American Elephants

This is Real Life, Not a Movie! by The Elephant's Child
May 30, 2009, 4:06 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Law, Military, National Security, Politics | Tags: ,

The Obama administration is repeating the national security mistakes of the Clinton Administration.  Andy McCarthy, who prosecuted the first World Trade Center bombing and knows what he is talking about, writes at National Review Online:

On Thursday, Josh Meyer of the Los Angeles Times broke the story that the FBI is edging the CIA out of the business of fighting international terrorism.  Under the bureau”s “global justice initiative, Meyer reported that “FBI agents will have a central role in overseas counter-terrorism cases.  They will expand their questioning of suspects and evidence-gathering to try to ensure that criminal prosecutions are an option.”  Who needs a War on Terror, or even an “overseas contingency operation,” when all the world”s a crime scene?

If you’re thinking, “Hey, we’ve seen this movie before,” you”re right.  Slowly but surely, it’s September 10 again, a retreat into Clinton-era counterterrorism, when radical Islam prosecuted a war while we tried to prosecute radical Islam in court, playing cops-and-robbers while jihadists played for keeps.

Do read the whole article.  Dick Cheney was right.  The Obama administration is weak on national security, and our enemies have noticed.

The administration’s problem is an inability to recognize the difference between a criminal matter and a military matter.  They are not the same.  Obama is not much interested in foreign affairs, and it shows.  As Andy McCarthy says, “Yes, we’ve seen this movie before.  And we know how it ends.”

3 Comments so far
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I have not yet read the article, however, in general I would prefer the CIA not to advertise to the entire world, enemies included, what they are doing. If the FBI wants to be more visible, that’s fine with me, just like the cop on the corner.


Comment by R. Chatt

I have read the article you referenced and you have misrepresented the conclusions it stated:

“Before Sept. 11, the FBI model of ‘informed’ interrogation — knowing everything about a suspect to get them talking — was the preferred method of intelligence and military interrogators.

Even veteran CIA agents said that abandoning that approach after Sept. 11 was counterproductive. ‘To use a contractor to ask the questions and not let the FBI guy who’s collected all the evidence and knows all of the intelligence about these guys, it makes no sense at all,’ said former CIA counter-terrorism case agent Robert Baer.”

It does this country no good at all to ignore the rule of law, because if we do we are no different than the bad guys.


Comment by R. Chatt

You must not have read both articles. Obama’s problem is confusing a military issue with a criminal issue. I would strongly recommend Andy McCarthy’s book Willful Blindness. He was the prosecutor who tried the case of the first World Trade Center bombing, and knows whereof he speaks.

We are, in the case of Guantanamo detainees, not dealing with “criminal” acts, but with acts of terrorism.

The Geneva Conventions exist to encourage soldiers, members of armies, to obey the Rules of War. If they do so, then they will be treated according to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. In World War II, our soldiers were treated very badly by the Japanese and by the Germans as well. Surely you have heard of the Battan Death March? Our detainees at Guantanamo are treated, as much as is possible, by the Geneva Conventions, even though they are not entitled.

The statement you include is silly in reference to Guantanamo detainees. “The FBI guy who has collected all the evidence and knows all of the intelligence about these guys” may work with home grown terrorists in this country, but what is the “evidence” in the case of a terrorist who is captured on the battlefield? The object is to keep him from returning to trying to blow up American soldiers, not to try him in a court of law. Is someone going out on patrol with each squad to read Miranda rights to the terrorist whose IED just blew up the previous patrol? Witnesses? Members of the chain-of-command? Long assigned to other duties.

Criminal law is designed to deal with domestic crimes,and imperfectly at that. 14 percent of the detainees that have been released are known to have returned to terrorism. The rest may have as well, we just don’t know. Cases tried in this country require evidence of kinds that the battlefield does not yield, Miranda rights, testimony from people who were subsequently killed. And if the testimony and evidence do not meet the court’s standards, then the terrorists may be required to be released in this country. A.G. Holder was in Europe trying to persuade EU countries to accept some of our detainees. Someone in the audience asked “Why can’t you just put the innocent ones in hotels?”. It is hard for us to grasp that these people do not think the way we do. They celebrate a terrorist who has cut off the head of an innocent. Daniel Pearl was not a soldier, but a member of the press. They picked up a child and dashed out her brains against a rock? How brave!

Obama is not just ignoring, but deliberately defying the “rule of law” in the auto bailout. Contract law is basic to our laws and our Constitution, and it says that those who buy senior bonds get paid first and in full. Obama, however, owes the unions for his election, so he is seeing to it that they get theirs first. He claims that “empathy” is a qualification for the Supreme Court, though “empathy” is specifically denied in the legal system, even to jury members.

Our prisoners at Guantanamo are extremely well treated, they are just detained. They are treated far better than would be the case if they were put into solitary confinement in Florence. Gitmo is a state of the art facility, and guards show unbelievable restraint in the face of being showered with feces, and attacked regularly. Americans captured by terrorists may well have their heads cut off on TV. Please do not use the sappy but common canard if we “ignore the rule of law, because if we do we are no different that the bad guys.” If you know that little about how our prisoners are treated, you need to study up.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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