June 10

preemptive, prolonged, “indefinite detention”

in case you are unaware of the topic, this link should provide the appropriate background: Rachel Maddow: Indefinite detention? Shame on you.

now for starters, for Rachel Maddow to come out against Obama on this policy was both surprising and energizing. but whether or not you care what Ms. Maddow had to say on the issue, let’s delve into my thoughts. most of the following is put together from a topic I started at my Facebook app, Take A Stand, entitled Obama: preemptive “Prolonged Detention”? yikes…:

the Constitution just got torn in half again. the Fifth Amendment contains the verbiage “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger“. it seems that clause was written about POWs specifically. POWs, to me, are “enemy combatants” captured on the battlefield – basically, caught red-handed. however, my problem with this detention policy is that the detainees essentially cannot be proven to be terrorists, but the government insists that they are, so they will “indefinitely” remain locked up. this is just a basic human rights violation. under this policy the military could go into any country, grab someone off the streets, and throw them in jail forever, without any due process. all because we declare we are “at war”.

now, I do not have a problem with the idea of POWs. I think it is a necessary action during wartime. I do have a problem with just “grabbing someone off the streets” because they seem like a terrorist. and while you may think that doesn’t happen, it does. for example, see the case of Abdullah Kamel Abudallah Kamel.

this man was nabbed and detained for over 5 years because he was carrying $15k and wearing a Casio wristwatch. given, the third reason cites that “One of the detainee’s known aliases was on a list of captured hard drives (sic) associated with a senior al Qaeda member.”; however, this allegation goes largely unconfirmed, and the president of the tribunal which tried him didn’t even know what the alleged alias was. yet the tribunal ruled that Kandari was an enemy combatant.

he was not the only man detained for wearing a Casio, there were a few others. these men lost years of their life, time with their family, watching their children grow up, because they had money and a watch, so we deemed them terrorists. I’m not okay with that.

I used to align with the utilitarian school of thought – that is, that the very small minority should sometimes suffer for the good of the majority. I now find myself on the opposite end of that spectrum, I suppose we would call it deontology – that is to say, that every minute action we take, we better be sure it’s the right one. because destroying an innocent man’s liberty is against the most basic roots of this country, and I am not okay with that.

last note: if we suspect someone of terrorism, fine. detain them, but afford them due process, one of the least of all human rights, not just an American right. 5 years is too long; 5 months, or WEEKS, even. there is an international standard of holding someone for no longer than 30 days before trying them; I see no reason why we can’t follow this example, since we are following global policy in almost every other area these days.

please add your two cents in the comments, or in the original thread here!


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Posted June 10, 2009 by calenfretts in category "politics

2 COMMENTS :

  1. By Allison on

    I think it is really shocking that Obama is proposing this- Especially after signing the executive order to close Gitmo. It just seems rather contradictory. As much as Rachel Maddow annoys the hell out of me, I agree with her on this. President Obama taking tips from a Tom Cruise movie is ridiculous. You can’t be punished for something you haven’t done yet in the United States. That notion undermines every principle the nation was built on. This is pretty barbaric for a country that likes to think it’s so civilized.

    Constitutionally, you can have all the terrorist thoughts as you want, you can even talk about it- as long as you don’t act on it. As soon as your words incite any kind of violence (your own or other’s), that’s when you’re no longer within your rights. Furthermore, freedom of speech is not only an American right, it’s recognized by the UN (not that the US takes the UN seriously anymore) as a HUMAN right under article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (which the United States signed).

    Unfortunately, I bet this will go through with little to no opposition from the American public- they most likely won’t care if their founding documents are completely disregarded as long as their text messaging bill doesn’t go up.

    I don’t necessarily agree with this guy, but his perspective is kind of interesting: http://www.esquire.com/features/obama-crazy-0709

  2. By frettsy on

    jolly good show, Allison! interesting link as well. I may have to post it on my Facebook.. I know how much you love that :)

    a couple key points from your article that stuck out:
    -“By acting so quickly on so many things, he had forced upon his political opposition a kind of instant obsolescence.”
    -“Big government is now too fast and agile for the people who want it to die. They can’t get a clear shot at it anymore.”

    I don’t think Obama is crazy. I think he’s a very smart man. but he has always had a socialist agenda (“progressive” is the preferred euphemism for socialist nowadays – it’s literally the same platform) – and he’s exercising his agenda beautifully. not that the agenda necessarily comes into play with his detention policy – that’s not socialist, or “progressive”, it’s more like tyranny – and just plain wrong. America thought he would reverse the tyrannical policies of Bush, but he only reinforced them.

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