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Did the USA win the war on terror ?


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Did the USA win the war on terror ?

 

President George W. Bush signed a law on Tuesday (October 17) authorizing tough interrogation and prosecution of terrorism suspects. Human rights groups charge that 'The Military Commissions Act of 2006' would allow harsh techniques bordering on torture, such as sleep deprivation and induced hypothermia.The American Civil Liberties Union called the new law 'one of the worst civil liberties measures ever enacted in American history.'

 

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http://democrats.senate.gov/dpc/dpc-new.cf...me=lb-109-2-145

 

 

Summary

 

 

 

S. 3930, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, would authorize the President to establish military commissions for the trial of alien unlawful enemy combatants. The bill would authorize the Secretary of Defense to convene military commissions and, in concert with the Attorney General to establish the rules and procedures governing military commissions. S. 3930 also revises the War Crimes Act and would amend the Habeas Corpus provisions of the United States Code.

 

 

 

Major Provisions

 

 

 

SUBCHAPTER 1- General Provisions

 

 

 

Authorization for the establishment of military commissions. S. 3930 would establish the authority of the President to establish military commissions for the trial of alien unlawful enemy combatants engaged in hostilities against the United States for violations of the law of war, as provided in chapter 47 of title 10, United States Code. It would recognize the authority of the military commission to impose an appropriate sentence upon any person found guilty and would authorize the Secretary of Defense to carry out a sentence of punishment imposed by a military commission. S. 3930 would require the Secretary of Defense to submit an annual report to Congress on any trials conducted by military commissions.

 

 

 

Unlawful enemy combatant. S. 3930 would define an unlawful enemy combatant as: 1) ?a person who has engaged in hostilities against the U.S. or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the U.S. or its co-belligerents who is not a lawful enemy combatant (including a person who is part of the Taliban, al Qaeda or associated forces)?; or 2) ?a person who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [December 30, 2005] has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense.?

 

 

 

In effect, S. 3930 would presume that any ?person who is part of the Taliban, al Qaeda, or associated forces? is an unlawful enemy combatant ? regardless of whether that person meets the test of engaging in hostilities against the United States or purposefully and materially supporting such hostilities. The bill would also allow the use of a Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) determination for the purposes of classifying an individual as unlawful enemy combatant, even though CSRT determinations may be based on evidence that would be excluded as unreliable by a military commission.

 

 

 

Construction of provisions. S. 3930 would establish that the procedures for trial by general courts martial under chapter 47 of this title (the Uniform Code of Military Justice) are not binding on military commissions. The legislation requires the Secretary of Defense to apply these rules only when he considers it practicable to do so.

 

 

 

Rulings and Precedents. The bill would prohibit the rulings of military commissions from being introduced, considered or used as a precedent in any court-martial hearing convened under chapter 47.

 

 

 

Common Article 3. The bill would establish that military commissions will provide all the necessary ?judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples,? in accordance with Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

 

 

 

Geneva Conventions. The bill would prohibit an alien enemy unlawful combatant from invoking the Geneva Conventions as a source of rights during his trial by a military commission.

 

 

 

Jurisdiction. The bill would provide military commissions the jurisdiction to try any offense made punishable by this chapter (articles 904 and 906 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice) or the law of war by an alien unlawful enemy before, on, or after September 11, 2001.

 

 

 

SUBCHAPTER II ? Composition of Military Commissions

 

 

 

Convening military commissions. S. 3930 would authorize the Secretary of Defense, or his designee, to convene military commissions.

 

 

 

Members of military commissions. S. 3930 would authorize any commissioned officer of the armed forces on active duty (including commissioned officers of the National Guard and reserve components called to active duty as well as retired commissioned officers recalled to active duty to be eligible to serve on a military commission). The bill would direct the convening authority to determine the members best qualified to serve by reason of age, education, training, experience, and judicial temperament. It would disqualify any officer who is the accuser or a witness for the prosecution as well as any member who has acted as an investigator or counsel on the case. S. 3930 would require that a military commission must have at least five members.

 

 

 

Military judge. The bill would instruct the Secretary of Defense to detail a military judge to preside over a military commission. It would define those eligible to serve as follows: a commissioned officer of the armed forces who is a member of the bar of a federal court or the highest court of a state, and who is certified to be qualified under Article 26 of the Uniform Code of Justice as a military judge. It would disqualify any officer who is the accuser or a witness for the prosecution as well as any member who has acted as an investigator or counsel on the case. The bill would prohibit the judge from consulting with commission members or counsel outside the presence of the accused. The judge would also be ineligible to vote with commission members.

 

 

 

Trial Counsel and Defense Counsel. S. 3930 would call on the Secretary of Defense to prescribe regulations for detailing members of the trial and defense counsel. The trial counsel would have to be either 1) a judge advocate who is a graduate of an accredited law school or is a member of the bar of a federal court or highest state court and is certified as competent to serve by the Judge Advocate General; or 2) a civilian who is a member of the bar of a federal court or highest state court or otherwise qualified to serve according to the Secretary?s regulations. The defense counsel for a military commission would have to be a judge advocate as defined above.

 

 

 

Court reporters and interpreters. The bill would allow, pursuant to rules prescribed by the Secretary of Defense, the convening authority of a military commission to detail to or employ qualified interpreters and/or court reporters for military commissions. The transcript of the court record shall remain under the control of the convening authority of the commission.

 

 

 

SUBCHAPTER III ? Pre-Trial Procedure

 

 

 

Charges and specifications. The bill would require that charges be filed under oath before a commissioned officer of the armed forces. After the swearing of the charges and specifications, the bill would require that the accused be informed of these charges as soon as practicable. S. 3930 would also require that a copy of the charges be provided to the accused and the military defense counsel with sufficient advance time to prepare a defense.

 

 

 

Compulsory self-incrimination. S. 3930 would prohibit a person from being required to testify against himself.

 

 

 

Statements obtained before the enactment of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005. Statements obtained before December 30, 2005, in which the degree of coercion is in question, would only be admitted if the military judge finds that: 1) the totality of the circumstances renders it reliable and possessing sufficient probative value; and 2) the interests of justice would best be served by admission of the statement of evidence.

 

 

 

Statements obtained after the enactment of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005. Statements obtained on or after December 30, 2005 in which the degree of coercion is in question, would be admitted only if the military judge finds that, in addition to the terms of 1) and 2) as stated above, the interrogation methods used to obtain the statement do not violate the cruel, unusual, or inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

 

 

 

In effect, S. 3930 would permit the use of statements obtained by interrogation methods that violate the cruel, unusual, or inhumane treatment protections under the U.S. Constitution, if those statements were obtained prior to December 30, 2005.

 

 

 

SUBCHAPTER IV ? Trial Procedure

 

 

 

Procedures and rules of evidence. S. 3930 would authorize the Secretary of Defense or his designee, in consultation with the Attorney General, to prescribe the procedures and rules of evidence for military commissions. The bill would require the Secretary to apply the general courts-martial procedures and rules to military commissions only when he considers these to be practicable.

 

 

 

The bill?s approach on the procedures for rules and evidence is inconsistent with the Supreme Court?s ruling in the Hamdan case, which held that the procedures and rules applicable in trials by general courts martial would apply in trials by military commissions, allowing certain exceptions determined by the Secretary of Defense to be necessary to address the unique circumstances of military and intelligence operations.

 

 

 

While allowing the Secretary to make exceptions to general courts-martial procedures, the bill would require that the procedures and rules of evidence in military commission trials include the following provisions:

 

 

 

* the accused would be permitted to present evidence in his defense, cross examine witnesses who testify against him, and respond to evidence submitted against him;

 

* the accused would be present at all sessions of the military commission (except in cases outlined in the 949d, the ?sessions? section below);

 

* the accused would have the right to the assistance of counsel; and

 

* the accused would have the right to self-representation.

 

 

 

The bill would provide the accused with the right to ?respond to evidence admitted against him;? it would not provide him with the right to see all of the evidence considered by the military commission for determining guilt or innocence in sentencing.

 

 

 

S. 3930 would authorize the Secretary of Defense to prescribe the following provisions in establishing the rules and procedures of evidence:

 

 

 

* evidence would be admissible if the military judge determines that the evidence would have probative value;

 

* evidence would not be excluded from trial on the grounds that it was not obtained with a search warrant; and

 

* hearsay evidence, which is not otherwise admissible in general courts martial would be admitted in military commission so long as the adverse party is informed in advance that the evidence will be offered in sufficient time to prepare a response. Hearsay evidence would not be admitted if the party opposing the submission demonstrates that the evidence is unreliable or lacks probative value.

 

 

 

The bill effectively would authorize the use of evidence that is seized without a warrant both outside the United States and within the United States.

 

 

 

Congressional notification. S. 3930 would require the Secretary of Defense to inform Congressional committees of changes in procedures governing military commissions, no later than 60 days before the date on which any proposed modifications would go into effect.

 

 

 

Unlawfully influencing action of military commission. S. 3930 would prohibit the authority convening a military commission from censuring, admonishing, or reprimanding the members, counsel, or judge of the commission with respect to its findings or actions. It would prohibit anyone from attempting to coerce or influence the actions of a military commission. The bill also states that the performance and actions of any member of a military commission would not be used to evaluate that officer?s effectiveness, fitness, or efficiency.

 

 

 

Trial counsel and defense counsel. The bill would instruct the trial counsel to prosecute in the name of the United States. It would require that the accused be represented by military counsel or by civilian counsel. S. 3930 would require that civilian counsel have clearance to access classified evidence at the level of secret or higher and instructs military counsel to serve as associate counsel to civilian defense counsel.

 

 

 

Sessions without the presence of members. S. 3930 would authorize the military judge to call the commission into session without the presence of members in a number of circumstances, and specifies that only members may be present during a deliberation or vote. The bill would authorize the military judge to close to the public all or portions of the proceedings of the military commission only upon making a specific finding that closure is required to 1) protect information that could jeopardize national security, or 2) ensure the physical safety of individuals. The bill would authorize the military judge to exclude the accused from any portion of proceedings to ensure the physical safety of individuals and to prevent disruptions.

 

 

 

National security privilege. S. 3930 would require that classified information be protected if disclosure would be detrimental to national security.

 

 

 

Disclosure of classified information. The bill would authorize the trial counsel to object to any question, line or inquiry or motion to commit evidence that would require the disclosure of classified information and instructs the military judge to take action suitable to safeguard the information. The bill would identify alternatives to disclosure for classified information and also would authorize the protection of sources, methods, or activities for otherwise admissible evidence if these sources, methods, or activities are classified and the evidence is determined to be reliable.

 

 

 

Additional regulations. S. 3930 would authorize the Secretary of Defense to prescribe additional regulations, consistent with this subsection, for the use and protection of classified information so long as the Secretary informs congressional committees of any modifications not later 60 days before the changes would take effect.

 

 

 

Conviction. The bill would authorize a conviction only in the instances only if the accused enters a guilty plea or with the concurrence of two-thirds of the members of the commission present at the time the vote is taken.

 

 

 

Record. S. 3930 would require that a complete record of the proceedings and testimony be prepared and authenticated by the military judge. The record may contain a classified annex.

 

 

 

SUBCHAPTER V ? Sentences

 

 

 

The bill would prohibit cruel and unusual punishments and would prohibit any punishment in excess of the limits prescribed by the President or Secretary of Defense for that offense. It would authorize the Secretary of Defense to prescribe a sentence of confinement in a place of confinement under the control of any of the armed forces or any penal or correctional institutions under control of the United States and its allies.

 

 

 

SUBCHAPTER VI ? Post-Trial Procedure and Review of Military Commissions

 

 

 

Review by convening authority. S. 3930 would allow the accused to submit matters for consideration to the convening authority with respect to the military commissions? findings and sentencing. The bill would provide the convening authority with the sole discretion to modify the findings and sentence of a military commission to approve, disapprove, commute, or suspend the sentence in whole or part. However, it would prohibit the convening authority from increasing a sentence beyond what is recommended by the military commission. S. 3930 also would authorize the convening authority to order a revision or a rehearing.

 

 

 

Court of Military Commission Review. The bill would authorize the Secretary of Defense to establish a Court of Military Commission Review to be composed of at least three appellate military judges. The Court would have exclusive jurisdiction to determine the validity of a final judgment of a military commission based on the standards and procedures specified in this chapter and, when applicable, the Constitution and laws of the United States.

 

 

 

Appellate review. The legislation would require an automatic referral for appellate review by the Court of Military Commission Review.

 

 

 

Appeal by the United States. S. 3930 would authorize the United States to take an appeal to the Court of Military Commission Review.

 

 

 

Execution of sentence of death. The bill would require approval of the President to execute a death sentence handed down by a military commission. It would authorize the President to commute, remit, or suspend the sentence as he sees fit.

 

 

 

SUBCHAPTER VII ? Punitive Matters

 

 

 

Crimes triable by military commissions. S. 3930 would identify the following offenses as triable by military commissions: murder of protected persons; attacking civilians; attacking civilian objects; attacking protected property; pillaging; denying quarter; taking hostages; employing poison or similar weapons; using protected persons as a shield; torture; cruel and inhuman treatment; intentionally causing bodily injury; mutilating or maiming; murder in violation of the law of war; destruction of property in violation of the law of war; using treachery or perfidy; improperly using a flag of truce; improperly using a distinctive emblem; intentionally mistreating a dead body; rape; sexual assault or abuse; hijacking or hazarding a vessel or aircraft; terrorism; providing material support for terrorism; wrongfully aiding the enemy; and spying conspiracy.

 

 

 

Treaty obligations not establishing grounds for certain claims. S. 3930 would prohibit a person from invoking the Geneva Conventions or related protocols as a source of rights in a habeas corpus petition or other civil action brought in a United States court (state, territory, or federal) to which the United States, or current or former employee/officer/armed forces member/agent, is a party.

 

 

 

The legislation, for the purposes of this section, defines the ?Geneva Conventions? as the: Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field (6 UST 3114); Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded, Sick, and Shipwrecked Members of the Armed Forces at Sea (6 UST 3217); Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (6 UST 3316); and Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (6 UST 3516).

 

 

 

Revision to War Crimes Offense under federal criminal code. S. 3930 would narrow the War Crimes Offense (18 USCS ? 2441) by striking part of the current definition of the term ?war crimes? which reads:

 

 

 

© which constitutes a violation of common Article 3 of the international conventions signed at Geneva, 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party and which deals with non-international armed conflict;

 

 

 

It would replace that subsection with:

 

 

 

© which constitutes a grave breach of common Article 3 (as defined in subsection (d)) when committed in the context of and in association with an armed conflict not of an international character; (emphasis added)

 

 

 

S. 3930 would add subsection (d) to the War Crimes Offense to enumerate and further define conduct that would constitute a ?grave breach? of common Article 3: torture, cruel and inhuman treatment, performing biological experiments, murder, mutilation or maiming, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, rape, sexual assault or abuse, and taking hostages (does not apply to wartime prisoner exchanges).

 

 

 

Cruel and inhuman treatment would include inflicting ?serious physical pain or suffering,? which, for the purposes of subsection (d), means bodily injury that involves substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, a serious burn or disfigurement, or significant loss or functional impairment of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty. Further, ?serious mental pain or suffering,? in the cruel and inhuman treatment definition, for the purposes of subsection (d) would have the same meaning as ?severe mental pain or suffering? (defined in another section of Title 18) save that ?serious? would replace ?severe? and, as to conduct that occurs after this Act is enacted, ?serious and non-transitory mental harm (which need not be prolonged)? would replace ?prolonged mental harm.?

 

 

 

The bill would also define several other terms as they are defined in other parts of Title 18 of the United States Code.

 

 

 

The new subsection (d) would also specify that the standard of intent required for grave breaches, especially murder, mutilation or maiming, or intentionally causing serious bodily harm, precludes offenses caused by collateral damage or death, damage, or injury incident to a lawful attack.

 

 

 

The bill?s changes to the War Crimes Offense would apply retroactively to November 27, 1997, except as to the ?serious mental pain or suffering? definition within the context of Cruel and Inhuman Treatment.

 

 

 

Additional prohibition on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. S. 3930 would further prohibit cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of persons in the custody or under the physical control of the U.S. government, regardless of nationality or physical location. The legislation requires the President to take actions necessary to ensure compliance, including establishing administrative rules and procedures.

 

 

 

The bill would define ?cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment? as it is prohibited in the by the Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, defined in the U.S. Reservations, Declarations and Understandings to the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (December 10, 1984).

 

 

 

Implementation of treaty obligations. S. 3930 would establish that the grave breaches and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishments identified by the legislation constitute violations of common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

 

 

 

The legislation would establish that the amended War Crimes Offense fully satisfies the U.S. obligation under Article 129 of the Third Geneva Convention (the Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, done at Geneva August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3316).

 

 

 

The measure would prohibit US Courts from using foreign or international law as a basis for interpreting conduct listed in the grave breaches section of the War Crimes Offense (subsection (d)).

 

 

 

S. 3930 would both recognize the President?s inherent authority under the Constitution and authorize the President to interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions and to establish higher standards and administration regulations for violations of treaty obligations, including those which do not rise to the level of grave breaches. The legislation would order the President to publish those interpretations in the Federal Register as an Executive Order. Any such Order would be authoritative as a matter of U.S. law, with the exception of changes to the definition of grave breaches. The legislation states, however, that nothing in the section pertaining to the interpretation by the President is meant to affect the constitutional functions and responsibilities of Congress and the judicial branch.

 

 

 

?Geneva Conventions? is defined the same as in Sec. 5. Treaty Obligations Not Establishing Grounds For Certain Claims, except that the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, done at Geneva August 12, 1949 is referenced as 6 UST 3217 in this section.

 

 

 

Habeas Corpus matters. S. 3930 would amend the Habeas Corpus provisions of the United States Code to strip U.S. courts of jurisdiction to hear or consider a writ of habeas corpus (petition to seek release from unlawful detention) by or on the behalf of an alien detained by the U.S. who has been determined by the U.S. to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.

 

 

 

The legislation would also strip U.S. courts of jurisdiction to hear or consider any other action against the U.S. or its agents relating to the detention, transfer, treatment, trial, or conditions of confinement of an alien who is or was detained by the U.S. and has been determined by the U.S. to be properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.

 

 

 

These changes would take effect on the date of enactment and would apply to all cases, without exception, pending on or after the date of enactment.

 

 

 

Revisions to Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 relating to protection of certain United States government personnel. S. 3930 would amend the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 section that provides government personnel with legal counsel. Currently, it reads:

 

 

 

(cool.gif Counsel. The United States Government may provide or employ counsel, and pay counsel fees, court costs, bail, and other expenses incident to the representation of an officer, employee, member of the Armed Forces, or other agent described in subsection (a), with respect to any civil action or criminal prosecution arising out of practices described in that subsection, under the same conditions, and to the same extent, to which such services and payments are authorized under section 1037 of title 10, United States Code. (emphasis added)

 

 

 

The bill would strike ?may provide? and insert ?shall provide.? It would insert ?or investigation? after ?criminal prosecution.? After ?described in that subsection,? it would insert, ?whether before United States courts or agencies, foreign courts or agencies, or international courts or agencies.?

 

 

 

Further, the legislation would apply the new counsel section with respect to any criminal prosecution that:

 

 

 

* relates to the detention and interrogation of aliens (?who [, according to the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005,] the President or his designees have determined are believed to be engaged in or associated with international terrorist activity that poses a serious, continuing threat to the United States, its interests, or its allies, and that were officially authorized and determined to be lawful at the time that they were conducted?) ;

 

* is grounded in the amended War Crimes Offense (constitutes a grave breach of common Article 3 section); and

 

* relates to actions occurring between 9/11/01 and 12/30/05.

 

 

 

Review of judgments of military commissions. S. 3930 would amend the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, Judicial Review of Detention of Enemy Combatants section, to strike the current grant of review section which reads:

 

 

 

(cool.gif Grant of review.--Review under this paragraph-- (i) with respect to a capital case or a case in which the alien was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 10 years or more, shall be as of right; or (ii) with respect to any other case, shall be at the discretion of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

 

 

 

The bill would replace it with an unconditional, ?(cool.gif Grant of Review. Review under this paragraph shall be as of right.?

 

 

 

Further the legislation would amend the limitation on appeals section which currently reads:

 

 

 

© Limitation on appeals.--The jurisdiction of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit under this paragraph shall be limited to an appeal brought by or on behalf of an alien-- (i) who was, at the time of the proceedings pursuant to the military order referred to in subparagraph (A), detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and(ii) for whom a final decision has been rendered pursuant to such military order. (emphasis added)

 

 

 

The legislation would strike both references to ?pursuant to the military order'' and insert ``by a military commission.? It would also strike the limitation to persons detained ``at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.''

 

 

 

The legislation would also strike the reference to a military order in the scope of review section and replace it with a reference to a military commission.

 

 

 

Detention Covered By Review of Decisions of Combatant Status Review Tribunals of Propriety of Detention. Last, S. 3930 would amend the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 to allow the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit jurisdiction over appeals from decisions made by the Combatant Status Review Tribunal with respect to aliens who are being held by the United States, as opposed to just the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay.

 

 

 

Legislative History

 

 

 

S. 3930 was introduced by Senator McConnell and others on Friday, September 22, 2006. Using the procedures under Rule XIV, the bill was placed on the Legislative Calendar.

 

 

 

On Monday, September 25, 2006, Senator Frist offered a modified version of S. 3930 as an amendment (S.A. 5036) to H.R. 6061, the Secure Fence Act of 2006, and filed a cloture motion on his amendment. On Wednesday, September 27, 2006, an agreement was reached for the consideration of S. 3930. As a result of the consent agreement, the cloture vote on the Frist amendment to the Secure Fence Act was vitiated.

 

 

 

On Wednesday, September 27, 2006, when the Senate began consideration of S. 3930, a substitute amendment (S.A. 5085) was considered and agreed to as original text for the purpose of further amendment. Other than any managers? amendment which is to be cleared by both managers and Leaders Frist and Reid, the consent agreement for amendments to S. 3930 allows for the following amendments to remain in order:

 

 

 

Levin amendment ? 2 hours of debate equally divided (not agreed to, 43-54);

 

Rockefeller amendment ? 1 hour of debate equally divided;

 

Kennedy amendment ? 1 hour of debate equally divided;

 

Byrd amendment ? 1 hour of debate equally divided; and

 

Specter amendment ? 2 hours of debate equally divided.

 

 

 

In addition to debate on amendments, there are 3 hours of general debate time, equally divided.

 

 

 

Statement of Administration Policy

 

 

 

As the time of publication, no Statement of Administration Policy had been issued by the White House for S. 3930, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 as introduced in the Senate. Barring amendments agreed to, the administration is expected to support the bill.

 

 

 

Expected Amendments

 

 

 

The Specter amendment would strike the habeas corpus provisions. The Byrd-Obama amendment would establish a 5 year sunset of President's authority to convene new military commissions. The Kennedy-Feinstein amendment would require that the Department of State notify other signatories to the Geneva Conventions that the United States will consider designated practices violations of Common Article 3 when committed against Americans. The list of practices, which is not exhaustive, consists of practices specifically prohibited by the Army Field Manual. The Rockefeller amendment would provide for congressional oversight of CIA activities.

 

 

 

The Levin amendment would have substitute the current bill with the bill reported by the Senate Armed Services Committee. On September 27, 2006, the amendment was not agreed to, on a 43-54 vote.

 

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No. I think will never. We have to live with it forever.

USA did not win war on terror. USA or whoever else shall never win such a war. Just because it is not a war, it is a consequence of human dialectic. Religion and geopolitic are the very true problems within this dialectic. For this, solutions are very few if not none in the current circumstances.

Humans should learn thinking before attacking.

 

 

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I know it's now a clich? now, but the current situation, especially in the UK and the USA, is beginning to look like 1984... The whole "enemy will get you if you don't support us" thing, as well as intermitent explosions of rocket bombs to make sure they realise it and the depiction of the enemy/foreigners as disgusting savages... All one needs to do is change IngSoc to IngCap and the Party organisation to the membership board of multinational business conglomerates...

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Did the USA win the war on terror ?

 

Pfff nar.

 

To date, the USA has only acted against Al Qaeda, fair enough, it may be an international organisation. But to win a war on global terror, they would surely have to do something about other terrorist organiasations. There is over 40 major terrorist organisation across the world. But has the US done anything about terrorists within Europe. There are about 7 terrorist groups within Europe. But no action was taken, there. Plus, all the action that the US has taken was in the oil rich middle east. dry.gif

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This is an unconventional conflict that is (at east publicly) being fought conventionally. This will put some fingers in the the cracking dam, but will not solve the problem in the longer-term. The US war in Iraq has turned into a war on terrorism in Iraq when it didn't have to be that way. Like most people, I disliked Saddam Hussein, but I do think the US leaders dropped the ball by attacking there (if their main aim was to destroy Al-Qaida and International Terrorism). However, now that the hornet's nest has been sirred up there I think they HAVE to fight a "War on terrorism" in Iraq and THAT war CAN be fought in a semi-conventional manner because it is geographically "contained".. as compared to other types of terrorism out there at the moment (although politically I think it is becoming more unlikely that the US can win... although M-S I'd like to hear what you think about that since you are going there soon). The US plan to win "hearts and minds" was I think a good one. This is the same kind of thing that NATO is trying to do in Afghanistan at the moment. That too seems to be getting tougher. One problem, at least as reported by Canadian press, is that most NATO members are unwilling to put themselves too much in harm's way. The Brits, Americans and Canadians in Afghanistan are fighting in the most dangerous areas (Canadians in Kandahar) while other NATO forces have refused to send troops to such dangerous locations. So there are problems with the conventional approach if everyone is not on the same page.

 

Canadians in Afghanistan had the right idea for awhile and were going into towns and rebuilding infrastructure and making friends with local leaders and townspeople. Their newer mandate has them busy making excursions into the mountains on seek and destroy missions against al-qaida and Taliban fighters.

 

On the whole however, I think the West will continue to have this kind of trouble in the world as long as there exists a perception in other parts of the world that the West (especially the USA) have their fingers in everyone else's pie just to fatten themselves up, to buy their oil at the lowest price, and the ensure that those low prices continue to exist by propping up corrupt governments. I'm not alleging that this is the deliberate US policy (simply because I'm trying not to say my personal feelings), but many in the world BELIEVE this is US policy and that breeds extremism amongst young men who feel their own land and wealth is being raped, etc. etc.

 

LONG TERM STRUCTURAL change is necessary in order to "win" the war on terror. Winning the war on terror will not mean that there is a final decisive battle, it will mean that things have changed enough and slowly, so that few enough people feel the need to turn to extremism that their efforts can no longer be successful...

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The goverment's of the world are winning "the war on terror". They can be as authoritarian as they like and attribute it to the danger of Al Qaeda and everyday PEOPLE lose more of their rights over a phantom enemy who might as well be Goldstein. The WAR ON TERROR will end with One World Government

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The goverment's of the world are winning "the war on terror".  They can be as authoritarian as they like and attribute it to the danger of Al Qaeda and everyday PEOPLE lose more of their rights over a phantom enemy who might as well be Goldstein.  The WAR ON TERROR will end with One World Government

I think it's kind of unfortunate that we are so cynical that many people actually believe this sort of thing. I'm a conservative, in the American sense - that is, I support smaller government whenever possible, less spending, and overall less government interference in the everyday lives of the public.

 

However, I am also a firm believer in national security. In fact at this point it's the only issue I care to elect a Congressional or Presidential candidate by. Why? Because 9/11 was probably the worst tragedy in modern American history, and it demonstrates the damage even a small group of committed fanatics can do with relatively meager resources. All the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 had were some plane tickets, some chain emails, a few months flight training, and box cutters. That's it guys. That's all it took to kill almost 3,000 people.

 

The real danger in the modern age, in my opinion, is terrorists who achieve a level of state sponsorship such that they can be provided WMDs, nuclear, chemical or biological weapons which they can use against us with tremendous effect. In retrospect we were quite lucky on 9/11 than only a few thousand were killed, given the potential scale of the attacks.

 

The War on Terrorism is not "BS." I agree that it's been hyped and politicized to a ridiculous degree, with terrorists apparently under every rock - however, we shouldn't allow that to distract us from the very real threat out there. Since 9/11 there have been hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of international terrorist assets frozen, hundreds dead in bombings and small scale attacks across the Muslim world, two full scale invasions undertaken by the US in direct relation to the war on terror, and dozens of smaller domestic plots thwarted. Unfortunately, Al-Qaeda and its ilk are very real, all too real, and yet too nebulous to attack and defeat with a military sweep. Iraq pretty much proves this beyond a doubt. We can't occupy a country hoping to control terrorism - in actuality this is exactly what bin Laden & Co. want.

 

Tamurin asked what would a world look like in which Al-Qaeda achieved its goals. Well, in order to explain that we first need to explain what AQ actually is. Before 9/11 it was a localized terrorist group in Afghanistan, sponsored by the Taliban fundamentalist government in return for sizable donations and security support. Osama bin Laden was their nominal leader, with such men as Ayman al-Zawahiri (educated, scholarly men) serving as the main planners and propagandists. After 9/11, the US invasion of Afghanistan produced a lot of major disruption and displaced a lot of the AQ fighters. They fled into the tribal regions of Pakistan's western border, or were killed.

 

However AQ has actually become far more dangerous, as it is now adopting a twofold strategy. The first is "cyber-jihad" or "borderless warfare." This allows its ideology (which I'll get to in a second) to spread aggressively via the internet and convert individuals who are living in other countries. The second is "ethnic warfare" in which AQ sends out recruiters and agents into local areas to try to convince local peoples that the jihad against the West and against the corrupt governments of the Middle East is an issue of race or ethnicity. In this manner they've co-opted the Pashtun peoples in Afghanistan-Pakistan and the Sunni minority in Iraq.

 

So that's a glimpse of who they are, but what are they fighting for? It's actually very simple, chillingly simple. What the global radical Islamist movement wants is to unite the Muslim faith by waging jihad or holy war against infidels, non-converts. They want to spread Islam across the areas which were all under Persian or Muslim control about 500 years ago. They want a unified Islamic state which encompasses all Muslims, and drives out the corrupting Western influences. They have a rather black and white world view which supports any means necessary (including and heavily reliant on terrorism) to put large amounts of territory in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia under Islamic control.

 

This is what they are referring to when they say they want a Caliphate. This would be a large Islamic super-state which would control most if not all of the world's Muslim population. (Remember these people are extremists, they do not represent the majority of Muslim world opinion, but they are getting sympathy from Muslims who see the war against terrorism as a war against Islam!) The Caliphate would be a theocracy similar to Iran, however AQ and most of the spearhead groups are Sunni in nature, for whatever reason. They also consider "apostates" and Muslims with factional differences (like the Shiites) as enemies who will sometimes need to be killed in order to save the faith as a whole. However, the main enemies remain Europeans, Americans and Jews.

 

After the establishment of a Caliphate it's not unlikely that its leaders would assess the possibility of spreading Islam through further wars against its neighbors, but hopefully we do not want to even let it get that far. I say this because the Caliphate the extremists want would be a monstrously oppressive form of government without freedom of speech, without women's rights, where all knowledge would be taught within a strictly fundamentalist religious context and the government would control most of the freedoms which we take for granted.

 

I don't have the time to go in depth on every facet of the war on terrorism. Certainly there have been mistakes in its prosecutions, which will be costly in the long run. And yes, there are going to be politicians who will ride this wave just as there were those who rode the wave of anti-communism before this. BUT - you can't just write off this war as an imaginary conflict, one our government has made up purely to take advantage of us. It's simply not true, the threat does exist and it is out there. Part of the reason we have not suffered another serious attack on US soil since 9/11 has to do with the aggressive counter-terrorist policies pursued immediately after it (although we are not becoming more lax and drifting away from the policies which were effective a few years ago, and the terrorists for their part are learning too!)

 

Question all you want, it's important to question your government. But before you go and say "This war is a crock of sh*t" you need to consider that if you were living under the Caliphate which our enemies want to establish, you could have your tongue ripped out or be stoned to death for voicing the same exact criticisms.

 

Edit: On the actual question, I'd say "no" we are not winning the war on terrorism. Of course this is relative, all of it is. What I will say is that it is better now that we are actually fighting the terrorists back, whereas during the 1990s AQ and its ilk had declared war on the West (not just America, but UK and all of Europe and Russia as well...) but we were not fighting back. That's a big part of the reason they were able to hurt us so badly on 9/11.

 

A helpful website which can inform about the threat of international terrorism which is updated fairly regularly and has a great document library: http://counterterrorismblog.org/

Edited by Marsitrania (see edit history)
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I'm all for fighting terrorism, but not if it means sacrificing liberty for security and not if the White House is going to use "The Terrorists" as some evil shadow that will consume us all if we don't do exactly what they want. Iraq had nothing to do with terrorism. Saddam wasn't supporting Al Queda, there were no WMDs, and the real terrorists using our invasion of that place as a giant red rallying flag. "LOOK! WE WERE RIGHT! THE AMERICANS INVADE! LET US CHASE THEM AWAY!" And with every single soul in Iraq who feels that America has ruined his or her life, Al Queda gets stronger. For every house that gets bombed or sacked, Al Queda gets stronger. This is a war for hearts and souls. If the people reject Al Queda they are powerless. Sure, Iraq fell in no time at all, but was it secure? Did the US replace infrastructure as it went or leave people without water or power for months? Gee, way to bring a people to your side... leave them thirsty and in the dark with no protection.

 

The United States needs to rethink things if they want to win the War on Terror. Afghanistan was the best shot for winning a battle, I think. The Taliban had been displaced and the world (for the most part) accepted that invasion. With enough troops there to provide safety, the United States could have done some real good there and brought some modernization and prosperity. Now, the situation is deteriorating because the region was largely forgotten for Iraq and lawlessness prevails. That's what the United States is giving the Middle East right now: lawlessness, death, and fear. How that is going to get people to trust the United States, I have no idea. But until the people trust them, there can be no victory because the terrorists can be aided by the people.

 

As for the United States with its Military Commissions Act and Patriot Act, that's a whole other mess I won't get into here.

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The Patriot Act is its own subject - in that, it is the only circumstance under which I favor extension of government power. National security is something which necessarily is limited to the government's responsibility and not that of ordinary private citizens, and I favor giving the proper agencies all of the necessary tools to tackle security issues and protect the citizenry, even if they violate Constitutional norms. The Constitution was designed to protect the rights of citizens, not to be used against them by those who would wish to harm those citizens and destroy the ideals embodied in the document.

 

Nor am I saying that the War on Terrorism has gone perfectly well. Iraq was not a terrorist breeding ground until the US invasion. In that, the 2003 Iraq invasion has produced the worst overseas security crisis since Iran 1979. It was probably a bad decision. Leaving now though would weaken the US and destroy US credibility; it would hand AQ and its allies exactly what it wants. And yet, every day in Iraq strengthens these terrorists by building resentment. As for infrastructure, we have tried, but the US military is a war machine, not a civilian contracting company. It is not made for occupations, it is modeled for war. It is ill-suited to the task of rebuilding Iraq.

 

Afghanistan too is an issue we've chosen to forget about, even while the Pashtun-recruited Taliban are making a resurgence. Soon I fear the international mission there will be plagued as well.

 

And then there is the issue that our key "allies" in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan etc. are dictatorships.... it is a contradiction that will not be without consequences.

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What the global radical Islamist movement wants is to unite the Muslim faith by waging jihad or holy war against infidels, non-converts. They want to spread Islam across the areas which were all under Persian or Muslim control about 500 years ago. They want a unified Islamic state which encompasses all Muslims, and drives out the corrupting Western influences.

 

Well, this is...wrong.

 

There has never been a united muslim nation. After the prophet Mohammed died, the muslims split up into factions and there are several powerful factions today - the sunni, the shiite, the wahabits and several others (the words are of course not correct in English, but I don't know the correct names).

 

It has always been the dream of the muslims to have a utopian muslim caliphate, a little like the caliphate of Bagdad in the Middle Ages.

 

What people don't have that kind of dream? The Europeans are until today hung-up on a unified european nation like in Roman times, but they're unable to get it. The United States dreams of a US-style world, but they're unable to get it. China dreams of becoming the "Empire of the Center (Middle)" again - but faces problems as well.

 

Every people has such a dream. The muslims are no different there.

 

Real politics are different. The muslim world faces problems because of different tribes (see Iraq or Afghanistan as known examples), ethnics (persian vs. arabian vs. east asian), nationalism (Iraq-Iran-war), ideologies (Hamas vs. Fatah) and treaties (Nations with peace treaties with Israel vs. Nations without).

 

The goal to "unite the muslim world under one banner" is terrorist propaganda. In Iraq Al-Kaida-terrorists are trying to incite a civil war between Sunnis and Shiites. American soldiers die - but even more Iraqis are killed.

 

The fundamentalist terrorism has no ultimate goal but to continue killing people and to frighten us. They win if we change our way of life. They win if we change our society from a liberal, open-minded society to a suspicious, fear-driven police state. When that happens we are like them.

 

What we need is to have "the longer breath". Fundamentalist terrorism will end one way or another in the next 5 to 10 years. They have achieved what they can achieve. The only "upgrade" to 9/11 would be a nuclear strike against a western city - which will terminate all support they are having now. Because if 9/11 led to the "War on Terrorism" - nobody wants to be on the terrorist-friendly side after a nuclear strike.

 

Stay open-minded.

Defend your freedoms.

Even the most liberal society can turn into a police state.

 

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What exactly did I say which was "wrong?" I did not say that there has ever been a united Muslim state, only that this is what the goal of the fundamentalists is. I only defined the sphere of medieval reference which they hope to control - the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia in particular. Of course it is propagandistic in nature, they have as many differences between their own doctrinal interpretations as they do with the West. However, AQ through its international tactics and its shrewd use of the internet and propaganda to conflate ethnic issues and jihad, has blurred doctrinal differences and embraced all sorts of radical branching ideologies so long as they stand against the tenets of Western liberalism.

 

Their ultimate goal is to destroy Western liberalism and replace its international dominance with the kind of religious philosophy they adhere to. In the short term, they do not care about American and European freedoms under liberalism, in fact they rather enjoy them because it makes their operations easier to plot and carry out. They can make good use of the freedoms provided in liberal countries (and I mean that in the most classical sense) and exploit them to further their own ends. Their end goal, however unrealistic, utopian or grandiose as it might be, is indeed a united Caliphate which would replace the US & allies as the international hegemon. You need only to read their own words. They are quite serious about it. Can they achieve it? Probably not within the next few decades, but their planning is incredibly long-term.

 

There is the concept of "territoriality" deeply ingrained in all branches of this international Islamist thought, that the more land area they control the more secure are the prospects for a future Caliphate, no matter which branch currently consolidates power over said territory. Their immediate goal is to topple weak Arab, African and Southeast Asian governments which are weak or are not responsible to their own people. To do so they would take advantage of warfare, terrorism, democracy, or any other means at their disposal. While the various branches are disparate and separated, they are also organized along the same model and echo the same chilling rhetoric. The Al-Qaeda movement is extremely diverse, but it also presents a more united front than anyone would like to admit.

 

I am the first one to say that granting authoritarian powers to the State is a poor idea. However I also think most people don't realize the nature or the scale of the threat arrayed against not merely America, but all of Western civilization. I think if more people understood this, there would be a more united front against this particular brand of evil.

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The US plan to win "hearts and minds" was I think a good one. This is the same kind of thing that NATO is trying to do in Afghanistan at the moment. That too seems to be getting tougher. One problem, at least as reported by Canadian press, is that most NATO members are unwilling to put themselves too much in harm's way. The Brits, Americans and Canadians in Afghanistan are fighting in the most dangerous areas (Canadians in Kandahar) while other NATO forces have refused to send troops to such dangerous locations. So there are problems with the conventional approach if everyone is not on the same page.

 

Canadians in Afghanistan had the right idea for awhile and were going into towns and rebuilding infrastructure and making friends with local leaders and townspeople. Their newer mandate has them busy making excursions into the mountains on seek and destroy missions against al-qaida and Taliban fighters.

You forgot the Dutch!

 

And SOMEONE likes the Canadians a lot.

Edited by Haken (see edit history)
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Yeah... you caught me!

 

Sorry... I DID forget the Dutch. I think there was quite an acrimonious debate in the Netherlands about whether to send ground troops to the area, but they did in the end. They fell under Canadian command at first, but I think they assume command next week or next month if I recall correctly? DUTCH-CANADIAN SOLIDARITY BROTHER!!

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I'd prefer a world were the U.S. was comfortably isolationist, but in today's world, that would be a 'security risk'.

 

And by 'security risk', I mean 'unable to become a global police state by polluting the public mind with stereotypes and other unimportant, time consuming nonsense so that whn we take everything away, most people won't care'.

 

Contrary to popular belief, there have been nukes dropped in this war. We just happen to buy and watch them ourselves.

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did you hear or experience anything like this?

 

http://www.wonkette.com/politics/iraq/stop...ines-210428.php

 

Enforced control of moral, or keeping the troops in the dark about information the government views as damaging to the party in control of the institutions of power (but not for long, and in my opinion, a democrat will just keep the war on terror going into other phases and other countries.

 

forbidden, this page (http://www.wonkette.com) is categorized as (Personal Pages) ALL SITES YOU VISIT ARE LOGGED AND FILED.

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