New War, New Paradigm?

Adam Liptak at the Times has this insightful analysis of the al-Marri decision.Here's the most striking thing for me. Liptak does a good job of articulating the fallacy inherent in the administration's "third way" argument (that is, terrorists do not fit into a criminal or martial paradigm, and thus must occupy an intermediate category that, oh, by the way, allows us to lock them up without charges forever). Here's the relevant pullout:

“The Colombian drug cartel has airplanes and bombs and boats, and it shoots down American airplanes,” Professor Freedman [at Hofstra law] said. “They’re criminals. You can’t go to war against the Colombian drug cartel. If you could, then when they shot down an American military airplane, they wouldn’t be guilty of anything. They’d have combat immunity.”Supporters of the administration say that analogies like that are not only naïve but also prove the need for a third category. On one hand, they say, terrorists cannot be considered civilians because they could not then be singled out for military attack or assassination or held for intelligence gathering. On the other, they are not entitled to the protections granted to soldiers because they do not fight on behalf of nations or follow the laws of war.Critics of the administration say that reasoning is convenient, as it gives the government essentially complete discretion to seize and hold anyone it wants without recourse to the courts.

That's exactly right. But, there's more.Most legal experts claim this new approach is entirely novel. Indeed, that's at the heart of the John Yoo school of due process for terrorists. This is a new type of war, they say, requiring heretofore untried tactics---tactics that otherwise would offend our delicate sensibilities. Bring on the torture, indefinite detention, no due process, no civilian court review, etc.Consider this, however. The government has made this "new war, new paradigm" argument over and over and over again, throughout American history. When the law proves inconvenient, just ignore it and pull a Richard Nixon: if the president does it, it can't be illegal.Let me count off a few choice "new war, new paradigm" moments of glory: Japanese internment, Iran-Contra, covert operations in Latin America, the illegal arming and logistical support of the Armee (there's an accent in there somewhere) Clandestine in Laos, and, of course, all our extra-legal shenanigans during the Cold War.This is nothing new folks and, just as before, we gotta take a deep breath and trust that our shared commitment to the rule of law, limited government and constitutional supremacy (not to mention our $40-50 billion per annum intelligence budget) will keep us both safe and free.Let me compare and contrast two passages. The first is Professor Yoo from the Liptak article:

John Yoo, an early architect of the administration’s legal position, said the Sept. 11 attacks required a new paradigm, one the judges in the Fourth Circuit majority failed to appreciate.The judges, Mr. Yoo said, see the terrorists as ambitious criminals. But Mr. Yoo argues that they are in fact dangerous combatants whom the government should be free to hold without the constraints of the criminal justice system.

The second is the seminal bit from the 1954 Doolittle Report on covert operations, commissioned by President Eisenhower and prepared by the famous World War II pilot (quoted from John Hart Ely's War & Responsibility).

Another important requirement is an aggressive covert psychological, political and paramilitary organization more effective, more unique, and if necessary, more ruthless than that employed by the enemy.... There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto norms of human conduct do not apply. If the U.S. is to survive, longstanding American concepts of "fair play" must be reconsidered.

Deja vu, indeed.

Add a comment (2)
Read the Terms of Use

A. Gibbs

Please watch The Road to Tyranny part 1 and part 2 on You Tube by Alex Jones. It says it all and this is based on personal experience.

LAURA MESA

IVE SEEN THE ACLU CAROLINE FREDRICKSON ARGUMENT ABOUT THOSE AMERICANS BEING INVESTIGATED FOR TERRORISM LINKS. I DONT KNOW WHY THOSE INVESTIGATED ARNT HAPPY TO TURN OVER THEIR INFORMATION TO THE FBI. I MEAN WHAT IS THEIR TO HIDE? HOW CAN THEIR LIVES BE THAT COMPLICATED THAT THEY CANT HELP DEFEND THIER OWN COUNTRY WITH OUT JEPRODIZING THEIR ILLEGAL MIND RAPE FUNDS? I GUESS THE FOLLOWING MIGHT HELP YOU OUT: IT'S ABOUT SOME 1950'S CUBAN IMAGRANTS AND WHAT THEY DID TO THE TWIN TOWERS... AND HOW MICHAEL JACKSON GETS AWAY WITH IT AND SIN CITY/SODOM&$G:

5-15-07
I can prove Mr. X is the cause of the missing link that lead to the 911 terrorist attacks. If it weren’t his idea back when he and his wife miss X decided to never ever tell me of the micro condor waves then it was professor T of UNLV or his family members, Mr. X2, Mr. X 3 and Mrs. X 1 and Mrs. X 2 and Mrs. X 3 and there cousin patty. Mr. X graduated UNLV psychology department with a masters in psychology around 1975 or 1976 or in the 1970's. his thesis was about switching my brain waves, a five year olds and a prostitutes brainwaves and then physically stimulating the prostitute and a monkey instead of the five year old, the five year old was made to feel no, none, physical stimulus or stress because at the university of NV Las Vegas mainframe, there was already a program in place that took care of that somehow. the students called that equipment and its program the real to real. I am the five year old formerly of the X family in that study I did not feel anything or not anything until I was hunted and tortured and someone made me hear the micro condor waves in 2005. I was hunted and tortured and people shouted death threats at me because they though I was a terrorist and a prostitute and everything bad there ever was. I did not even know of the condor waves or ever do anything to warrant a condor wave tribunal, which is what the death threats where about, besides the fact that people got/get a big kick out of acting cruel. I have been hunted and tortured since 2004 but did not hear till 2005. I could tell I was being stalked since 2002. And now I am sure people know I did nothing wrong but I am still tortured with…

Anyhow, Mr. X's thesis, of course would be on file for review with in the psych department at the university of Nevada Las Vegas.

This hunt and torture game had been named the “real deal” and a group of illegal internet gambling sites have been arrested for making bets on how and when I would be murdered by suicide to cover up for so many crimes (consider the UNLV IGT school of gaming for that...)(and then consider professor T for psychological torture so the IGT school wins.....) I am pretty sure the old Vegas management is very mad at Mr. X and at the new college kids who might be trying to strong arm them with
the very equipment the old Vegas mgmt bought for them by donating to the university - I am pretty sure Mr. X and his family and certain university members tried to blackmail and did threaten old vegas mgmt- so old vegas mgmt told me - and I have decided to turn this information over to national security. Mr. X has told me I have imagined this information and has threatened me: and, I am sure that the university should be very mad at Mr. X for allotting these college kids the opportunity of crime unpunished: meaning these college kids focus their studies on crime instead of progress- and to top it off the student grants and loan given for national and local
progress are then used to undermined national and local security by training crime as a talent (my link tells me this is called being tali- band or a crime band). it is truly a perfect terrorist plot to destroy your children through this real deal game.

the university should turn in the source or go tell...
when i sent this e mail i titled it: "they are probably in to torturing monkeys if not the third world hostages, you know,like the Cubans: And when they use those on call porn magazines the jons think they are linking up with a hook up and then a monkey gets raped instead (you know, the on call porn services???)”. these atrocious people break every natural and moral law: they are running Oedipus cruelty experiments coinciding with bestiality and then using children’s innocence to accomplish it.

And, what the bigger picture looks like, you know, what the terrorist plot I just mentioned looks like is: the world ends up destroyed by professionals protecting hook ups, just so they can cover that they once used illegal covers, because hook ups are black mailing them: and their reward is they don’t have to work, like hookers get away with: meaning the hookers don’t hook, their hookup work is the burden of animals and children. And then the responsible become irresponsible and overcompensate for their cruelty with lack of care (defined as a personality defect). and then the Rome that had the arena games 2007 years ago, falls again under the name of the USA. I am telling you, “this is a terrorist plot and the terrorists think they have it all over you”.

Sign Up for Breaking News