Quote of the Day — Ari Fleischer Version

Quote of the Day — Ari Fleischer Version

Ari Fleischer, former Bush press secretary, explaining why terrorists are more dangerous than Nazis:

They [the Nazis] followed the law of war. They wore uniforms and they fought us on battlefields. These people are fundamentally, totally by design different. And they need to be treated in a different extrajudicial system.

Noted with horror but without comment.

Topics
International Criminal Law, International Human Rights Law
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Howard Gilbert
Howard Gilbert

During WWII, 435000 Axis prisoners of war were brought to the US and held in prisoner of war camps across the country. This was an entirely “extrajudicial” system. None of them received lawyers or hearings or writs of habeas corpus. The reason why they were held without charges or trial and without objection is that they wore uniforms, carried ID cards, and in compliance with the laws of war gave their name, rank, and serial number when captured. In the current conflict the enemy does not wear uniforms and when captured does not give name or rank. Instead, they have all been prompted to claim they were just visiting Afghanistan. So they are held outside the US instead of inside the US to avoid granting them any further legal basis to challenge their detention. They have been afforded so many challenges that it is no longer possible to claim the system is “extrajudicial” although both the current and WWII cases were non-criminal. This has nothing to do with who is more dangerous. Furthermore, if we “followed the rule of law” in WWII by locking up 1000 times as many people without charges or trial or hearings, then it would appear… Read more »

Kevin Jon Heller

Ari Flesicher said that the Nazis followed the laws of war. End of story.

Mihai Martoiu Ticu

@Howard

What if Khalid El-Masri disagrees with the US argument. He might believe one of the following:

There is no war.
The law of armed conflict does not apply to his case.
The human rights law applies to his case.

Why should the US have the last word on the matter and El-Masri should not be able to sue the US in any court, national or international?

Robert Clarke

The law of war in fact addresses this issue, by permitting a belligerent to try francs tireurs. If it’s the fact of fighting out of uniform that supposedly makes these individuals so bad, then clearly that’s the appropriate way to dispose of the issue – not indefinite detention by executive order.

Clark Richards
Clark Richards

Howard Gilbert: Hmm, the civilians killed by drone strikes/cross-border raids and the thousands of others that have been killed in this ‘war on terror’ in weddings, schools etc. etc in Afghanistan/Yemen/Pakistan (and not to mention Iraq) seem to be saying the opposite: its the uniformed “civilized” soldiers bearing their name and rank and nationality who are the ones who have without discrimination destroyed their life and property with impunity.

Benjamin Davis
Benjamin Davis

This discussion is sick.  This is about misdirection.

Diane1976
Diane1976

Rob Clarke – The government claims it has enough evidence that Gtmo detainees participated as francs tireurs (unpriviledged beligerents) in the war against AQ and related groups to justify their imprisonment until the war is over (indefinitely).  But, with respect to the majority of detainees, the government doesn’t have enough evidence of their participation to charge them for it, and give them either a civilian or military trial.  That doesn’t seem reasonable when you consider that they can be charged just for participating in the war, no matter what they did to support the enemy, based on their status.  The seven detainees convicted at Gtmo were charged for participation in the war in various places, before or after 9/11, by various means.  Their actions were not in all cases crimes in themselves, but were illegal based on their status and the fact that they assisted the enemy group.   The activities were combat or support in nature, and could be involvement in attacks on military or civilian objects.  One detainee was tried as a criminal suspect in a civilian court.  In reality, people who participate in wars while not having a legal right to do so, as a soldier does,… Read more »

Robert Clarke

I’m aware of all that, which is why I said that a judicial process is “the appropriate way to dispose of the issue – not indefinite detention by executive order”

Diane1976
Diane1976

I didn’t mean to suggest you weren’t.  I should have worded my response differently.  Your comment just made me think of the situation in a different way than I had before, i.e., the fact that these people are labelled the way they are should automatically make it possible to try them.  If they’re impossible to try, as claimed by the government, it should also be impossible to justify their detention because it means there is no solid proof they were even in the war.  The real difference between the Gtmo detainees and the German POW’s, aside from the fact that they were uniformed soldiers and were legally in the war, is that there was no doubt they participated in the war and no need to prove it. I’m hoping somebody will tell me how the detention of the Gtmo detainees is actually legally justified, given the seeming uncertainty that these people were actually in the war against AQ, etc., or the Afgan war, as the case may be.  If I remember correctly, an occupying power can detain anybody including civilians it considers a security threat, but not usually forever.  Perhaps it’s related to that in some sense.   The Obama… Read more »