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Bush Gives Geneva Protections To Terrorists

From a gleeful Associated Press:

U.S. will give detainees Geneva rights

By ANNE PLUMMER FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration said Tuesday that all detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in U.S. military custody everywhere are entitled to protections under the Geneva Conventions.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said the policy, outlined in a new Defense Department memo, reflects the recent 5-3 Supreme Court decision blocking military tribunals set up by President Bush. That decision struck down the tribunals because they did not obey international law and had not been authorized by Congress.

The policy, described in a memo by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, appears to reverse the administration’s earlier insistence that the detainees are not prisoners of war and thus not subject to the Geneva protections. But the administration has insisted that it has always treated the detainees humanely.

Word of the Bush administration’s new stance came as the Senate Judiciary Committee opened hearings Tuesday on the politically charged issue of how detainees should be tried.

"We’re not going to give the Department of Defense a blank check," Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the committee chairman, told the hearing.

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the committee’s top Democrat, said "kangaroo court procedures" must be changed and any military commissions "should not be set up as a sham. They should be consistent with a high standard of American justice, worth protecting."

Snow insisted that all U.S. detainees have been treated humanely. Still, he said, "We want to get it right."

"It’s not really a reversal of policy," Snow asserted, calling the Supreme Court decision "complex."

Steven Bradbury, acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, told the Senate hearing that the Bush administration would abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling that a provision of the Geneva Conventions applies.

But he acknowledged that the provision — which requires humane treatment of captured combatants and requires trials with judicial guarantees "recognized as indispensable by civilized people" — is ambiguous and would be hard to interpret.

"The application of common Article 3 will create a degree of uncertainty for those who fight to defend us from terrorist attack," Bradbury said.

Snow said efforts to spell out more clearly the rights of detainees does not change the president’s determination to work with Congress to enable the administration to proceed with the military tribunals, or commissions. The goal is "to find a way to properly do this in a way consistent with national security," Snow said.

Snow said that the instruction manuals used by the Department of Defense already comply with the humane-treatment provisions of Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. They are currently being updated to reflect legislation passed by Congress and sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to more expressly rule out torture.

"The administration intends to work with Congress," Snow said.

"We want to fulfill the mandates of justice, making sure we find a way properly to try people who have been plucked off the battlefields who are not combatants in the traditional sense," he said.

"The Supreme Court pretty much said it’s over to you guys (the administration and Congress) to figure out how to do this. And that is where this is headed."

Under questioning from the committee, Daniel Dell’Orto, principal deputy general counsel at thePentagon, said he believes the current treatment of detainees — as well as the existing tribunal process — already complies with Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

"The memo that went out, it doesn’t indicate a shift in policy," he said. "It just announces the decision of the court."

"The military commission set up does provide a right to counsel, a trained military defense counsel and the right to private counsel of the detainee’s choice," Dell’Orto said. "We see no reason to change that in legislation."

Never mind that our government (under President Reagan) specifically rejected giving Geneva Conventions protection to terrorists.:

Another provision would grant combatant status to irregular forces even if they do not satisfy the traditional requirements to distinguish themselves from the civilian population and otherwise comply with the laws of war. This would endanger civilians among whom terrorists and other irregulars attempt to conceal themselves…

In fact, we must not, and need not, give recognition and protection to terrorist groups as a price for progress in humanitarian law…

I believe that these actions are a significant step in defense of traditional humanitarian law and in opposition to the intense efforts of terrorist organizations and their supporters to promote the legitimacy of their aims and practices. The repudiation of Protocol I is one additional step, at the ideological level so important to terrorist organizations, to deny these groups legitimacy as international actors…

I would also invite an expression of the sense of the Senate that it shares the view that the United States should not ratify Protocol I, thereby reaffirming its support for traditional humanitarian law, and its opposition to the politicization of that law by groups that employ terrorist practices.

The Solons For Life on the Supreme Court ignored that petty detail as well as a Congressional mandate that they keep out of this.  Instead our judicial tyrants ruled like the Gods they think they are. What they imagine must be.

History, law, commonsense be damned.

All the subsequent apologists who tried to gently explain away this Supreme Court debacle were dead wrong. It was a major defeat in the war on terror and a huge victory for all terrorists everywhere for the rest of time.

Above all, it was a giant leap forward in the rapidly accelerating suicide of the West.

It was a criminal blow against civilization itself.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, July 11th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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