Monday, March 14, 2011

First You Say You Do, And Then You Don't

Then you say you will, and then you won't. You're undecided now, so what are you gonna do? So asked the Ames Brothers, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald in song. None of them had met Waffler-in-Chief Barack Obama. Obama promised hope and change, and what we got was dopes with the mange. This is not only the weakest administration since Carter's, but it is also the least decisive.

Among the many barbarities of the Bush administration that the Obamassiah saw and promised to change was the horror of detaining enemy combatants at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. We should be coddling mass murderers at home, in our civilian social welfare courts, not holding them indefinitely outside the mainland United States, he said. One of his prime planks was that as soon as he finished the first three days of his administration stopping the polar ice caps from melting and giving everyone free medical care, he would close the Guantanamo facility forthwith.

Well, here we are, over three years later and Guantanamo remains open. First Obama's genius attorney general decided he would start bringing the terrorists into civilian courts in our major cities, starting with New York and mass murderer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. That didn't go over well with New Yorkers. So the next tack was to buy off a few legislators in Illinois and a couple of other states where the terrorists could be moved so they would at least have HBO while suffering their false imprisonment. That was not a notable success, either.

After releasing a few dozen detainees who had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certitude to have specifically murdered specific civilians and US military on specific battlefields in specific locations, Obama decided to "go with what we know." Guantanamo remains open, and we'll soon be seeing the released terrorists back there since the vast majority are re-offending. It's almost possible to give Mr. Harvard Law Review credit for recognizing reality and practical necessity. But I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, and I suspect every single thing Waffles does. There's always a hidden agenda or blind ignorance built into everything he does--often both.

Using his stooge, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Obama announced that detention would continue as in the past, but (and this is a big one) "out of a sense of legal obligation (to whom?), the United States will adhere to the set of norms in Article 75 of Protocol I in international armed conflicts." Sounds pretty reasonable, doesn't it? Well, don't bet the farm on it. This is another unilateral surrender of American sovereignty and rule of law, by executive fiat, to the United Nations and the International Criminal Court.

You see, Protocol I has been brought before the Senate (it's part of a treaty, after all) twice, and soundly rejected by both Republicans and Democrats. Presidents from Reagan through Bush II, including Bill Clinton, have rejected the concept of implementing Protocol I. Obama has used the cover of reinstating military tribunals at Guantanamo (a popular favorite) to hide his gutting of the process with executive concessions to the enemy.

What is Protocol I? I'm glad you asked. Article 75 of Protocol I is a 1977 amendment to the Geneva Conventions. Unlike its predecessors, this Protocol does not directly address humane treatment of prisoners of war, but rather goes off on flights of fancy and typical UN new age blather about "human dignity" and other vague and ambiguous philosophizing. Its feel-good wording forbids "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." Getting caught murdering civilians and shooting American service men and women while in civilian garb (a violation of the Geneva Conventions in itself) is pretty humiliating all right. Being jailed for it at Guantanamo is not exactly an ego boost either. That's going to make prosecution by military tribunal a form of humiliation for these gentle followers of the religion of peace, and could pull the ground right out from under the prosecutors. Which, I suspect, is exactly what Obama wants.

The language of the Protocol seems to echo fundamental American constitutional law as well, but don't be fooled there either. The Bush administration conducted military tribunals which allowed for testimony of witnesses under oath being taped or live-fed to the court at Guantanamo. The Protocol is much more like a civilian stricture favoring criminals in non-war trials. The wording is so vague and ambiguous as to allow for it to mean that "confrontation of witnesses" requires physical presence, thus unnecessarily taking military personnel and foreign civilian witnesses away from active battlefields to attend a trial thousands of miles away. The logistics of such a thing are a nightmare. And God forbid that we should attempt to try a terrorist who has been subjected to the ultra-humiliating ordeal of enhanced interrogation.

None of these restraints have ever been required by the Constitution, precedent or a decision of the United States Supreme Court in matters of trials of prisoners of war. Such restraints have been consistently rejected by the executive branch, and have never even come close to acceptance when presented to the United States Senate for treaty ratification. Since detention is by its very definition "humiliating," indefinite detention and/or trial by military tribunal must be doubly or triply humiliating.

The Waffler-in-Chief doesn't have the courage or the honesty to bring this matter before the Senate for ratification. Its defeat is a foregone conclusion. What's a poor boy from Chicago to do when confronted with such odds? Simple. Ignore the political and legal realities and do an end-run around the Constitution requiring Senate ratification of treaties and treaty amendments. Rather than face an overwhelmingly hostile Senate on the issue of national security, Obama has simply ordered that the authorities "voluntarily abide by it." Isn't that cute?

In the event that a terrorist detainee has been humiliated by the sight of an American soldier walking past his cell eating a ham sandwich, the ACLU, CAIR, and the heavenly hosts of "civil rights" lawyers will go into high gear. They will invoke Protocol I, and the Obama administration will order the convening authority to "voluntarily" comply and drop the prosecution.

When Protocol I was originally added to the Geneva Conventions, it was designed to protect native independence rebels from murderous oppression by colonial powers. It was not designed to protect international terrorists caught out of uniform on a field of battle carrying AK-47s and a few RPGs. But that's just a detail, isn't it? The Obama administration doesn't like details that interfere with its international social justice agenda. If implementation of the Protocol interferes with the conduct of a war, gets American military personnel and innocent civilians killed while releasing the murderers via very technical technicalities, well, that's just too damned bad.

The rules of war and their codification in the Geneva Conventions have always posited that those who do not honor the rules of warfare are not entitled to the protection of the Conventions. Protocol I interferes with that position, which is why all former Presidents and Senates have rejected it out-of-hand. But now that we have elected a President for whom the skies have opened and who has walked on water, everything is about to change. Good-bye common sense. Good-bye rules of war. Good-bye centuries of precedent. Good-bye American exceptionalism. Good-bye Constitutional restraints on executive power. Hello, Barack Hussein Obama.


T_Rav said...

LawHawk, try and look on the bright side. Most of this will no more occur to the Left than it will to anyone else, so all the hippies will hear is that Obama is continuing Bush's policy of "unconstitutional and inhumane imprisonment." Naturally, despite the hidden pitfalls, conservatives are having a field day with this. One comment I read over at HotAir summed it up perfectly: "They said if I voted for McCain, we would get a third Bush term and an idiot for vice president. They were right."

Anonymous said...

This is getting ridiculous. I read an article last week on one of the "Big" sites about them using UN policies to go after right to work states. Isn't there something that can be done to stop this madness before 2012?


Anonymous said...

T_Rav: You may very well be right. Love the Hot Air comment.

Anonymous said...

TJ: They can't do a lot of real harm in most areas. The UN is often their backup position, but in reality the best they can do is political jabs that we can undo after we send Obama and company back to Chicago. It's a shame we have to wait, but our form of government doesn't allow for what would essentially be a palace coup, and as frustrating as it is, it's still the best system around.

Notawonk said...

law: first off, 2012 can NOT get here fast enough. secondly, i love t_rav's thought and the quote. thirdly, whenever i hear about how much worse barry is than carter it gives me the hammer-meet-nail giggles. and finally, this president is a coward, and cowards run from anything that has the power to taint them.

no wonder barry's so danged thin. he be running all the time!

AndrewPrice said...

What's funny is how hard the left is trying to sell the idea now that he's "fixed" the problems. In fact, I was reading an editorial by the Brookings Institute which flat out said, "when Bush ran Gitmo, we didn't know what was going on, but now that Obama is in charge, we can trust that he's doing the right things." Unbelievable!

StanH said...

Great read Lawhawk, with one demerit, when you write or speak the “Ones” full name it must end with, “mmm-mmm-mmm.”

I really do hate these bastards. He is the one that they’ve waited for…barf!

T_Rav said...

Thanks Patti! I only wish I was clever enough to come up with that myself. But that doesn't matter as long as we get to hear liberals bemoaning the turn Obama's taken.

Anonymous said...

Patti: I'm with you on that, let me tell you. He no longer has the excuse of having no prior executive experience. After three years, we've seen that he simply can't learn. He dithers and waffles, afraid to make a decision. And often it's too little too late when he finally does. Gaddafi is reestablishing his power in Libya, and he's going to be more dangerous than ever. Another major missed opportunity. He doesn't know the difference between calm deliberation and total paralysis.

Anonymous said...

Andrew: They're just delusional. Well, he's acting fast in Japan. Of course they're not going to shoot at us. He's all show and no go. Bush babbled but acted. Obama makes high-falutin' speeches, then does nothing.

Anonymous said...

Stan: I'd rather wait for Godot. The only thing that Obama can get moving is his mouth. He has no idea how to lead, and he doesn't know how to follow. That makes him a roadblock. So in 2012 I expect the people to say "you didn't lead, and you didn't follow, so get out of the way."

Anonymous said...

T-Rav: In keeping with Patti's thought, if this clown had to deal with hammer meet nail, he'd do nothing for fear of hitting his thumb and messing up his manicure.

Tennessee Jed said...

I just might have to take umbrage with the statement "weakest" administration since Carter. Now I am expecting a full post on why Carter was "better" than B.O. {aka BOTUS} ;-)

Anonymous said...

Tennessee: Oh no you don't. You aren't going to trap me into a detailed comparison of melted vanilla ice cream and cold oatmeal. LOL But if I had to pick one incident to illustrate the greater strength of the Carter administration, I would pick the fact that Carter stood up to the killer rabbit. How many killer rabbits has Obama stood up to?

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