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All US Military Detainees Get Geneva Convention Protections

The Geneva protections apply to all detainees held worldwide. The Pentagon made this decision in response to the US Supreme Court's Hamdan decision.

From Reuters:

The Pentagon acknowledged for the first time that all detainees held by the U.S. military are covered by the protections of an article of the Geneva Conventions that bars inhumane treatment, according to a memo made public on Tuesday.


The memo signed by Gordon England, the No. 2 Defense Department official, followed a June 29 Supreme Court ruling that struck down as illegal the military tribunal system set up by the Bush administration to try foreign terrorism suspects held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The United States previously has determined that certain prisoners taken in Washington's war on terrorism are not covered by all the protections of the Geneva Conventions, international accords governing treatment of war prisoners.

The United States has come under international criticism over the indefinite detention of Guantanamo detainees amid allegations of mistreatment and revelations of physical abuse and sexual humiliation of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail.

The memo was made public on the day Congress began hearings on how to proceed in trying foreign terrorism suspects after the high court ruling.

Administration officials argued before the Senate Judiciary Committee against using existing U.S. military justice procedures in these trials, as some lawmakers want, on the grounds this could compromise classified information and impede interrogations.

The Pentagon memo, dated July 7, stated that detainees held in U.S. military custody worldwide are covered by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, which ensures their humane treatment.

The detainees that we are holding are some of the most dangerous people you will find on the face of this earth, and we will have to treat them with kid gloves. Yet, if any of these animals were to get their hands on an American serviceman and woman, they would torture and kill them in the most vile ways possible. What terrible news just after we hear that there's a video showing the desecration of Kristian Menchaca's and Thomas Tucker's bodies.

Ralph Peters piece is on target: Kill, Don't Capture:

Violent Islamist extremists must be killed on the battlefield. Only in the rarest cases should they be taken prisoner. Few have serious intelligence value. And, once captured, there's no way to dispose of them.


Killing terrorists during a conflict isn't barbaric or immoral - or even illegal. We've imposed rules upon ourselves that have no historical or judicial precedent. We haven't been stymied by others, but by ourselves.

The oft-cited, seldom-read Geneva and Hague Conventions define legal combatants as those who visibly identify themselves by wearing uniforms or distinguishing insignia (the latter provision covers honorable partisans - but no badges or armbands, no protection). Those who wear civilian clothes to ambush soldiers or collect intelligence are assassins and spies - beyond the pale of law.

Read the rest of Peters' article.


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Comments (50)

Here <a href="http://though... (Below threshold)

Here is an idea: the Supreme Court swept aside Congress' intent to strip the Supreme Court from hearing Hamdan because Hamdan had already filed his brief before the law was passed. By making this argument, the Supreme Court (I believe) acknowledged that Congress stripped the Supreme Court of authority to hear cases in the future.

So.... why can't the Bush Administration just go ahead and, with the exception of Hamdan, set up the tribunals they want for everybody else (i.e., all those detainees who didn't file petitions before Congress passed its law)?

"What terrible news just... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"What terrible news just after we hear that there's..."

Following the law isn't terrible news -- following the law is what distinguishes us from the heathen dog scum we're fighting.

What's terrible news is that it took the U.S. Supreme Court to tell the President of the United States that we are better than the terrorists scum we're fighting. Thank God for that.

No more detainees, just DEA... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

No more detainees, just DEAD terrorists. Sure we'll lose a lot of intel...but the ACLU will much happier.

works for me

The detainees that we ar... (Below threshold)
MyPetGloat:

The detainees that we are holding are some of the most dangerous people you will find on the face of this earth

Right on Kim! Like these dangerous people


Or these nasty rouges

Or these filthy savages.

Maybe the rest of them are guilty..

of something..

right?

Take a deep breath and read... (Below threshold)
yetanotherjohn:

Take a deep breath and read the memo (its only two pages). Bottom line is that the DoD says they are already in compliance with the Geneva convention. No changes need take place other than no military commissions.

Net effect is before the military commissions could sort out the ones who could go home early. Now, all detainees get to stay for the duration (or congress authorizes new commissions).

Read the memo before you start to hyperventalate to much.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/blog/2006/07/dod_memo_on_terror_detainees_j.html

Alberto Gonzales, ... (Below threshold)
KC:

Alberto Gonzales, memo to the president, Jan. 25, 2002: "As you have said, the war against terrorism is a new kind of war ... In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete [the Geneva Conventions'] strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."

Donald Rumsfeld's office, memo to military officials, July 7, 2006: "The Supreme Court has determined that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 applies as a matter of law to the conflict with Al Qaeda ... You will ensure that all DoD personnel adhere to these standards."

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, July 11, 2006: "It's not really a reversal of policy."

Umm...so which is it? I think it would be fairly easy to debunk "Kim's" position that these are some of the most dangerous people on Earth. How many Americans have they collectively killed?

But you know, Kim - I think someone else here hit the nail on the head. If you think that we can hold ourselves to the (i'll give him the benefit of the doubt here) low standards of our enemy, and just wave away years and years...decades and decades of international law with the convenient wave of the hand, and in that manner TRUST our GOVERNMENT to find out who's guilty and who's not, then you're no longer what I'd consider a conservative.

The fact that you've taken the "stance" that you have (stance is in quotations because it's simply a mime of what the Bush admin is doing), shows you to simply be a parrot of the neo-con psuedo-conservative cabal of Bush/Cheney cronies that currently control our country - contrary to what your ilk loves to spew about the evil MSM and rich, elitist, heathen secularists who (wink) really pull the strings.

You're obviously on the payroll.

If only things were this si... (Below threshold)
McCain:

If only things were this simple. The "battlefield" in this case often means that you go into a suspect house, based on some scanty intelligence, and you find men, women, and children there. You take them into custody and try to sort through who the bad guys really are. Then ship them off to Guantanamo, or imprison them locally, or let them go depending on what the evidence suggests. There really isn't a great opportunity to just shoot them on the battlefield since this isn't U.S. Grant facing Roberto E. Lee in a grand and colorful line somewhere on a meadow.

"There really isn't a gr... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"There really isn't a great opportunity to just shoot them on the battlefield since this isn't U.S. Grant facing Roberto E. Lee in a grand and colorful line somewhere on a meadow."

You mean locking people up in prison, denying them their rights according to law, and expecting them to voluntarily spew forth the secret location of OBL isn't realistic?

Wow. Recognition that the war on terrorism isn't won through conventional means at last. Maybe there is hope for the republican party after all.

I don't know about all that... (Below threshold)
McCain:

I don't know about all that Lee, but your obsession with Osama is unhealthy. Terrorists should be locked up or shot, whether or not they have a clue about Osama's cave du jour. Surely we can agree on that.

I don't know about all t... (Below threshold)
KC:

I don't know about all that Lee, but your obsession with Osama is unhealthy. Terrorists should be locked up or shot, whether or not they have a clue about Osama's cave du jour. Surely we can agree on that.

I'll offer my unsolicited opinion to our Israeli friend, "McCain" here:

Without any type of oversight, whatsoever, and in light of the fact that keeping people detained indefinitely and/or torturing them DOES NOT render reliable information - just how do you purport to *prove* that any given detainee is, indeed a terrorist?

If he's caught in the act, your argument is fine. But as you yourself stated in a previous post, it's not always so cut and dried.

So, McCain - do you have anything against just carpet bombing an entire region because a tiny minority of its population has been designated "terrorists"?

KC, you silly goose. The c... (Below threshold)
McCain:

KC, you silly goose. The carpet-bomb-all-the-Palestinians was an earlier thread. You'll find my views there, a thread titled "sympathy" or some such. Don't waste space here.

We do agree on that McCain,... (Below threshold)
Lee:

We do agree on that McCain, and I'm not obsessed with Osama, I just used OBL's location to represent the type of intelligence we''re seeking.

The fact that this blog post hinges on the Hamdam v Rumsfled SCOTUS decision, and Salim Ahmed Hamdan was OBL's driver for many years, made "OBL's location" an logical example.

Your assumption that this represented some "obsession" of mine is perhaps just an indication that you're reaching for the cheap, easy stab at a leftie - instead of thinking it through.. but no harm done - eh?

Well Lee, if you hadn't pre... (Below threshold)
McCain:

Well Lee, if you hadn't presented a false foundation in your rhetorical argument, it wouldn't need to be grenaded. I am glad that you mustered up just enough energy to stipulate that terrorism is bad. Now tell me what your legal argument is for affording these terrorists the protection of the Geneva conventions. Is your argument that the relevant portion of the conventions actually do apply to unlawful combatants, or that these folks are in fact lawful combatants, or is your argument something else?

Lee: "denying them their... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Lee: "denying them their rights?"

They don't HAVE any rights. They're not American citizens, they are NOT uniformed military personnel. Although we call them "terrorists" they effectively meet the criteria of "SPIES". Even the good ole Geneva Convention says you should SHOOT spies!!

So let's shoot 'em. Frankly though, if we're gonna shoot 'em anyway, then we might as well "gently" ask them a few questions first.

We are at WAR, Lee. At WAR with an enemy that knows NO bounds, obeys NO rules, and has NO decency. While I agree we should have SOME bounds, and SOME rules, and decency where it is PRACTICABLE, you and the rest of the Left want our military to fight this WAR in a way that will dramatically LENGTHEN the war, and increase OUR casualities. Sorry...as I've said before: I choose US.

Lee,I can't take i... (Below threshold)
Deb Frisch:

Lee,

I can't take it anymore, we have to meet.

You know the place. I'll put on some fresh patchouli for you.

Deb

P.S. Don't worry about that job thing anymore, we can live in my van in your parents driveway.

Lee:Following t... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Lee:

Following the law isn't terrible news -- following the law is what distinguishes us from the heathen dog scum we're fighting.

What's terrible news is that it took the U.S. Supreme Court to tell the President of the United States that we are better than the terrorists scum we're fighting. Thank God for that.

The terrorist believe they are following Islamic Law. I guess that just makes them better than us with every head they severe from a body.

Now tell me what your le... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Now tell me what your legal argument is for affording these terrorists the protection of the Geneva conventions.

Well, I'm not going to get into the legal argument right now, but as for the moral argument, we don't know if they are terrorists or not (well, some of them we definitely know). See gloat's post above for some examples. It's easy to say that terrorists don't deserve fair treatment, don't deserve to defend themselves in a court. What about those that are detained erroneously? Don't our principles, as a nation, say something about how we should treat them?

Now tell me what your le... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Now tell me what your legal argument is for affording these terrorists the protection of the Geneva conventions.

The administration has to operate legally and within the law - they weren't. They argued their case and lost. See Justice Stevens decision for the legal basis for that decision, but how can you ask such an idiotic question? Are you so terrified of these people that you've become murderous?

Try them, convict them, and shoot them - or if they are caught in the act shoot them on sight and save yourself the trouble, but murder isn't the solution, it's the problem. If you justified in acting like an Islamic extremist, go the middle east and practice your craft there. What? Too scared? Fine - If you still profess to be an American, and want to live in this country then shut the f*ck up and live within our laws.

Sober up, you terrified maniacs. Can't you understand that you are have been "terrorized" by the enemy into acting irrationally? Get a fricking grip and work within the law.

I guess the fact that man you elected President had to be told this is the same reason his faithful bootlickers need to be told as well.

Lee is not afraid of the te... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Lee is not afraid of the terrorists. He is being protected by the US military while willingly smearing them at Haditha.

Let people like Lee, Stevens, and others who are not afraid of the terrorists to go fight or reason with them. We know that these people don't people what they wrote or said in any case. All they care is to gain power and to push their corrupt agenda even if it is bad for the country.

"The terrorist believe t... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"The terrorist believe they are following Islamic Law. I guess that just makes them better than us with every head they severe from a body."

Another idiotic statement from the "Walking Wounded" in the war on terror. You're a victim, jpm100. You're lost. You are no longer fit for this fight. You think murdering Islamics is justified because Islamic extremists are murderous.

You've become the same dogs they are. You are no better. Go to the back of the lines and let the rest of us fight this war for you. You've surrendered to them, and are just getting in the way now.

Lee is lying through his te... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Lee is lying through his teeth again: enjoying the protection of the US military while waxing eloquent about his courage. I forgot to mention Lee was courageous in smearing the US military and the Reps since he knows that he is safe.

McCain, you silly goose:</p... (Below threshold)
KC:

McCain, you silly goose:

I think the underlying philosophical and legal foundation for any argument that the "terrorists" captured in foreign countries should be afforded rights under the Geneva convention has something to do with oversight, and the ability to prove that they have actually committed any crime.

As usual your fascination with the Israli/Palestinian conflict muddies your point pertaining to the subject of this thread. That in addition to the fact that it gives away your real MO, which is to equate that situation with the real threat of unprovoked global terrorism spawned by Islamic extremism.

Ah, but I digress. Let me posit a scenario for you, as I tire of your circular philosophical arguments.

We begin operations in Afghanistan. As part of normal HUMINT procedures, money and all kinds of bribes are offered to informants willing to lead us to suspected terrorists. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that at some point, old grudges, bad blood, greed, or just an empty stomach are going to lead people to collaborate and collude in order to rake up as many of these bounties as possible. Nevermind that money may not even be a consideration - how about just getting rid of a potential rival, etc?
Nevertheless, it's off to Guantanamo for this poor sap conveniently accused of being a terrorist.
Now YOU may have faith in our government to root out this "exception" to the rule, and send them back to their nice normal life herding goats in Afghanistan.

How many Guantanamo (or any of the other prisons outside Iraq) detainees are picked up in Iraq, I wonder? Got any stats on that?

You keep trusting Big Brother, and I'm sure he'll protect your soft, pink neck from that Islamofacist's in Iraq sword.

Deb, I'm sorry - but I'm sa... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Deb, I'm sorry - but I'm saving myself for LoveAmerica Idiot. She follows me everywhere, and I can't deny her advances any longer....

Lee is not afraid of the... (Below threshold)
KC:

Lee is not afraid of the terrorists. He is being protected by the US military while willingly smearing them at Haditha.

Let people like Lee, Stevens, and others who are not afraid of the terrorists to go fight or reason with them. We know that these people don't people what they wrote or said in any case. All they care is to gain power and to push their corrupt agenda even if it is bad for the country.

I can only speak for myself. I happen to know that what happened at Haditha is definitely the exception to the rule. This is not how our military is trained to carry themselves or fulfill their missions. BUT - when you extend a poorly planned, poorly executed (from the highest levels), and poorly justified war without any idea of when you plan on ending it (10+ permanent US bases does not constitute pulling out), you set yourself up for such scenarios.

And like it or not, rightnutters, America is seen as the moral compass by much of the rest of the world. And when we fuck up, it's going to be played and played and played again by our detractors. Does this mean that we, as Americans, many of whom have served, cannot question the actions of this immoral war because it somehow plays into the hands of our enemies? If your answer to that is "yes", then go back to second grade or take a course in logic or debate.

Finally - why don't you tell me how the U.S. Military in Iraq is protecting me from terrorists? Last I heard, prior to our invasion, there WAS NO TERRORISM in Iraq. Tell me if I'm wrong.

Why don't you go fight, tough guy?

We are at WAR, Lee. At W... (Below threshold)
KC:

We are at WAR, Lee. At WAR with an enemy that knows NO bounds, obeys NO rules, and has NO decency. While I agree we should have SOME bounds, and SOME rules, and decency where it is PRACTICABLE, you and the rest of the Left want our military to fight this WAR in a way that will dramatically LENGTHEN the war, and increase OUR casualities. Sorry...as I've said before: I choose US.

Well, hell, Justrand - GO ON OVER! We'll have bases there and be AT WAR for the next half century! Go fight! GO! GO! Team America!

Let people like Lee, Ste... (Below threshold)
KC:

Let people like Lee, Stevens, and others who are not afraid of the terrorists to go fight or reason with them. We know that these people don't people what they wrote or said in any case. All they care is to gain power and to push their corrupt agenda even if it is bad for the country.

I gots me a better idea there, LAI - why don't we confine our international adventures to places where they're justified in this war on terrorism. I'd have to agree that the Taliban in Afghanistan pretty much asked for it. Heck - they only blatantly sponsored terrorism. Can you say the same about Saddam?
Hey, I have an idea - Let's go and invade Saudi Arabia! They turn out more terrorists than anyone! Would you like to volunteer?
How about Syria? If we're really worried about the next big terrorist attack, don't you think those would have been more rational targets than Iraq?
In any case, you neocons have found yet another way to botch yet another war by taking your eyes off the ball and CREATING a terrorist haven in Iraq. Yep, that was a great call.
I'm not exactly thanking my Democratic congressmen and women for being such suckers either, but at least they're not still licking the administrations' ass.

It's interesting that US mi... (Below threshold)

It's interesting that US military personnel are immune from Iraqi laws. Not even Iraqis are immune from laws -- in their own country!

It's too easy to prove the US is there as an occupying, imperialist force. Here's a timeline including lots of other examples. Rape, murder, torture -- coverups. Indiscriminate killing. The government admitting to taking Iraqi oil.

KC: "Last I heard, prior... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

KC: "Last I heard, prior to our invasion, there WAS NO TERRORISM in Iraq. Tell me if I'm wrong."

You are WRONG.

The list of terrorists enjoying Saddam's protection and even hospitality is very long.

Saddam was paying $25,000 a pop for suicide bombers to kill Jews in Israel.

Saddam has extensive connections with terror groups around the world...and yes, alQueda (recent documents confirm this)

the amount of terror sponsored by, or directly carried out by the Saddam regime is lonnnnnnng. This leaves outthe terror he was DAILY inflicting on his own people.

KC...you are WRONG. won't stop your stooopid posts, but there it is.

"The administration has to ... (Below threshold)
Bostonian:

"The administration has to operate legally and within the law - they weren't. "

Lee, go back and read the memo and try to understand what it actually said. The ONLY objection is the objection to the military tribunals.

Moreover that particular decision was 5-4 on the highest court in the land, not exactly a slam dunk for you.

It's a slam dunk for someon... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

It's a slam dunk for someone who understands what the Supreme Court is, Bostonian.

Did you complain when the Supreme Court allowed Dubya to ascend to the throne? Are you saying that The Decider's first term was based on a non-slam-dunk? Was that one just a lay-up?

KC, I really admire ... (Below threshold)
McCain:

KC,
I really admire your logic error that those who support war are required to fight it themselves. You present a beautiful non sequitur argument, akin to "if you want to shelter the homeless, give them your house." You then present another non sequitur, insisting that we must invade other countries in order for the Iraq war to be correct.

I'm afraid, dear friend, that your liberal attempt at logic fails you. You write well-constructed, grammatically admirable sentences. The problem is that the thoughts themselves are rather shallow, generally ill-conceived, and illogical in places.

Can you please explain your obsession with a few people in Guantanamo Bay, while not caring at all about the 2,000,000 dead humans that Saddam Husseis is responsible for? An inability to understand that moral wars come at a price, and an inability to see the forest through the leaves are critical but typical flaws in your liberal thought processes. Why do you put such weight on the few over the many?

McCain, you accuse KC of a ... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

McCain, you accuse KC of a non-sequitur and then cite the number of people that Saddam had killed as reason to ignore the concerns of hundreds of people locked up in Cuba with questionable evidence at best justifying their incarceration.

You aren't stupid. You're a hypocrite.

KC wasn't saying that we now must invade Saudi Arabia; KC was saying that the same reasons you give to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq apply equally to a host of other countries that nobody on the right seems to want to invade. Because the logic behind that sort of invasion is questionable. Although not when applied to Iraq, because they're totally different scenarios: Saddam was a jerk, whereas the people Islom Karimov* boils alive probably deserved it. Right?

*Look him up, McCain

Matt, YOur logic is... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Matt,
YOur logic is either shallow or willfully ignorant. We have a lot of bad countries to deal with. We deal with the problem that gives us the maximum benefit first. We don't invade North Korea because we don't want to deal with China yet. We let Japan loose to develop nuclear weapons. That 's how we deal with China. Different problem require different solutions. AlQ understands our Iraq strategy really well. That 's why they went all out to derail it.
WE had 17 UN resolutions against Iraq. We had more than enough legal and security reasons to invade Iraq. In addition, 25 million people were freed from one of the worst regimes on the planet earth. And we have a budding democracy, the long term solution to terrorism in the ME.

Your type of arg is typical of the people who have no solutions. All they can do is to complain about people who are solving real and difficult problem. We always have pros and cons in the real world. So we do it in the most practical way. That 's why the liberal left is intellectually and morally bankrupt.

Totally Matt,5-4 mea... (Below threshold)
Bostonian:

Totally Matt,
5-4 means not a slam dunk.

Was that hard to understand?

And BTW, in 2000, I voted for the Democrat--the last time in my life I will do that, very likely.

LAI,He will never he... (Below threshold)
Bostonian:

LAI,
He will never hear you.
Why bother?

Totally stupendously wonder... (Below threshold)
McCain:

Totally stupendously wonderfully Matt,

Perhaps I have to spell this out for you rather than assume you can follow a path from A-C. I'll try to make things simpler for you in the future, you know, "see Spot run" and all. The point is one of degrees rather than absolutes. Call it a nuance.

The point I made, which you neglected to follow correctly, is that war comes with both good and bad consequences. A war is moral when the expected good consequences outweight the bad. If you want to consider the need for Guantanamo a bad thing, whether or not that is debatable (which it is), you are required to weigh that bad consequence against the long-term good that is done by the war. An obsession with one variable at the exlusion of all others results in a poor model, or a muddled mind in this case.

LoveAmerica Immigrant think... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

LoveAmerica Immigrant thinks that Japan will be used to contain China. Has anybody else ever said that? I assume they haven't, because it's really stupid. What the hell does Japan want nuclear weapons for? You're nuts, LAI. And you're unbelievably immoral: you think that the U.S. should deal firstly with the problems that will provide a greater net benefit for the U.S. than the problems that will provide a greater net benefit for the persons afflicted by the problems. Is that how humanitarian intervention works? It's about self interest? You're one of those people who donates to charities only for the tax receipt, aren't you. As for "dealing with China", I have a feeling China will decide the terms on which it will be dealt with. If you want to write a book about how the U.S. will dictate Chinese policy in the 21st century, though, I'm sure Richard Perle would have a look at it.

Another tidbit from LAI: AlQ understands our Iraq strategy really well.

It's too bad that the enemy knows what we're doing there, 'cause the American people don't. Blame the media! (Or, perhaps, blame the lack of coherent strategy tabled by either party, but more worryingly the party that is supposed to be running the country and facilitating the war.)

The end of your post may as well say "Then I ate a bowl of Spaghettios. That's why the liberal left is intellectually and morally bankrupt." Because it would make just as much sense.

When it comes to Supreme Court decisions, Bostonian, 5-4 = 6-3 = 7-2. You got a problem with America? Or just with its Constitution? And I do listen to LAI, because doing so reaffirms my own political convictions.

McCain, you cannot determine the moral worth of anything solely based on consequences. Intentions and methods are relevant. Your own argument applies to yourself, in that you focus only on getting rid of Saddam and think too little about the principles and laws that we ought to hold binding regardless of the consequence(s) we are pursuing. Even if you wanted to weigh only consequences, a la utilitarianism, you can't assume that releasing the detainees at Guantanamo who cannot be charged with any crimes will be a greater detriment to U.S. security than keeping them there. All we have in this case are the principles that separate us from the bad guys, so up with the rule of law and respect for our enemies. If authoritarian illiberalism is permitted to creep into the national conception of what it means to be a free American, then Americans aren't free anymore and the terrorists will have won.

I've seen several individua... (Below threshold)
Robert:

I've seen several individuals here invoke the Just War doctrine and use it in defense of Bush's war in Iraq. I'm glad some of you recognize this theory's importance in the U.S.'s discernment process for weighing when and where the most oportune time for warmaking is, but nevertheless I am dismayed at the lack of understanding for the Iraq War in particular.

First of all, Bush and the entire upper echelon of his administration did not realistically assess the situation at hand. Bush's father, when he went (rightly) into Iraq in Desert Storm, was smart enough to realize that it wasn't in America's best interests to go into Baghdad and topple Saddam and his regime from power. He had no illusions that Iraq would somehow magically blossom into a stable, secure pro-U.S. democracy. He realized that there wasn't enough manpower (read: boots on the ground) to quell the heavily armed, heavily trained Republican Guard units and other Saddam loyalist would-be insurgents and pacify the land.

This takes us back to George Bush junior. I personally don't beleive that this war was justified. However, if he really wanted to go to war, he should have gotten several very vital things straight. He 1) should not underestimated his enemy nor its resolve 2) should have invoked Americans (and proven demonstrably and irrefutably to us) to carry on this war to its fullest extent. This means having Congress vote on the military draft to be reinstated to have enough troops to ensure victory. Yes, if the danger was that severe that we needed to invade right now, Bush really should have taken this measure. But he didn't, because he knew he couldn't prove this imminent and grave danger to this nation's citizens.

But instead we have an irresponsable war-time president who grossly and wrongly assesses the strength of his enemy, and who essentially was hoping that the Saddam loyalists and insurgents would simply want to become part of the political process and lay down their arms. If he had thought otherwise, he would have garnered the proper number of troops for assured victory. We don't need half measures backed up by Mr. Bush's prayer's for success - we need decisive action; that is, go in all the way, or don't go in at all. And right now, we're in purgatory (more of a hellish purgatory). Our position in Iraq is strong enough that the Saddamist insurgents and Al-Qaida terrorists can't defeat us or get us out of the country, but we're not strong enough to defeat them (or it will take years and years more than the few months we were so affirmatively told by the administration). If the top members of the administration only were apparently preparing for a few months at the most (as they asserted at the war's onset), then they truly were the ones not in this war for the long haul; they never had a plan, nor any contingencies.

And while the rightful War in Afghanistan was inexorably on its way to success in phasing out the Taliban and Al Quaida, we diverted resources and troops from that theater (and also deprived it of any further troops if needed in the future) into the happhazardly-planned Iraq War.

Let there be no doubt about it - the reason for going into Iraq was tied into the broader war on terror. If September 11th had never occured, Bush would have had no public backing for this war whatsoever. But Iraq was not a valid nation for us to target in the war on terror. As to the assertion that Saddam was harboring terrorists in Iraq, there is no truth in it. Yes, it is true that there was a report that recently came out that indicated that there were Al Qaida in Iraq. I completely agree with this. The person who mentioned it here, however, forgot to mention that these Al Qaida were ambassadors sent to Saddam to ask for Al Qaida training camps in Iraq. And Saddam refused them, and sent them back. He felt that they would be a destabilizing factor in his nation, which he wanted completely under his own control.

Still, some of you will assert, "But aren't the U.S., the Iraqis, and the world much better off with Saddam gone?" Yes, this would be completely true if we simply hadn't traded the tyrrany of Saddam's dictatorship with the tyrrany of his loyalists, Al Quaida that weren't there before, and other varied extremists running roughshed over the nation. Still, some will assert, "No one could have forseen this." Well, when you invade a nation, you must correctly assess the situation and have contingencies for what might happen. And you certainly don't go in with a fraction of the force you would need to instill stability and secure victory.

Matt,That is the typ... (Below threshold)
McCain:

Matt,
That is the typical liberal view, the embrace of process over substance. Actually, you CAN weigh the moral virtue of anything based on its expected consequences. A preemptive war against Hitler would have been just in 1936, just as the preemptive war against Saddam was just. You will possibly argue that a preemptive war is by definition relying on an unjust intentions, which would make it an unjust war, but on that point you would be wrong as history has already taught us.

But you are again off track, since I judge the consequences, methods, and intentions to be moral on the whole. That recognizes, of course, what your liberal utopian view fails to recognize, which is that a just war can include both just and unjust actions. What you need to do is assess the entire equation rather than one outlying variable. Again, your obsession with Guantanamo reminds me of a botanist obsessing with the acorn while ignoring the oak. Even if you are correct that some terrible error has occurred in Guantanamo -- and you are not correct -- it is largely irrelevant.

KC asked the following ques... (Below threshold)

KC asked the following question:
How many Guantanamo (or any of the other prisons outside Iraq) detainees are picked up in Iraq, I wonder? Got any stats on that?

None.

Gitmo was being used specifically for A'stan detainees because the A'stan detainees were those whoseparamilitary membership predated formal conflict with the US.

The GenCons differentiate between nonuniformed combatants who pick up AK-47s in response to an invasion of their nation [which is arguably most of those in Iraq], and those who pick up their AK-47 and go off to find a war to fight in.

..and those who specifically fight out of uniform because they are trying to wage surreptitious war. Whether they are civilian or military thus fighting out of uniform does not matter. The rules say that the rules don't apply to them.

Unfortunately, the USSC was only interested in seeking out enough law to arrive at a predetermined conclusion, and they ingored "common article 4" which makes these definitions.

Okay, McCain. Actions can a... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

Okay, McCain. Actions can always be assessed by their consequences?

Let's take Bernard Williams' classic example of why this doesn't work. Pedro, a paramilitary in Colombia, is honoured to have you (a tourist) as his accidental guest. He says that he would be delighted to allow you to shoot one of his new prisoners, a bunch of native tribesmen, as an expression of his camaraderie with the American people. If you don't shoot one of the prisoners, Pedro will shoot all five of them. Attempting to shoot Pedro instead will leave you dead and all of the innocent hostages.

What is the right thing to do? A utilitarian (as I've classified you--no offense intended, there are lots of smart defenders of this systemized morality) would say "Kill the one hostage! Four will be saved!" The answer is there can be no right thing to do in this situation by means of reckoning with the consequences, because a utilitarian metric cannot take into account the notion of integrity which plays a central part in our moral reasoning. A moral agent privvy to a rough understanding of the facts of human nature would be faced with two tragic choices, and while he would likely end up shooting the one hostage, it would be insane to call this the "right thing to do". Moral Luck, by Williams, should be essential reading for all first-year college students.

As for Guantanamo being "irrelevant", you'll have a hard time making that assertion when an Afghan suicide bomber kills some troops and civilians because his/her brother/father/son/friend is detained for no reason other than questionable intelligence impugning his innocence. All because America's integrity as a law-abiding nation has been sacrificed on the altar of expediency.

There's no point in fighting this war if it's not going to be subjugated to the principles that separate free people from their enemies.

LAI is right.The US ... (Below threshold)
Robert:

LAI is right.
The US should start with the places that have the most benefit for the US.
Again, all this talk about the Iraq war not being about oil has led us to the obvious fact that the Iraq War is about....wait for it...keep waiting...you got it...OIL!!!

As for the Geneva Conventions and whether they should apply to terrorists. The answer is no.
Should they apply to those accused of being terrorists?
The answer is yes.

All we have to do is give those we accuse a chance to defend themselves (give them a lawyer and the opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law). If they are then found guilty, Geneva Conventions no longer apply.

Seems simple enough to me.

Matt, you're navel-gazing. ... (Below threshold)

Matt, you're navel-gazing. Philosohpy is not reality. Attempting to apply philosophy to reality leads down one of two common paths:
1] confusion, which leads to indifference
2] indecision, which leads to surrender

There are others, but these are the most common.

Your example reminds me of the Island of Knights and Knaves. Less illustrative than mental exercise.

As for Guantanamo being "irrelevant", you'll have a hard time making that assertion when an Afghan suicide bomber kills some troops and civilians ... for no reason other than questionable intelligence impugning his innocence.

This is what people don't understand, and continually advertise they don't understand.

They would do that ANYway.

Crack a history book and look at the history of pan-islamism. This is exactly their M.O. They will use any and every excuse to rationalize what they do, so what we do is irrelevant.

What have been their excuses in just the past generation? Their excuse for jihading the US most recently is that we invaded Iraq. Prior to that, they had no excuse, right? no, prior to that is was because we had troops in Saudi.

So we were fine prior to '91?

No, because we supported Israel.

Okay, then prior to '73 [when our non-nominal support of Israel started] we were fine?

No, because we supported the Shah.

Etcetera backward through the pages of history. The US has been jihaded since our formal independence in 1783. 1784 saw the attack on US shipping in the Mediterranean by Barbary pirates, under the protection of the Ottoman Empire, ... and what did we do to deserve that?

Apparently buying salt from Spain violates their keen sensibilities.

Pan-islamism, by the various names it has gone by, has been doing exactly this for roughly 1,300 years. Sometimes more "formal" in the guise of actual invasion by islamic ruling empires, and oftentimes "informal" by raiding parties and hit-n-runs and obliterations of entire groups of pilgrims visiting Jerusalem.

If they can't find a handy excuse from recent events, they dig up the old canard of "zionist crusader" and jihad us for that.


America's integrity as a law-abiding nation has been sacrificed on the altar of expediency

Don't be melodramatic. The US follows the rules. I haven't seen the paramilitaries in Iraq prosecuting anyone for beheading Nick Berg, or the Talibanis in A'stan for shortening Dan Pearl. But American mistreatment in Abu Ghraib [and I have it on good authority that it's pronounced ah-BOO g'h'ra-EEB, not ah-boo grayb] gets front page coverage -- for months and months and months -- we prosecute and punish, we STILL hear about it, we're given hairshirts to wear, we STILL hear about it, and we're veritably asked to kindly stop forcing other people to leave us the hell alone because we can't [boo hoo] use our indoor voice and color inside the lines each time we do so.

The rules themselves have universally been interpretted as excluding specific types of combatants from "humane treatment", and it was a very cynical USSC which could cherry-pick the existing law to find just enough law to arrive at their predetermined conclusion and leave out the section of the very same convention which described who was not entitled to the designation.

"Oh, common article 3 says...". Yes, it does. And common article 4 says ...

"Well, that doesn't count!"

???

Okay, so the USSC foisted a revolutionary new interpretation on us that no one else in the world abides by. Fine; we're America, we have to treat those who specifically refuse to fight wars according to the rules the same as those who do.

So the next time our SpecOps guys go into action out of uniform and get captured, they get GenCon considerations from the enemy?

Are you that naive? Of course they don't. They'll be executed, summarily, with or without the obligatory torture first.

Why? Because fighting out of uniform puts you on the outside of the GenCons looking in -- and there is nothing, nada, zip, zilch, bupkis in international law that says otherwise. Torture and death is the price you risk for warring against the rules.

And the rules were specifically written to mean that. Because the rules were meant to make war more humane. Because if you were a legitimate warrior, you had honor, and you were to be treated honorably, and if you were civilian you were to be avoided as best you could be. But if you feigned civilian to play war, you were NOT honorable, and to discourage that, torture and summary execution were still allowed.

Oh, but America is different; we are better.

Saying that is common, and when foreigners hear us saying that they think, "there is that fat, corrupt, arrogant American again, shooting off his fat, corrupt, arrogant mouth again, about how being fat, corrupt and arrogant is superior to us."

Many Americans think that our freedoms belong to everyone else; if they are too dumb to get them, let's impose them. Bush is wrong for imposing democracy on Iraq? Quitepossibly so.

And the Peace Corp was doing the same thing for decades.

We Americans love to quibble with each other about whether to give African condoms and sex-ed, or teach them about abstinence. Doesn't matter; in either case it's fat, corrupt, arrogant America imposing rules on them.

Our American legal principles belong in America, and are not justifiably foisted off onto everyone we run into -- whether they're trying to kill us or not. American civil law does not apply in war. Both American civil law and international law says so.

When the US goes to war, we follow international law.

And we do.

Until the USSC redefines what international law says, by selecting out what it likes and ignoring what it doesn't.

Matt, you have done an inst... (Below threshold)
McCain:

Matt, you have done an instructive job of stating the theory of moral relativism. In your example, there is no proper choice if you are presented with two bad choices. It does not matter to you if one choice is better than the other, and so you are left paralyzed with indecision. And that is because you equate both choice as relatively equal, morally, just as you equate a few people in Gurantanamo Bay with the 2,000,000 people Saddam Hussein is responsible for killing.

The ridiculous "philosophy" of moral relativism goes a long way in explaining liberal opposition to the Iraq war, and realistically, any foreign policy engagement that America has ever undertaken since moral relativism became the coin of the liberal realm. And that is because war always requires the selection of the best among bad choices. So you have actually presented an easy choice in your example, but you are paralyzed to grasp the obvious.

"Integrity" is the made-up variable that allows you to bridge this moral gap in your own mind. So while you cling to your "integrity," people suffer and die. And to these people and everyone else, your strange ability to equate more suffering with less suffering reflects rather poorly on your integrity.

Crack a history book and se... (Below threshold)
Robert:

Crack a history book and see what America has been doing to sovereign nations in the ME for years (Iran-Shah anyone?)

All the rest (9/11) are just excuses to keep doing it.

Crack a history book and... (Below threshold)

Crack a history book and see what America has been doing to sovereign nations in the ME for years (Iran-Shah anyone?)

Yes Robert, crack away. Know what you'll find?

The US has been actively involved in middle eastern politics for, oh, all of 60+ years. Since the end of WWII.

If you want western interference in the middle east, your best bet is to look at France and Britain, which have been at it since the end of WWI.

Prior to that...? know what you'll find, Robert?

You'll find a thousand-year reich of Ottoman manipulation and foreign puppeteering, reaching into the center of European politics for roughly 700 of those years, and only occassionally and temporarily interspersed with Frankish crusading and, later, Napoleonic conquests of Egypt.

...until the Barbaries made the mistake of raiding one too many American ships.

On the other side of the islamist world, you'll find that western Europe was colonized for roughly 700 years by successive waves of Moorish empire.

But, yes, the Shah was Our Guy®. What's your point. The Hapsburgs were the Sultan's guys, and there were dozens more of them. The point is that this American Primacy which you speak so self-loathingly about is but the tiniest blip on the historical radar.

But that notwithstanding ... was Pahlavi a tyrant? Insofar as he ruled over the most peaceful and progressive nation in the entire middle east -- including Israel [I did say peaceful] -- by their standards, no he was not.

By insular, self-righteous American college sophomore with a class of PoliSci standards? quite possibly so.

Was he getting more tyranical as time went on?

Yep. But, y'know, a decade of attempted revolution led by fundamentalist yahoos will do that to you. Fundamentalist yahoos who were living in Paris luxury under French protection, by the way. Not to name names, or anything ...

So you were saying about the history book, Robert?

Care to read it out loud for the class?

McCain, I'm tired of being ... (Below threshold)
TM:

McCain, I'm tired of being accused of moral relativism by people who don't understand what I am talking about.

The very act of comparing 2 million dead Iraqis to hundreds of detainees in Cuba is not helpful. That is the point I was making. It's not that one cancels the other out; it's that two wrongs still make a wrong. Doing the wrong thing, is still doing the wrong thing, regardless of whatever motivation(s) there may be for doing so.

Okay? That's not moral relativism. It's obviously an objective, non-contingent view of morality. So please, disagree, but don't misrepresent.

And rwilymz, I don't think one should try to do good practical reasoning without a sound foundation of principles to guide one's conduct. History's unfolding shouldn't be ad hoc; we should give it direction. I don't mean "we" in the dirty American imperialist pig-dog sense, but the free world in general. Global stability is in the interests of all free nations, be they Asian or European or North American. Our values "work"; they're "just"; and they're good enough for everybody. These are philosophical reasons for preferring our way of life to religious totalitarianism.

I don't deny that some crazies would still be crusading against the Zionists and their Western apologists were America to withdraw into itself and shut its borders; I know you realize, though, that there would be less people susceptible to the lizard tongues of imams who would send teenagers into restaurants loaded with explosives, were American foreign policy conducted with greater restraint.

History's unfolding shou... (Below threshold)

History's unfolding shouldn't be ad hoc; we should give it direction.

Like ... regime change? perhaps?

It was acceptible in [white] Serbia when being done in favor of the [white] outcasts.

How about ditto in [brown] Iraq for [brown] outcasts?

Global stability is in the interests of all free nations, be they Asian or European or North American.

And stability is not enhanced by loose-cannon tyrants like ... um ... well, "loose cannon" is kinda subjective, ainnit? Cuz to us, Chavez is the loose cannon, and to Chavez ... well, "Mr Danger" is a Nazi. What are ya gonna do?

There's this thing called "perspective" that you can't just go around denying to people who aren't "like us" just because they aren't like us. And don't like us.

"We're sorry, Mr Achmadinejad, but your outlook doesn't count because you don't have the right values; they don't "work", they aren't "just", so please step aside while we impose our values for your peoples' own good..."

Yeah, that'll work.

And it's different from Iraq ... how?

Iran hasn't violated any cease fires to justify any force there.

Our values "work"; they're "just"; and they're good enough for everybody.

They're good enough for those who can abide by them, certainly. I particularly like free speech, myself, but those who think you shouldn't insult people don't. And they're here in America. And Canuckia, just in case there's some of them around here as well. "Hate speech" and all.

And our way of life certainly isn't acceptible to those who rule totalitarian nations, and who control the flow of information to their people. They've got their people pretty much convinced that Americans are the same slavering devils that the Israelis are -- since they believe [metaphorically if not literally] that Israel is the 51st state.

We can't get to the people without going through their government -- unless we're going to outrightly break every international law there is -- and we don't often have the permission of the government to go to their people.


These are philosophical reasons for preferring our way of life to religious totalitarianism.

No question. Pragmatic ones as well.

But there are all kinds of both types for not simply foisting them off onto people who object.

Self-determination is fairly central to our way of life as well, and, well, if you like living under islamofascism, with the Sharia and the infibulation, then who are we to argue? The only time we'll kick your ass, or get in your face about it, is if you start jihading us.

Hence the US being "allies" with Saudi and P'stan -- to the teary-eyed dismay of the feminists.

I know you realize, though, that there would be less people susceptible to the lizard tongues of imams who would send teenagers into restaurants loaded with explosives, were American foreign policy conducted with greater restraint.

I don't know any such thing, because that is not the way it's ever worked.

It will run in cycles, of course, sometimes more, sometimes less, but pan-islamists have operated this way -- through the formal auspices of government, or the informal auspices of local warlords -- for well over a millenium. Rome was sacked a dozen times by north African islamists, just because they could. Now, that was before the advent of gunpowder, but still, the pattern is the same.

History is not about facts and dates and getting at least a 'C' so you can graduate. It's about recognizing patterns. The only period of time in the past 1,400 years that Islam has not been on some warpath or other to eliminate one of the various bands of "infidels" was between 1923 and 1932. The British had helped the Arab muslims overthrow the Turkish muslims, and the Sauds hadn't ascended to the throne yet. I believe they even stopped bombing France in gratitude for a while.

...France had dared to conquer and "colonize" Algeria in 1830 for being the "state sponsor" of Barbary piracy -- how dare France! It was the Berbers RIGHT to steal ships, kill men, steal cargo and make sex slaves of European women! ...doggone it!

Some people do not yet understand the benefits of diplomacy over warfare, and you cannot convince them of those benefits with diplomacy -- they do not understand it. You can't explain differential equations to a 6th grader using the mathematics of differential equations, either. Same principle applies.

"You must address the fool according to his folly." - Ambrose Bierce.

We should topple the Irania... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

We should topple the Iranian regime because they lynch people for being gay, want to destroy Israel, and practice Sharia law. How's that?

Look, I know, it's childishly simplistic and unrealistic. But how is this:

Self-determination is fairly central to our way of life as well, and, well, if you like living under islamofascism, with the Sharia and the infibulation, then who are we to argue? The only time we'll kick your ass, or get in your face about it, is if you start jihading us.

...not a tough-sounding version of moral relativism? I disagree entirely that people living under fascist dictators who profess to like living under fascist dictators would feel the same way were they to try the alternative. Sorry to revert again to abstract philosophical mumbo-jumbo, but linguists (chiefly Donald Davidson) now deny that there is such a thing as "conceptual incommensurability". This means that any concept, including its felt meaning, can be translated for any other linguistic being, and that there are no such things as "conceptual schemes" relative to one's sociohistorical location (as everybody up until Chomsky [wearing his linguist's hat, not his politics hat] believed). So to say that democracy and freedom just don't work for Muslims who like Sharia law is selling them short, I think. I don't think they get the ethics wrong; I think they get the facts wrong. For example, "honour" killing is supposedly predicated on restoring the family's honour, as well as the woman's, who (I think) can cleanse her soul and still get into heaven. So who cares if she gets beaten to death with rocks? Or female genital mutilation--supposed to be in the girl's interests, somehow. The intentions are noble, ostensibly anyway. I'm not talking about imposing any values on anybody; I'm talking about making them privvy to the facts. How that can be done I don't know; maybe in some cases it just can't, and we have to accept tragedy as a necessary aspect of living on a crazy planet. Especially when so many people think that a supernatural entity has written racism and prejudice into the moral fabric of the universe from the get-go. But I don't have to accept it, because it is tragic.

I won't argue, though, that the right thing to do to a determined jihadist isn't to give him a library card. But I don't know what you think ought to be done as a long-term strategy for fighting fascist religious fundamentalists, unless you think playing geopolitical whack-a-mole is sound foreign policy.

Very nice post, though.

But how is this ... not ... (Below threshold)

But how is this ... not a tough-sounding version of moral relativism?

Because it follows the rules of international decorum.

Darfur is an internal matter. For the same reason it would have been inappropriate and a violation of US sovereignty for, say, Botswana to come settle our hash during the 1968 Detroit and Watts riots, it is ditto for the UN to claim the authority to do same in Sudan.

...which is not to say the rest of the world does not cross their fingers and whistle past the graveyard on occasion. NATO's little war over Kosovo violated every international law on sovereignty there was, twisting and warping the rules to fabricate, out of whole cloth, a Serbian "sovereignty violation".

People complain about the War in Iraq ... the War in Iraq followed the rules. It was just politicked out the wazoo.

We have no authority, moral, internationally legal, or otherwise, to barge into someone else's sovereign territory and tell them how to behave. Barge into your in-laws' sometime, and tell them how to raise their children. You'll get pretty much the same reaction. Except with somewhat fewer weapons.


I disagree entirely that people living under fascist dictators who profess to like living under fascist dictators would feel the same way were they to try the alternative.

I've never said that people ilving under fascism and professing to like it would wish to revert to fascism [in any great number, anyway] if suddenly given the opportunity to live under democratic capitalism.

You are going to have individuals who do, of course, because they were big fish in the totalitarian pond, and now they aren't. The power is gone.

You're going to have others who do because at least under the totalitarians they knew what they were doing, and now they're completely lost. The comfort level is gone.

But the majority are going to thrive.

That's not the issue. The issue is getting to that point. We in WonderfulLand do not have the authority to replace their totalitarianism just because we claim it's totalitarian; we have no authority to go around their totalitarianism to their people directly just because we claim a moral imperative. And it doesn't work all that well in the first place when we try -- and we've tried.

The people living under totalitarianism are effectively brainwashed to distrust WonderfulLand. And when we go there uninvited, even though we're wonderful and all, they throw rocks and bombs at us. Don't they know we're wonderful??

No; they don't. Perspective again.

Foreign policy is not a microwave meal; 45 seconds on high does not create piping hot peace, stability and capitalistic greed. Paradigm-shift takes even longer than that ... and that's what we're talking about. Try to convince a culture of billions of individuals to cease playing tribal-clannish squabbling? Their entire culture is invested in this. You're talking, minimum, forced occupation [with all that entails] of the entire middle east for generations and re-education and forced indoctrination of their younguns until they "get it" and waiting until the old folks die and stop back-filling with "their cultural beliefs".

...and with all their claims of "US imperialist hegemonic cultural warfare", that's what they believe we're doing anyway -- with our Hollywood movies and our Max Factor exports and our McDonalds with bacon-burgers all popping up in downtown Damascus.


I don't know what you think ought to be done as a long-term strategy for fighting fascist religious fundamentalists, unless you think playing geopolitical whack-a-mole is sound foreign policy.

I like the whack-a-mole image. It works. And it's the practical solution.

Rome wasn't built in a day, and it certainly didn't fall in a day. Byzantium, for all practical purposes was built in a day, but it took 500 years to fall. The Ottomans who replaced them were defeated, finally, in a loud thump, but it was only after pushing them back over 600 years. History occurs in incremental clicks. That's why we study battles. Those are usually the 'click'.

Now, we could embark on a Mongol conquest of these backward people, but even that takes time, and would take a few generations to complete it. But then we're back to being stuck on forced occupation. We aren't good at forced occupation. We aren't Mongols. You killed one of Ghengis's men, the entire village was obliterated. Wanna try that? Not merely a "battle of Falluja", but lining up men, women and children, raping the women, eviscerating the men, beheading the children, burning the town, raping the women again, and once they're all raped out, kill them.

When we try that we go nuts. We arrest ourselves and send ourselves to prison. We do not "do" forced occupation; we aren't good at it; too sensitive.

The practical solution IS whack-a-mole. "You stay over there and behave yourselves; we'll yell at you every once in a while about being totalitarian turds, and you yell at us for being fat and greedy bastards, but as long as you keep your people in line and don't bomb us for showing Thelma and Louise in Beirut, then we'll leave you alone."




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