The Associated Press reports the content of a speech given by US Attorney General Eric Holder.

The most disturbing statement in a highly disturbing defense of treating terrorism as a law enforcement issue was this from the AG:

Holder insisted in his speech that civilian courts are “our most effective terror-fighting weapon.”

In a war in which our enemies have made abundantly clear their goal of subjugation or annihilation, we haven’t even the courage to call them what they are, Islamic extremists. We substitute the generic “violent extremists” as if a group of fat Neo-Nazis living in their parents’ basements represents as serious a threat to American citizens as Al Qaeda and its Islamic extremists and cohort radicals around the globe (including on US soil). Wars are seldom won when one side refuses to acknowledge who the enemy is, and even less seldom won when one side cannot come to grips with being at war.

Holder’s words reveal a naive and detached understanding of the world in which we live. Such a statement is both wildly inaccurate and irresponsible in the extreme, and bring into question just how solid a grasp some of the senior decision-makers in our Federal Government have on the reality of our international situation.

Those who vow our destruction, those intransigent enemies whose ideology is mutually exclusive of, and fundamentally hostile to our freedoms and our way of life? They need to be killed when they threaten us, not be arrested and hauled into a civilian courtroom where they are given all of the rights and privileges of US citizens on trial for a capital crime. To think otherwise is to fail to understand that peace, like freedom and justice, must be fought for and defended, by people willing to kill and to die in the effort. Our men and women in uniform are those people. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines. They are the greatest weapon this nation has in the War on Terror. Not the lawyers. To assert differently is patently absurd, and an insult to the Armed Forces who have performed so bravely and brilliantly over the last decade.

All along, we assumed Osama bin Laden was living in the cave. It seems that it likely was some other folks living in a cave.

Oh, and h/t to AndyH and BlackFive
This just in, from WAPO:

A 22-year-old Alexandria man has been charged with shooting at military buildings in the D.C. region last fall, and federal officials said in court papers that he videotaped himself shouting “Allah Akbar” after he fired shots at the U.S. Marine Corps museum in October.

Yonathan Melaku, a Marine Reservist, was taken into custody Friday under suspicious circumstances at Arlington National Cemetery. He had been carrying a backpack that held plastic baggies with ammonium nitrate, a material that can be used to make a bomb, as well as a notebook that included references to Osama bin Laden and “The Path to Jihad.”

From the General Casey school of softsoaping in order not to offend (other than those being targeted, of course), this from Federal investigators:

But on Thursday, federal officials weren’t so sure. “I can’t suggest to you his motivations or intent,” said James W. McJunkin, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “Its not readily apparent yet.”

McJunkin and other officials would not comment on Melaku’s faith.

Neither were Major Hasan’s motivations, apparently.


If’n you think that the handling of captured illegal combatants could not be any more of a soup sandwich, Admiral McRaven’s words should convince you otherwise. We have no plan. None.

Posted by UltimaRatioReg in Coast Guard, Foreign Policy, Hard Power, History, Homeland Security, Marine Corps, Maritime Security, Navy

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  • Jay


    We’ll very likely continue to kill some bad guys, whether on the battlefield, or targeted via drone strike, etc. We can and should bring the ones we capture to CONUS (I support closing Gitmo, it stains our National Honor), try them and sentence them (some would merit the death penalty, some might live the rest of their days in prison). The AG is correct, we should be able to use our Courts to get this done. The Military Tribunal system has gone about this far longer, and seemingly less effectively, than many Courts. Perhaps that is the nature of the beast when building the cases against these foes.

    I don’t think a proposal to kill all our foes, (as you appear to suggest) is grounded in reality. We have prison space in the US to hold them. We need not fear bringing, nor keeping them here. We should do so, and once more set the example of a decent and honorable nation.

    This is not an “either, or” effort, (solely a military or civil solution) it involves both. I am sure the AG understands that, I am concerned that you do not.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    I disagree with just about your entire premise. The AG is dead wrong, and he is the one who sees this as an either/or, advocating against all evidence for the wrong choice (terrorism as a law enforcement issue) on many occasions. I don’t believe he understands that enemy combatants do not belong in the US prison system. You don’t seem to, either.

    We don’t kill all our enemies, just those that give us reason to.

  • RickWilmes

    The AG’s desire to claim terrorism is a crime is a result of our government’s failure to declare war on our ideological enemies, Islamic Totalitarianism. Instead, the US is fighting a war against a tactic, terrorism. What needs to happen is our leader’s in foreign policy and the military should identify and understand the difference between fighting an ideology and a tactic.

    The following may be of interest.

    “To defend American lives properly, we should target not terrorism, a tactic, but militant Islam, the ideology that motivates the terrorists. But we have been flailing in unpredictable directions, unsure of where to go next, because the war lacks a clear purpose.”

    The AG’s statement’s are just the latest example of flailure.

    Flailure: Flailing while failing to properly identify our ideological enemies.

  • Matt Yankee

    These enemy combatants want genocide. I cannot comprehend treating a genocidal war criminal the same as a domestic burglar or even murderer. Genocide is so totally and utterly different. Not to mention they are explicitly “at War” with this country and have been explicitly instructed by their highest leadership to utilize OUR legal system to further their objectives.

    Why do you think terrorists want to go through our civilian courts? Just what in the HECK is wrong with military tribunals anyways?

  • Byron

    Military tribunals were fine for World War 2… what makes this different, Jay?

  • Old Air Force Sarge

    Once again on target URR. Fire for effect.

    “They are the enemy! Wade into them, shoot them in the belly…”

    Now that I’m done channeling my inner Patton, I have to say, “THIS IS NOT A LAW ENFORCEMENT ISSUE!” We’re at war with these b*st*rds. Arrest them? Have we gone completely ’round the bend? Yes, we have room in our prisons. So the American taxpayer should put these people up?

    There are days when I feel like we’ve gone through the looking glass. Keep up the good fight URR!

  • Aubrey

    The simple fact of the matter is that law enforcement is about catching and punishing AFTER the fact, with all of the restrictions, limitations and risks that go with that.

    If pursue terrorists on that basis we are guaranteeing more American deaths.

    Much better to find those who have declared war on us and kill them BEFORE the fact.

    I don’t want TJ Hooker to try and deal with Islamic terrorists, I want George F. Patton.

  • andrewdb

    Where is the “Like” button for this post?

  • Rich B.

    Can you wage “war” against terrorism?

    War by definition is a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations. Since terrorism is a mode or method vice a state or nation that definition does not fit. Perhaps we should declare it as a struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end.

    By this definition alone we define the battlefield as state above as one of ideology where the forces of democracy and republicanism desiring to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty are fighting against Islamic extremeist who seek a Caliphate under Sharia Law.

    To achieve their ends they must directly attack what we desire, our “endstate”; to whit they must deny us “domestic tranquility” by keeping our systems in turmoil (economy, courts, education, political systems foundations must be assaulted) Some foundations may be attacked directly; attempting to get Sharia law within US Court system; others must be done from underneath like sappers. Tunneling within existing systems and changing them over time such as education and removing the cornerstones of democratic ideas.

    Justice must be defeated; by taking advantage of our own laws they remove themselves from it’s subjugation. They want to be tried in civilian courts where soldiers can be shown to not have read miranda rights; where warrants for search and siezure on the battlefield were never sought and evidenciary rules can be challenged due to handling by a private third class.

    Every attack laughs in the face of providing for the common defense. Some borders are simply to wide and while we must succeed in EVERY defensive action they only have to succeed in a single attack to show our difficulty.

    Right now our ability to maintain the general welfare is under great strain. We find ourselves overtaxed on the world stage and supporting nations who do not care about the national treasure and lifeblood we are expending on their behalf. We watch as civil liberties erode under the guise of security as we search toddlers but not grown men wearing the jubba or dishdasha.

    God blessed me with liberty and freedom. My forefathers acknowledged these within our country’s foundational documents, but terrorisms ability to inculcate fear has eroded our will to say in America; I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God; indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all in my child’s school because I “might” offend someone with my declaration.

    To many do not understand that our enemy has no uniforms; no defined borders. You cannot fight terrorism on a map. You have to engage them on the same battlefield in which they fight us and attack them at the core of what they desire.

    So what do they want? A theocracy which denies basic human rights. No equality between men and women. No freedom from religious persecution. No separation of church and state. No freedom of speech. The Caliphate exists to “propogate punishment”

    If the pillow that terrorists lay their head upon is within our borders then it becomes a legal issue; when it is a US Citizen beholden to our laws then you may accuse him of a crime.

    When a foreign national commits an act of terrorism; it may not be sanctioned but it is an act of war. Until nations learn they are responsible for the acts of their citizenry… and like the Dey of Algiers see firsthand what it brings upon their people will foreign powers turn a blind eye to terror.

  • Andre From Sacto

    Same old tripe from war-crime loving, torture supporting, traitors to our American constitution. From this article it is clear that the greater threat to our Consititution does not come some “Islamic extremists” living in a cave in Afghanistan but from those who would subvert the Constitution in order to “save” the Republic. I see for the author it is still July 3rd, 1776.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    The Constitution was adopted in 1787, not 1776. But otherwise, thanks for the insightful tip, free of personal attack and wild accusations.

  • Matt Yankee

    Andre maybe you are just prepubescent? One day when you grow up you’ll understand what it means to actively seek genocide for another population. That’s what the Islamic Terrorists are doing and you don’t seem to understand anything about them…only childish, self-defeating thoughts about your own people fighting them. Grow up.

  • Duke

    It seems that many of the anti-Holder posts are silent concerning the many people who have been tried for terrorist acts (or supporting the same) in US Courts. How many of them took advantage of the rights of the accused to escape justice? Not many, I’d wager.

    I happen to agree with RickWilmes in that the real enemy is Islamic Fundamentalism/Totalitarianism. I also happen to think that the enemy needs to be fought with a number of weapons- military, political and ideological. We should think about using not only the civilian courts, but also military tribunals where appropriate. After all, shouldn’t we be about total war?

  • Andre From Sacto

    @URR: Fixed: “I see for the author it is still September 16th 1787”.

    Thank you for helping reinforce my point that our Justice system is based in the US Constitution and not in a military tribunal (hint, not in the constitution).

    My Grandfather helped run a POW camp during WW2. He used to talk about the different methods used to get information from the POWs. Nothing like what this author or the posters would advocate. Just simple psychology and belief in our system of justice. I would argue that the Nazi’s were just as genocidal and x1000 times more dangerous than any Afghani goat farmer.

    Now the attempted closure of gitmo will generate charges of “soft on terror” or “Pre 9/11 mindset” etc. This is all bull and if one was to really be turned off by “personal attack and wild accusations” I suggest you start there.

    Constitution – live by it and not above it. Nuff said.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    To be clear, the US courts should be the venue for US citizens accused of terrorism or supporting terrorism. No matter how egregious the charges, if they have US citizenship, they should have full protection under the law.

    Which is why some are not so comfortable with the Administration’s okay for the killing of Anwar Al-Waliki, despite his being linked to, among other things, the Fort Hood shootings. Al Waliki is a US-born American citizen. A trial may yield the death penalty, but to many he still deserves a trial by a jury of his peers.

    The line that many (myself included) think should be drawn is the one in which non-US citizens, including those living here illegally, enemy combatants, and terrorist suspects accused of participating or aiding terrorists, are captured here, or on the battlefield or elsewhere. For them, there are no Constitutional protections, nor should there be. They are, in many cases, illegal combatants according to the Geneva Convention of 1949 for the Treatment of Prisoners. Summary execution would be permissible for many of them under that Convention, but that is a path we have chosen not to take. But our actions as a civilized nation should not ever include giving those who seek our destruction the benefits of the rights and privileges of US citizens on trial for a capital crime.

  • RickWilmes


    The US Constitution is designed to protect the citizens of the United States.  The recognition of individual rights and the separation of church and state are fundamental principles that our enemies do not recognize and seek to destroy.

    It is a gross contradiction to think our enemies have the same rights as a US citizen.

  • Duke


    I understand and appreciate your point. I do note that illegal aliens who stand accused of crimes in this country are entitled to the same constitutional protections as US citizens. And I think your point about the ’49 Convention is well taken; we could take a tougher tack. But the farther we go in extending the values we hold dear, the greater the chance that we can win ‘hearts and minds’ and maybe the fewer converts they get. No doubt some of the enemy will qualify for the course you suggest. But I think total war calls for some discretion in means, and for some, civilian trials may be appropriate.

  • JRS

    I agree with Jay and the AG.

    Our best defense is getting to the root of the problem and that lies more in developing stability and hope in South Asia, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. These areas have not recovered from a couple of centuries of European imperialism, egotism, and bigotry. Our involvement in Afghanistan in the 80’s had a similar effect. Our efforts to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan had a direct link to the creation of the radical Islamic movement.

    We can’t kill our way to a safe future. If “W” had understood where and why this radical movement started (that our own CIA planted, nurtured, armed, then abandoned these groups that have turned on us), perhaps we would have put more effort into building than killing 10 years ago. We’d be 8 or 9 years ahead and would have spent a lot fewer lives and dollars.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Illegal aliens in league with America’s sworn enemies, aliens here because they have been sent to execute attacks or aid in them, are not the same as those who come here seeking a better life.

    Extending the values we hold dear to people who hate us for those very values and use their protections against us in our ability to defend ourselves, in an effort to win hearts and minds, is a losing proposition. Our open society and personal freedoms we enjoy are not a suicide pact with those who seek that society’s destruction.

    We have shown unprecedented forbearance in the handling of these terrorists and illegal enemy combatants. Pushing our wartime enemy into the category of simple criminal conduct remains a foolhardy and naive initiative that will, in the end, prove our undoing.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “If “W” had understood where and why this radical movement started (that our own CIA planted, nurtured, armed…”

    “It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every (muslim) who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise.”

    —March 1785 reply to Thomas Jefferson and John Adams by Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman, Tripoli envoy

  • QMSN John

    Terrorism IS a law enforcement issue.

    For instance, think of domestic terrorists. Should McVeigh should have been captured by the army? No. Because of the Posse Comitatus Act, which is a good thing.

    Militarizing our interactions with the non-US world won’t help us. Giving up the US’s moral high ground in fighting terror and the bad guys won’t hasn’t helped us. Let’s get that moral high ground back.

    Foreign terrorists operate for a number of reasons. Individuals and small cells are best dealt with by law enforcement.

    State sponsored terror is the only instance in which military responses are appropriate. We need to be careful to use military force appropriately and in such a fashion that doesn’t provoke further violence.

    Occupying entire countries like Iraq and Afghanistan doesn’t prevent terror. It creates more violence, aimed at our guys in other people’s backyards. Iraq wasn’t even sponsoring terror, or harboring WMDs! Afghanistan is still the graveyard of armies, our Army is just too good to fall into the grinder quickly.

    Giving money to Pakistan creates more violence. The blackmail scheme they have set up for us to just keep dumping money into is amazing. Quit giving Pakistan money and the US-targeting terrorism they cook up will dry up inside ten years.

    Anyway. Use military force when appropriate, against state-level actors. Wiping out a terror-training camp? Sure. Occupying the entire nation of Afghanistan? Not really appropriate with the number of guys we are willing to commit.

    Isn’t this a Naval blog, anyway? Do we consider piracy to be terror?

  • RickWilmes

    “Our best defense is getting to the root of the problem and that lies more in developing stability and hope in South Asia, the Middle East, and Northern Africa.”

    That root is the fact that Islamic law is not compatible with Western civilizations values like individual rights, the separation of church and state and the treatment of women.

    It is time to recognize that the Islamic fundamentalist’s future will suffer the same fate as the American Indian, the German Nazi, and the Japanese samurai.

    Notice that Germany today is one of the most stable countries in Europe and Japan has been a stabilizing influence in the Far East.

    As the samurai put down his sword and started swinging baseball bats and golf clubs, the Islamic fundamentalist needs to put down their back packs full of explosives.  That is going to promote stability far faster than giving them rights they don’t have or properly understand.

  • Total

    What QMSN John said.

    The hoary old argument that because our enemies are really evil, we can do whatever we want to to them is adopting their mentality. They believe us evil and thus can do whatever they want. We believe them evil and so…

    The Bill of Rights (which is what you’re really talking about) is about defining *who* we are. I like that definition, and I’m not willing to throw it overboard because of Bin Laden, or because of you.

  • RickWilmes


    It should be pointed out that the Justice Department and Bill of Rights was created by our Founders to protect the United States citizen and individual liberty. It is a miscarriage of justice to turn those institutions upside down and apply those principles to enemies who are actively seeking to destroy those principles.

    For further consideration,

    “The Declaration of Independence laid down the principle that “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.” This provided the only valid justification of a government and defined its only proper purpose: to protect man’s rights by protecting him from physical violence.

    Thus the government’s function was changed from the role of ruler to the role of servant. The government was set to protect man from criminals—and the Constitution was written to protect man from the government. The Bill of Rights was not directed against private citizens, but against the government—as an explicit declaration that individual rights supersede any public or social power.”

    In essence, the AGs statements subordinate the rights of US citizens to those individuals who wish to destroy those rights.  I can’t stress the fact, enough, that the Islamic fundamentalist view of individual rights, the separation of church and state, and the treatment of women is not compatible with Western civilizations values so unless they are US citizens caught committing a crime, they do not have the same rights and protections as the US citizen.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    You can find me evidence that the Bill of Rights extends to enemy combatants? Methinks that is quite a stretch. So, in executing my 5 S’s for POW handling, they will be able to go to court and walk because I violated their 4th Amendment rights of unreasonable search?

    Interesting premise. Maybe one day you can try that out.

  • humm … as a Coastie, my perception is that we Americans preserve life. Every single human being on this planet deserves a chance at a productive life, regardless of their age, background, mistakes made, etc. That’s what America is about. These issues need to be handled case by case, one individual at a time (major ass-pain). And yes, as Jay put it, we (US Military) are going to kill you if in fact you pose an imminent threat TO ANY HUMAN BEING. Life is precious and most people can and will change, regardless of their upbringing/pre-programming; whether a Military Tribunal or a Public Court hearing, it’s the honorable, dignified way of the United States of America.

  • Total

    You can find me evidence that the Bill of Rights extends to enemy combatants? Methinks that is quite a stretch. So, in executing my 5 S’s for POW handling, they will be able to go to court and walk because I violated their 4th Amendment rights of unreasonable search?

    Read for content, URR, read for content. I didn’t say that the Bill of Rights necessarily applied to enemy combatants. I said that the Bill of Rights is a statement of who we are. One of those defining things is that we treat people as having rights (inalienable ones, as a matter of fact, though that’s a different document). Those rights don’t go away simply because some people are evil.

    The implication of that *should* have been that we treated prisoners through some system that recognized those rights. It could have been treating them as standard POWs. It could have been treating them as criminals and putting them into the civilian court systems. Instead, the Bush Administration essentially invented (or co-opted) a category (“enemy combatants”) that allowed them to treat the prisoners as without rights all together. That was entirely at odds with the self-definition of the Bill of Rights, and was in essence a betrayal of the Constitutional system. Holder’s correcting that error, and I applaud him for it.

    Bill of Rights was created by our Founders to protect the United States citizen and individual liberty….(and) You can find me evidence that the Bill of Rights extends to enemy combatants?

    An exercise for the class: find me the word “citizen” in the Bill of Rights. Follow-up exercise: if the word “citizen” does not occur in the Bill of Rights, to whom do they apply?

  • Matt Yankee

    Go eat an ice cream cone if you need to feel good about yourself.

    The rest of us are just fine killing the enemy with no court date needed. Just focus on ice cream until the war is over. Seriously, try it.

  • Kudo’s Matt! We could all use a little something to feel a little better about ourselves. Advice taken.

  • The Usual Suspect

    I think that there is a fundamental problem with a significant portion of the arguments here. Anybody who believes that we can win hearts and minds and drag these people into the 21st century has been smoking some seriously killer weed. No matter what you do, these people will be stuck in the 7th century forever. The only thing 20th/21st century about them is they do tend to update and improvise their weaponry, but aside from that the basic social structure, morays, and values remain firmly rooted in their valley-to-valley interpretation of the Koran. They understand the strong man. They understand fear. They disrespect some of those traits and concepts that we as a people find admirable – compassion, negotiation/compromise, education for women, religious tolerance, restraint, freedom, equality.

    The niceties of the courtroom are not going to solve this problem. Machiavelli has more application here than Black’s. There is no peace until you have completely and totally vanquished your enemy. The lesson of justice is not for us in the civilized world, the lesson of justice is for those stuck in the 7th century and it should be in a language that they can clearly and unambiguously understand.

  • Admittedly, I struggle with the issue(s) as I’m 3rd generation, all the war stories, etc. Fundamental problems require the most complicated of solutions; history has proven this time and time again … a conundrum. I don’t argue with anyone’s point. Their is always a solution to be found; it’s in our nature. If millions of people are locked into living in 7th century AD, the answer can NOT be to KILL THEM ALL. Nor can the civilized legal approach apply, it would seem; ALL of your posts indicate you’re very intelligent individuals. Simple, basic leadership by example could be a solution no? Which that takes time and patience.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Nobody on either side is advocating “kill them all”, as that is not only impractical, but finding every one of “them” is highly unlikely.

    Illegal enemy combatants (NOT an invented term, as asserted above) have traditionally been summarily executed in warfare. They fit none of the Geneva Convention categories for legal protection, and those are quite wide. We have chosen not to go down that path, and have instead established holding facilities and military tribunals for those people. They do not deserve POW status or rights, however, and certainly not the rights of an accused US citizen in a capital case.

    But make no mistake, a certain of the number of America’s enemies who show themselves and threaten this country, will have to be killed. Because for them, like the most ardent Nazis and Japanese, there will never be anything other than war against America. Which involves, in this new century like the old, the killing of America’s enemies until they no longer present a threat.

  • Total

    Illegal enemy combatants (NOT an invented term, as asserted above)

    “invented (or co-opted)” is what I (accurately) said.

    They do not deserve POW status or rights, however, and certainly not the rights of an accused US citizen in a capital case.

    You seem to misunderstand what “inalienable rights” means. Jefferson (and Madison) for that matter believed (and wrote the Dec. of Independence from that belief) that people had those rights inherently and that the rights could not be taken or given away. He did that because he was living in a time when states and rulers gave and took away rights capriciously and without consequence to them, and Jefferson felt that was fundamentally wrong.

    You are arguing the case of George III, and asserting the divine right to decide who “deserves” their rights.

    I stand with Thomas Jefferson, thanks.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    You stand with Jefferson?

    “A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the highest virtues of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means.”


  • RickWilmes


    You continue to miss the point that these enemy combatants don’t recognize these rights that is why they are at war with us. It is than absurd to give these combatants rights they don’t have and don’t recognize because we now have them in custody.

    If we follow your premise that every individual on this earth is protected by the United States Bill of Rights than how do we apply those rights to the journalist in Tibet speaking out against China suppressing the Tebetian’s religion?

    How do we protect the Saudi Arabian women’s rights who want to drive a car or start their own business?

  • Total

    The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation.

    I do stand with Jefferson, yes. He would laugh at your obsessive idea that the actions of a small group, horrendous and awful as they were, actually threaten the existence of the United States. The man lived through a period in which the US had to drive British troops out of the nation not once but twice (Revolution and 1812).

  • Andre From Sacto

    “In essence, the AGs statements subordinate the rights of US citizens to those individuals who wish to destroy those rights”

    Glenn Beck called and he wants his meds back.

    Is this board full of people who forgot recent history? We tortured innocent people in our extra judicial system. Why? Because nit-wits bought the whole “The Moolims are out for our freedumbs” line and thought that they had the moral authority to deviate from our established system and deal out their own. These laws are not just to protect the accused but also for the accuser! As a military and as a nation we failed the first rule of fighting…Don’t lose your head. But boy did we lose it. It went from New York to Afghanistan, to Iraq, to Abu Garab, to Gitmo, and now it seems to the constitution. Those in favor of the military being able to set up a parallel justice system outside of our own should not be allowed to represent our nation with a uniform or a weapon. If you don’t like it then move to a country where the civilians do not run the military. You will finally be around like minded individuals.

  • The Usual Suspect

    If the Constitution applied to all of the peoples of the world, it would not be the Constitution of the United States of America. It is a pretty plain language explanation. The Bill of Rights is a body of amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America and thereby applies to citizens of the United States of America. There is no reason to get all complicated here. Jefferson did not believe that the Constitution was a suicide pact and that from time-to-time we, as a nation, would have to defend our sovereignty by various means, one of which is vanquishing enemies. Just like in WWII Germany and Japan, we did not have to kill everybody, just everybody that was actively seeking to kill us. If the founders thought that the Constitution applied to all, I guess those who immediately followed them would have returned the Barbary Pirates to the Untied States for a trial. I think not. Un-uniformed, non-state actors engaged in hostilities against the United States met their fate at the business end of a cannon mounted on a U.S. Navy warship…as it should be.

  • Andre From Sacto

    ” He would laugh at your obsessive idea that the actions of a small group, horrendous and awful as they were, actually threaten the existence of the United States.”

    Dead on!

    Hahahahah!!! URR is scared of goat hurders! Chicken hawk!

  • Byron

    Hey, Total, would this be the same group, 8 of whom managed to kill 3,000 of your countrymen and women in one terrible morning? Members of the largest religion on the face of the Earth? Who if not constantly watched and worked against would gladly set off a nuclear device in YOUR home town, killing not only you but everyone you hold dear? That “small group”?

    Quick figgering..that’s 375 of us for one of them. Any general would take those odds.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Yes, well, Andre. That term is generally applied to people who avoided military service. That you apply it to a combat veteran speaks volumes regarding what you consider logic. Which is indeed frightening.

  • Matt Yankee

    Total and Andre just needs some vanilla ice cream…just get yourselves a big triple scoop on a waffle cone and forget all about the Brits. TJ would be proud of you, do it for him. Then maybe go get laid and relax cause there is a whole Army of Bad A guys out there killing those bastards so you can rest peacefully.

  • RickWilmes

    Here is evidence that our enemies are willing to subvert our justice system in order to wage war against us.

    “One point that caught my eye: While still living in his parents’ basement, here in the U.S., Khan published a pro-Al Qaeda website — but took pains, even hiring a lawyer to advise him, so as not to run afoul of the law. Someone who knew him tells NPR that that step defied Khan’s Islamist creed. “For him to take shade under the Constitution or to go to a disbelieving lawyer and ask for his help contradicts the entire ideological worldview that he has decided to live by.”

    Really? Islamic totalitarian groups like Hamas have stooped to taking part in representative elections for government power — as a means of advancing their dictatorial agenda. Ditto for Hezbollah. Islamists have shown in the past that they’re quite happy to work “within the system” in order to subvert it. In Europe, there are Islamist activists who use lawful means — lobbying, special pleading, lawsuits — to impose their ideology on others. I touch on this topic in my book. The point here: it’s a myth that Islamists use only the tactic of terrorism in pursuit of their ideological goal — far from it.”

  • Total

    @the Usual Susoect: then you should be able to find the word “citizen” in the Bill of Rights, shouldn’t you? Let us know when you do. We’ll wait.

    @Byron: That’s the group. Awful as it was, 9/11 didn’t threaten the existence of the US. The British invasion in the War of 1812 did, and It’s to that that Jefferson was referring.

    @matt Yankee I rest peacefully because the military has done a better job of respecting the rule of law than the politicians have, and better than the people in this thread would. But then, I suspect that they understand the Constitution better, too.

  • Andre From Sacto

    URR Lets get one thing straight. The invasion of Iraq did nothing to protect my family’s security. In fact at the end of the day it probably made things worse. The weaponizing of the Taliban in the 80’s by the US did not make my family safe. Although those that did so claimed at the time that is was so. The continued bombing of a stone age civilization back to the stone age hardly qualifies as well. In fact, I have a hard time finding any “value added” from the billions we spent doing all this. So if you went to war then PLEASE do not claim you did it for my benefit. From all your previous postings it’s clear that the only person it benefited was your ego. That you hold some very primitive views on the world and carried a gun while representing my flag is freighting indeed.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    You are entitled to your opinion. All those strutting egoists who went into harm’s way when their country called them, who risked and some gave their lives to protect that entitlement, ask not at all for a word of thanks from ingrates like you whose freedom is bought and paid for by someone else.

    That your view is so slanted and ill-informed, and resentful of those who protect it, well, even those incredible heroes I served alongside can’t help you with that.

    Straight enough? Now run along and find another blog to hijack.

  • Total

    @The Usual Suspect: Then you should be able to find the word “citizen” in the Bill of Rights. It’s okay. We’ll wait.

    @Byron: The same group indeed. Jefferson had to deal with actual occupiers, actual troops on the ground on American soil. 9/11, as awful as it was, wasn’t that.

    there is a whole Army of Bad A guys out there killing those bastards so you can rest peacefully

    I rest peacefully because that Army (and military) has been better at upholding the Constitution than the politicians. They certainly seem to understand it better than the members of this thread.

  • Andre from Sacto

    “To assert differently is patently absurd, and an insult to the Armed Forces who have performed so bravely and brilliantly over the last decade.”

    Its been right up there in the article the whole time. Disagree with us and you hate the troops. The most popular False Dilemma fallacy of the last 10 years. Sorry dURR. Blind allegiance to the crown …errr the military establishment was never a strong American trait.

    Now lets review: these wars were not “value added”. And no matter how bravely anyone fought over there it was not for me or my family’s freedom. Go fall on your sword for somebody else and you let me worry about protecting my family. And if you think any amount of combat experience gives you the right to subvert the Constitution for your own paranoid morals please think again. To add, if you were in any theater and committed any action that was based on your “All teh mooslims are out to get us” world view….well let hope you didn’t bring shame to my flag that represents me.

    Me leave… hell no and make me. Every time a stupid article comes out voicing that we subvert the constitution to fit the world view of ignorant xenophobic Glenn Beck fans then I’ll be there. Apparently this is something you need to hear. Don’t like it? Then write some articles that deal with naval topics and not some tripe pushing an extreme political viewpoint.

  • UltimaRatioRegis

    Then stay and rant, be my guest.

    My favorite is when you rant about extremism. And paranoia.

  • Matt Yankee

    Yep, Andre the Giant [removed by admin]

  • Byron

    Matt, you might be right in what you say…but that was uncalled for.

  • @Matt – edited your comment

    @Andre From Sacto – watch your tone. URR can’t make you leave but I will block you

  • Rich B.

    Regarding the Guantanamo comments above; Looking at the issue through another tact.. We are signatories to the Geneva Conventions; Article 3 has been called a “Convention in miniature.” It is the only article of the Geneva Conventions that applies in non-international conflicts. Regardless of citizenship or lack thereof): Noncombatants, combatants who have laid down their arms, and combatants who are hors de combat (out of the fight) due to wounds, detention, or any other cause shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, including prohibition of outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.

    These are the rules we maintain for those seeking to harm us on the fiel dof battle.

    The precendent has been set for military tribunals that they are capable of passing of sentences as a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples. They do not circumvent the constitution but are adapted due to the conflict occuring outside our borders.

    Article 3’s protections exist even if one is not classified as a prisoner of war.

    So many seem to forget or ignore that Article IV specifies that when there is any doubt whether a combatant belongs to the categories in article 4, they “should be treated as such until their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.”

    What people need to understand it is not the direct conflict with extremism which endangers us as much as our European peers. As a Nation we are fairly insular and the difficulties in reaching our shores is a great strength which needs to be capitalized upon.

    The danger instead lies with in the constant state of conflict which works to our oppositions favor. The longer our nation remains in conflict; the longer it takes for us to resolve the cases of our prisoners; the more security we must impose; the more it erodes the fiber of our nation.

    Federalist Paper no. 8 sums it up best:

    Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates. The violent destruction of life and property incident to war, the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights. To be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free.

    This is what our enemy desires; a protracted fight where we lose our moral high ground on the world stage. Where we bleed from a thousand cuts that strip us of the ideals that we are supposed to defend.

    Later in FP41 another great statement may be found, America united, without even a single soldier, is far more threatening to aggressive nations than an America disunited with a hundred thousand combat-ready veterans.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Rich B,

    Article 3 of the Geneva Convention does NOT apply to illegal combatants, but to defined “armed forces”, along with other categories as so described.

    To wit: “(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause…”

    Article 4 defines who is considered a member of a recognized “armed force”:

    The most applicable of Article 4 is found in Paragraph (2):

    (2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:
    (a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
    (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
    (c) that of carrying arms openly;
    (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

    Although the tenets of Paragraph (6) also are applicable in some cases, and have been handled as such:

    (6) Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

    Al Qaeda represents none of these.

  • Andre From Sacto

    Parallel justice system do not belong in this country. For many reason if not the simplest…they are no good at dispensing justice and act more on the whims of those in charge.

    Any system that has such a large percentage of “by-catch” i.e. innocent civilians is not a good one.

    But go ahead and tell me how Un-American I am. Call me a d*#@ all day long. I’ve been called much worse by much better. It really does not bother me.

  • “Call me a d*#@ all day long. I’ve been called much worse by much better. It really does not bother me.”

    Uhmm..not what anyone said. Please try to express your view without getting personal.

  • RickWilmes

    ““In essence, the AGs statements subordinate the rights of US citizens to those individuals who wish to destroy those rights”

    Glenn Beck called and he wants his meds back.”


    “Every time a stupid article comes out voicing that we subvert the constitution to fit the world view of ignorant xenophobic Glenn Beck fans then I’ll be there.”

    I am not a fan of Glenn Beck, but I am a full fledged supporter and defender of Ayaan Hirshi Ali. This article of hers is particularly relevant to this topic.

    ” We need to recognize the extent to which the advance of radical Islam is the result of an active propaganda campaign. According to a CIA report written in 2003, the Saudis invested at least $2 billion a year over a 30-year period to spread their brand of fundamentalist Islam. The Western response in promoting our own civilization was negligible.

    Our civilization is not indestructible: It needs to be actively defended. This was perhaps Huntington’s most important insight. The first step towards winning this clash of civilizations is to understand how the other side is waging it—and to rid ourselves of the One World illusion.”

  • Total

    Our civilization is not indestructible: It needs to be actively defended

    Sure. That does mean we destroy it ourselves in what we misguidedly think is its defense.

  • Total

    That does mean we destroy it ourselves in what we misguidedly think is its defense

    Oy. Should be: “does NOT mean”

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Ahem. Persons who carry out acts of war (bombing, as an example – delivery system of no concern, or shooting,say) on behalf of or in support of the the war aims of an organization which has declared war upon the USA and its civilians may, and should, have war waged against them by the armed forces of the USA. If acting in stealth and out of uniform against the general populace and captured, they should be tried by military commission for war crimes.

    If the announced policy of the organization is unrestricted war in order to overthrow the government of the USA, unrestricted land, sea, and air warfare should be waged against them and all those providing assistance, aid and comfort to them. As should be made clesr in the USA’s reciprocal Declaration of War by Congress.

    The only terms to be entertained will be complete and unconditional surrender, lacking which, the goal of the USA should be their complete and utter defeat and destruction.

    As in surrender or die. Not surrendering? Very well, no quarter.

    Motivations of the enemy be damned. God will surely know his own.

    But then I am a trifle old fashioned. Plus I will honor a white flag should the enemy change his mind. Until the first fool violates one.

  • Byron

    Great minds think alike, Grandpa! (and while I can’t speak for myself, I know damn well that Grandpa’s mind is not small, so don’t trot that one out).

  • GIMP

    US civilian courts aren’t even up to the job of taking care of our indigenous criminal problem. They convict the innocent and sentence them to death while giving the guilty laughable sentences. They are full of the incompetent and corrupt; yet they are some of the best in the world. That says a lot.

    America’s conventional military and police forces at every level are poorly equipped to deal with the problem of terrorists. Other government agency and perhaps some expert hired help, along with special forces are the people equipped to handle the problem.

    By assuming we have any need to capture, feed, transport, and try these people, we place ourselves in a box of our own creation that limits our ability to operate effectively. We have specially trained people for exactly this kind of work. Find them, exploit them quickly, kill them, and repeat everywhere, every time. The world may never run out of terrorists, but I bet we won’t run out of trained killers, bullets, or knives either.

    Bringing terrorists to trial is just playing at war. We are not children, war is not a game; there are no rules, no courts, no surrender, no mercy, no quarter, no non-combatants. War is only killing. Anything else is a relic of times long past when nations at war expected to survive and to have to coexist after hostilities ended. That is a false premise that only really applied between western signatories to the Geneva Conventions.

  • Andre From Sacto

    “Our civilization is not indestructible: It needs to be actively defended. This was perhaps Huntington’s most important insight.”

    Yes compeletly agree. That is why we must adhere to our constitution (including the 2nd ad) no matter what.

    “the Saudis invested at least $2 billion a year over a 30-year period to spread their brand of fundamentalist Islam. The Western response in promoting our own civilization was negligible.”

    Then we should be doing our best then to rid ourselves of Saudi oil. Bottom line. Left and Right completly agree on this.

  • Jack Mehoff

    Kill them all. Take no prisoners. Problem solved. If you’re not willing to fight for your right to exist, then you’ve all but surrenderd to Islam.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    You, sir, are officially on report at the Federal Office of Somewhat Suggestive Blog Names!

  • RickWilmes

    I just discovered this article written 25 Sept 2001. Particularly relevant to this topic and some of the comments is the following,

    “To strike back with force is not “blind vengeance” that “sinks to their level.” Such characterizations ignore the context created by the terrorists’ action. The difference between initiating violence against an innocent person and using force in response to attack is obvious. Would we condemn the woman who uses force to fight off a rapist as no better than he? Of course not; most of us would not even dignify such a question with a response.”