Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I’m no fan of Rachel Maddow, though I admit to being sometimes titillated by her acerbic wit.

Recently however, she took a step to distinguish herself from the drooling disciples of Democrat despotism, and prove that she is, indeed, a principled constitutional liberal.

The occasion was a speech by the Chief Executive on Constitution Day, September 17th, in the hallowed halls of the National Archives within sight of the document written by our founders in 1787.

Take a minute to listen to what she says:

Here is what the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution says:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

I would think that Guantanamo Bay would be a “place subject to their jurisdiction” wouldn’t you?

So we’ve got all these ‘detainees’ at Gitmo.

Bush didn’t know what to do with them. Obama doesn’t know what to do with them.

The apologists of the status quo talk about ‘prisoners of war’ as though criminals who plot the murder of American citizens are somehow to be raised to the dignity of civilized enemies fighting for King and country.

Federal District Judge William Young got it exactly right when he sentenced Richard Reid. Here’s what he said:

Now, let me explain this to you. We are not afraid of you or any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is too much war talk here and I say that to everyone with the utmost respect. Here in this court, we deal with individuals as individuals and care for individuals as individuals. As human beings, we reach out for justice.

You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature. Whether the officers of government do it or your attorney does it, or if you think you are a soldier. You are not----- you are a terrorist. And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not meet with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I've known warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal that is guilty of multiple attempted murders. In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and the TV crews were, and he said: 'You're no big deal.'

You are no big deal.

“Detainees.” I’d like to know who came up with that wimpy word. It sounds like you got stuck in a traffic jam.

I suppose that Nidal Hasan, who killed twelve people in Texas is now just another ‘detainee’. He has been a guest of the army brass for over three years.

If all these ‘detainees’ have committed crimes, then let’s get them convicted and punished.

The trials don’t have to be in New York, but the jury sure as Hell should be twelve good and true citizens of the Big Apple.

Try them at Gitmo, try them in Nebraska, try them on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

But if they are guilty, lets say so and treat them as criminals.


  1. Could not agree more. Try them in Alaska but try them and put them away for lift.

  2. They should be tried before a military tribunal and then executed, imprisoned or released, based upon the ruling of the tribunal (2/3 majority for imprisonment and unanimous for death).
    This is in keeping with American and international law as well as past precedent. The process is defined in the Military Commissions act of 2009, which has already been reviewed and (with changes to the habeas corpus provisions), upheld by SCOTUS.

    There is no reason for the jury to come from NYC, as the attacks on 9/11 were against all people of the United States and did not merely affect just New Yorkers (or residents of DC or residents of PA). Plus, many, if not most, detainees are being held for war crimes separate from the 9/11 attacks.

  3. The problem and the reason neither Bush nor Obama nor anyone else "knows what to do with them" lies in the 14th Amendment. Holding a trial, judging these individuals under American law violates that amendment. The 14th Amendment clearly gives immunities and privileges (i.e. sixth amendment rights meaning a trial and so forth) only if the person is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States AND a citizen of the United States. That is the problem. Legally they can't be tried under the American system of justice because they are not citizens and the acts in question occurred on foreign soil. The example Judge Brennan cites is different. The person in question was, I believe, American and therefore entitled to trial and so forth. It's easy to cite one part of the Constitution against another but as the judge cites when you have make the decision and are bound by oath to support ALL the Constitution, the question becomes much harder to answer.

  4. The right to a trial is not a 'privilege or immunity.' It is a basic human right which all persons, regardless of citizenship, enjoy under the 5th and 14th amendments to the US constitution, since a fair trial is an essential part of the "due process of law" which is guaranteed to all "persons" without regard to citizenship or location.