are we just going to cage them forever? Even the Nazis got their Nuremberg.

Leo Morris
Tue, 06/17/2008 - 2:26pm

Doug: It's mind-boggling to me to give U.S. constitutional rights to aliens abroad and turn the conduct of a war over to civilian courts.

Nance: I think it was former Sec. of Army White, and he said a third, not 60 percent. The "forever" part is the most troubling thing. In every war, prisoners have been held for "the duration," but it will be hard to say when this one will end. At its peak, there were 770 prisoners in Guantanamo, and now there are 270, so maybe some who don't belong there won't be there exactly forever.

Harl Delos
Tue, 06/17/2008 - 3:43pm


tim zank
Tue, 06/17/2008 - 7:20pm

Harl....surely you jest "Perhaps you haven

Tue, 06/17/2008 - 9:00pm

Every legal action before the Supreme Court results from lower court actions, and in this case some 300 American lawyers representing Muslim states are benefiting financially from large fees paid by the likes of Kuwait who benefited greatly from United States efforts during the Gulf War.

I heartily concur with the thoughts of Debra Burlingame, whose brother piloted American 77 on 9/11/01:

As we sit here today, 192,000 American men and women in uniform are deployed in some of the most dangerous places in the world. They and our coalition partners continue to take enemy fire, to sustain casualties, to risk their lives in order to attain and preserve the kind of battlefield intelligence that may yield vital, life-saving information in the war on terror. Conferring full habeas corpus rights on alien enemy combatants during wartime is something no English or American court has granted in the 800-year history of Anglo-American jurisprudence. Today, it is our troops who bear the heaviest burden in carrying out the will of Congress. Congress owes it to them and to the American people to consider the full consequences of granting this level of extraordinary relief to the kind of people who detonate IEDs, who use suicide vests to target tourists and commuters, and who crash commercial airliners filled with innocent men, women and children into buildings.

Harl Delos
Tue, 06/17/2008 - 9:48pm

Since you seem to be unaware that there were two occurrences at the World Trade Center, not one, and you seem to think that there were more than 3000 people who died there, which also is not the case, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you have no concept of what we're doing to people at Gitmo.

But even so, the hurricane and flooding that hit Galveston in 1900 killed 6000 people, Tim. Do you call that war, Tim?

Does flying an airplane into a skyscraper constitute war? In that case, why haven't we bombed the Bronx and invaded Yankee Stadium in response to Corey Lidel's October 2006 attack on a 50-story condo in Manhattan?

For that matter, in July 1945, a B-25 bomber flew into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building. Do you assert that the Army Air Corps was engaging in war?

It turns out that, according to the US Constitution, only Congress has the power to declare a war. This is no more a war than when a laundry product declares "war on stains" in their advertising.

If it were a war, then care of prisoners would have to be upgraded to Geneva Convention standards. Since we categorize them as civilian criminals rather than soldiers following orders, then civilian law applies.

Ever see this? It's the oath of an Army officer. They have to support the constitution:

I (insert name), having been appointed a (insert rank) in the U.S. Army under the conditions indicated in this document, do accept such appointment and do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God.