Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Is This Keeping Us Safe?

So far the discussion, that is to say the points upon which agreement does not exist, regarding Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame of Somalia is whether he should be tried in a civilian court in the United States or by a military tribunal at Guantanamo. No one seems to be asking why we have him in the first place, why we kept him in secret and isolated captivity for two months, or what justification we have for “trying” him at all.

In a telephone briefing with reporters, senior administration officials said Mr. Warsame and another person were captured by American forces somewhere “in the Gulf region” on April 19. Another official separately said the two were picked up on a fishing trawler in international waters between Yemen and Somalia. That other person was released.

Is no one concerned about our apparent claim to “ownership” of the high seas? In 1812, we fought a war with England over their practice of stopping our ships at sea and arresting whoever they believed to be English citizens. When the English do it we’ll go to war to stop it, but when Obama does it he’s “keeping America safe.”

In years prior to 2008, liberals were appalled that our government was detaining people secretly and interrogating them in locations where oversight could not be maintained. Now that it is the Obama administration doing it, there is unanimous agreement that it is a necessary measure for the safety of this nation; Republicans because they have always supported it, and Democrats because it’s Obama doing it.

Liberals Progressives are celebrating that Obama plans to try this guy in a civilian court, while Republicans are decrying that, but no one is asking why. Why can America roam the world grabbing anyone, anywhere, and bring them from other parts of the world to our country and put them on trial under our laws? Why can we hold them in secret detention for months while we interrogate them?

If an American citizen was taken from a ship in international waters, held in secret for two months and interrogated, and then hauled off to some other nation and placed on trial facing a death penalty for doing something which we did not consider to be a crime, how would we feel about that? Would we allow them to do that? Would we have a desire to retaliate against them for doing that?

I just don’t “get” what it is that we think we are accomplishing.

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