What precisely is the problem?
Posted by aogWednesday, 20 May 2009 at 11:23 TrackBack Ping URL

I was thinking about President Obama’s travail in dealing with the inmates at Camp X-Ray. One thing that occurred to me is the massive double-think required of the standard opponents of keeping the inmates there. Supposedly this detention is a horrible stain on our national honor because the conditions are so horrible and unjustified. Yet when Obama tries to shut it down, we find that other nations (those supposedly horrified by Camp X-Ray) either refuse to accept the inmates or would treat them so badly that we can’t send the inmates there. The latter is a particularly large effort in double-think. How much of a stain can our treatment of them be if it would be an even greater stain to turn them over to various other nations? Believing both of those at the same time — that’s impressive.

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pj Wednesday, 20 May 2009 at 15:21

Why does it require doublethink? If you believe that only innocent people should be coerced, whereas the guilty should be rewarded or at least not punished, then you will naturally be horrified that the guilty might be punished anywhere. It is the fact of punishment for evil that is alarming, not the severity.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 20 May 2009 at 16:39

I see the point about moral equivalency, but it still doesn’t explain how other nations who would punish the inmates can despise our nation for punishing the inmates.

pj Wednesday, 20 May 2009 at 21:32

Projection. Leftists despise our nation, and they assume everybody else feels as they do.

And my point is not moral equivalency, for leftists don’t see the innocent as equivalent to the guilty. They see the innocent as more hateful than the guilty.

It doesn’t have to make sense from the point of view of corresponding to reality. It only has to correspond to their feelings/preferences/desires. They’re telling us that they hate the US, hate the innocent, but don’t hate the guilty.

pj Wednesday, 20 May 2009 at 21:36

In other words, it’s not double-think, it’s zero-think and single-feel — but the way of feeling is the inverse of what normal people feel.

David Cohen Thursday, 21 May 2009 at 20:39

Also, European governments are used to complaining while relying on us to do the right thing. Some of them, I’m sure, are horrified by the idea that Obama might pay attention to them.

Hey Skipper Friday, 22 May 2009 at 15:55

One thing that occurred to me is the massive double-think required of the standard opponents of keeping the inmates there.

The double-think involved is in not really coming to terms with the core problem: what are the detainees, enemy prisoners of war (EPWs) or criminals?

If EPWs, then (IIRC) the Geneva Conventions explicitly prohibit trials, and the detaining power has the right to keep these people as long as the conflict continues.

The other option is that they are criminals. However, almost all of them allegedly committed their crimes outside the US, against non-US citizens. Given the IANAL, it is hard for me to see how US courts would have any jurisdiction.

The semi-middle ground is perhaps military commissions intended to separate actual EPWs from the accidentally captured. Fine. But that still leaves the problem of those remaining in custody.

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