29 June 2006

Geneva Conventions and Guantanamo

I have been studying the Geneva conventions (four treaties and three subsequent "protocols"), and have come to several conclusions:
1. No group of people has ever behaved so exactly antithetical to the aims of the Geneva Conventions as the Islamists. It seems that for each prohibited action, they do that thing, and for every required action, they refuse.
2. The Islamists are unquestionably NOT covered under the Geneva Conventions. Many of the SHALLs and SHALL NOTs alluded to above are what actually determine whether or not a force is entitled to protection under the accords.
3. The Islamists, far from being mistreated, are only the most recent in a long line of foes to have the INCREDIBLE GOOD FORTUNE of fighting against the United States. The Geneva Conventions (GC) clearly do not apply to the Islamists, because tha Islamists clearly do not apply the GC to any of their own actions. Nonetheless, they are housed, fed, cared for, and even litigated for by Americans. The only thing keeping these people alive is an astouding preference for mercy on the part of America and Americans.
4. There is no legal obstacle to simply executing the lot of the Guantanamo "detainees" and dumping their bodies over the fence--kill them all, and let Castro sort them out--other than America's own laws as expressed by or passed through the Uniform Code of Military Justice which governs the actions of our servicemen. The captured Islamists have no rights, however, under the U.S. Constitution. They are not U.S. Citizens. They are not in America. Perhaps Cuba has an anti-littering provision which is germane.
5. The left is not so upset about Camp XRAY as they are that we still have not given Guantanamo back to the benevolent Agrarian Reformer and Friend of Che.
6. SCOTUS better come back with nothing other than "They have no rights, and the proper thing is for the U.S. Military to keep them right where they are until they no longer pose a threat".

The point is that criminal law has no bearing on the detainees, captured on the battlefield.
Also, US Civil law has no bearing on the detainees, captured on the battlefield.
Also, the provisions of the Geneva Conventions have no bearing on the detainees, captured on the battlefield.

The whole purpose of the Geneva Conventions is to reduce (or perhaps, even to eliminate) wartime atrocities by setting down both protections and requirements for combatants. It is expressly a "Golden-Rule" type of accord, in which those who will not abide by will also not be protected by it.

That is not a side effect--that is the central mechanism for reducing wartime atrocities.

The detainees are indeed in a legal black hole--they have worked very hard to slip past the event horizon of human behavior, and now they cannot return to the universe where normal rules apply.

So eat shit-covered koran pages and die slow horrible deaths, al-Qaeda. Serve as an example, and help us all strengthen the Geneva Conventions. Peace Be Unto You Sooner Rather Than Later.

28 June 2006

Polarization is good. Bipartisanship is bad. -or- THE AMERICAN RENAISSANCE

The Roman Republic had a Triumvirate-a three-way split in power. This collapsed to a two-way sahre, which of course soon led to a single man in charge of the whole shebang. At that point it was no longer the Roman Republic-it was the Roman Empire, which devoured itself.

I read a wonderful book entitled The Armchair Economist, (which citation I will expand in place without comment) that had a passage concerning bipartisanship. The author said that it amounted to collusion, like price-fixing. If all of the gas stations on your street are working together, then they can only be working against you, and prices stay too high--they trust each other not to start a price war, also known as fair competition.

If you believe in market forces as fervently as that author does, and I confess that I can follow closely where he goes, then it is no far stretch to feel that a Congress eternally at odds with itself, consantly mired in bickering and petty, mean, nasty partisan attacks is the perfect system of American government. The worst form of American government is one in which the members of Congress feel more in common with each other than with their respective constituents.

This leads me as an aside, to a comment made by a very different sort of fellow--a History Professor who feels that the ability of Representatives and Senators to raise funds within Washington, D.C. places them at odds with the people who sent them there in the first place. If they were allowed to raise funds only within their own constituencies, they would pay much more attention to their rightful masters, pajama-people like you and me, and the power of large lobbying groups would be greatly diminished. This should have the knock-on effect of breaking the death-grip of some useless geezers on their own seats. All of which would be good for Joe six-vote, uh, I mean, Joe six-pack one-vote. Sounds like a great way to return power to the people, huh? I'd like to hear what my economist has to say about it. The History Professor is Newt Gingrich.

Politics and Economics are naturally tied to each other, and it has nothing (well little) to do with money. Economic theories are just as valid when discussing dollars as they are when discussing seashells, kisses from pretty girls, or Global ecopolotics, because economic theories do not directly address money. Economics is the science of practical human decision-making.

We have heard a great deal recently about the evils of our partisan bickering, and the road to Hell along which we thunder in Hot Rods of Hatred.


We are awakening from History, as we blink ourselves upright in the Post-Cold-War dawn. The sun rises, thawing the world, and some early morning predators have shown themselves. We remind ourselves that this is how the world has always been, that before the long Soviet Night there was not peace but war, more war, and still more war. The responsible among us take up defensive positions, and in some cases scoot out to punish the predators which get too cavalier near our camp. Offense is better--it always has been.
Long before mid-day, we will organize a regular hunting party, the same as we did yesterday. The sunken-eyed guardians who watched our camp all night will sleep in the heat of the coming day. Life in our camp will go on as it always has, provided that we do what we always have.
We forget our violent nature only at our peril.

We are awakening from history, and the relative calm imposed by the Cold War is evaporating. Think radical Islamism is bad? Wait five years and it will be worse. Do nothing for five years and it will be MUCH worse. There is a reason that people call this the "Long War", and it is honesty. The fact that Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on much, and bitterly disagree on most, is not alarming under these trying and dimly remembered circumstances. Politics is a messy business, and if the views of the people are to be honestly and forthrightly represented in Washington D.C., it must be an odious, unpleasant business as well. The truth is that in the last sixty-odd years, we haven't needed much from Washington, and it has seemed relatively pleasant. Now we need it to function as a cutting room, and it is getting ugly.

I for one do not mind the current partisanship and "poisonous" atmosphere in Washington, and the political sphere at large. Poisons such as this are small fry, and serve to weed out the weak. In an American Democracy which is supposed to function as a "Marketplace of Ideas", only the strong should survive. I expect the caustic atmosphere to eliminate any Representative who cannot cut the mustard. I expect the partisan attacks to topple any Senator who does not meet the standard--efficacy.

Therefore, the last thing I want to hear is that a Democrat has a proposal and a Republican has co-sponsored it. Or vice-versa.

I predict that what is now called the American Century (1900-1999) will actually be called the Totalitarian Century, after the sponsors of the great wars of the period. 2000-2099 will be the American Century. The political rumblings you hear now are just the beginning.

Welcome to the American Renaissance.

27 June 2006

Russ Feingold, Part I [updated]

What Is Russ Feingold On?

Russ Feingold (D-Atlantis) is full of something, and it isn't patriotic fervor.
All quotes in this post are taken from his 25 June 2006 appearance on Meet The Press with Tim Russert, whose quotes are indicated by RF and TR, respectively.

Russ Feingold On Amnesty:
RF: I don't think there should be amnesty for people who have killed or are trying to kill American troops...we, as Americans, cannot tolerate the idea that people who have murdered American soldiers should get off scot-free.
Bill Keller, editor of the New York Times, is actively destroying our ability to prevent terrorist attacks not only on our soldiers, but on Americans here at home. Note that even Bill Keller does not dispute that he destroyed a valuable program which has successfully stopped terrorist attacks, and caught terrorists from earlier successful attacks. What does Russ Feingold think of Bill Keller's attempts to murder accountants and travel agents in America? My guess is that amnesty for Bill Keller is what Russ Feingold has in mind. Congress seems to be getting up in its hind legs about this--perhaps we will get to hear what Russ Feingold has to say.

Russ Feingold On Timetables:
TR: Army General George Casey presented his plan to Pentagon leaders and President Bush in confidential briefings... the number of combat brigades could shrink to seven or eight by the middle of next year, and to five or six by the end of 2007. Make sense?
RF: ...it shows that all this talk about a timetable being unreasonable or ridiculous is just wrong. ...our [Kerry-Feingold] timetable that we proposed last week had to do with bringing the troops home within one year. I mean, how is this different? ... The fact is it is a public timetable...
The fact is that Casey's plan is only public because it was leaked to the New York Times! Notice where it said "confidential briefings"? So one difference is that the now-public nature of this plan is the result of a crime. By the way, the late late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's timetable also "had to do with" bringing American troops home within one year. Another difference, under-reported by our feckless media, is that General Casey's "Win" plan is based entirely on conditions in Iraq, while Kerry and Feingold's "Cut and Run" plan is based entirely on arbitrary calendar dates. One of these is a sound basis for planning, and the other is a recipe for defeat. There's the difference, Russ Feingold.

Russ Feingold On Somalia:
RF: You know, Tim, today it was announced that [a known Al-Qaeda operative, on the State Department's Terrorist List] has taken over in Mogadishu, in Somalia.
Russ Feingold goes on to say that this is because we are stuck in the Iraq Quagmire, and that it is preventing us from addressing real problems such as Somalia.
I am astounded at the sheer nerve, the chutzpah, of this Cut and Run Democrat to take the Bush Administration to task for Somalia. Of course, the right time to deal with Somalia was when we were there a decade ago. Now there was an opportunity. Of course, we cut and run from Somalia under a Democrat President, an act which was cited by no less a terrorism expert than Osama bin Laden as a major reason for attacking the United States on 11 September, 2001.
I find it revealing that Tim Russert, who is no dummy, did not see fit to point this out to Russ Feingold.

Russ Feingold On Quagmires:
TR: [If we were to cut and run] If things did get worse, would you consider going back in?
RF: Sure. Look. You don't just lock this down permanently. I'm trying to propose what makes sense at this point. My guess is that things would not get worse.
Russ Feingold is on the record saying that if we cut and run from Iraq, he does not think that things will get worse. How then, does he explain what happened to Somalia? As far as "not locking this thing down permanently", nobody is saying that when we meet our objectives in Iraq, the rest of its peaceful future is guaranteed. I haven't heard anybody in the Bush administration say that we can "lock this thing down permanently". This is Russ Feingold's misunderstanding or worse, misrepresentation of our own reasonable, obtainable, and measurable goals in Iraq. But why is he so cavalier about putting troops back in if it gets worse after we cut and run? If Russ Feingold were truly interested in winning in Iraq, wouldn't he want to do that now, rather than giving the enemy a respite, a la Vietnam, before committing more troops to die? Shouldn't we press the advantages we now have in position and momentum?

Russ Feingold is advocating the same strategy that failed in Vietnam--a little bit here, a little bit there, don't ever truly accomplish an objective, but be willing to come back and pound the same worthless targets at great risk to American lives. He is also advocating the same strategy that failed in Somalia and bought us 9/11--show the terrorists that we will leave when they tell us to.

The Democrats at large are advocating a strategy which won in Vietnam--it won for the other side. Defeat the will of the American people. Their cynical ploy amounts to cowardice at best, and treason at worst. More on this in Part II.