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Thursday, Apr. 24, 2014

Diplomatic Carrier

Posted Friday, January 23, 2009, at 9:04 AM

(Photo)
Do As We Say, Not as We Do?
News on the Internet recently mentioned China and their censorship of President Obama's Inauguration speech. It seems the Communist regime there doesn't like it when somebody mentions things that are not in alignment with the government philosophy. I find it interesting that the Chinese feel it necessary to censor comments by our President. It rather flys in the face of much of the reaction the rest of the world is reporting to the speech, and I'd think that the censorship by China would be detrimental to their own foreign policy.

The USA has it's own idea of diplomacy and how to project it. We've been accused of pushing our national weight around now and then, and in some ways, it's hard to argue against that. For example, USA aircraft carriers have more flight deck space than the rest of the world combined! Our largest carriers have 4 1/2 acres of flight deck, and we've got 12 of 'em! Now not all are at sea at any one time, but at least 3are, and we're building more as we speak. Some will be retired as new ships come on line, but the cost of tearing apart one of these floating airfields isn't cheap either. One source says it costs nearly 1/4 the price of building a new one to take an old one apart... http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/s...

With all the money spent to try and bolster our economy with billions of dollars and no end in sight, the 4.4 billion dollars it takes to build a new aircraft carrier seems like pocket change. Of course that 4.4 billion doesn't count the cost of the aircraft that make the carrier so awed by other nations. Put 80 or so planes on one of those ships and now you have more firepower than most countries have. Now aircraft carriers never travel alone. You must have a large battle group of ships that should be able to take care of just about any threat above and below the surface. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/w...

With so much floating and aerial firepower, it's hard to imagine that anyone would mess with the USA. Still with all the might of our military, small groups of terrorists attack with little regard for the power we wield because though our military was designed to wipe out anybody, we never do and they know it. If Iran becomes hostile with nuclear weapons, what will we really do? Only our leaders know for sure, but though our military is capable of flattening every inch of Iran, we won't do it. Kinda makes me wonder why we need all that military might if we're not willing to use it.

I'm sure our military restraint has much to do with world opinion of what could happen if the most powerful military in the world unleashed it's full potential on an adversary such as Iran or Al Queda or who ever else we chose to pick a fight with. In the not too distant past, we likely needed the deterrent afforded by our military might, and staying strong in the future should keep other country aggressors at bay. We obviously have the ability to defend ourselves.

So what's my point? We have a purpose to be the worlds leader, not the worlds bully.

On one of the local TV stations news last night, the opinion poll (not scientific) reported that 82% of people responding to a question about closing Guantanamo Bay said we should keep it open to question terrorists. I was amazed! I find it difficult to believe that Nebraskans feel that it's OK to keep prisoners off shore to avoid our own laws about treatment of prisoners. Our country speaks of being fair and playing by the rules, even if our adversaries don't, so it's pretty obvious that Guantanamo has been used to skirt the rules. What gives us the right to hold people suspected of a crime with no proof and no charges? Calling them prisoners of war makes it OK?

Some will say that to stop terrorism on our soil, it's OK to do whatever is necessary. I disagree. Though I don't want another terror attack anymore than anyone else, trampling on the rights that made this country great is not OK with me in the name of protecting us from harm. I totally agree with a statement made over 200 years ago by Ben Franklin...

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security."

Liberty Definition...

The condition of being free from restriction or control.

The right and power to act, believe, or express oneself in a manner of one's own choosing.

The condition of being physically and legally free from confinement, servitude, or forced labor. See synonyms at freedom.

Freedom from unjust or undue governmental control.

A right or immunity to engage in certain actions without control or interference: the liberties protected by the Bill of Rights.

A breach or overstepping of propriety or social convention. Often used in the plural.

A statement, attitude, or action not warranted by conditions or actualities: a historical novel that takes liberties with chronology.

An unwarranted risk; a chance: took foolish liberties on the ski slopes.

And especially for Arley...

A period, usually short, during which a sailor is authorized to go ashore.

As world leaders, it seems to me that the USA should strive to lead in all ways... including prisoner treatment and detention. I may not agree with our new President about a lot of things, but I do with regard to Guantanamo and prisoner treatment. The world knows how we've been treating prisoners at Guantanamo and other places, and I believe that we invite attack because of rules our country adopted towards suspected "combatants" instead of adhering to our countries principals of fairness, justice, and human rights.


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I agree that Guantanamo should be closed. I dont think that anybody should be imprisoned without proof of a crime. Even if they are POW's, they should be treated in fashion that is acceptable on our own soil.

Terrorists can get away with thier actions because they have no regard for thier fellow coutrymen, and even if they did, they also know that the good ole USA will go in and do no more damage than is necessary to try to defeat the individual responsible for the wrong doing. That type of warfare is acceptable by the American public and the media in most cases. The problem is that in the process, a lot of American lives are lost. The enemy will use the very thing we are trying to preserve against us, civilians. If the USA were to go in and use thier military might, and completely devastate a country like Iran, with no regard to collateral damage, and no help rebuilding, we might have a chance to curb terrorism. We would also suffer a lot fewer American casualties. But the American public and the media would have a hayday with that claiming that we are not better than the terrorist. Maybe we wouldnt be any better than terrorists, but we would save American lives, and make the world a safer place by not allowing countries like Iran to develope nuclear weapons capability.

When all is done in Iraq, we will have accomplished nothing. When American troops leave there, they will go back to thier old ways and start killing each other again.

-- Posted by seentoomuch on Fri, Jan 23, 2009, at 11:32 AM

I know you are a reasonable man Brian, so you're going to have to educate me on this one. I am on the other side of the fence re: Guantanamo. I dont believe it has been used to skirt our laws. I dont consider people captured on a battlefield, that have probably been shooting at you, to be folks "suspected" of commiting a crime. Yes, there may have been a few, but the majority of the detainees have been captured on the battlefield. Held too long? Yes. They should have faced military tribunals a looong time ago.

-- Posted by doodle bug on Fri, Jan 23, 2009, at 12:56 PM

The critical question arises from "leadership" in place on 9/11/2001 failing to secure a U.N. resolution defining:

What is an outlaw terrorist, and --

What do we do with them?

Now more than seven years down the road, we have hundreds of "suspected terrorists" in Gitmo, and no accepted policy of what to do with them.

There is no commonly accepted concept within the United States, or around the world.

Failure to proceed within the limits of our own Constitution is coming back to bite us right in the nether portions of our national anatomy.

The harm to our World Stature is far worse than any damage a bunch of terrorists can produce.

Any time this country leaves its own path, we will lose.

-- Posted by bigsurmac on Fri, Jan 23, 2009, at 2:24 PM

Thanks, Brian, but mine was a different 'liberty,' as I'm sure you know. Ha.

You broach a subject of great concern, to me. First, however, I must rant, just a bit. Where on earth has our 'modern' society delved American freedoms, and rights being extended to the whole world, especially warlike hostiles? Fairness, yes, honor, yes, but with a qualifier: The enemy must have some semblance of honor, to deserve our honor.

As I write, the news just said the word 'Prayer' is now illegal to be uttered in American schools. Why can't we be as upset with the loss of our religious freedoms, as strongly as we yell for honoring those who are trying to kill us?

Back to Gitmo. Gitmo is the perfect place for incarceration of our enemy, and it is considerably cheaper, and safer (for us).

Above, you show a weapon of war, so powerful, it is only effective against Nations. Our submarines are excellent weapons against enemy ships, and Nations. (and so on) Against men with rifles, and explosives, our best weapon is still the ground pounding, grunt, who can go ditch to ditch, and house to house, to locate and destroy an enemy who wars within the rules of engagement. Without knowing, or at least having some idea what is ahead, we loose many more troops than we should. Without intelligence, of some type, we do not even know where to look. In WWll, we had spies. Our radical Muslim enemy precludes us sending in anything like a spy.

Tell me, please, how do we find out who, what, where, when, and why, without intelligence???

Without ranting into volume two, please, everyone, hear my words: If you strangle our military to a point of having no proper tools to wage this war, and defend you from this hatred we face, you will create a situation where you will have to defend yourselves, because, sooner than you think, the enemy will be at your door, and our military will not be able to fill out the forms fast enough to get permission to defend you. And you will condemn our military, wondering why they were not there when you needed them. And that is all I have to say about that.

In Messiah, His Shalom, and perfection. Arley

-- Posted by Navyblue on Fri, Jan 23, 2009, at 4:55 PM

Arley... I think you may have missed the part of the liberty definition that said... A period, usually short, during which a sailor is authorized to go ashore. Either that, or I misunderstand you.

You and I are gonna have to agree to disagree quite a bit about this subject I'm afraid.

I certainly didn't intend to give the impression that I "honor" our suspected enemy combatants in any way. I think we need to get these people charged, tried, convicted, and locked up as appropriate. I fear that our nations honor and reputation has been tarnished by our treatment of these detainees however. We saw images and read stories of the treatment our troops received in Viet Nam POW camps, and for me and many others, a negative opinion of that country based solely on their treatment of prisioners will remain. I only hope our treatment of people held at Gitmo doesn't incite the same resentment towards the US with an enemy that operates in the shadows, as the fight against terrorism will never be over if true.

Gitmo was the "perfect place" for one reason that I know of... it obscured the treatement of the people held there and the duration they could be held. Locking up people for years with no charges filed and no rights afforded even the worst criminals on US soil just isn't right. I know of no US citizen or alien ever being held for years without charges being filed on US soil, so it seems obvious that our tactics and techniques were outside our established US laws.

As far as intellegence gathering, that is a good point, but using techniques against the measure of international law is not the way to go about getting it. I think we have an obligation to adhere to the highest of standards if we want to continue to be world leaders. If it ties our hands some, we need to find new ways. You can read about waterboarding, only one of the interrogation techniques used at Gitmo and decide for yourself... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterboardi...

I'd like to invite doodle bug and anyone else interested learning more about Gitmo, interrogation techniques, and some world opinions about the detention facilities usage at... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guantanamo_...

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Sat, Jan 24, 2009, at 9:31 AM

Thanks Brian, for a reasonable rebuttal. I still dont agree. I havent checked your website yet, but everything else I've read or heard indicates that the Gitmo detainees are generally treated better than anywhere else they might have been detained. As far as world opinion, I believe most of that comes from leftist liberals. And doesnt the Red Cross maintain an oversight facility at Gitmo? I do agree that those detainees should have been charged long ago, and by tribunals, not our civilian courts.

-- Posted by doodle bug on Sat, Jan 24, 2009, at 10:32 AM

The Red Cross has visited Gitmo but doesn not maintain facilities there. According to their web site the results are only shared with the detaining authorities... http://www.icrc.org/Web/eng/siteeng0.nsf...

As far as world opinion, whether or not you consider the BBC to be liberal leftists or not, this is the information our allies see... http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3179..., and their on our side, imagine what folks that don't like us much see.

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Sat, Jan 24, 2009, at 12:00 PM

Thanks again Brian. I dont consider the BBC to be leftists but I do consider them very liberal. And yes, I agree that is the information our allies see. Re: the Iraq war, right or wrong, how many positive stories do you see, in world print, about the good things that we are assisting there?

-- Posted by doodle bug on Sat, Jan 24, 2009, at 2:42 PM

DB - I'll admit that I have not seen positive stories in world print, but I also have to say that I have not looked either. One site you might be interested about worldwide opinions on a lot of different topics is...

http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/

Just a coincidence today that a Yahoo news piece about this showed up about the challenges of closing Gitmo...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090125/ap_o...

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Sun, Jan 25, 2009, at 10:16 AM

thanks for the yahoo link. It is an interesting read; I fear the sitution is going to get much worse and more muddled long before it gets any better. And the President will have a much more difficult time if (and I sincerely hope it DOESN'T happen) there is another terrorist (domestic or foreign) attack within the United States.

-- Posted by doodle bug on Sun, Jan 25, 2009, at 2:58 PM

G5 - It's obvious nothing will be changing your mind, and to be sure, you are not alone. I wonder though, how would you feel if someone turned you or someone in your family into the authorities stating without a doubt that you were a terrorist? Now of course you know you are not a terrorist, and maybe your neighbors don't think you are a terrorist, but somebody said you are so the authorities "detain" you based on that information. I guess based on your above statement, you should be tortured and killed without a trial or charges being filed just in case?

Like I mentioned before, I believe that if the USA wants to be a world leader, we have to lead in all ways based on our principals, and hold our actions to a higher standard, otherwise we're no better than the worst of our enemies.

Not everybody detained was/is a bad guy, but some certainly are. I don't like these guys one bit either, but my religious beliefs don't allow me to condemn people as you seem able to do. There don't seem to be any simple answers to Gitmo and the war on terror, at least not to me. You have your idea of a solution, I just disagree!

BTW - I'm for a powerful military as I think it's the only way to stay safe from enemy countries. Having the military doesn't seem to be a deterrent to terrorists however. Isn't it possible that our foreign policy and actions in the past have caused the hate towards us that you describe?

Here are some statistics about detainees...

1. Fifty-five percent (55%) of the detainees are not determined to have committed any hostile acts against the United States or its coalition allies.

2. Only 8% of the detainees were characterized as al Qaeda fighters. Of the remaining detainees, 40% have no definitive connection with al Qaeda at all and 18% are have no definitive affiliation with either al Qaeda or the Taliban.

3. The Government has detained numerous persons based on mere affiliations with a large number of groups that in fact, are not on the Department of Homeland Security terrorist watchlist. Moreover, the nexus between such a detainee and such organizations varies considerably. Eight percent are detained because they are deemed "fighters for;" 30% considered "members of;" a large majority - 60% -- are detained merely because they are "associated with" a group or groups the Government asserts are terrorist organizations. For 2% of the prisoners their nexus to any terrorist group is unidentified.

4. Only 5% of the detainees were captured by United States forces. 86% of the detainees were arrested by either Pakistan or the Northern Alliance and turned over to United States custody. This 86% of the detainees captured by Pakistan or the Northern Alliance were handed over to the United States at a time in which the United States offered large bounties for capture of suspected enemies.

The entire report is available at...

http://law.shu.edu/news/guantanamo_repor...

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Mon, Jan 26, 2009, at 1:52 PM

Whether or not you agree with the statistics presented, I can't imagine you discount the Department of Defense. They say "DoD has transferred or released 267 detainees from GTMO -- 187 for release and 80 transferred to other governments.", and that news was released almost 3 years ago, I have not searched for more recent information. http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/rele...

From your comment, the US would have executed 187 people if they followed your recommendation that were determined to be innocent without a trial. Just a thought.

We could bandter on forever on this, but we both have a differing point of view and I appreciate how pasionate you are. We both have similar feelings about the war on terror and the horrific events that occured, I think we just differ in how we believe the situation should have been handled.

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Mon, Jan 26, 2009, at 5:49 PM


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