Fresh perspectives on today’s news by: Whymrhymer

This is the lead-in paragraph of an article appearing on Forbes.com today:

Seven retired federal judges from both political parties have joined dozens of Guantanamo Bay detainees in urging an appeals court to declare key parts of President Bush’s new anti-terrorism law unconstitutional.

The article goes on to explain that the contention of these ex-judges is that the anti-terrorism law, because it prescribes military tribunals for these non-citizens, “challenges the integrity of our judicial system” and they suggest that in the hands of the military, without the oversight of our judicial system, prisoners will be tortured.

Just for starters: It seems to me that these judges have their priorities in the wrong order: as they apparently see it, the judicial system’s integrity and the “rights” of our sworn enemies are the most important items under consideration, with the security of the country and its citizens and the ability of the military to obtain intelligence from captured prisoners as an afterthought.

It is precisely that attitude that has caused the military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq to drag on as long as they have at the cost of too many American lives . . . but I digress!

As I see it, the detainees in Guantanamo, since they are not citizens of the United States, have NO rights under the Constitution of the United States and should have NO access to our court system — but yet we not only have “dozens of Guantanamo Bay detainees” tying up our appeals courts demanding their non-existent “rights” under a Constitution that they have not sworn to defend we have seven (obviously left-wing) ex-Federal judges tying up the court system on their behalf.

It makes a sane person want to scream!

But after the primal scream, the issue does beg the question: What is the obligation of the U.S. government to the detainees at Guantanamo (and elsewhere)?

It would be easy (and politically correct) to answer that question by saying that “we have the responsibility to “show the world” that we are caring and decent people . . . yada, yada, yada!” But the reality is, any responsibility we have to “the world” comes in second place to the responsibility we have to ourselves.

America is what it is, a free country full of decent, hard-working people and the vast majority of those people are not prone to violence except in self-defense. Our government, because it is the government of the United States, should use the military tribunal system to process the Guantanamo detainees as swiftly and as fairly as possible. International law and international criticism aside, for our own self-respect we cannot allow the prisoners in a detention facility like Guantanamo to be held for years without charges. For our own self-respect we cannot torture prisoners and we should have an understandable definition of torture. (To me, for example, psychological interrogation techniques like the ever-popular “waterboarding” is not torture, sleep depravation is not torture and while playing loud rap music comes pretty close, that’s not torture either. But that’s just me.) Our military needs to define what we can and can’t do, not for my approval or yours or the approval of the “world” (that’s not a standard that will ever be met) but for our own self-respect.

And speaking of respect: If those seven ex-Federal judges had an respect for the American people or the Constitution, they would be appealing to the courts to get the detainees out of our civil court system — they don’t belong there.

Links:

An AP article at NavyTimes.Com: Detainees’ lawyers want military trial law reversed

An AP article at Forbes.com: Ex-Judges: Detainee Law Unconstitutional

From the blogosphere:

The Pennsylvania Progressive: Military Commissions Act Challenged

The Pony Express: The Fight Back Begins

Whymrhymer’s fresh perspectives on today’s news, as published at BNN, also appear at My View from the Center. You are always welcome there!

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