What America Stands For

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I have written previously about the important lesson my briliant, humanistic Japanese politics professor Hans Baerwald taught me: one just can’t really know the norms of a political system, or any system, unless observing that system under stress.
Today, Senator Christopher Dodd had an enlightening op-ed in the Los Angeles Times reminding us of how America acted during the Nuremberg trials — when America arguably was still under significant stress from the wars it had to fight on opposite sides of the planet.
Dodd writes:

SIXTY YEARS AGO today, at the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg, Germany, the verdicts were read in a trial that will forever define the punishment of war criminals. One by one, the 22 top surviving Nazi officers of Adolf Hitler were sentenced. By the time the gavel sounded, three had been acquitted, seven sent to prison and 12 condemned to death.
One of the people in court that day was my father, 38-year-old attorney Thomas Dodd, who was the No. 2 prosecutor for the United States behind Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson. My father always considered Nuremberg to be the most meaningful experience of his life.
My father wrote more than 400 letters to my mother from Nuremberg. Many are devoted to how much he missed his wife and children; others to the Nazis he had met.
But some of his harshest words were reserved for the Russians, who had little interest in a fair trial. In one letter, he tells the story of a toast offered by a visiting Soviet dignitary, who raised a glass and said: “May the road for these war criminals from the courthouse to the grave be a very short one.”
“I winced,” my father wrote, “and I could see that Judge [John J.] Parker, the American alternative, was certainly embarrassed.”
But of course, a quick trial that led to quick executions was the temptation. The world had seen a monstrous regime try to conquer the world. It had seen them take the lives of more than tens of millions of men, women and children.
Why not just give in to vengeance? Why not just shoot them, as Winston Churchill wanted to do? Why not just succumb to the law of power politics and impose our will without any regard to principle? Why not just give in to violence, which was certainly within our ability and, many argued, within our right?
Why not? Because the United States has always stood for something more.

I did applaud President Bush for emptying the secret prisons and black sites around the world of “darkness at noon” detainees. But that’s not enough.
Cheney-lite does not reflect what America stands for.
I have more to write on this subject — on another day.

— Steve Clemons

Comments

38 comments on “What America Stands For

  1. wow power leveling says:

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    Reply

  2. Leon says:

    I’d like to respond to Marcia who excuses the Soviet Union of it’s barabric actions during and after WWII by stating that it lost 20 million citizens and apparently earned the right to sit in judgment at Nuremberg. Well, no Soviet citizens were killed by Germans at the time the Soviets murdered about 15,000 Polish officers and cadets at Katyn Forest. The fact that these monsters sat in judgment next to American and British representatives demonstrates what a complete farce those “trials” really were. And how many German, French, and even Dutch civilians died as a result of Anglo-American terror-bombing in Europe (not as a result of “collateral” damage but by intentional strategy)? Nearly 2 million by some accounts. As the Nuremberg Trials proved, only the losing side of that war was held accountable for their sins.

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  3. TokyoTom says:

    Steve Clemons:
    “one just can’t really know the norms of a political system, or any system, unless observing that system under stress”
    “Cheney-lite does not reflect what America stands for.”
    What does America stand for, Steve? The perfect storm of venality, fear, ignorance and self-deception, cynically manipulated by elites who line their pockets while robbing our Treasury and our future. And the Democrats have played an ignoble role in enabling all of this, which has not merely dented our reputation, but crippled our standing in the world and our ability to shape events in a manner consistent with our long-term interests.

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  4. Nell says:

    Steve: Re the ’emptied prisons’
    Not only do you persist in stating as fact something that we have no way of knowing is true, and considerable reason to doubt, but you have not once responded to commenters who call you on the claim.
    Would you acknowledge and respond to these comments, perhaps by adding some qualifiers to your statement?

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  5. Kathleen says:

    Campbell,
    Thank you for the Cicero quote, couldn’t be more apt. I’m pleased to see my Senator, Chris Dodd, discussing the principles of the Nuremberg trials. Given the recent Senate approval of torture, I’d say we’ve come a long way baby, in the wrong direction.
    In light of the fact that Lt. Ehren Watada cites the Nuremberg trails in his recent defense at his Article 32 hearing in his Courts Martial for refusing to obey orders to be deployed to Iraq, on the grounds that it is an illegal war, I’d like to see Senator Dodd discuss the duty of servicemen to refuse to particpate in illegal acts. All servicemen, like elected officals, take an oath to defend the Nation and the Constitution from enemies, foreign and domestic.
    When the Commander-In-Chief lies to his country to get them to go and kill others, isn’t it the duty of all to remember their oath is to the Nation and Constitution, not the temporary occupant of Oval Office?
    It is very tempting indeed to do unto others as they have done unto us, but that just drags all of mankind down into beastiality.
    Down with tryranny! Down with Busholini, our petty tyrant!!!

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  6. Campbell says:

    ‘Out of the frying pan into the fire’
    That’s the justice just handed down by the US senate regarding Guantamino Bay detainees.
    David Hicks is back where he started from still in the hell hole, in limbo, with the concurrence of Philip Ruddock who wants him tried with no protest of fairness, the detainees still can not see the evidence against them, but evidence can be given on hear say….No civil rights, or a fair trial, but by the Kangaroo court that Bush was determined to get endorsed by the Senate, it’s the fear campaign all over again nearing the November polls.
    A bloke in the pub told me G.W.Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard are war criminals, will that stand up in a US military court, it seems so, that is what the CIA paid Pakistan liars and money grabbers for unsubstantiated evidence, to send them to be tortured in their secret locations, all hear say from the streets of Pakistan and Afghanistan. I only bought the bloke who gave me the info a beer.
    “So let us regard this as settled: what is morally wrong can never be advantageous, even when it enables you to make some gain that you believe to be to your advantage. The mere act of believing that some wrongful course of action constitutes an advantage is pernicious.” Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.)

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  7. Zathras says:

    I’m not completely sure what Sujal’s question is, as I thought my initial post upthread was fairly clear on two points. First, the Khalid Sheik Mohammed types now in American custody were seized as combatants, albeit illegal ones, in a war still underway. They are neither criminal defendants nor American citizens, and they are entitled to precisely nothing, not by anything in the Constitution nor by anything else, as far as trials are concerned until that war is over. Arguing over the procedures to be followed in trials we do not need to hold is, to me, something less than productive.
    On the other hand, I concede with great reluctance the necessity of trials for what is apparently a substantial number of detainees at Guantanamo in particular — the reluctance stemming from my suspicion that many if not most of these people could well have been released already, but for the bureaucratic inertia demanding that anyone arrested as a suspected terrorist cannot be released until it is proved that he is not a terrorist. I would much have preferred some administrative mechanism — even some form of military tribunal would have done –had been adopted years ago, a body able to take on itself the responsibility for releasing men who were most likely not going to resume combatant activities but who we could not prove would never do so.
    Trials for such people extend their detention beyond what is either just or expedient, and (unless I am very wrong about many of these detainees) are likely to prove a serious public embarrassment to the government. Still, if the only alternative is doing nothing and leaving them confined, then trials they will have to be given.
    Justice to me in this situation is preventing detainees likely to resume terrorist activities if released from doing so, and letting the rest of them go.

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  8. R J Hillhouse says:

    >>I did applaud President Bush for emptying the >>secret prisons and black sites around the world of >>”darkness at noon” detainees.
    The CIA black sites are designed to extract information from detainees. Once this process is complete, the CIA was faced with where to warehouse them. Nothing about the transfer implies that the black sites are being shut down, only emptied of detinees who no longer had useful intelligence.

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  9. Marky says:

    Any members of Mark Foley’s party left standing?
    What’s a “moderate Republican” these days? I think it’s a person who waits til the page has gone back home to hit on him or here.

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  10. AnnieCat says:

    Well, as somebody said upstream, we’re doing this. We — our elected Senators, anyway — have passed a bill permitting torture. So it does seem to be what our government stands for, even if all citizens don’t agree with it.

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  11. Matthew says:

    Trials are not only designed to protect the accused; they also protect society (the “accusers”). That’s why the Constitution prohibits Bills of Attainder, i.e., legislative determinations of guilt. But I guess Bush and Cheney are smarter than James Madison and Ben Franklin….What did those fuddy-duddies know about tyranny?

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  12. Sujal says:

    Fiddling with its provisions will not change that, no matter how closely we are able to make them resemble those of Nuremberg. Had Germany still had armies in the field in 1945 the Nuremberg trials would not have appeased them or persuaded them to see their enemies as “fair.” We expect a different result from trials of terrorists held now, by what logic I cannot fathom.
    Posted by: Zathras at October 2, 2006 01:35 AM
    Zathras,
    I cannot fathom the logic of your statement. We’re not trying to seem “fair” to the terrorists. We’re not asking for trials to “appease” anyone beyond asking to follow our own principles enshrined in the Constitution. I don’t understand why we can’t solve the “detainee problem” while holding true to those principles.
    I’m curious if I’m missing something in your post. If trials aren’t the means you would choose, what would you choose?
    Sujal

    Reply

  13. Richard W. Crews says:

    This will be a difficult concept for some conservatives, so I’ll type reeeeal slow.
    There is no “American Way.” Any time point, any period is transitory and evolving. This 15th generation from the Pilgrims lives in and represents a cultural differentiation from their parents. Every “generation gap” is a measuring of this unique American way of embracing the Future. This is why we so successfully integrate our immigrants; a second generation Americanization is recognized and empathized by all, regardless of origin.
    America was designed as an experiment in human Liberty and Freedom. Governmental checks and balances keep a balance meant to thwart overpowering direction. Thomas Jefferson espoused civic rebellions on a regular basis, seeing that an enlightened society would grace itself with Freedom and Liberty. He embraced societal change and evolution as necessary and healthy functions, not something to fear and repress. He believed in the goodness of Man.
    Freedom is to be cherished and protected. It’s not the same as the will of the people. It’s based on the protection of choice, meaning the protection of minorities.
    A literal example: Conservatives can be conservative in a liberal America, but Liberals can’t be liberal in a conservative America. That’s un-American.

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  14. Pissed Off American says:

    “Bush must be afforded every possibility for his defense before he is executed for War Crimes. He must not be rushed to the scaffold. His trial may take five years and will probably end up in the Supreme Court where the fix is in”
    Posted by Harold
    Not if we declare him an “enemy combatant”.

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  15. Harold says:

    “May the road for these war criminals from the courthouse to the grave be a very short one.”
    I think what Steve is trying to get across by citing this article and the above central statement is that the Justice that needs to be meted out to Bush must go painstakingly through all the ardorous convolutions of our justice system before his execution is rightfully decided upon. Those here who use simple phrase “fair trial and execution” echo the quote above that made American justices at Nuremburg cringe. Bush must be afforded every possibility for his defense before he is executed for War Crimes. He must not be rushed to the scaffold. His trial may take five years and will probably end up in the Supreme Court where the fix is in. Do we really want to spend an outrageous hunk of taxpayer money trying to bring Bush to justice for War Crimes while he will have at his disposal corporate financing for his defense? Why not just go for impeachment and leave it at that, instead of demanding his head and having to go through the years of pain obtaining true justice in this matter? If he rightfully comes to trial for the War Crime of Mass Pre-meditated Murder perhaps the People would be better off settling for a plea bargain where Bush serves a twenty-five year sentence instead of hanging him. We need to think about all the possibilities and their ramifications without betraying Justice.

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  16. Carroll says:

    The Nuremberg trials..too big to even attempt to discuss here. I did my college paper many moons ago on the “moral implications” of the Nuremberg trials which concluded that only the morality of Law was enforceable, and only so long as there were men willing to fight to uphold it…that’s about all anyone can conclude..and is still true today.
    It’s even more déjà vu for me now because I had some help on it at the time from Kenneth Royall, a home town friend of the family and Sec of the Navy and then the Army, who was given the task of defending some German saborturs during WWII…he argued back then against secret military trials.
    All that stands between us and what is now happening is the individuals willing to apply and fight for the law. And they seem to be fewer and weaker these days.

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  17. You go, Chavez ! says:

    What Chavez said !

    Reply

  18. pauline says:

    Catheirne Austin Fitts, who served as Assistant Secretary of Housing/Federal Housing Commissioner at HUD in the first Bush Administration, wrote this scathing open letter to Ms. C(ooked) Rice in April, 2004 —
    vhttp://www.whereisthemoney.org/hotseat/condoleezzarice.htm

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  19. Linda says:

    I suggested the Dodd op-ed to Steve. At least Dodd wrote some of the right things. The problem with our Congress today is that only a few are writing or saying the right things–more profiles in politics though than profiles in courage. It’s important to recall that only four years ago we lost Senator Paul Wellstone who also consistently did the right thing. http://www.alternet.org/stories/42351/

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  20. John says:

    It’s understandable that Chris Dodd would lionize his father. Let’s not forget that Thomas Dodd was an ardent supporter of the war in Vietnam and turned a blind eye to atrocities entailed in that experience. Let’s also not forget that the “good war” included Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Robert McNamara conceded that he would probably probably been tried as a war crime had the US lost that war. Victor’s justice is not unique to this war. The good that came out of those earlier wars included the Geneva Conventions and 1970’s era limits on executive intelligence powers. Iraq is different, not so much because of American behavior, but because the Bush administration has explicity chosen to flaunt restrictions that did not fetter previous administrations, either because the restrictions did not exist or because information technology was such that violations could be hidden from public view.

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  21. Easy E says:

    WHY BUSHCO NEEDS TORTURE: To Generate False Information and Keep Americans Afraid.
    Very insightful article by Dr. Juan Cole of Informed Comment.
    http://www.juancole.com/2006/10/craig-murray-on-manufacturing-terror.html

    Reply

  22. Pissed Off American says:

    I don’t think Steve has managed to learn one of life’s basic lessons. If someone is caught repeatedly lying to you, than their credibility is rightfully called into question. Why in God’s name should we believe that Bush emptied these prisons? He has lied about EVERY aspect of the business of running this country. His treatment of his service committment. His excusal from jury duty. His drug use. The economy. The “war”. 9/11. WMDs. Katrina. The Pharmas. What hasn’t this slimy bastard lied about? Now, he tells us that he has emptied these gulags, and Steve pats him on his back like it is gospel?
    George Bush is a lying piece of shit. And he has surrounded himself with lying pieces of shit. And the sooner we ALL realize this, as Americans, the sooner we can do something about fumigating Washington.
    And I’ll tell you what, this alleged Tenet/Rice meeting is HUGE news. It will be the first concrete evidence that this Administration withheld VITAL information from the 9/11 commission, and that the findings of the commission were based on incomplete evidence, if not deception. Was it not deceptive to withhold the history of such a meeting from the commission?
    Of course, whether or not the cowardly scum on the left will capitalize on this bombshell is another matter. My bet is that they will harp more on Foley’s predatory sexual proclivities than they will about the fact that Condi was warned that we were about to be attacked, and she didn’t do jack shit about it, and has LIED to us about it ever since.
    If the Downing Street Memo didn’t light a fire under these so called “opposition party” cowards asses, than why should we assume this latest revelation will?

    Reply

  23. Frank says:

    Let’s use the word Foleygate Foleygate, Foleygate over and over again to implicitly remind all who hear the word, that Hastert and Boehner, as “leaders”, were shamefully complicit in this pedophile’s continuing behaviour. The people’s house ,it turns out, is giving a bad name to whorehouses.. At least whores don’t hide their raisen de’tre.

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  24. Matthew says:

    By passing the torture bill, the Senate has told the world what we stand for.

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  25. justinian says:

    Is a world leader a War Criminal if he intentionally deceives his own country to make a pre-meditated unnecessary attack upon another country; tries to deceive the rest of the world into joining him; tells everyone that his war is a “last resort,” while all along it was his only resort; makes fools of the world community by using the UN and its inspection team as a dupe; and the result is an international disaster that has killed over 50,000 and maimed at least as many?
    Should this world leader be given a fair Nuremburg style trial and be hung by the neck until dead if found guilty of the most grievous crime an international leader could possibly commit.
    He could always plead that he was just following orders ……. from God.

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  26. Lightflyer says:

    Steve,
    Re your post: October 01, 2006, “What America Stands For”
    I accept your point generally. Ironically, however, were it not for Joseph Stalin it is conceivable that the Nuremberg Trials might not have occurred, or at least not as they did. A strange story but true. The point I would venture is that in some ways western allied leaders (American and British) were as morally confused and deficient in the early 1940s as America’s political leadership is right now.
    What the allies should do with defeated Nazis and the German people was not resolved until fairly late in the war and for the most part their thoughts, in the West at least, in terms of both the Axis leadership and people, had little patience with a trial process and due process:
    Churchill’s feelings about Nazi war criminals got nastier as the war progressed. By the first quarter of 1945, Churchill and the Foreign Office were of a like mind that the highest Axis leaders should be given summary field executions. General Eisenhower surprised British Ambassador to Washington Lord Halifax shortly after D-Day by suggesting that members of the Gestapo, the German General Staff and any Nazi with the rank of Major or above should be executed.
    Some influential allied leaders did not bother with differentiating between Nazis and the German people at large. FDR, though he wobbled backwards and forwards on what a proper solution should be, more than once suggested mass castration for the German people be part of a solution. Echoing Cato’s the Elder’s call (Carthago delende est), Treasury Secretary Morgenthau several times put forward a plan to turn Germany into a de-industrialised, agricultural nation at war’s end; he also supported Churchill’s call for summary executions by military firing squads.
    Secretary of State Stimson was horrified by such solutions to the Axis leadership problem and worked to dissuade FDR from supporting Morgenthau. Stimson wanted an international tribunal but found that Joseph Stalin was about the only allied leader of similar mind. Stalin, like so many totalitarians, was much attached to a legalistic, tribunal led solution – to not give the axis leaders a trial was to raise the thought that the allies dared not. When Churchill visited Moscow in October 1944, Stalin told him firmly that there should be no executions of Nazi leaders without trial. FDR would waver on the issue but Stalin was obdurate and finally Churchill went along with a legal, trial based approach.
    Surely it was morally the only way to go. Indeed, in January 1942, representatives of nine European governments in exile met in St James’ Palace, London, as the Inter-Allied Commission on the Punishment of War Crimes, and decried summary retribution against Nazi war criminals and called instead for punishment of war crimes through proper, organized justice in a manner consistent with the values of civilized peoples. It was to this model the Americans and British would eventually turn in 1945.
    So, the Nuremberg Trials stand as a monument to civilized due process and a worthy part of the allied post- WWII architecture. But remember too that American and British conceptions were confused and unworthy for an unconscionably long time, it was a long road to doing the right thing.
    In 1945 we kind of got it right in the end. But can we be so confident of doing the right thing and achieving the right result in the situation that America now finds itself in. The record of the past five years is abysmal.

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  27. steve duncan says:

    Steve, Bush is a genocidal sociopath. He’s bent on destroying the Constitution as we know it. He’s a habitual liar. Above all else he’s certifiably a war criminal. How can you “applaud” him for anything? He needs to swing from a rope. Can you or anyone else make a plausible argument were he in the docket at Nuremburg he wouldn’t fit in perfectly with the rest of the criminals on trial?

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  28. Christian says:

    How is it that twice you’ve claimed that the secret prisons and black sites around the world have been emptied.
    Am i wrong in understanding there are over 14,000 detainees world wide? Gitmo is still operational? Bagram? How much due process has been introduced to the system yet? Have all the detainees that have a strong case of being in the wrong place wrong time been released? The bounty hunter victims? Is it enough that the Chinese guys were kept 4 years and then we twisted Albania’s arm to take them?
    Why are we having this ridiculous argument over Article 3 and no habeous rights if the secret prisons and black sites have been emptied and shut down?
    I think at a maximum the eastern bloc sites have been transferred, because of the obvious pr problem of the cold war victor (moral one at that) becoming a 70s Soviet style power, down to using the same Stasi et al facilities

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  29. Marcia says:

    There is a huge difference between the US and l’URSS during the war. Our national territory was left untouched, our civil population had no direct knowledge of war. Twenty million people died in L’URSS, their country was invaded and left in ruins. The battle of Stalingrad was one of the most gruesome and decisive in bring the III Riech to its knees.
    England too lived under devastating bombings and food shortages.
    The Nuremberg Trial remains one of the greatest high moral victories offered to our human race and we can be justly proud of the decision to hold it and of those who rose to the occasion by their participation. Proud that it defined war crimes, crimes againt humanity for all to see, delared there is no prescription for these crimes, they endure for as long as the accused are not tried and punished.
    However, we have no way of knowing how we would have reacted if our own country had been a plaine of smoking ruins, if our population had been deported to work camps or exterminated, had died of hunger as did the Greeks, the Yugoslaves.
    We cannot know, because this did not happen to us.
    On the question of the secret prisons, I doubt there was any virtue involved. If they were emptied and I say “if” it is because it was in the interest of the administration to do so and for no other reason.
    For the moment America is standing for nothing. How long has it been since anyone took a stand rather than make a speech?The democrats should have left the Senate rather than participate in that shameful vote of black Thursday.

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  30. daCascadian says:

    Something wicked this way comes, getting close, ever closer
    “The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” – George Bernard Shaw

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  31. grytpype says:

    Steven, the prisons were emptied because the CIA refused to hold the prisoners anymore. And they were emptied into Gitmo. I missed your praise of Bush, but I hope it wasn’t too effusive.

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  32. Zathras says:

    The trials at Nuremberg were held after the war against Germany was over. That is the difference between that situation and the one we face today.
    The very worst al-Qaeda types now in custody are belligerents, even if unlawful ones. There is no pressing need to try them for anything now. On the other hand there are evidently many people now in custody at Guantanamo apprehended on scant evidence, who would pose little risk to us if released and have not been set free only because no one in the Defense Department or the intelligence agencies has been willing to accept the responsibility for declaring that such people are not terrorists and should be let go.
    I understand the reasoning behind demanding fair trials for such people; just because they might theoretically have been handled differently, or ought to have been handled differently, doesn’t mean we can just continue to leave them in limbo. We have to agree on some procedure for processing these detainees — trials are not the means I would choose, but they are better than nothing, and nothing is the only alternative being offered.
    Having failed for years to establish a means of processing detainees, the Bush administration decided as the 2008 midterm campaigns went into high gear to propose legislation intended to burnish its image as tough on terrorism. This included trials for detainees who we have little reason to hold, and trials for others we have no reason to release. This legislation addresses the President’s political needs, not our substantive problems with detainees.
    Fiddling with its provisions will not change that, no matter how closely we are able to make them resemble those of Nuremberg. Had Germany still had armies in the field in 1945 the Nuremberg trials would not have appeased them or persuaded them to see their enemies as “fair.” We expect a different result from trials of terrorists held now, by what logic I cannot fathom.

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  33. OCPatriot says:

    Think, really think, about the alternative. Sure the Democrats are spineless and whimpy. But what you’re proposing, not voting for them is playing the victim, and that seems to be the role they’ve assigned for yourselves. When you get over it, and strike back to reclaim the electorate by asking the hard questions and not dumbing down statements like “Bush lied today”, or “Bush made wildly conflicting statements today” or “Bush didn’t answer the question he was asked.” When this begins to happen, when influential people say, Stop the madness, they won’t be victims any more. So if you help Republicans in any way, by not voting or by not persuading your friends and family to vote, by not contributing to the Democrats, you’ll be helping to promote a draft, long term war, destruction of this country as we know it, among other things too stupid to mention. So make sure the Democrats win this time around, and don’t jawbone about it or prevaricate or think about how inept or stupid they are, just vote for them. Right now the Democrats are the only force that will balance off the Republican’s march to a totalitarian state; they may become corrupt but it’ll take some time for that to happen.

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  34. James Whitney says:

    Back to Senator Dodd’s remarks about the Russians’ and Churchill’s view of the Nuremburg trials which horrified his father and Judge Parker. What would his father and the judge think about the current policies of the Bush administration and Israeli goverment which includes targeted assassination of various bad guys. Maybe these bad guys are worse than the Nuremburg defendants?

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  35. ET says:

    Summary of Republican Congressmen who have resigned in the past year:
    Mark Foley: Solicited sex from a number of 16-year old boys, which was temporarily covered up by Republican leadership; resigned from Congress and sex offender charges are currently being investigated; checking in to alcohol rehab
    Duke Cunningham: Accepted more than a million dollars in bribes; sentenced to 100 months in prison on bribery, corruption and conspiracy charges
    Bob Ney: Accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts, trips and cash; plead guilty to charges of bribery and corruption; checked in to alcohol rehab
    Tom Delay: Accepted bribes, and money laundering; forced to resign fron Congress and is facing criminal charges and continued investigations
    These paragons of virtue are inspiring, no?
    Wake the nation.

    Reply

  36. Arun says:

    The bill that the President and Republican Congress pushed through does at least two very bad things:
    1. It takes away our liberties.
    2. One might argue that some sacrifice of liberties is necessary. Very well, but by giving the President an unlimited power, the bill undermines the Constitution’s system of checks and balances.
    The President (and the Congress) have violated their oaths to uphold the Constitution. Under those circumstances, the blog’s author’s bipartisanship is inane, to say the least. There can be no compromise with this, this Congress and this President have to be drummed out of office as soon as possible.

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  37. Dubious says:

    Why do you think Bush “emptied” the secret prisons? Did he actually say that? Or that he was releasing *this group*?
    Furthermore, after the passage of the Torture Bill aren’t they now entitled to refill them?

    Reply

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