Thursday, November 17, 2005

Insanity in the Senate

I know what you're thinking: could you be a little more specific? I mean, this is the chamber that brought us McCain-Feingold, after all.

I'm talking about Tuesday's decision by a margin of 84-14 to grant federal judges the authority to ultimately determine what constitutes an "enemy combatant".

Again, this seems like such a bad idea as to be axiomatic, but let me make a couple of points. First, is that judges are trained in civil and criminal procedure. I think they will likely attempt to hold the military to an unrealistic standard in the courtroom (where there is generally less lead flying about). Second is that most judges have little or no military expertise. So, just what the heck makes them qualified at all, much less more qualified than battlefield commanders, to make this determination?

Andrew McCarthy has a good essay on why this decision makes no sense. One of the points he makes in this essay with which I strongly agree is that this is another symptom of the disease of litigousness that is eating away at our society.

Mr. McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York. Among other high-profile cases he has participated in, he helped to prosecute and convict the plotters in the first World Trade Center bombing case. If you are interested in the legal aspect of the Global War on Terror, I highly recommend his writings to you.

2 comments:

Dad said...

I think the intelligence value of some of the detainees is dubious at the start and decreases even further with each day that passes.

I suggest that John McCain who suffered considerably at the hands of the North Vietnamese probably has a pretty good idea just how effective torture is, especially when you have been out of the loop for a while.

Meanwhile, as we cloak ourselves in sheep's clothing, our agents are torturing and flying terrorists all over the world using taxpayer dollars. I think that is both reprehensible and wasteful.

If the FBI had had it together in mid-2001, there might not have been a 9/11. I believe there were two agents questioning the presence of so many Arabs at U.S. flight schools. Any nosing around would have unravelled the conspiracy.

And now you ask me to object to chips in drivers licenses? And I agree that it is wasteful and stupid.

Alain DeWitt said...

Dad,

So you think that the fact that John McCain suffered torture is a good reason for him to completely tie the hands of interrogators?

I think the opposite. I think the fact that the suffered such treatment renders his judgment on torture suspect.

And this is another point I've made: what happened at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib wasn't torture. It just wasn't and you know it.

I don't think that asking where that line is drawn and how close we can come to it is the same thing as endorsing torture. In fact, it's quite the opposite.