What is your opinion on this news story Oralloy? I am confused as it seems you are giving mixed messages.
You are reading me correct. I have a lot of mixed and contradictory views on the matter.
My opinion of torture depends on who the torture victim is. For the 20 or so high-level members of al-Qa'ida who were involved with 9/11, I am all for torturing them.
But the vast majority of people we tortured were low-level grunts or even innocents. I'm against that torture.
On the question of prosecuting Americans who tortured those low level grunts, I'm nominally for it. However, I note that few people are punished when they torture or commit other war crimes against Americans, and I don't like a double standard where only Americans get punished for committing crimes. So as long as our enemies' war crimes tend to go unpunished, I'm not in any hurry to punish Americans who commit war crimes.
I'd actually like to see us join the International Criminal Court, because I believe the ICC would prosecute crimes against Americans with as much vigor as they prosecute crimes committed by Americans. I think I'm in the minority on that view however, and we probably won't be joining the ICC anytime soon.
On the question of the habeas proceedings, I'm for them, but I don't think they are as big as deal as most do.
We do have the right to hold captured enemy fighters until the end of the war, and if we can show to a habeas court that the guy was a captured enemy fighter. I expect the court to send him back into detention for the duration of the war. If the court finds that we made a mistake in considering someone an enemy fighter, it would be right for them to release him.
I don't think this war will last forever, but we have the right to detain captured enemy fighters for the duration of the war even if it does.
About a third of the Guantanamo detainees are people the US government already thinks are innocent, but we can't deport them because no other country will take them. I have no idea what the habeas courts with do with those, and am not sure what I think should be done with them.
This Chinese guy that the habeas court just ruled on is an even more complicated situation. There is a Chinese Muslim province that the Chinese government is persecuting much in the same way they persecute the Buddhist culture of Tibet.
China has declared resistance groups from that province to be terrorist organizations, and we accept that designation without question in exchange for Chinese cooperation in the war on terror.
We have a couple dozen of these Chinese Muslims in our custody, and because we accept China's declaration that they are terrorists, we hold them at Guantanamo, let Chinese government agents come to Guantanamo and interrogate them, and torture them at the behest of those Chinese agents. However, we don't actually consider these Chinese Muslims to be threats to the US.
This is sort of a situation like we often found ourselves in during the Cold War, where we sometimes had to side with a bad guy in order to further the fight against the Soviets.
Anyway, since the evidence is clear that this guy was not actually fighting the US, the habeas court found no cause to detain him as a captured enemy fighter. What happens next though, I don't know. If we deport him back to China, his kidneys will be on the open market within a day. If we free him, China might stop cooperating in the war on terror.