Monday, January 21, 2013

The illegal enemy combattants

The assumption since King John, since 1215, is that responsible authorities need a reason, a rationale, for jailing a person. King John, a tyrant, signed off on this idea, much to the chagrin of the other tyrants, who stopped taking his phone calls.

What is the legal status of the prisoners in Guantanamo; what is our rationale for holding them?

The original term, illegal enemy combatant, expressed the claim that the US is at war with an enemy, that the prisoners belonged to that enemy, and that the prisoners used methods that violate the laws of war.

It is said that all things are fair in love and war. In war, the USA has proclaimed that some things are not fair: chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. Any other methods are ok; that is, are methods that we ourselves would use, including blending-in by disguising ourselves as a polio eradication team, and thereby setting back the cause of polio eradication in Waziristan.

The notion that we are now engaged in World War III is never expressly said, and if the government does not dare to say it, it can hardly need to be denied.

Governments jail people in peace time and in war. Peacetime prisoners have been tried in court, and go home after a while. Prisoners of war go home, often when the war is over, except some of the higher-ups get tried for war crimes, for violating the laws of war. Holding others is neo-kidnapping, not generally accepted even if you paid money.

Our founding fathers, in the Bill of Rights, listed God-given rights of Englishmen; rights not given by the government. Recently we realized that those rights apply to all people, not just the men of England. You know the rights: the right to a fair trial, to be faced with your accuser, to reasonable bail, to be free from enhanced interrogation. And the Declaration of Independence listed among the abuses of another tyrant, King George, that he “transported us beyond the seas to be tried for pretended offenses”. This is a close description of the rendition of people to Guantanamo. And makes our George a tyrant.

Wishful thinking, delusion really, has put us in this legal nightmare. The way out is to shake it off.

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