Letters to the Editor

Bush league justice

August 10, 2008

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To the editor:

Osama bin Laden's driver, Salim Hamdan, has been convicted of : driving. Good. He's been sentenced to 5 1/2 years. Good. Charged, convicted and dealt a reasonable sentence given the crime of which he has been convicted. All within the American justice system : sort of.

The Bush administration wanted him sentenced to life imprisonment. Execution was even mentioned. For driving. Does life imprisonment and execution for being the driver - even the driver of a very evil man - remind anyone but me of news stories in recent years of some grade-school child being suspended for the school year because he sneaked a water pistol into the school building in his backpack?

Now we hear from federal authorities that regardless of the official verdict and sentence in Hamdan's trial, our government has the right to hold him indefinitely in Guantanamo without further charge. Our democratic society's judicial process, touted by us as being among the fairest and most impartial on the planet, is in the world spotlight with this trial. And our highest government officials are publicly speaking of brushing aside the results of this process. What are these people thinking? Are they thinking?

Welcome to Bush-league justice. Welcome to the Guantanamo Gulag.

Tom Hoffman,
Lawrence

Comments

TheOriginalCA 6 years, 11 months ago

This letter is busch league... please write this same letter to the New York Times. Be sure to put your name address and phone number with it.

christy kennedy 6 years, 11 months ago

"What are these people thinking? Are they thinking?"It's all so absurd and convoluted that it's nearly impossible to even figure out what their self-serving, political motivations might be from one moment to the next.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

Bush blew off the terrorists in favor of Iraq oil fields and a new pipleine going across Afghanistan. Bush has been terrorizing the Iraq people for several years now. Our president deserves jail time. Too bad McCain feels another 50 years of HIS government terrorizing the mideast would be satisfactory. That kind of thinking DOES NOT represent the USA.I still say if Bush had been paying attention 9/11/01 and Osama would not be a topic of discussion today. Face it the Bush administration failed america which has resulted in more than 4000 dead military citizens and tens of thousands disabled american military citizens. Probably hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraq men,women and children are dead because Bush failed america.How do we know that person declared as the driver is the driver for Osama? If this person is the driver where did Osama go? Bush is better known for lies than truth!Bring the Troops Home! War for oil IS NOT patriotic!

jaywalker 6 years, 11 months ago

Yeah, he was JUST a driver. Cop a clue.I definitely don't like holding the accused indefinitely, we are America and any practice remotely like that sounds more like a backwards Burmese or Guatamalan tactic. But I don't understand why so many feel these people should benefit from the habeas corpus of our judicial system. They are POW's, or enemy combatants, or 'alleged' combatants, and yes, I would find it easy to believe that some are probably innocent. But has any country ever projected their 'rights' onto foreigners in foreign conflicts? Being sincere here, would love someone's opinion on why we should afford them the benefits and rights an American citizen covets. Shouldn't these go before military tribunals?

Jason Bailey 6 years, 11 months ago

Merrill: You're not alone here when I call a spade a spade -- the ignorance and rush to pin your hate to one man is astounding.If all of this was for oil (and Bush feeding money to his friends in big oil) where are the low prices at the pump? A huge supply of oil from a new pipeline across Afghanistan and oil out of Iraq should be dumping enormous supplies on the market but they're not. Once again, your side is shown who you are via your asinine remarks with absolutely no fact to back them up.How has the Bush administration failed America? I can list many ways but I'm sure they're not the same as your list; however, you simply throw mud with no support. Typical of garden-variety liberals who are filled with hate and venom.And who says war for oil is not patriotic? Was war to rid Japanese from the Pacific rim a patriotic form of death for our men after it was established that the US homeland was safe from further aggression? Why all the death during the Somolian conflict of the late-90s? How was that patriotic for our men and women? Patriotism is definitely in the eye of the beholder and way too susceptible to interpretation. Interpretation of the word "patriotic" by secular progressives is almost inevitably related to "diplomacy, peace, engaging in a round of 'I'd like to teach the world to sing...', and otherwise thinking like a Democrat." If anyone has a different view of patriotism, they're simply told they're wrong. I challenge how any death in any war (outside of the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812) can truly be considered "patriotic" according to the Liberal definition.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 11 months ago

This letter is so absurd and convoluted that it's not difficult in the least to figure out exactly what the letter writer's self-serving, political motivation is.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Gentry, please submit what you think America stands for in 150 words or less, and see whether you can do so without expressing hatred for President Bush and/or his administation. I wonder whether your hollow, numb, angry mind is capable of doing so.

Navin_R_Johnson 6 years, 11 months ago

OK anxious atheist,(by the way your name makes me giggle, but that's another subject altogether),fair enough, but what you said was this:"Someone shooting a gun at another human "wants peace"? I don't think so fangorn:in the act of shooting at another human being, you, (by proxy), condone violence: you can't escape it. You murder? You're a murderer."my intent was to point out that your statment is not a universal axiom and that the right to self-defense is. context and precision in language is important when arguing such things. some folks are so obutse that they do not believe in the right to kill in self-defense, regardless of circumstance. i know a handful of peaceniks who believe such largely due to the fact that they've lived secured and protected lives under a blanket of protection they adolescently refused to acknowledge as it might disrupt their fantasy world and force them into a brushing glance with reality. so, in short, my self-defense argument does not "fall apart" merely because you failed to acknowledge it's existence prior to your attempt in making an axiomatic assertion. however, i am pleased to hear that you are not to that level of "wingnuttedness" and gladly withdraw my characterization of you as a "sissy boy."peace

Fangorn 6 years, 11 months ago

Cato: You are the elder. I am the "eldest"! :)

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

Retired General William Odom, who served as a national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan, spoke last Thursday to the Committee for the Republic in Washington, DC. He described the Iraq War as a historic blunder that the United States should end.An example of the positive role the U.S. empire plays is the re-unification of Germany. This was opposed by most of Europe but quiet behind-the-scenes discussions by the United States resulted in the re-unification being accepted. This was good for Europe and the world, but likely would not have occurred without U.S. influence.According to Odom, "The biggest threat to the U.S. empire is incompetent U.S. leadership." This brought the discussion to Iraq, which General Odom has described as a major foreign policy blunder.He was asked--if President Bush sought your advice on Iraq what would you say in a letter to him. Odom responded that he would tell the President that "he is losing in Iraq" and that he "has made the most strategic foreign policy disaster in U.S. history."To get out he suggests the President send Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Europe ostensibly to talk about Kyoto. In reality, the purpose of the visit would be to say the President wants to meet with you in the Azores to discuss Iraq. Once a meeting is organized the President should tell other foreign leaders "I screwed up and am pulling out." He should make the point that the U.S. pulling out could make things worse for the region, Russia and the Far East because terrorists in Iraq will be freed up to go to other countries. The country least likely to be effected by this would be the United States. The President should seek the involvement of these countries in order to minimize the destabilization that might occur. Then he would instruct the Secretary of Defense to develop the logistics for getting out of Iraq.In order to bring stability to the region the best approach, according to Odom is to "develop an opening between the United States and Iran." The conflict with Iran needs to be turned on its head. The President should send a private delegation to Iran to explain our common interests. We should be willing to make concessions on the nuclear bomb--get the nuclear bomb off the table and begin to work with Iran to stabilize the region.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Gentry, do you really believe that "higher level animals" are "equal" to human beings? If so, in what sense are they "equal?"

cato_the_elder 6 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Gentry, would you please answer my question about "higher level animals?"

BigAl 6 years, 11 months ago

Tom Shewmon (Tom Shewmon) says: "What are liberals thinking? This is war, not ACLU feel good stuff."*************Tom, how does it sit with you that the Bush administration was eavesdropping (spying) on reporters from the NY Times and the Washington Post? At the same time, being critical of how the Chinese treat their press. Liberal or conservative, this is simply wrong in this country. If this were from the Clinton administration, the right-wingers would be going berserk!!!!!

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

How does anyone know this person was a driver for bin laden? Who said so? White House journalism.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

Big brother is everywhere in america and the world. How in the world could four large passenger jets simultaneously become victims of terrorist hijackers unless some very important people were not paying attention or ignoring information?

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

Why haven't we "gotten" Bin Laden already?

not_dolph 6 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 11 months ago

The bush doctrine in a nutshell:"We must keep jailing and executing terrorists and people who might someday become terrorists until the enemies of freedom & life are destroyed."An interesting stategy. Although jailing and executing people who might someday become terrorists, pretty much makes you a terrorist and enemy of freedom and life yourself.

Fangorn 6 years, 11 months ago

Sorry, Cato, I only read koine Greek. For me, Attic Greek is a little like trying to read Beowolf in its original language. ;)

Navin_R_Johnson 6 years, 11 months ago

fangorn and clint (i apologize at calling you anxious atheist), of course you do look alike in the digital world :)what's a PBC to do to get a little recognition around these here parts. but, then again, most people don't wanna talk to me cause i am after all, a jerk!peace!

Fangorn 6 years, 11 months ago

Oh, Mr. G. I foolishly hoped for better. But you've very much proven my point. I did no namecalling. I merely posted examples from your own earlier post, pointing out how ad hominem remarks seem to be your most frequent recourse. This only underscores the inherent weakness of your argument.And that was a clever slight of hand there, but having seen it before I will point it out. Our problem in the world today is not some undefined "radical religion" or some undifferentiated "[r]eligious zealotry", it is militant, radical Islam. And you're very correct: this problem goes back much farther back than the 1990s. Charles Martel recognized this at Tours in AD 732 when he stopped the advance of Islam's first invasion of Christian Europe. I pointed out those specific attacks to remind everyone how well the "law enforcement" approach of the Clinton (and possible Obama) administration worked at stopping terrorist attacks.As for saying "there is nothing moral about the military", I would agree that there is nothing inherently moral about the military, or any other organization for that matter. But I must ask you, were we wrong to fight against Hitler in WWII? If the military is wrong, isn't it always wrong?Finally, how would you "pacify" militant Islam? Your unwillingness to resist them certainly isn't going to change their intentions. But I suppose your rose-colored glasses keep you from seeing that as well.

Navin_R_Johnson 6 years, 11 months ago

anxiousatheist (Clint Gentry) says: "Someone shooting a gun at another human "wants peace"? I don't think so fangorn:in the act of shooting at another human being, you, (by proxy), condone violence: you can't escape it. You murder? You're a murderer." atheist, you're a munchkin. try that cowardly and obtuse logic on the following situation: a violent criminal breaks into your house in the middle of the night and attempts to kill your wife and kids and take what's yours and make it his. according to you, you wouldn't use that Model 29 .44 cal pistol on the night stand because in the act of justifiable defense you would be considered a "murderer" or (gasp) "not peaceful." i'm glad you ain't my dad. yer an intellectual dwarf, not to mention an unstable sissy boy too busy cowering to be worth anything when the s#it hits the fan.

Fangorn 6 years, 11 months ago

"The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!" -Navin R. Johnson

Fangorn 6 years, 11 months ago

"Hitler was trying to take over the world". He did this because of his delusions regarding the national greatness of the German people. Militant Islamists believe their god has told them to do this. Who will have the greater ferver for the task? Who will dissuade them from their goal? Again, I ask, how would you pacify this movement that wants to subjugate the world to the will of their god?

Fangorn 6 years, 11 months ago

Obviously this contentious debate has been going on for some time. It's too bad that name-calling (on both sides) seems to be such a staple of discussion.Again, Mr G., your convolution of a nebulous "religious extremism" and the reality of militant Islam strikes me as a deliberate obfuscation.And I have to point out: "to" is a preposition or part of an infinitive verb ("to the store", "to the point", "to debate", "to eat"); "two" is a number designating a pair of objects or ideas ("two sides to an agrument", "two candidates"); "too" is an adverb meaning also or excessive ("have cake and eat it too", "too many errors"). Or to put it all together "If it wouldn't be too much trouble, those two want to go to the store, too." Or have you not thought too deeply into basic English grammar?

Fangorn 6 years, 11 months ago

"hatred for their fellow man", "ignorance to [sic] deep to ever recover", "petulant teenagers", "lazy in their fact checking", "incinsere [sic] regarding what they believe is real". And how are such descriptions not belittling to those with whom you disagree? Perhaps the kettle isn't the only thing that's black, Mr. Pot. Do not assume that someone willing to fight a war doesn't want peace just as much as you. Fighting back against someone who wants to destroy or subjugate you isn't a moral transgression, it's a moral imperative. Militant Islam has been at war with the US for years (WTC 1993, Khobar Towers 1996, African embassies 1998, USS Cole 2000), although many chose not to understand this. Perhaps such people suffer from "a hollow, numb, angry mind that will do anything to ignore the reality of the world they live in"?

cato_the_elder 6 years, 11 months ago

Volkischer Beobachter, I'm sure that you think of the philosopher with the broad shoulders every time you post on this site. Just out of curiosity, how many of Plato's Dialogues have you read? How many have you read in the original Greek?

akuna 6 years, 11 months ago

I haven't read all of the comments so maybe someone has already chastised Tom Shewmon. What liberal are thinking is that we have a justice system that is supposed to be fair and impartial. True that it is neither, but that doesn't mean we liberals don't want it to be. I hate the fact that drug dealers get longer sentences than rapist or murders. I hate that while our justice system is on the world stage our leaders are dismissing it. I simply hate the Republican, I am better than thou, mentality.

Fangorn 6 years, 11 months ago

Yes! That's more like it, Mr. G. You make good points. The state of the current Islamic world compared to 1930-40's German is, as you say, no comparison at all, although I wouldn't characterize them as Bronze Age, probably more like Medieval. However, I would like to point out the greater expanse of territory covered by the Muslim World, and the fact that Hilter's dream lasted only 15 years or so. The militant Islamists have already been around longer than that and don't look like they're going away soon. And you are correct again to say that they cannot mount a "traditional war". That is why they fight the way they do. And you must admit their impact has been disproportional to their apparent means to wage war. That's why it's called "asymmetrical warfare". The British, no doubt, had similar thoughts about the tactics of Francis Marion in the American War for Independence. The Swamp Fox was ulitmately successful. Your putative "bronze age civilization" may very well be, too, if they are not opposed.

jaywalker 6 years, 11 months ago

"the Bush administration was eavesdropping (spying) on reporters from the NY Times and the Washington Post?"And the FBI admitted it was soley because the reporters were involved in reporting on Islamic extremists from countries like Pakistan. Smells alot like McCarthyism.

Fangorn 6 years, 11 months ago

Mr. G: I had thought of an additional point, but I wanted to give you the opportunity to respond first. Since it's been nearly 2 hours and I'll be off-line soon, I'm going to make the post and try to check back later to see if you've gotten a chance to rebut.The US waited until December 1941 to get involved in WWII. If we had acted earlier, say Sept. 2, 1939, we might have prevented the National Socialists from conquering so much of Europe and establishing such a strong, defensible position on the Continent. The war might have been much less costly in lives and treasure had we faced the threat proactively. I think something similar could be said of the current threat of militant Islam. Although, again as you point out, the type of warfare in fighting a radical ideology is much different than fighting an established nation-state with borders and more precisely definable targets.Have a peaceful night, everyone, if I don't get back in later.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

Interesting, although the name-calling gets a bit tiresome.If the US had gotten involved in WWII earlier, it might have lessened the destruction, however, the real underlying problem is the massive numbers of people who were willing to follow Hitler.Part of that problem is what Jung identified as "projection of the shadow", meaning that many people, in order to feel good about themselves, need to disown parts of themselves and project them onto others.Until/unless we solve that problem on a wider scale, we will continue to have similar situations around the world, whether we kill the current leaders or not.It seems to me that both sides currently engage in that behavior - radical Islamists see us as "the devil" while they are righteous, and we seem to do the same thing.I like the suggestion that we try to deal with underlying causes rather than simply reacting to events.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

And, again, why haven't we gotten Bin Laden yet, with all of the resources we've poured into this war?

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