Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Debate Wrap: Of Icebergs And Dissemblers

Last night’s debate was interesting. It may have changed the race too, though we won’t know for a week or two. First impressions are that Newt probably shot himself in the head Rick Perry-style. Paul lost a few friends. Cain stopped the bleeding. And I never want to work at the Heritage Foundation.

Imploder of the Week: Newt. Last night, Newt reminded us exactly why he makes us nervous. When Rick Perry got called onto the carpet in his second debate for subsidizing the education of illegal immigrants, he pointed a cow-pokey finger at the rest of us and told us we ain’t got no hearts. That was the moment Ricky hit the iceberg. Newt was fully aware of Ricky’s tale of woe. Yet, when he was called onto the carpet for supporting the DREAM Act and amnesty, he proceeded to dissemble, telling us that he hates the DREAM Act and amnesty but would happily support both by any other name if they could be set up so he wouldn't be blamed for implementing them. Then he pointed a lobbyist-pocket stained finger at the rest of us and told us we ain’t got no hearts. If arrogance, stupidity and gall had a child, it would have been that moment.

Moreover, Newt was rising in the polls because he seemed to be smart, conservative and firm in his opinions. Last night, shifty Newt was back. To borrow a word from tryanmax, Newt came across as a chameleon, shifting positions to please the crowd without ever saying anything substantive or pinning himself down. And while he was definitely emphatic to the point of arrogance about everything he said, the only good and firm answers he gave were the ones he cribbed from Herman Cain – handling Iran, handling social security, the biggest threat to the nation, etc.

This will probably stop Newt’s momentum cold and may even throw him into a Rick Perry nosedive. Who will benefit? Odds are 46% Cain, 44% Romney, 10% other.

Winner: Cain. Cain is most likely to benefit from Newt’s implosion because he did two important things last night. First, he stopped the bleeding by stopping the narrative that he’s an idiot. There were no gaffes. His answers were solid and thoughtful and showed remarkable judgment. Indeed, everyone else was stealing his answers, which tells you something. And when it came to explaining his judgment, he proved why we should be looking to business rather than politics for leaders. He accepted no sacred cows and said he would make decisions by looking at everything we do and asking if we are getting the benefits we want from our efforts. Clear, concise, correct.

Secondly, he re-energized his supporters with a strong showing that highlighted why people liked him before the scandals, and by showing broad knowledge on a range of topics. This probably earned him a second look when Newt collapses.

Winner: Romney. If Cain doesn’t benefit from Newt’s collapse, Romney will. Here’s why. Romney said nothing. . . diddly over squat. He didn’t even sound like he was saying anything. In fact, I honestly cannot tell you anything he said except that every single sentence staked out firm positions on both sides of the issue. But what Romney has going for him is a stamp of approval and just enough fibbing to make you think he’s to the right of Gingrich on illegal immigration. That stamp of approval has generated the “electability” canard and the “maybe it’s time for conservatives to give up and support Romney” meme. This makes him well-placed to benefit from Newt’s implosion if Cain can’t capture Newt’s supporters.

Loser: Ron Paul. I’ve debated where to put Paul. As usual, he was brilliant at times, but also said things which simply disqualify him with the Republican Party base and the public at large. So I call him a loser because while he made good points, I doubt he reached anyone who didn’t already support him.

Loser: The Heritage Foundation. What a bunch of stiffs.

Loser: Perry. Old Rick spent the last two weeks trying to get noticed by challenging Pelosi to a debate, declaring he would make Congress part time, pulling the ears off a gundark, and promising to set up a no-fly zone over Denver Broncos football games and Syria. He didn’t Tebow during the debate, but it might have helped. Instead, the other candidates took turns gut punching the hapless Texan. Bachmann in particular made him look like a fool, as did Paul, when they slapped down and dismissed every one of his ideas. And Perry didn’t help himself with disjointed and nonsensical answers, e.g. at one point, he suggested that Iran is trying to conquer Mexico and his solution to stopping this was another Monroe Doctrine, which he defined as building a fence between the US and Mexico. Monroe was not amused.

Winner: CNN. Wolf Blitzer did an excellent job keeping the debate moving and being unobtrusive. He had a couple minor gotcha questions, but rarely felt like he was manipulating the discussion.

Whatever: Bachmann seemed more knowledgeable, but still just floods you with trivia. I’m not sure I heard her enunciate a single principle except repeatedly saying, “we’ve got to do something,” which sounds like the woman in The Simpsons who always yells: “what about the children!” Santorum wasn’t a jerk and almost made sense a couple times, though he remains about as relevant as the furniture. Huntsman continues to say smart things and smug things. His slappy fight with Romney made them both look effete.

Security: Finally, let’s highlight a particularly interesting area last night. Ron Paul made the smart point that we should not trade our freedoms for false promises of security. He’s 100% right. The cry of “crisis” and “I’ll protect you” have been the bait tyrants have used for generations to get power handed to them willingly.

When Paul said this, the other candidates (except Cain), stumbled all over this issue. Each recognized the danger of openly saying “screw the Constitution,” so they proclaimed a love for the Constitution before they said the Constitution shouldn’t stand in the government’s way when the government screams “security.” This is dangerous thinking. Rights exist for a reason and if the government can simply declare an emergency and terminate those rights, then we have no rights, we have privileges at the whim of the federal beast.

Paul again countered, this time by asking if this meant these candidates supported the government groping old people at airports. Each tried to evade this by attacking Obama for letting those workers unionize. Several suggested privatizing this “function” was the answer. But this is ridiculous. When someone shoves a flashlight up your rear under government authority, it doesn’t really matter who they work for, it’s the government authority that’s the problem.

Newt and Romney tried to slide around this by mixing the issue of foreign invaders and criminals. Both basically said that foreign invaders, i.e. enemy agents, have no rights. Correct. Then they said we need to keep criminal and “security” issues separate. Ok. Then they wiped out these distinctions by claiming that whenever a terrorist act could be stopped, the Constitution should not stop the government from using any tool to uncover that terrorism. In other words, when the government says security, there is no Constitution.

Paul is the only one to remain true to the Constitution on this. The others (excluding Cain) were hypocrites and showed a total disregard for the rights of citizens. Cain is the only one who split this baby by stating that he was willing to look at each power given to the government, demand proof of its effectiveness, and tweak the system to reduce the government’s powers. You can decide where you come down on this issue, but it is highly instructive of the mindset of the candidates when it comes to the issue of respecting the limitations of government power.


AndrewPrice said...

Folks, sorry about that and thanks for the e-mails. Blogger had set this post not to allow comments.

It should work now. :)

DUQ said...

Now I forgot what I was going to say?! Just kidding.

Newt made me nervous last night and I had visions of him turning off millions of people during a debate with Obama. He took a huge step back with me last night. But the talking heads afterward were pretty desperate to keep talking him up. They told us he was "brave" for standing up to us idiots on immigration.

T-Rav said...

Blogger Fail.

Even though I saw none of the debate, I'll spout commentary on it anyway. It looks like both Romney and Gingrich are getting a lot of pushback on their handling of immigration last night, Newt for giving such a two-sided answer on amnesty and Mitt for refusing to give an actual answer at all.

I really hope Cain gets a rebound after the debate. It's starting to feel like everyone except him, Romney, and Newt are fading into background noise.

tryanmax said...

Good summary. As I expected, Ingraham's fill-in host was running interference for Newt. I switched over to the local host and, to my surprise ('cos he's an idiot) he was coming down on Newt.

I wonder--because info on this is impossible to find--if the GOP and Newt in particular have the immigration/amnesty issue right. I don't know a whole lot of Mexican and Hispanic immigrants, but the ones I do know are all legal and mostly against any amnesty. (There are exceptions in every group.) Anybody have any ideas?

¿O es que los Republicanos han echan la abuela debajo del autobús?

(Forgive me if my Spanish is awkward.)

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I heard that. At first one of them said this wouldn't play well, but by the time they came back from the commercial break, there singing his praises and tell us that he was our savior and we were stupid not to share his incredibly brave and nuanced views on immigration.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Yep, Blogger tried to silence everyone this morning! It's a conspiracy. ;)

I think we're down to Romney, Gingrich, Paul and Cain. The rest aren't relevant anymore. I haven't heard any feedback yet this morning, but I would suspect most of it will be about Newt. He really made an ass of himself last night. Not only was his answer two-faced, but it was obviously two-faced, and he was highly self-righteous about it. The rest of us are just uncaring hypocrites.

But even beyond that, trynamax really was right with the word "chameleon" because Newt was so shifty he blurred the television signal around him. He literally couldn't say anything without adding hedgewords and escape hatches, and then he did it in arrogant and condescending ways. It was exactly what old-Newt was like and why people never liked him.

T-Rav said...

tryanmax, I believe you just asked why the Republicans are eating ham out of their umbrellas on the bus. But I took Spanish approximately eight years ago in high school and not at all since, so my translation may be slightly off. :-)

I live in a part of the country that does not have a significant Hispanic population, so I can't tell you anything about how immigrants feel. However, it seems like every time I listen to talk radio and immigration/amnesty comes up, there's always at least one or two legal immigrants from Mexico who call in and say that they are dead set against any kind of amnesty deal. No doubt this is being kept under wraps by the media, until the Democrats figure out how to get away with throwing another minority under the bus.

Unknown said...

I really have little to add. Newt's rapid move to the top is probably going to move the other direction after this. It probably wouldn't be a crippler if he didn't have all those other problems with staff, organization and fund-raising that he had before the meteoric rise to the top. This could be the end, but we probably won't know for sure until the next debate.

tryanmax said...

T-Rav, That could be what I said. I'm not entirely sure. I've picked up more Spanish after finishing school than I ever did in a classroom.

Unfortunately, that means most of what I know is not fit for mixed company.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I'm not surprised about Ingraham. She and other "conservative" establishment types (like National Review) will be working overtime today to save him from us angry heathens. It will be interesting to hear what Rush says about Newt today -- though I won't get to listen. So if anyone listens to him, let us know.

On the immigration issue itself, Newt is somewhat right. I think the public would quickly find it unpalatable if people who have lived here 30 years and have kids in school and have been good citizens are suddenly tossed out of the country.

But how can we even discuss that rationally when the establishment isn't even willing to stop the current flow? They are using that as public relations to cover up for making no changes and that's unacceptable. So I simply don't trust what Newt is saying because I know he's not being honest about the issue.

In fact, think back on what he said. What exactly would be his test for a cut off line? If you've been here 25 years, have kids and go to church, you stay. If you got here yesterday, you leave. Where in between does he draw that line? He never says because he doesn't draw that line.

He knows that if he passes the buck to local cities, then everyone can get into the country through some place like San Francisco and it become blanket, perpetual amnesty.

That's what he's advocating and he's using the most extreme hardship case to hide that... just like a liberal.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. You Spanish looks fine to me. Of course, I can't read Spanish so take my praise with a grain of el salto! ;)

tryanmax said...

I'm listening to Rush now and he is essentially mocking Newt. He is also mocking Romney for trying to distance himself from Newt when he essentially has said the same thing in the past.

tryanmax said...

And Rush is basically raising the same point you did about the cutoff line.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, My guess is that Hispanics don't like illegal immigration anymore than anyone else. But I think there is a racial tone to a lot of the debate which probably bothers them a lot because unfortunately, lots of people tend to jam all Hispanics into the illegal category.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I agree. If Newt didn't already make people queasy, then I don't think this would have been fatal. It would have hurt, but people could have looked past it. But as it is, he's already running on second, third, fourth, and fifth chance. Plus, the arrogance of his position is a killer. He basically look the base in the eye and said "you people aren't as good as I am." That's really bad.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's the best kind of Spanish to learn!

tryanmax said...

Don't forget that the Dems routinely mix racial profiling into the discussion to scare less savvy immigrants into thinking they are at equal risk of deportation with illegals. It's sick how the libs prey on newcomers' lack of knowledge.

I keep meaning to get Rosetta Stone so I can improve my Spanish. I am itching to know what propaganda is being served up via Telemundo.

tryanmax said...

Rush has already moved on to Bachmann's appearance on the Jimmy Fallon show.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I'm glad to hear it. Rush rarely covers for these guys.

I think the cut off is the key here because that's where the policy actually lies. Newt is hiding behind his words.

Think of it in terms of bombs and policing. This is like asking Newt is the police should be allows to shoot suspects if they threaten a police officer and his response is:

"Look, we're not going to let the police drop an atomic bomb on a neighborhood just to get a guy who may or may not have threatened an officer. Cuff them? Sure. But not drop the bomb. We need to have a sense of proportion here and people who say go nuclear simply don't care about the consequences of what they are proposing."

That's his immigration argument in another context. As you can see, it's pure evasion and distortions.

tryanmax said...

"My answer lies somewhere between these two extremes."

Somebody is trying to be the new blank slate.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, The addition of racial profiling to the debate by is despicable. It's an attempt to play the race card and to tell minorities "fear those dirty, racists cops." It's Sharpton at his worst.

On profiling, Cain again had the right answer. Whereas some of the others were saying "hell yeah, let's profile all Muslims," and others were saying "no, racial profiling is evil," Cain cut through the bull and put it simply -- targeted profiling, i.e. look for the people who fit the whole profile and if that includes a religious or racial component, so be it.

To me, that makes sense. The other positions don't. If we go with strict racial profiling, then we miss the guys who don't look Arabic and we end up wasting a lot of time searching little old ladies who happen to be Muslims. On the other hand, if we ignore the key fact that is driving these people because it's politically incorrect to notice, then we let the terrorists escape.

Cain's approach is right on this. And he was the only one saying it.

AndrewPrice said...

the "blank slate" worked for Obama: "We need a new way that isn't what we've always done and will be effective and fair."

Sadly, people fall for that because they can fill in the blanks.

Of course, then it all goes wrong when he can't deliver on their myriad of fantasies.

Ed said...

If I knew nothing about Newt, last night would have made me nervous. But I know something about Newt, and that makes last night even worse.

Thanks for the play by play. I enjoyed it. I hope T-Rav's sockpuppets enjoyed their basketball game! LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I hear sockpuppet basketball is all the rage now! :)

Yeah, Newt's performance triggered every doubt I had about the guy and reminded me of exactly why I was glad to see him finally go.

I guess we'll see how others respond.

T-Rav said...

Andrew and Ed, it's a sport with a lot of promise, you just have to watch out for the hoops. Those sharp edges darn the sockpuppets something awful.

As far as National Review goes, I will say in their defense that they haven't been whole hog for Newt or anyone else. Some of their contributors are pulling for him, and some aren't. There are a few establishment types, but there's a wide enough mix of opinions I don't feel any one group dominates.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I haven't been over there in a while, not since they bought hook line and sinker into the Cain smear.

Yeah, I can see where the hoops would be the problem! LOL!

TJ said...

I saw Dick Morris on Fox & Friends this morning and he was saying that he thought Newt did the best and that Cain really showed his inexperience on foreign affairs with his comment about oil from Syria (but I guess that's what we've come to expect from the establishment types). Since I didn't watch the debate, I can't really comment on that. Of course, I knew I could trust you guys to give a good recap of things.

Thanks again and hopefully the sockpuppets won't get sidetracked by a basketball game again! ;-)

Cronickain said...

I just know I'll be glad when a conservative minded person is back in the white house.

AndrewPrice said...

TJ, You're welcome. Cain was impressive whenever he spoke, though he didn't get to speak nearly as much as the others. I didn't catch anything about Syrian oil from him. The talk at that point was about Perry's suggestion of a no-fly zone. Cain's answer was actually quite deep and smart on that point. He was opposed to a no-fly zone, but favored getting others in the region to help out and I think (can't fully remember) that he suggested helping the resistance movement in Syria and using covert operations. His answer was very similar to what nNewt said right afterwards.

I'm not surprised the establishment will be pushing Newt because he's their perfect candidate. He is one of them.

On T-Rav, I've called his school and asked them to take greater care in scheduling basketball games in the future so we don't have this problem again! ;)

AndrewPrice said...

ACG, Me too. Any of these people would be better than Obama.

T-Rav said...

TJ, I can't speak for anyone else, but I washed my hands of Dick Morris and anything he had to say some time ago. Remember, this is the guy who predicted the '08 election would be between Hillary Clinton and Condoleeza Rice.

TJ said...

T-Rav - good point! I have learned to take what most of the "talking heads" say with a grain of salt.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Morris lost me a long time ago. He's truly a guy without principles and a man without a country.

AndrewPrice said...

TJ, Good policy. I'm at the point, I don't even listen anymore. After the debate when they all started yammering about how great all the moderate points where and how the stupid Republican base will one day have to get as smart as their leaders, I just turned them off.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks for the recap, Andrew!

IRT profiling, I'm all for smart profiling.

What the media and DC establishment types apparantly don't comprehend is that there is no racial element applies to radical muslims.

Muslim fundamentalists are white, black, brown, yellow and everything in between.

We would be wise to adopt the same profiling methods that Israel uses irt profiling terrorists or would be terrorists.
Smart, complete profiling that includes several factors and race ain't one of them.

It would be nice if conservatives pointed this out every time an ignorant journalist or pun-dit brings up race.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Newt and Romney tried to slide around this by mixing the issue of foreign invaders and criminals. Both basically said that foreign invaders, i.e. enemy agents, have no rights. Correct."

While I concur that, based on our Constitution enemy agents have no rights, didn't a recent SCOTUS decision basically say that they do?
Can't recall the details and perhaps what I read about it was wrong.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, You're welcome!

And I couldn't agree more. Smart profiling involves cutting through the irrelevant factors and finding the relevant ones whatever they may be.

When you start ignoring things like race or religion because you don't want to offend, all you are doing is making everyone less safe and forcing government to be even more intrusive.

I agree too about Islam. There is no way that Islam should be ignored when you are dealing with Islamic terrorists. But the race/gender of the individuals isn't near as predictive.

I think "racial profiling" is nothing more than a slur claim made by the left. I know of no one in law enforcement who says "yeah, we should target every black/Hispanic/Muslim/etc." Unfortunately, some on the right play right into that by stupidly and proudly declaring that they want the government to do racial profiling. And then others try to ingratiate themselves with the left by declaring their own side evil. All those people are wrong.

That's why I wish, as you do, that the smarter conservatives would dispel this silly idea and explain that "smart profiling" is what needs to be done, and explain why.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Good points Andrew.

Just to clarify, I didn't mean to say race never plays a factor in profiling, because if, for instance, there was a lot of neo-nazi/white supremicist terror attacks then obviously we would be looking for some white scumbags, but white would only be one factor as well as nazi tatoos, bald heads, behavior, etc..

Yes, the racial profiling slurs are a leftist narrative and we really do need more conservatives pointing that out.
Particularly on a national stage such as these debates.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, This a bit of a complex issue.

1. Enemy combatants (i.e. soldiers) have certain rights under the Geneva Conventions. Those are basically the right to humane treatment if they surrender and the right not to be attacked with certain "war crimes" weapons like poison gas. But they don't have a right not to be attacked or killed on the battlefield.

2. Now, once they've been captured, then they do have rights. And that's where the second issue comes up. POWs have rights, which we do respect.

3. If you aren't an enemy combatant, then you are a civilian and all the constitutional rights apply.

4. Point 2 is where most of the fighting has taken place in the past decade because Bush and Obama tried to circumvent those rights by claiming the people we captured aren't enemy combatants, but aren't entitled to civilian rights either (see point 3). In effect, they tried to make them non-persons with no rights.

The Supreme Court rejected that.

5. The new fighting is the left whining that people on battlefields should be given civilian rights if they are Americans. Thus, you couldn't drop a bomb on one, you would need to arrest them. That will be rejected by the courts.

The problem right now is that both left and right are using these positions to whip up their bases. The right is whining about "how can we give people who want to kill us rights," and the left is whining "how can we let our government kill people without a right to do so." Both positions distort reality and simply basically wrong. But sadly, the people pushing these arguments don't care.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I agree.

Race should be considered where it's relevant. The end. There's nothing racist about that, except on the part of the criminals. And for the left to whine that there is should tell us that the left only wants to make it harder for the government to be effective and thereby result in more intrusive government.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks for clearing that up for me Andrew!

That makes more sense. I was under the impression (falsely, no thanks to some of those same, ignorant conservatives you mention) that SCOTUS had given our Constitutionsal rights to enemy combatants instead of basic pow rights.

I can't begin to understand why Bush chose to challenge that or that he expected it had any chance of winning.
Obama I can understand.

AndrewPrice said...

You're welcome Ben.

The problem is that (1) this is a complex issue and complex issues are too hard for most pundits to grasp and (2) making sense doesn't attract audiences as much as whining about "outrages" real or imagined. Thus, a lot people (left and right) have the incentive to run with false versions of the truth so they can pound the table.

The best way to remember what is really going on is that if you're a soldier or on a battlefield, then you get Geneva Convention rights. If not, then you're subject to civil law, including execution for treason or attempted murder. And if you're a terrorist, then the US gets to decide which of those two applies to you.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Yes, if I recall correctly, many of the conservatives pundits were saying that the Geneva Convention doesn't apply to terrorists who aren't state sponsored and are acting on their own.

Actually, many terrorists are state sponsered (Iran, and to a sublime degree Saudi Arabia and many other Muslim majority countries that incite hatred) to at least some extent, either directly or indirectly but that's debatable I suppose.

Polls taken seem to suggest that most muslims actually support the goals of Muslim terrorist organizations in general and sharia law in particular.

But even if the argument were true, I can't see most Americans ever supporting no rights whatsoever to those who are caught, or fingered, or possibly wrongly ratted out (there's always that possibility however slim).

That being said, I'm still for waterboarding since it has been proven to be effective and non lethal.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Terrorists (like partisans) actually are not entitled to Geneva Convention protections -- though they can be classified as such if the government chooses to treat them as combatants.

But here's the problem. If they aren't combatants, then you have to treat them as you would a civilian bad guy. That means criminal charges, cops and criminal rights. It's better if they are combatants because then you can bomb them or go in with the intent to kill them in the field rather than trying to arrest them.

What these conservatives are arguing (wrongly) is that if they aren't soldiers, then they are nothing and we can do anything we want to them. But that's not legally correct. The Geneva Convention divides the world into combatants and non-combatants. There is no third "unrecognized combatant" category. And we have signed up to the Geneva Convention and out civil law does not allow for cops to conduct raids to kill.

AndrewPrice said...

I agree with the rest of your comment too. It seems that most Muslims are sympathetic to the terrorists goals and that needs to change.

But I also can't see Americans accepting the idea that our government can simply declare someone a nonperson and do whatever they want to them -- especially someone grabbed domestically. That just opens far too many cans of worms.

Waterboarding, to me, is a rather stupid side issue. Nothing in the law (or international law) forbids it. This is an issue liberals have created to attack Bush. But then conservatives have knee-jerked it themselves and are strangely demanding that the government has the right to torture anyone "for security" reasons.

But this misses the point that all the experts agree that torture is counterproductive, that they have much better methods of getting information, and that defending "torture" in the abstract will always be a loser. And arguing about waterboarding is too tangential to be useful. It's like arguing over what kind of floormats to get in a car when you haven't even decided what kind of car to buy.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Aye! There are so many personal definitions of what torture is that debate is virtually impossible.

Some folks consider even loud music to be torture.
Which reminds me, I hope the CIA has been recording the OWS events.
Particularly the drumming and incessant whining.

That would be a great tool to get practically anyone to talk, lol.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, That's the problem. I've seen leftists argue that even raising your voice or making threats is torture. That's ridiculous.

But at the same time, I don't want my government engaging in genuine torture because I think that's bad for our country and our reputation and I just have never seen anyone credible say that it's effective. And frankly, I don't trust our government enough to give them that power.

A line needs to be drawn and it needs to be drawn rationally and without political motivations.

Outlaw13 said...

Reference the enemy we face on the battlefield today, if we strictly apply the Geneva Conventions they are what are called Illegal Combatants. Because they wear no identifiable uniform and don't themselves comply with the conventions. Aside from not wearing identifiable uniforms they target civilian populations, fire on marked red cross ambulances/helicopters...the list goes on.

As illegal combatants we COULD as described within the conventions themselves execute them when they are captured. But we don't we have tried to treat them as sort-of POWs when we want and as illegal combatants when we want. There has obviously been a lot of inconsistency across the board.

But I can say that it would be difficult at best to try in court people captured on the field of battle. Soldiers are not police officers they don't have training in the gathering of evidence and battlefield tactical interrogation doesn't include the reading of the Miranda warning. Secondly these are not criminals in need of punishment and rehabilitation, they are for the most part hard core Jihadists and they need to be isolated and not allowed back into circulation. If you doubt this look up all of the former prisioners we have released that have been either re-captured or killed on the field of battle.

Personally I have quit watching the debates as they are structured to provide not much more than a verbal beauty contest. It's disgusting to me anyway the way Republicans have allowed this dog and pony show to go on. If they were serious about geting issues and positions out in the open they would structure a forum that allowed the candidates times and space to fully express their crackpot views and each and every subject.

tryanmax said...

I define torture as an interminable run of lousy GOP "debates" with too many candidates to reasonably engage and unbalanced formatting that all but excludes some of them.

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, The Geneva convention actually doesn't use the term "unlawful combatants." All it does is define the world into combatants, civilians and prisoners of war. If you are defined as a combatant, then you cannot be held personally liable for your belligerent acts (barring a war crime). If you don't fall into that category, then you fall under the jurisdiction of the country's civil laws and you can be executed for murder and the such. BUT you can't just be executed. First, a tribunal needs to determine your status as not a combatant. Then you have whatever civil rights are afforded, including trial rights. Only then can you be executed, assuming the country executes people for that particular crime.

The problem with what Bush and Obama have tried to do is they tried to declare these people as "none of the above" and then claimed they had neither Geneva Convention rights nor civil rights. That's what the Supreme Court rejected.

In any event, the real real line-blurring problem comes when you pick them up in the US or say in Germany rather than on a battlefield. That's when things get tricky. Can we treat them as enemy combatants at that point or not? I think you could treat them as POWs, but I doubt the courts would let the government conduct a military-style raid with the intent of killing them rather than a police-style raid with the intent of arresting them.

The debates are indeed frustrating, but they have been enlightening on the defects of the candidates if nothing else.

But you're right, if they were seriously, they would reduce the numbers of candidates and provide a much more serious format that got away from the short answer format.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I define torture as watching MSNBC.

AndrewPrice said...

Also, let me clarify -- "civil law" does not mean it needs to be taken to a civil court. The Congress can establish a separate court system/tribunals to handle terrorism if they want to. And those tribunals can have different rights/procedures, so long as the basic constitutional rights are followed -- and those rights are fewer than people realize.

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