Friday, September 15, 2006

Book 'em Danno

The Telegraph News says: "US outraged as Pakistan frees Taliban fighters"

Pakistan's credibility as a leading ally in the war on terrorism was called into question last night when it emerged that President Pervez Musharraf's government had authorised the release from jail of thousands of Taliban fighters caught fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The mass release of the prisoners has provoked a stern rebuke to the Musharraf regime from the American government. "We have repeatedly warned Pakistan over arresting and then releasing suspects," said a US diplomat in Islamabad. "We are monitoring their response with great concern."

The Daily Telegraph tracked down and interviewed several former fighters who were part of a batch of eight foreign prisoners released last month. Burhan Ahmad, a 32-year-old Bangladeshi who has an American degree in engineering, admitted helping the Taliban against US-led forces in Afghanistan five years ago. He was arrested by Pakistani security agents as he passed back over the frontier in 2003. Last month he was released from jail, where he spent three years without facing trial. Like thousands of other Taliban and al-Qa'eda suspects who have been rounded up in Pakistan, Ahmad is now being fed and sheltered by an Islamic welfare group as he waits while a travel agency that specialises in repatriating jihadis prepares his identity papers and air ticket.

Bill Roggio says, look who's on the list. "But beyond the three low level operatives interviewed are a host of senior and mid level al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives. A sample of those released included the following individuals, including the killers of journalist Daniel Pearl:"


Ghulam Mustafa: "He was once close to Osama bin Laden, has intimate knowledge of al-Qaeda's logistics and financing and its nexus with the military in Pakistan."

Maulana Sufi Mohammad: Sufi Mohammad organized Pakistanis to fight jihad in Afghanistan and along with the TNSM fought in Kunduz November of 2001.

Mohammad Khaled: A brigade leader who led the Taliban in against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. "

Fazl-e-Raziq: A senior aide to Osama bin Laden.

Khairullah Kherkhawa: The former Taliban governor of Herat.

Khalid Khawaja: "Khalid Khawaja is a retired squadron leader of the Pakistan Air Force who was an official in Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, in the mid 1980s. ... Khalid Khawaja’s name resurfaced when US reporter Daniel Pearl was abducted and subsequently killed. Pearl had come to Pakistan and met Khalid Khawaja in order to investigate the jihadi network of revered sufi, Syed Mubarak Ali Gailani."

Mansour Hasnain: A member of the group that kidnapped and murdered Danny Pearl. 

Mohammad Hashim Qadeer: "Suspected of being one of [Daniel] Pearl’s actual killers, was arrested in August 2005 and has notable al-Qaida links" and "ties with the banned extremist groups Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen and Jaish-e-Muhammad."

Mohammad Bashir: Another Pakistani complicit in the murder of Daniel Pearl.

Aamni Ahmad, Hala Ahmad and Nooran Abdu: Facilitators/couriers, and wives of al-Qaeda members.

Gul Ahmed Shami & Hamid Noor: Al-Qaeda foot soldiers who fought in Afghanistan. "I want to be the next Osama bin Laden," said Shami in 2001. 

These “miscreants” and “foreigners” are said to be streaming back to al-Qaeda's new safe haven of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan, and reconstituting al-Qaeda's organization.

Commentary

Some of these individuals may never have been charged or prosecuted in a way that would satisfy "International Law". By that standard, they should be released. Grant the premise, grant the conclusion. What I want to know is how this prisoner release is different in principle from the policy advocated by critics of Guantanamo prison. I am sure there must be some difference. But the question remains. How should prisoners captured on the terrorist battlefield be treated and how long should they be detained?

53 Comments:

Blogger wretchard said...

Sometimes I think that we are royally f....d; that there are inner contradictions in our own civilizational model that taken to their ultimate conclusion lead to its self-destruction. Ordinarily that would not be a problem, because the system should be adjusted to fix those bugs. But what if one of the design criteria is that the bugs be left in place?

9/15/2006 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

"These “miscreants” and “foreigners” are said to be streaming back to al-Qaeda's new safe haven of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan, and reconstituting al-Qaeda's organization."

Where they can regroup and be targeted by Predator drones. Provided of course that the Pakis turn a blind eye to our activity. Maybe this release is to watch where the rats scurry off to so we find the nest.

9/15/2006 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger Quig said...

The contradictions must not be allowed to extend to the ultimate conclusions. As a matter of survival the system will have to adjust, at least temporarily. If it unable so to do then the design criteria must change.

And who is to know which or what design criteria, if any, will work?

9/15/2006 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger Quig said...

As I see it, the problem exists due to the overextensions of International Law. That is to say, application of the tenants of this body of law to a manifestly lawless sub set of humanity, to be generous.
The liberalism of the past half-century has been founded on the premise of the “reasonable man”. From this posit have come the concepts of moral relativism and equivalence.
The law in any jurisdiction and especially in the international domain is ill equipped to deal with the “unreasonable man” and those who have no concept or appreciation of moral relativism and equivalence.
To compete in violent exchanges the western cultures are going to have to jettison the shackles of jus ad bellum and jus in bello. The west is going to have to treat with the “unreasonable man” on “unreasonable” terms.
The western culture has not always been “reasonable”. For survival it must now become “unreasonable” until the need for “unreason” no longer poses a clear and present danger.
I believe it has the capacity for doing so. For any individual, entity, organization that cannot adapt is doomed to extinction.

You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.
Robert A. Heinlein

9/15/2006 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger Ilia Capitolina said...

It's obvious Pakistan has been playing a double game for a long time now. What I can't figure out is, how is it more useful to us having them as an ally rather than an enemy. What's the larger geopolitical advantage in having Pakistan as an ally. Why be alienating India (and whoever else), with pakistan as an ally?

9/15/2006 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Craigicus said...

Ah, well. We have rules that are priority -- for instance security often trumps other concerns.

Common law is full of the kind of stuff we need. Say a cop finds two brawlers. He doesn't just let both go because they point at each other to blame for the fight. He arrests both.

This problem of rules being counter productive to security or general well being is many times older than the statement "The law is an ass.".

The only tricky part for us is that the first world now has rule sets good enough for most people to respect them strongly, which means it is harder to break the rules than it used to be.

9/15/2006 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger pauldanish said...

How long should they be detained is easy. For the duration of the war. If that means they die of old age in captivity, too bad.

9/15/2006 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

occam whisker said:

What I can't figure out is, how is it more useful to us having them as an ally rather than an enemy. What's the larger geopolitical advantage in having Pakistan as an ally.

Look at a map. Pakistan provides the only available overland routes and air corridor to the battlefield in Afghanistan. If we conquered Iran, we could drop Pakistan like a hot potato.

9/15/2006 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

as arafat taught, the moslem would learns..

throw lots of paper in the air, accept billions in USA dollars, arrest thousands of "terrorists", house arrest the top ones, then open the doors and pardon them...

the only good islamic terrorist is a dead one wrapped in bacon..

9/15/2006 10:52:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

"These “miscreants” and “foreigners” are said to be streaming back to al-Qaeda's new safe haven of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan, and reconstituting al-Qaeda's organization."

al-Qaeda now has a trust problem. Who of the released prisoner can they trust? Probably all of them, but any one of them could have been turned and they can't know.

If the captors played their cards right there were long sessions of isolation, mysterious favors granted, winks and nudges among the gaurd staff.


Nice strategy if it's intentional. Sowing discord and confusion into the mind's of the enemy is always a good idea.

9/15/2006 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

I suspect we're complicit in their release - if we can't get our act together and are reacting to "international pressure" certainly they can't be expected to hold firm.

What'll be interesting is what comes next. We'll certainly be watching where these fascists end up (hopefully the newly "independent" taliban areas), and perhaps the Pakistan government will be able to give us hunting rights without consequence to their own ability to stay in power.

fyi, wrt the dems and hunting UBL, I'm a little amazed at those that think we should enter Pakistan territory without an invitation (considering they have nukes).

9/15/2006 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

The Pakistanis and Iranians are no fools. Even Chavez, who is a fool, is smart enough to know that they have a pretty free hand now.

70% of American combat ground forces are tied up in Iraq, to a lesser extent Afghanistan rotations. So the fear of US attack, despite the last neocon chickenhawks saying it is still on the table for "Our American Churchill" .....

isn't there.

Nor is there any support, even by the neocons, for a Draft or budget cutbacks to fund the military more.
Leaving us "neutralized" until we can exit Iraq.

Plus our country is divided politically, lost much of it's international clout and ability to influence others and use leverage of their assets - outside the Islamic world and within it. We are a wastrel nation locked into our next infusion of Japanese and Chinese money to keep our military and other obligations funded.

Wretchard adds that we designed so much of our society to force us to keep the design bugs in place. No where is that more evident than around the rule of law and a the ability of lawyers and judges to reach in and control more and more of the furthest corner of society. All while having a difficult, now almost impossible task, mechanism given the organization and blocking abilities of special interest groups - of changing law and especially constitutions to regain our ability to be fast and nimble.

Are we royally f....d?

We made a mistake in going into Iraq, besides the horrific incompetence in post-war planning - in two critical areas: Underestimating the power the Far Left of secular Jews and gentile elites still has in it's remaining organs of power in the media, intelligensia, Hollywood, the Democratic Party, international NGOs, judiciary, and Federal bureaucracy. And underestimating the complexity and difficulty of derailing the radical Islamic ideology by means other than military.

Victory against radical Islam is impossible without an intelligent strategy beyond throwing high tech military toys against them to see what will happen, impossible without defeating their allies, the radical Left.

The war with Islam and the Rise of China, plus our loss of ability to compete economically or fix the broken parts and institutions of the West shows we are ossified and no longer nimble, in the grip of unaccountable legal clerics who rule the West like Ayatollahs, in cultural decay. And that democracy itself may have failed by making the franchise so universal that we make the wrong decisions...

I think a fix will happen, but worry it will require us to get to near collapse, and the fix will mean giving up a number of "rights". And we will have to do away with the difficulties we put in place to amend existing laws and constitutions - have accountability mechanisms to better control now unaccountable judges, and eliminate the right to vote for those that are pure parasites on the taxpayers - because they want more of other people's money and more government and lack any deterrance from wanting "more of others". A friend tracks the growth of the Welfare State, the crippling demographics, and the Rise of the Judge Rulers Over Us - to when women were permitted to start voting. It's a thought. Eliminate women's right to vote and see if that turns things around.

Far more than we care to admit, democracy has become wolves and sheep at a table, deciding by a "fair vote" which sheep get eaten next.

9/15/2006 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

How should prisoners captured on the terrorist battlefield be treated and how long should they be detained?


They should be treated well enough. They should be Persons Under Control, fed, clothed, housed, and interrogated, using whatever means of interrogation will get us accurate, timely information. They should be turned, if possible, and used as assets. A few may be worth realasing to watch where they go. If they cannot be turned, or otherwise made useful, after whatever valuable information they had has been extracted, they should disappear.

Humanely executed with 124 grains or copper-jacketed lead applied to the back of the neck and the bodies dissolved in acid, in absolute secrecy.

9/16/2006 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger DaMav said...

Sounds to me like Pakistan has been listening to the Lamont/Murtha Democrats about "How to fight the War on Terror".

Or maybe they expect the Democrats to take the House this fall and cut off funding for the war. In which case the leadership of Pakistan is just preparing for the transition. There is precedent for this kind of thing; ask our many allies in Vietnam about Congress pulling the rug out from under them.

Either way, the WOT must be won in America or it shall surely not succeed elsewhere. Many painful lessons may be required before that is understood.

9/16/2006 03:30:00 AM  
Blogger HK Vol said...

Since Warizistan has signed a "peace treaty" with Pakistan, does that now imply that Warizistan is a separate country? If so, no need to worry about Pakistani territorial issues. Then let's go and finally take care of these guys.

9/16/2006 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"But the question remains. How should prisoners captured on the terrorist battlefield be treated and how long should they be detained?"

Shot. Promptly.

9/16/2006 06:00:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

If said prisoners can be 'turned' or otherwise used to our advantage, that is one thing. It is also a pretty big if, in my estimation.

If, on the other hand, they cannot be interviewed in a manner which extracts usable information, if their very presence in prison represents a huge distraction and continual point of contention, then they have no utility as far as I can see. In which case, there is no point in taking prisoners.

And that end requires but a slight change in battlefield procedures.

9/16/2006 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger GeorgeD said...

I respect Chile's Augusto Pinochet more and more every day. He saved Chile and he did what had to be done then he stepped away. He walked a very fine line but he saved a nation. Walking the fine line is what defines morality. Running away from the line is cowardice.

9/16/2006 07:47:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

I think it is time for the civilized nations of the world to functionally define the Geneva Convention and the other layers of international law.

First, we must define and accept a definition of what a nation state conflict is, what a civil war is, and what terrorism is.

Next, we must delineate the treatment offered to nation state combatants, civil war combatants, and terror combatants.

The discussion in the US Senate should not be about redefining the Geneva Convention to permit 'torture' in itself, but to strongly delineate acceptable practices and techniques for each level of combatant. The most lenient would be against those who commit or support acts of violent terror. The most structured would be the treatment offered to nation state combatants defending their own nation.

9/16/2006 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/16/2006 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Ilia Capitolina said...

Teresita,

I’m looking at the map. Afghanistan shares its northern border with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, all of which, I believe host US military bases.

9/16/2006 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

I love it when Cedarford makes blanket statements like:

"70% of American combat ground forces are tied up in Iraq, to a lesser extent Afghanistan rotations."

So, using the Marine Corps as an example. Let us say the USMC has three divisions (they do) and one division is in Iraq (one is) then how does that map to 2/3rds of our force structure - it doesn't. Similar numbers apply (to an even smaller extent) for the Army. The USMC has 25,000 Marines in Iraq - including administrative and support types. That is about 1/7th the total force and 30% of the fighting force.

Lets say things in the ME go to hell in a handbasket. Where else do you want our military forces - in Kansas?

9/16/2006 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/16/2006 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

President Bush (via the US Supreme Court - and before that the Israeli Supreme Court) is now forcing change in the ossified and functionally useless system of International Law.

The current national and international law is like having no delineation between manslaughter and first degree murder. There is no legal differentiation between someone who kills someone in self-defense, or by mistake, or through negligence, and the chap that lures a victim into a pot of stew and starts chomping on the bones; submitting a video tape of his offenses to the media – who then plays it far and wide.

This is a long war. Our (the civilized world) will change its legal system over time to adjust to the realities of terrorism and barbarism. The terrorists will see to it themselves!

9/16/2006 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But fellas, none of those released prisoners were captured by US, so the idea that if we changed battlefield procedures the problems would be solved, is nonsensical.

In Iraq we have consistently held around 20,000 detainees, but the total that have been "Caught and Released" is well over 200,000. The swinging doors of Iraqi justice being what they are.

Should all those Iraqi detainees have simply been shot out of hand?

9/16/2006 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

wretchard said...
"Sometimes I think that we are royally f....d; that there are inner contradictions in our own civilizational model that taken to their ultimate conclusion lead to its self-destruction."

Wretchard, while I share some of your sentiments, you have a strong Spenglerian streak in your pessimism. What I don't understand is why, if you have such a dark view of our "civilizational model", do you want to export it to the Middle East as a solution to their many problems?

If our "model" barely serves our political culture, how well can it be transplanted to a far more alien body? This neocon fantasy of "democratic globalism" died a year ago with Islamist victories in Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon (nothing new in the latter). Are you seriously saying that we are still fighting in Iraq to impose a civilizational model that seems to be failing us?

9/16/2006 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

occam whisker said:

I’m looking at the map. Afghanistan shares its northern border with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, all of which, I believe host US military bases.

That makes the problem worse, those nations are even farther from the sea and access from our carriers and sealift assets. We could fly materiel and combat planes east from Turkey and over Azerbaijan but Turkey proved faithless in 2003 with the 4th ID debacle. No, we're stuck with Ol' Musharraf until we can turn Iran into another no-fly zone and supress all their anti-air.

9/16/2006 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

quig

As a matter of survival the system will have to adjust

It is adjusting. The Pope had well adjusted before this. Now, everybody who hated everything Isalm stood for, but were too afraid to speak out, have a champion.

And so the worm turns.

W
Sometimes I think that we are royally f....d; that there are inner contradictions in our own civilizational model that taken to their ultimate conclusion lead to its self-destruction.

Oh there are. Turning the other cheek to the point of self destruction is not a good model because life's too short, and my genes must prevail.

Christ made a big mistake in trying to save humanity - humanity is not worth saving, if you are prepared to turn the other cheek always - ie, submission.

C4

Vivre la diference. Always enjoy your perspective. Could even be right.

Victory against radical Islam is impossible without an intelligent strategy beyond throwing high tech military toys against them to see what will happen, impossible without defeating their allies, the radical Left.

And who could have thought that the intelligent strategy would emerge with El Papa.

But there is no radical Left anymore, just a bunch of middle left following their 15 minutes of fame.

Don't beat me up, BC'ers, but we may owe the Jihadi headhackers bigtime for helping us to get rid of the Annointed.

ADE

9/16/2006 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"...and the bodies dissolved in acid, in absolute secrecy."

I've always been partial to the idea of burying them in the leaching fields to the urine pits of pig farms in NC or wherever else such places may be found.

9/16/2006 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"Don't beat me up, BC'ers, but we may owe the Jihadi headhackers bigtime for helping us to get rid of the Annointed."

I think you are correct, ADE.

9/16/2006 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Book 'em Benedict,

It's just sinking in on me, but it's clear that El Papa knew exactly what he was doing.


Here


Could he possibly be a Cheney stooge?

I think we should be told.

ADE

9/16/2006 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Ilia Capitolina said...

Teresita,

Pakistan gave nuclear secrets to whatever Jihadi outfit wanting it. There’s absolutely no reason to be stuck with Ol' Musharraf.

150,000 troops aren’t needed in Afghanistan, or Iraq for that matter. It’s enough that every once in a while close US air-to-ground support is provided to whatever fighters we’re temporarily allied with. We need to move past Iraq and deal with Iran, the Saudis, and then move on Pakistan.

But ultimately, IMHO, all of this expensive tinkering is just a waste of time and money dealing with the problem.

9/16/2006 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Musharraf has swallowed the poison pill. The circle is tightening around him and his days are surely numbered. Should prove interesting to speculate how long it will take for the Islamists to leave the pastoral lands and raise the flag, “Allah Akbar” from the capital. Perhaps Iran makes the perfect model, a puppet president surrounded by the surly militia who act under the orders of more sinister theocrats.

9/16/2006 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Cannoneer and Sirius, in general your ideas for the treatment of prisoners may very well come about, but once that is put into play there is little incentive for any surrender on the part of the opposition. this implies that any "prisoners" will simply be taken by main force, information extracted by whatever means including the most extreme torture, and then executed in the most expeditious manner possible. This will surely include any journalists nearby. I expect that these latter will become very scarce on the ground if their colleagues begin to unaccountably disappear. I can speculate about cases in which the journalists could be tortured too, if it looked like they were on a site to film some terrorist event and they seemed to have prior knowledge. Combat soldiers will follow the rules when under journalistic eyes, them that ain't may not. Sometimes that could lead to a removal of the eyes.

9/16/2006 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

Speaking of interrogation techniques,

Just had a long chat with my sister-in-law (40 years married to my late bro, LtC. USAF, ret.) Real conservative gal.

Her son, my neph, lives near some family of Johnny "Mike" Spann in AL. He's the CIA guy killed early in OEF in some god-forsaken hole of a prison in NE Afganistan. Mazar-i-Sharif.

Back then, I always wondered how the prisoners were able to disarm and overpower him...Well, a) he was unarmed and b) they ganged up and BIT him to to death.

Sis relates this was the primary reason for the family's outrage at Arligton. The details of his death were not-revealed for operational security reasons.

So, we the public are not allowed to know our enemy, even when they're indentified and in jail. They are Vampires!

Which means at that point, the decision was not to pulverize the prison after recovering Johnny's body, but instead to evaluate the intel value these captives might represent, given we can't torture them to get them to talk.

Knowing or not knowing the enemy; both paths seemingly lead to Trish's conclusion. We no longer take prisoners! Which is "targeted assasination by group." So, let's get on with it.

Taking NO prisoners makes most all that endless discussion in DC moot.

Or, extreme torture works; just like everyone suspects. One of Rummy's unknown-knowns.

Skip the compassion, thank you. Don't volunteer that emotion, til after the war. The enemy should always, always, always be scared sh*tless, whether captive or not.

Remember, back in 1991 many of these same guys surrendered to news crews, hoping not to be executed on the spot. They gave up expecting and prepared for an Iranian-style incarceration experience.

Thank Powell and his ilk for the sin of not destroying the entirety of Iraq's war-machine. After which, Iran wasn't sending forth empirish signals, as I recall.

9/16/2006 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

Problem is that taking no prisoners means that the fight is to the death. Ask the veterans of Iwo Jima and Okinawa what that is like. Better to have enemy "soldiers" known that surrender is an option. Helps minimize our causalities.

As far as Pakistan goes it gets down to us holding our nose, crossing our fingers and doing some serious hoping that the place doesn't completely turn into another Iran. We will have SERIOUS problems then. Any talk of the US "dealing" with a hostile Pakistan has to deal with the facts: The Paki armed forces, the 7th largest military in the world, are well-trained and well-equipped. Their army is modelled after the British army and has an active strength of 550,000 and another 513,000 men in reserve. It is also a completely volunteer force. It would fight professionally and teniously, making any invasion very costly. Then there is the little matter of the Paki nukes. Like I said, cross your fingers and hope for the best.

9/16/2006 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

3Case said...

"How should prisoners captured on the terrorist battlefield be treated and how long should they be detained? Shot. Promptly."

I disagree. I would define a "terrorist" as a militant who wears no military insignia and commits murderous atrocity against noncombatants with the clear intent of creating terror for political purposes.

An alleged terrorist after capture should be immediately presented before an officially recognized military tribunal where it is determined whether or not the alledged terrorist is indeed a terrorist. After the terrorist's guilt has been established based upon a uniform code of justice, the terrorist should be presented with a binary choice:

Will you provide full cooperation to your interrogators including the volunteering of new information about your terrorist organization?

If the terrorist's answer is "no" then the terrorist should be sentenced to death and promplty executed by some humane means. (I admit at this point that I am confused about the morality of the death penalty). The terrorist's execution should be listed in some public register along with the details of the terrorist's trial (assuming the information has no national security sensitivity).

If the terrorist's answer is "yes" and does indeed provide valid information then the terrorist should be allowed to live while imprisoned at some place like Gitmo. The terrorist should then be regarded as a prisoner of war with treatment strictly following the Geneva Convention.

If the alleged terrorist was found to be not-guilty then the person should be promptly released.

The issue of torture is morally complex. It's unclear to me what should be done with a convicted terrorist who refuses to cooperated but is also known to possess valuable information.

9/16/2006 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Problem is that taking no prisoners means that the fight is to the death.

What evidence have you that this isn't already a fight to the death?

9/16/2006 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Ask the veterans of Iwo Jima and Okinawa what that is like. Better to have enemy "soldiers" known that surrender is an option. Helps minimize our causalities.


Why would you assume that Muslim terrorists have the same set of values and reactions as Japanese? In the last four years, how often have Arabs surrendered in mass to Americans? I can remember a couple of times when they pretended they were going to and once they were close enough they exploded themselves or otherwise attacked.

I think we are slowly slowly inching towards an SOP of "take no prisoners" ... of if we do take prisoners do it for just long enough to find out what they know and then make them ex-prisoners.

In fact I'd be a little amazed if this isn't already the unspoken rule of thumb in Afghanistan and maybe in the outer provinces of Iraq.

And it also makes one wonder what the plan is that the 14 Really Bad Guys were transferred to Gitmo rather than being disappeared in the still-secret CIA places. Who would have missed them? Sometimes I have the horrible sneaking suspicion that who-ever is in charge of planning these things is way-too smart for our own good.

9/16/2006 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

And it also makes one wonder what the plan is that the 14 Really Bad Guys were transferred to Gitmo rather than being disappeared in the still-secret CIA places. Who would have missed them?

Probably the NYTimes, for starters. These people were probably way too high-profile to just simply disagppear without anyone asking any questions. And by bringing them back to Gitmo, the issue is forced: What do we do with these people, just let them go?

9/16/2006 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Nahncee,

You cannot correlate modern Japanese culture to that of WWII...

Japanese ‘surrender’ tactics were very similar to that of Jihadists ‘surrender’ tactics. Have you seen the films of Japanese surrendering in their underwear? That was not because we caught them sleeping or whatever. It was because we had no trust that when Japanese surrendered, they would do so in accordance to the proper wartime conventions. Often they would commit suicide murders. Very often.

And, yes folks. Fewer Japanese were taken prisoner as a result. Many, many, many more Japanese died as a result. And, if you talk to WWII Pacific Theater veterans they talk about mopping up after an attack. Probably many, many, many more Americans died as a result. But we dealt with the reality.

The problem with the Jihadists is that they can be trusted about as much as we could trust SS officers and Japanese Militarists.

There is no trust. In the end, there are no rules. And, yes, it is a fight to the death.

9/16/2006 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I get the feeling that the "War on Terror" can never be fought according to a single set of rules. It's a chaotic battlefield and the idea of imposing a single unitary logical process to it may be impossible. Out in the field and in some cultures what seems plain loco improbably works. But then apply it somewhere else and it fails miserably.

One of the strengths of the al-Qaeda system is it's franchise system. It also thinks globally and acts locally, to use another management buzzword. On the other hand we are fighting war by central planning. We have already made a fetish out of "getting things right from the beginning". Ok. We're on the right track now, but it's too late. In what universe did anybody get everything right from the beginning? The real test is to eventually get things right. To admit errors; make mid course corrections and be flexible. But politics has made that nearly impossible. To admit error, any error today is to face career death, and maybe invite a lawsuit. "You see! You see!" So people hang on to intellectual lifepreservers. The Geneva Conventions. They hoard their memoranda and if they can't get it right, then they stuff them in their pants. They plot and they spin. Maybe the best thing anyone could do is unplug the phone system and disable the Internet. And in that way restore subsidiarity to the realm of action.

9/16/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...

What I’m afraid of is that we’ve inadvertently made things too complicated, too nuanced. The simple fact is, we need to cut them down on a massive scale. We’re already 1400 years behind schedule.

9/16/2006 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

wretchard said...
"I get the feeling that the "War on Terror" can never be fought according to a single set of rules."

Too which my immediate thought is, "duh, well, ya" and that does not stem from what I think you mean as in 'we cannot apply a single set of rules such as the Geneva conventions' but rather it stems from the ridiculous moniker "War on Terror". As we've discussed here numerous times, and it seems most folks agree, we can not wage war on a tactic, and terror is but a tactic used by many different groups. Which brings me to the thought 'who the heck are our enemies'? DR likes to rant about "naming the enemy" but, really, who the f*ck are we fighting? Iraq is such a hodge podge of conflicting groups of people, Al Qaeda is pretty well decimated, the Taliban are in resurgence, and Islam is way to amorphous to be classed as anything like an 'enemy'. Are we really killing a bunch of folks while really just fighing our fear...of terror?

A sidenote: This Pope thing, and the cartoon thing, stikes me as Muslims objecting to the portrayal of their religion as being driven violently. Isn't that what so many demand of 'moderate muslims' to demonstrate their abhorrence of 'violent Islam'?

9/16/2006 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

The violent energy in the reaction to a quote in the Pope's speech is no more than the latest (and a large) demonstration that "moderate Islam" does not exist.

9/16/2006 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/16/2006 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

No, I demand they demonstraint, condemn, and restrain those who commit violence, not threaten those who draw notice to it, and try to explain its origins.

9/16/2006 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

demonstrate

9/16/2006 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger Jacko said...

So you're President General Musharraf; you grew up in the part of the world where respect equals fear, and you've flourished and prospered and clawed to the top of the heap. Truth be told in the Western world's morality you are a murderer, a mafia don, and a thug of such incredible proportion that your position and personna is too large for the word.

And the USA has made you a billionaire; you've siphoned off a great deal of money like everyone knew you would. By now your forays into the mountains for the WOT is bringing you a great deal of bad vibes in your country.

And the weak-kneed, hypocritical American politicians are telling you to hold elections and step down! Meanwhile the American press and half the country is ready to capitulate and cut and run in a fit of guilt and self-loathing.

If you were head of USA, the Iragis who were left would all be cowering for whatever life you wanted to give them. Only fools could have botched this up so badly.

So it's really over now. It's time to make a break with the stupid Americans and get on with running Pakistan, including letting everyone go. One of the next steps is to declare your extended "Presidency." No one will balk. They all know your iron fist keeps the country sane.
-----------------

Ok. What am I missing, and why is any more complex than that?

9/16/2006 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger Ilia Capitolina said...

Spare parts for his US made weapons systems, and a massive US arms deal for India.

9/16/2006 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

"Book 'em Danno" and then what?

James Taranto writes about the problem in his essay, War Inside The Wire and starts by explaining that Guantanamo isn't a prison, as most people understand the term:

"Prisons are about rehabilitation and punishment," Adm. Harris told me in a phone conversation last week, reiterating a point he had made a few days earlier in a briefing for visiting journalists here. "What we are about is keeping enemy combatants off the battlefield. . . . The enemy combatants that we have here were captured on the battlefield or running from the battlefield, and they were engaged in combat operations against Americans, and in many cases killed Americans. What we're trying to do here in Guantanamo is simply keep them off the battlefield, because we know that many of them would go back to the fight."

In fact, Adm. Harris says, many of them have kept fighting even while in captivity. They are carrying out coordinated actions with the apparent goals of disrupting the camp's operations, furthering anti-American propaganda, and wounding and intimidating the servicemen who guard them.


I'll ask the question again: If these people can't be 'turned' to work with us, if we can't interrogate them to extract useful information, if their very existence continues to be an existential threat to others, then why shouldn't the problem be dealt with and eliminated on the field of battle?

9/17/2006 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Two points for clarification, 3rd MarDiv is the reserve component. The active divisions have the better equipment.

The 'take no prisoners order' was in response to the Japanese torture of captured infantry and airmen. This is from my father who was a radioman in a TBF at Iwo.

9/17/2006 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger John Dunshee said...

They should be released as soon as they are properly treated for their affliction.

I believe in their case the treatment consists of the application of chunks of metal at high velocity to the cerebral cortex.

9/17/2006 11:39:00 PM  

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