June 10, 2009

Lawfare strikes again

That sneaking suspicion you've had that no one in the Obama White House understands the first thing about fighting and winning wars? As it turns out, looks like you were right to be worried. The Weekly Standard's blog reports that unlawful combatants -- terrorists, brigands and jihadis -- captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan are being read their Miranda rights

[T]he Obama Justice Department has quietly ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured and held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan, according to a senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.

“The administration has decided to change the focus to law enforcement. Here’s the problem. You have foreign fighters who are targeting US troops today – foreign fighters who go to another country to kill Americans. We capture them…and they’re reading them their rights – Mirandizing these foreign fighters,” says Representative Mike Rogers, who recently met with military, intelligence and law enforcement officials on a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan.

Rogers, a former FBI special agent and U.S. Army officer, says the Obama administration has not briefed Congress on the new policy. “I was a little surprised to find it taking place when I showed up because we hadn’t been briefed on it, I didn’t know about it. We’re still trying to get to the bottom of it, but it is clearly a part of this new global justice initiative.”

That effort, which elevates the FBI and other law enforcement agencies and diminishes the role of intelligence and military officials, was described in a May 28 Los Angeles Times article.

The FBI and Justice Department plan to significantly expand their role in global counter-terrorism operations, part of a U.S. policy shift that will replace a CIA-dominated system of clandestine detentions and interrogations with one built around transparent investigations and prosecutions.

Under the "global justice" initiative, which has been in the works for several months, FBI agents will have a central role in overseas counter-terrorism cases. They will expand their questioning of suspects and evidence-gathering to try to ensure that criminal prosecutions are an option, officials familiar with the effort said.

Thanks in part to the popularity of law and order television shows and movies, many Americans are familiar with the Miranda warning – so named because of the landmark 1966 Supreme Court case Miranda vs. Arizona that required police officers and other law enforcement officials to advise suspected criminals of their rights.

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense.

A lawyer who has worked on detainee issues for the U.S. government offers this rationale for the Obama administration’s approach. “If the US is mirandizing certain suspects in Afghanistan, they’re likely doing it to ensure that the treatment of the suspect and the collection of information is done in a manner that will ensure the suspect can be prosecuted in a US court at some point in the future.”

But Republicans on Capitol Hill are not happy. “When they mirandize a suspect, the first thing they do is warn them that they have the 'right to remain silent,’” says Representative Pete Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. “It would seem the last thing we want is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or any other al-Qaeda terrorist to remain silent. Our focus should be on preventing the next attack, not giving radical jihadists a new tactic to resist interrogation--lawyering up.”

According to Mike Rogers, that is precisely what some human rights organizations are advising detainees to do. “The International Red Cross, when they go into these detention facilities, has now started telling people – ‘Take the option. You want a lawyer.’”

Can you imagine what World War II would have been like with these clowns in charge?

POWs are not entitled to lawyers, access to the American criminal justice system, or the same protections afforded to criminals; they are protected by the Geneva Conventions, provided their nations are signatories to the treaty.

POWs are not entitled to Miranda warnings. POWs have a different set of obligations than do criminals: POWs are honor-bound to resist, to escape, and to kill the enemy.

Criminals, not so much.

Notwithstanding the bleatings of the Left, terrorists, brigands and other unlawful combatants are not members of a uniformed military fielded by a recognized nation-state. As such, they cannot be -- and indeed are not -- signatories to the Geneva Conventions, and are therefore afforded none of its protections.

Unlawful combatants may be summarily executed under the laws of war; to grant them the full protections of the American criminal justice system is not to treat them the same as POWS; rather, it is to treat them better than POWS, better than soldiers fighting honorably in uniform and under the flag of a recognized nation.

If the rationale for ratifying the Geneva Conventions is to seek better treatment of your POWs, and even better treatment is afforded to terrorists who were never signatories to the treaties, then it would seem that there's little reason to seek the lesser protections of the Conventions.

And so we come to the (perhaps) unintended consequences of this dangerous policy: The American people at home, and the GIs fighting on our behalf overseas, are placed at risk, because the interrogations that save lives become Verboten! as a result of lawyers telling their terrorist clients to keep their mouths shut.

And so the GIs in the field are faced with the unappetizing and dangerous prospect of capturing prisoners, shepherding them back to the POW camps ... and being sued. Or killed after the evidence against them is suppressed, thrown out of court, and the jihadis return to the battlefield to resume the fight against American troops.

Can you think of a better incentive for our GIs to simply refuse to take prisoners?

This is no way to fight a war.

But it is how Pres. Obama wages lawfare.

Posted by Mike Lief at June 10, 2009 11:59 PM | TrackBack


limbaugh is quoting obama on his march 22 *2009* interview on '60 minutes':"now, do these folks deserve miranda rights? (...) of course not."

didn't think it was possible, but obama is evidently an even bigger sociopath than bubba was. clinton lied because it was more interesting to do so, but once in awhile he'd tell the truth - you know, keep 'em guessin'. obama....evidently **every single thing** he says is a lie, including 'the' and 'of'. what's the word i want? 'stalinesque'?

good job there, democrat voters. may posterity forget you were our countrymen.

Posted by: nom de guerre at June 11, 2009 06:08 PM

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