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Veterans on the Supreme Court


RedState‘s Erick Erickson notes that, not only would Elena Kagan replace the Supreme Court’s last Protestant but also “the last of the military veterans on the United States Supreme Court.” Indeed, according to his Wikipedia entry, John Paul Stevens “began work on his master’s degree in English at the university in 1941, but soon decided […]

Drone Wars and International Law


The renowned sociologist Amitai Etzioni takes to the pages of Joint Force Quarterly to make “The Moral and Legal Case for Unmanned Aircraft Systems [PDF].” The format makes excerpting difficult but the essence of the argument is that “the main source of the problem is those who abuse their civilian status to attack truly innocent […]

Preventative Detention


Hilzoy pronounces herself “happy as a clam” with President Obama’s speech yesterday on national security issues, with one glaring exception: But even when this process is complete, there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, in some cases because evidence may be tainted, but who nonetheless pose a threat […]

Guantanamo Complies with Geneva Convention


The Department of Defense has reviewed itself and found that it’s doing nothing wrong. Pam Hess for AP: The report found the camp to be in compliance with the Geneva Conventions Common Article 3, the international rules that require the humane treatment of prisoners taken in unconventional armed conflicts, like the war on terrorism. The […]

Colombia Misused Red Cross Symbol in Betancourt Rescue

Red Cross Poster Woodrow Wilson

The daring rescue of Ingrid Betancourt from FARC terrorists misused the Red Cross symbol in violation of the Geneva Conventions. A member of the military mission that tricked Colombian rebels into freeing 15 hostages wore the insignia of the International Red Cross during the operation, President Alvaro Uribe said Wednesday. Mr. Uribe said his government […]

General Taguba: Bush Administration ‘Guilty of War Crimes’


Physicians for Human Rights has just published a report detailing the medical evidence of detainee torture at the hands of U.S. Personnel in Iraq, Afghanist, and Guantanamo Bay. Maj. General Antonio Taguba (Ret.) authored the preface to the report, in which he accuses the Administration of having committed war crimes: The profiles of these eleven […]

Bill Richardson’s New Realism


Foreign Affairs has, over the last several issues, had one major Republican and one major Democrat publish an essay under their name outlining the foreign policy agenda they would pursue if elected president. Bill Richardson was either tired of waiting or figured he wouldn’t be asked, so instead published his in the latest issue of […]

WWII Interrogators Criticize Today’s Methods


Today’s WaPo fronts the story of the most interrogators of WWII, who had a reunion yesterday at Fort Hunt. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the focus is on those who spoke out about the war in Iraq and the interrogation techniques now being used. For six decades, they held their silence. The group of World War II […]

Senate Rejects Terror Suspect Habeas


The Senate has narrowly failed to pass habeas corpus protection for terrorist suspects: The Senate narrowly rejected legislation on Wednesday that would have given military detainees the right to protest their detention in federal court. The 56-43 vote against the bill, by Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa., fell four votes shy of […]

CIA Bans Water-Boarding


CIA Director Michael Hayden has officially banned water-boarding, the most criticized of its interrogation techniques and one that has not been used in several years. The practice of water-boarding has been branded as “torture” by human rights groups and a number of leading U.S. officials, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., because it amounted to a […]

Bill Richardson’s New Realism


Bill Richardson sets forth his foreign policy vision in a piece called “New Realism: Crafting a US Foreign Policy for a New Century” published in the Harvard International Review. The beginning is standard boilerplate, with plenty of sops to the base thrown in: US foreign policymakers face novel challenges in the 21st century. Jihadists and […]

Why Terrorists Are Not Combatants


Yesterday’s discussion of the question, “Is It ‘Terrorism’ if Soldiers are the Target?” demonstrated the complexity of fitting modern international terrorism, or perhaps 4th Generation Warfare period, into the rubric of the international law of war which evolved over centuries. One of the side issues we got into in the comments section was whether terrorists […]

Dodd to Introduce ‘Restoring the Constitution Act’


Tomorrow, February 13, Senator Chris Dodd will be introducing the Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007. The text of the bill hasn’t been released yet, but purports to: The bill will restore Habeas Corpus protections to detainees, bar information acquired through torture from being introduced as evidence in trials, and limit presidential authority to interpret […]

The Sticky Parts of the ISG Report Recommendations

As I re-read the recommendations in the Iraq Study Group (does this conjure up images of James Baker, Lee Hamilton, Sandra Day O’Connor, etc. huddled together in the college library for anybody other than me?) Report published yesterday, several points jumped out at me that made me wonder if the members of the group realized […]

Republicans Backbenchers Beat Bush, Leadership on Detainees

An alliance of prominent Republican Senators, Colin Powell, and Congressional Democrats have won the first round in a battle with President Bush and the Republican Congressional leadership over the treatment of suspected terrorist detainees. A Senate committee, in a bipartisan rebuff to President George W. Bush, approved military tribunal legislation that would give more legal […]

Torturing Prisoners and Practical Effects


Marc Danziger takes down the NYT editorial board for making the specious argument, “The Geneva Conventions protect Americans. If this country changes the rules, it’s changing the rules for Americans taken prisoner abroad. That is far too high a price to pay so this administration can hang on to its misbegotten policies.” After providing a […]

Bush Considers Weakening War Crimes Act


The Bush administration is considering li The Bush administration has drafted amendments to a war crimes law that would eliminate the risk of prosecution for political appointees, CIA officers and former military personnel for humiliating or degrading war prisoners, according to U.S. officials and a copy of the amendments. Officials say the amendments would alter […]

CIA Intelink Blogger Fired


Dana Priest reports that a government contractor who blogged on the CIA’s Top Secret Intelink has been fired. Christine Axsmith, a software contractor for the CIA, considered her blog a success within the select circle of people who could actually access it. Only people with top-secret security clearances could read her musings, which were posted […]

Welcome To “Genevaland”


It’s not such a wonderful place: At a minimum, the Bush Administration should have thought carefully about Hamdan and interpreted it as narrowly as possible. Instead, Mr. England’s memo interprets the ruling in the broadest way possible, applying the standards of Common Article 3 to all “DoD orders, policies, directives, execute orders and doctrine.” As […]

On the Humane Treatment of Prisoners


Via Andrew Sullivan, I happened to stumble across this post which is, apparently, not a joke. In reaction to the recent brutal murders of PFCs Menchaca and Tucker, the author appears to have directed his anger not at the perpetrators, which would be logical, but rather the Supreme Court, for demanding that the United States […]

BREAKING: New Pentagon Memo Gives All Detainees Geneva Protections


Via Breitbart/AP: The Bush administration said Tuesday that all detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in U.S. military custody everywhere are entitled to protections under the Geneva Conventions. White House spokesman Tony Snow said the policy, outlined in a new Defense Department memo, reflects the recent 5-3 Supreme Court decision blocking military tribunals set […]

Is Bush A War Criminal?


Andrew Sullivan answers his own rhetorical question: That question has troubled me for quite a while. The Hamdan decision certainly suggests that, by ignoring the Geneva Conventions even in Guantanamo (let alone in Iraq), a war crime has been committed. And in the military, the command structure insists that superiors are held accountable. I’ve been […]

John Yoo On Hamdan

Short and sweet: By putting on hold military commissions to try terrorists for war crimes, five Supreme Court justices have made the legal system part of the problem, rather than part of the solution to the challenges of the war on terrorism. They tossed aside centuries of American history, judicial decisions of long standing, and […]

Bush Vows to Pursue Detainee War Trials


President Bush said he will press Congress for a law specifically authorizing military tribunals for Guantanamo Bay detainees in response to today’s Supreme Court ruling. After a Supreme Court decision overruling war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees, President Bush suggested Thursday he would seek Congress’ approval to proceed with trying terrorism suspects before military […]

Supreme Court Rules Against Military Tribunals; Geneva Applies to Al Qaeda (Updated)


The Supreme Court ruled that Ahmed Salim Hamdan was being improperly held at Guantanamo Bay and apparently held that President Bush does not have the power to try those he deems “enemy combatants” in military tribunals. The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the Bush administration did not have the legal authority to go […]

Pentagon Strikes Humane Treatment from Field Manual


As the Army is in the midst of trying soldiers for abuses in Abu Ghraib and CENTCOM is conducting training classes reminding soldiers that murdering civilians is a violation of the Code of Conduct, the Pentagon is rewriting its training manuals to omit discussion of the Geneva Conventions’ rules against humiliating prisoners. The Pentagon has […]

Douglas Feith’s Chilly Reception from Georgetown Faculty


Douglas Feith, a former high level official in the Bush Pentagon, has been hired at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. Some of his colleagues are less than thrilled. Douglas J. Feith’s table at the Georgetown University faculty club is shaping up as a lonely one. The move to a teaching position at the School of […]

Report Marines Killed Iraqi Civilians


Marines killed 15 Iraqi civilians, including women and children, in Haditha last November. Contrary to initial reports, they had taken no hostile fire. They then covered up the massacre with false reports of IEDs. A military investigation into the deaths of two dozen Iraqis last November is expected to find that a small number of […]

U.N. Calls for End to Guantánamo Detentions


The United Nations has issued a call for the United States to either try or release the prisoners at Guantánamo. A United Nations report today called on the United States to immediately close the detention center for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and to either release its inmates or bring them to trial. The […]

Army’s New Interrogation Rules May Anger McCain

In response to congressional oversight into techniques for interrogating prisoners, the Army has issued a classified addendum to existing regulations to clarify policy. Some worry that this may anger Senator John McCain. New Army Rules May Snarl Talks With McCain on Detainee Issue (NYT, Dec. 13) The Army has approved a new, classified set of […]