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11/03/2007

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The tragedy of BDS. Rendering otherwise sensible Americans completely incoherent.

Perscription: take two asprin, put a cold compress on your forehead and lie down until January 2008. Opening a bottle of wine and maing love to your wife can also mitigate symptoms. Under no circumstances watch a Democratic debate or surf the Daily Kos. Exposure to Paul Krugman can result in serious side-effects including death. Other side-effects can include Sullivanitis, characterized by wild mood swings and excitability and O'Donnellism, a severe form of mental retardation.

Typical response... name call, point fingers, assign guilt by presumed association, but NEVER argue the points.

Well said Tom. I totally agree.

What's wrong with name calling, pointing fingers and assigning guilt by presumed association, you Un-American, MoveOn.org loving, twat?

I'm in trouble. Conrad made me laugh/snork wine through my nose. Nice one, 'Rad.

Excellent comments, Conrad.

Tom,

I like your point in paragraph three. You're arguing against holding prisoners of war.

Normally, prisoners of war were men who were in foreign armies, wore uniforms, and had the "right" (such as it were) to shoot at our army guys in their uniforms. What we have now at Gitmo are guys who aren't in foreign armies, don't wear uniforms, and therefore don't have the "right" to shoot at us.

The traditional nomenclature for such individuals is spy; the traditional disposition of them is military tribunal and summary execution.

Tom, do you realize that by arguing against the current system of detention, you ended up arguing in favor of the other system of execution? Either that, or you argued in favor of releasing our nation's enemies to go about their business of killing our troops.

Now, I'm sure that's not what you intended; I don't believe you're an anti-American pinko. But tell me, just what do you want here? Do you think that the Gitmo detainees should be allowed to use our court system? Why should they have access to something that no prisoner of war has ever had access to?

If that's not what you're suggesting, what do you propose to do with them?

Actually Squid, I believe what Tom is arguing for is the application of all or some of the customary and constitutional criminal justice procedures to enemy combatants.

Of course, it was never remotely presumed that such procedures applied to captured German, Japanese, North Korean or Vietnamese troops, nor even to Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. In effect, Tom is advocating granting additional rights to enemy combatants who choose operate in disguise and target civilians, giving them enhanced protection by virtue of the fact they choose not to follow the rules of warefare.

This is, of course, perverse. But it's perverse in a way different than you suggest.

Conrad, Squid, well said. My goodness we hold terrorists in Gitmo, give them comfortable accomodations and occasionally through water in their face and the hand wringers think it's the end of democracy as we know it. Geez, we do this to our own people as part of their training!

Tom, why doesn't the Democratic congress just write a law against waterboarding? Answer, because at the end of the day all this Mukasey posturing is political theater. Shameful really, and it's tough to see you fall for it.

Conrad's correct, just take a breather until Jan. '08 and you'll find all will be ok. Nobody is coming for your computer, nobody will incarcerate you for your beliefs, and we might water board a terrorist or two, but even they will be perfectly fine.

I've got a headache and I need to get in bed, but to make things short:

I'm arguing against torture in all circumstances. It is immoral and counterproductive.

I'm arguing against the stated belief that the President can define "enemy combatant" however he likes and then hold whoever he wants forever, including American citizens. I find it fascinating that the party that has no confidence in the government's ability to do anything right is willing to give the President this kind of power in a war that is ill-defined and, for all practical purposes, endless.

No, I'm not saying that POWs should have the right to a trial.

Engage in the discussion. Don't resort to dismissive misreading of what I've said. I understand that's the easy thing to do, and it enables you to protect your beliefs without justifying or questioning them. I understand that's easy and smugly satisfying; it's just not what we need right now.

I think water boarding should be outlawed.

I'm not sure the appeal to the wisdom of our Founding Fathers is based on facts rather than legends, though; the Founding Fathers created the government and immediately set to doing things to each other's political parties that would absolutely horrify (well, we hope) today's Beltway. May I recommend a novelized version of the first couple years of our country's politicS, entitled "Scandalmongers"? It's by William Safire. Starts slow, but becomes impossible to put down as you go on - and the thought keeps going through your mind, "I don't believe this. Most of this really happened."

Mr. Safire even includes a series of notes in the back telling you exactly which bits he made up and what he didn't.

Anyway, point is: President Bush is pushing pretty hard for what he wants, but a lot of what he's done actually fails to make him unique.

Second note, which is actually a question: Tom, I think you've posted a number of times on this board that you're some sort of Christian. Am I mistaken? Is that just your background rather than your current view on life? I ask because some of what you've written here about what decides who a "good person" here is completely at odds with the Christian message, which basically denounces our own actions as the arbiter of our fates ("For all have fallen short of the glory of God," etc.). Just curious.

Adam,

I don't know about all of that, but I think, at the very least, we all can agree that Tom is "some sort".

"What sort exactly", is the question!

Happy to help!

Pursuit

I'm arguing against the stated belief that the President can define "enemy combatant" however he likes and then hold whoever he wants forever, including American citizens.

He can't, and it's not possible to have read ANY of the Supreme or appellate court decisions on the subject and believe that he can. What's next, a post deploring the fact Bush opens cabinet meetings by sacrificing a newborn baby? A rant against Bush's proclimation declaring himself President-for-Life?

Open that bottle of wine now Tom, you're getting perilously close to O'Donnellism.

First, Conrad: The Supreme and appellate courts have decidedly rejected President Bush's assertions of power. That's good, and it's also not relevant to the discussion, which is about the President's attempts to aggregate power in the Executive Branch and Congressional Democrat's refusal to stand up to him. No matter what the courts say, the President is still claiming extra-Constitutional powers in ways large and small, and the Democrats in Congress are still not standing up for what they claim to believe. Court decisions of one sort or another don't get either the President or Congress off the hook.

Also: What's "O'Donnellism"?

Now Adam: "Some kind of Christian" is probably the most accurate description of my own faith I've ever heard. My own, personal, spiritual quest is to define what kind of Christian I am. At this point, in a word, I'd likely say "inefficient" aspiring to "not inadmirable." I went to church this morning, if that counts for anything, and sang loud and shamelessly off key.

As for this: I ask because some of what you've written here about what decides who a "good person" here is completely at odds with the Christian message, which basically denounces our own actions as the arbiter of our fates ("For all have fallen short of the glory of God," etc.).

I'm not sure I understand. What I think you're referring to is the basic Christian (particularly Protestant) belief that we're all sinners who will fall short, and that it is by grace and faith and Christ's sacrifice rather than our own actions that we will be saved. Are you thinking that if I accept that, I also accept that there is no need for anyone to try to be a decent human being? Am I reading that right, or completely missing the point?

Here's what I think about that, anyway: We are all obligated to try to be good people, even though we know that we will not be as good as God would like. We should strive to have faith, even though we know that faith will fail.

In short: You can't go through life being willfully bad and expect a free pass later on; you've got to try to live up to expectations.

That is, in large measure, the point behind the Burke quote. If we are trying to be good, can we allow ourselves to stand by and do nothing as evil triumphs? And if we do stand by, can we still claim to be good?

And, for the record, I try hard when discussing politics and policy to not judge people, but to judge their politics and policy. I do not, for example, question President Bush's faith -- though his apparent answers to "what would Jesus do?" perplex me a great deal. As a citizen in a democracy, I'm entirely qualified to judge his policy. As a Christian, I'm not in the least qualified to judge his faith.

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