Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gitmo prisoners going to Thompson

According to the Associated Press, Barack Obama will announce today that the Gitmo prisoners will be sent to the Thompson Correctional Center in Illinois [with all the extraordinarily expensive Constitutional rights and privileges thereto].


Kevin said...

I mean to be crass... but doesn't this mean that it's more cost effective to take no prisoners? I know no government agency will state this directly, but it seems that if prisoners are expensive to care for and provide legal proceedings to the results will be using tactics that ensure that specific high value targets are captured while the unfortunate fellow how got forced into service is killed on the battle field.

Devil'sadvocate123 said...

This post may or not reflect the actual views of Devil's Advocate 123. His/Her name states her purpose. President Obama recently gave a speech to accept the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. On the subject of Just War theory, I do believe his words find resonance with Dennis' topic. He says, "Even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules, I believe the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight." Obama puts America to a higher standard than the terrorist dogs. Thus to transfer the prisoners to a Illinois prison and even to treat them equally with "constitutional" liberties in a sense (not completely constitutional because they are not American Citizens who are doing this) shows a moral high ground for America. We aren't like them. We don't treat them the way they treat us. We are better. This idea of behaving better than your opponents doesn't find root solely in the decrees of our latest and greatest President. It finds root in many religious traditions as well. Consider Christianity, one of the world's greatest, and one you subscribe to. In the Gospel of Luke, in 6:29, Jesus says, "If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic." Later in verse 34 he says, "But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked." So within one of the world's greatest religious traditions, one you claim to support, we have justification for behaving better than our enemies. So then Dr. Ingolfsland, why do you support not treating them well?

Dennis said...

KEVIN, I think you make a good point. When it comes to the realities of politics and war...if I were with the ACLU, I would be very concerned about this possibility.

DEVIL'S ADVOCATE123: We had wind chills of about 20 below zero in the Midwest today. What exactly is it about moving people from a Caribbean island to the frozen northland that you think is so humane? :-)

All kidding aside, I think you raise a good question.

First, I think Jesus' commands to turn the other cheek, love our enemies, etc. are commands to individuals, not governments. Both Old and New Testaments make a distinction between responsibilities God gives to individuals as opposed to commands God gives to governments.

As an individual, God does not give me the right to take the law into my own hands by punishing evil doers. The New Testament, however, says that government may punish evildoers.

Second, America does not put criminals in cold, dark dingy dungeons and beat them or put them in stocks, the rack or the iron maiden. We put them in air conditioned prisons with reasonably comfortable beds, three healthy meals a day, free cloths and medical care with TV's and exercise equipment.

Even at Gitmo they had much of this (I don't know about the air conditioning). Even at Gitmo, prisoners would have fair military tribunals. All this is MUCH more than the victims of our enemies could hope for.

I'm wondering how Obama's argument about remaining a standard bearer in war plays out on the battle field? Should we stop bombing the enemy because we are better than they are? Should we stop shooting them because we are better then they are? Should we not make them uncomfortable in interrogations because we are better then they are?

If Obama is still killing them on the battle field, why does he think we are somehow obligated to move Gitmo prisoners to Illinois where they are no longer under the control of the administration, but under the control of a very unpredictable judiciary who may just release them into the population on legal technicalities.

Even at Gitmo, we are treating them much, much better than they treat us.