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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Liberal Misconceptions, Lies, and Misunderstandings on GITMO, Warrantless Wiretapping, Habeas Corpus, and Other Such Things

With the recent ruling by the Supreme Court, that GITMO detainees deserve rights of habeas corpus, the same battle lines for debate have been drawn. I have battled liberals on many of these issues for several years, ever since the warrant less wiretapping program was illegally revealed, and I have found that they constantly stick to the same misconceptions. I think it is time that each and everyone of them be debunked.

1)Warrant less wiretapping and illegal detentions are aversions to the Constitution and the President is acting like a king.

This is nonsense. The President is NOT acting like a king but rather like the Commander in Chief, as the Constitution instructs him to be. In fact, the misconception that liberals make is that we should apply criminal laws and statutes to enemies in war. Terrorists are NOT criminals but rather enemy combatants. They have committed no crime but rather an act of war. In fact, many times they haven't even committed that act of war yet but are still in planning stages. Applying criminal procedures, like warrants and habeas corpus, to such a situation is not only ridiculous but dangerous. If there was a murder committed, then of course, before an arrest is made there needs to be enough evidence. Of course, before a phone is tapped or a home is search, there needs to be a warrant signed by a judge. That's because that is a CRIME.

If someone is planning on blowing up a big building in order to weaken a nation that is an act of war. That individual is no longer given the protection of a criminal. That's because they aren't a criminal. They are an enemy combatant committed to waging war against our nation.

In fact, if the current President needs a warrant to listen into Al Qaeda, then he will be the first President to need a warrant before spying on the enemy. Does anyone think that Lincoln needed a warrant before spying on the Confederacy? Did FDR get a warrant before spying on the Nazis? Did LBJ get one before spying on the VC?

Did any of these men put any of the enemy we captured on trial in civilian courts? Were any of the enemy given habeas corpus protection? Lincoln suspended habeas corpus for our own citizens for heaven's sake.

2)What the President is doing is an unprecedented power grab.

Of course, this doesn't hold up to any reading of history. In fact, the current President has usurped far less power during war time. FDR set up an office of censorship. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus against American citizens. He tried the Confederacy in military tribunals. Wilson was so paranoid about war opponents in the U.S. that he set up the creel commission to, among other things, spy and open up mail of those that he deemed war opponents. LBJ created a draft during the Vietnam War. All of these are significantly bigger power grabs than spying on the enemy without a warrant or not giving the enemy habeas corpus protections.

3)The President can only use war powers when war is declared.

If you can get a liberal to admit that the President was using war powers and thus not subject to criminal statutes then the next logical argument for them is that the President has no war powers since war wasn't declared. First, this is nonsense because the Authorization to Use Military Force against Al Qaeda was declared. This is no different than a declaration of war and the President received this overwhelmingly in the aftermath of 9/11. Furthermore, the President does NOT need a declaration of war to use war powers. The President is always the Commander in Chief. He doesn't just become Commander in Chief when war is declared. That's why LBJ instituted the draft during the Vietnam War, which was technically a "police action". Bill Clinton sent troops into the Balkans with no declaration of war. He sent bombers intent on dropping bombs on Iraq with no declaration of war. What powers exactly were all those Presidents using if not the powers of Commander in Chief?

It seems to liberals sending men and women to die in armed conflict is fine without an actual declaration of war but if you dare and spy on the enemy without a warrant then you've stepped over the line.

4) The President will be allowed to abuse the system and arrest and spy on anyone and no one will know.

First, the President doesn't need any extra powers to abuse the power he currently has. Second, while common folks will certainly never know what the President has done, the Constitution has long accounted for classified programs. It isn't as though the President is the first to run classified programs. In fact, Congress still needs to exercise its power of oversight and there are plenty of committees with security clearance. While the general public may never know about any specific cases related to warrant less wiretaps, GITMO, or any other classified programs, the Congress had better. In fact, it is the Congress' job to make sure than none of these programs are abused, and of course, any abuse is immediate grounds for impeachment.

5)Since this war is endless, the power you are giving the President is endless as well.

This of course totally misunderstands the powers the President has and furthermore the checks and balances that our system has. I am not giving this power to the President. The Constitution is giving the President this power. The President always has the right to spy on the enemy during war time. The President doesn't need a judge's permission to do this. The President always has the power to detain the enemy during a conflict and it is always up to the military to deal with the enemy. Furthermore, it is always up to the Congress to make sure there is enough oversight to make sure none of these powers are abused.

6) What Bush is doing to the terrorists at GITMO violates the Geneva Convention.

This misreads the depth with which the Geneva Conventions were written. The Geneva conventions weren't meant merely to define the proper treatment of the enemy during armed conflict. It also defined the proper enemy. That way those waging illegal wars could also be identified. In the Geneva Convention, soldiers were defined as those in uniforms battling for a country. Furthermore, soldiers are on a battlefield battling other soldiers. Terrorists fit neither of those roles and thus are not soldiers. They don't wear a uniform. They don't fight for a country, and they target civilians not other soldiers. They are waging an illegal war and thus deserve no Geneva Conventions protections.

7) GITMO is a scourge of civil rights violations and it is a black eye on America.

That maybe the perception however most of those condemning GITMO have no better idea for where to house these terrorists. Why don't we send them all to a federal facility in Massachusetts if John Kerry is so upset? Kerry would raise quite a stink if any of these folks ever got anywhere near his state. In fact, most of the nations that are condemning the U.S. for GITMO want nothing to do with any of the folks that call their countries home. Canada is among the first to condemn GITMO, but says no thanks to taking any Canadians from GITMO from us. Many of these folks call Middle Eastern nations like Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt home. While the UN and Human Rights Watch condemn GITMO they say nothing of the torture they would receive if they were ever sent home. GITMO may not be perfect but if someone is going to criticize they had better come up with a better alternative.

8) Water boarding and other tough interrogation techniques are torture. The U.S. does not torture and torture doesn't work.

Whether or not it is torture is an open question. Whether or not they work is not. It works. Khalid Sheik Muhammad and Abu Zubaydah were each broken down by water boarding. The information we received as a result is invaluable. These terrorists are waging an illegal war. They are targeting civilians. They wear no uniforms, and if they have their way, they will blow up a nuclear bomb in the U.S. Liberals can spew all theory they want. They can quote Ben Franklin

those that trade liberty for security deserve neither

if they want as well, however they all live in the world of theory. In the real world, there are folks right now plotting to kill mass civilians. If any of them are captured, our government has the responsibility to extract as much information as possible. I am not an interrogator and neither is any of the idealistic liberals to cry that it doesn't work. I will trust the professionals. I will give them whatever room they need to do their job.


Sweating Through fog said...

As I wrote on my blog, McCain could - if he goes further - win the election on the Gitmo issue alone. All he has to do is say that if he is elected, he will ignore this Supreme Court decision. He could use the spectre of Osama Bin Laden and his lawyers in Federal courts to beat Obama like a rented mule.

Anonymous said...

Sweating through fog, McCain has already said that he plans to close the detention facility at Guantanamo if elected.

Excellent article btw.

Anonymous said...

Provo, I'd go further. I've wrestled with the Franklin quote myself, in par because I respect him so much, and also because I see the result of people being more concerned with countering imagined alarmist threats than being responsible citizens. That being said, ask said lib, "What liberty have you traded?" It's that simple. There is not one right that has been suspended, not one iota of freedom has been removed from this country. Just like when some "revolutionary" says that he lives in a police state. If you live in a police state, you can't say you live in a police state! Great, great post, and thanks for letting me vent.