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!