Monday, October 09, 2006


Good piece on Harold Ford, Jr., Democratic candidate for Senate Seat of Tennessee. Ford, an African American (would be, if victorious, only the 4th in Senate history) was elected to the House at age 24 (the minimum age of entrance).

He's much more hawkish, actually talks about God/prayer, young, charismatic. FWIW (for what it's worth), Ford is the only politician I've heard Ken Wilber declare is second-tier. Ford is ahead, though within the margin of error. This would be a major victory and is influencing Barak Obama, it would seem, to think more strongly about a 2008 run.

Ford to me is a vision of what the Democrats need to do to win and move beyond the partisan divide. In Ohio, my homestate, Paul Hackett, an Iraq War vet who was more centrist, not a pawn of teachers unions nad pro-choice lobbies, tax and spend liberal bs, was told by Chuck Schumer (surprise surprise) to back out of the race for Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland-based Democrat of those typical procedures.

Brown is running neck and neck with Mike DeWine, a member of the so-called Gang of 14, or a somewhat moderate Republican. I would have voted for Hackett over DeWine, but not Brown over DeWine.


At 3:08 PM, Blogger ebuddha said...

Ford voted for the atrocious Torture and Unlimited Detention bill right?

Of WHAT 2nd tier value is that?

At 7:58 PM, Blogger CJ Smith said...


thanks for the reposte.

I'm not an apologist for every vote for the guy. i don't know what he's thinking on the matter was--because he was running for office in a tight race?

But there possible argunents to be made as to why to vote for such a measure.

For one, it finally does something to check the Executive. One could argue that if they had turned the measure down, technically the tribunals would have been declared unconstitutional, but I don't this administration is to be trusted to voluntarily stop a procedure it deems vital in the war on terror.

So by voting yes, something is established.

Two, it's a law and laws can always be changed or amended.

I'm not a legal scholar, but I have yet to be completely convinced that detainees deserve habeus corpus. I think there are arguments in favor of it, but again I'm still pretty agnostic on the matter.

The law was wrong in my estimation in allowing hearsay evidence, not separating judge from jury--very inquisitiorial, typical Roman law not English common law as is our usual practice, etc.

Lincoln dissolved habeus corpus during the War Between the States, arguging that the Confederates had renounced their rights by seceding, while simultaneously occupying the South under the auspicious that they violated the terms of the Union. I think he was right politically, but legally that is a stretch.

Time will tell on how this new law works or doesn't.

At 3:55 PM, Blogger ebuddha said...

I would say it otherwise -

"For one, it finally does something to check the Executive"

There is evidence that this does the opposite - it excuses the behavior of the past 5 years. And goes away from using the UCMJ and the Geneva Conventions as the standard of what the U.S. uses in treatment of prisoners, and rules of evidence.

In THIS sense, this law is actually amending those provisions of upholding the Geneva conventions, passed by Congress.

At 8:02 AM, Blogger CJ Smith said...

fair enough. with an opposing party possibly controlling both houses of Congress, the law could be changed--but then likely vetoed.

even if the Dems get both Senate and HR, I don't see them mustering the 2/3 necessary to override a veto.

I see and agree with your point on the law itself. Like I said I'm against the union of judge/jury in a panel, the use of hearsay evidence, not allowing to see the evidence presented against one, etc.

on the other hand, it did finally legislate against waterboarding and other torture practices.

The Geneva Conventions were not drafted with this type of situation in mind. That doesn't mean I support the John Woo/David Pennington arguments about overturning the Conventions altogether.

But we are still struggling, and are nowhere near the answer yet, I think. I hope as we move forward, that a better solution will filter down.

It's really unclear to me what the status of such individuals should be. The Nazi analogy does not work well here because the Nazis lost, were disbanded and defeated.

al-Qaeda, Taliban, etc. will never ever be defeated in the sense of the Nazis. At least not for another 100-200 years or whatever it takes for the ME/Southwestern Asia to enter more deeply and reach proto-modernist levels of governance/economy/identity.

You can't keep these guys locked up in limbo status because they don't wear uniforms from a regular army/nation state. But just letting them go seems not to work either.

As the nation state continues to lose its monopoly on violence--private security firms, terrorism, insurgencies, splinter cells--the legality of these issues becomes deeply foggy.

While the Geneva Conventions are certainly the best thing we have going forward. I think as the nature of violence continues to devolve to local and smaller levels with increasing lethality I fear, and centralized bureaucratic governments show themselves incapable of dealing in many instances, the question of the GC will be the least of worries.

Honestly I think the whole thing to avoid some of these issues might have been bettter held at the International Criminal Court. The closest thing we have today to Nuremburg. Particularly Hussein's trial. That has been a PR nightmare.

The recent law does move some tentative steps in the right direction, while as you say kinda throws up its hand in the face of executive prerogative. But all of that still assumes US isolationism. That to me is the biggest flaw.


Post a Comment

<< Home