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Author Topic: Obama admin. negotiates with terrorists
Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Except, of course that there's no evidence that he's done much but ride on previous expansions. If anything he's been the least aggressive about expanding power since Grover Cleveland, so far he's mostly just failed to cede back much in the way of previously allowed overreaches.

Thank you for your statement of the political propaganda talking point, I'll give it the exact weight it's worth in my further analsis of this issue.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
NIMBYism trumps rational action, as we already saw when Obama tried to actually properly start processing these people though the court system using the standard process for prosecuting terrorists. Despite that being the legally proper course for handling such, between the time that the plan to use the proper legal process was announced and the time that it could be put into action every court that could have handled the cases had been so politically terrorized that there was no way to actually implement the plan.

Why do you think that is the "proper legal course" by my read of the Geneva conventions such trials would most likely be War Crimes committed by the US.
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Pete at Home
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I think it's funny how the Barryphiles use George w bush as the standard for all that is good. Barry is just walkin' in Junior's shadow.

So no one's interested in discussing the constitutionality argument?

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Even if they aren't -- and, frankly, I don't concede that they aren't; I think the legal status we invented to justify holding them is a shameful sham,

That's the first time I have heard anyone outside North Korea refer to the Geneva convention as a sham.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
NIMBYism trumps rational action, as we already saw when Obama tried to actually properly start processing these people though the court system using the standard process for prosecuting terrorists. Despite that being the legally proper course for handling such, between the time that the plan to use the proper legal process was announced and the time that it could be put into action every court that could have handled the cases had been so politically terrorized that there was no way to actually implement the plan.

Why do you think that is the "proper legal course" by my read of the Geneva conventions such trials would most likely be War Crimes committed by the US.
If we're talking Geneva conventions, then these are POWs and this is a standard POW exchange. If they're terrorists, then we've long held the precedent that they should be tried in our civil courts, which have the body caselaw and precedent to properly handle such.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Even if they aren't -- and, frankly, I don't concede that they aren't; I think the legal status we invented to justify holding them is a shameful sham,

That's the first time I have heard anyone outside North Korea refer to the Geneva convention as a sham.
The legal status we created for them is not part of the Geneva convention. We created it specifically to prevent the Geneva convention from applying to them and being required to treat them as POWs.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
So no one's interested in discussing the constitutionality argument?

Which part, the idea that the Rule is a violation of the separation of power? That was certainly the position the President took in the signing statement. Or the open question about whether the proper recourse is to veto the law, let the veto be overriden and then "violate" the law and let the courts settle it, versus siging and violating?

Or just this point:
quote:
I have no defense for the intelligence or worthiness of this obama action, but I see an obvious legal defense, and am surprised no one mentioned it.

Under what constitutional provision does congress have power to bind the commander in chief from what's essentially a battlefield negotiation?

The answer is that it's not essentially a battlefied negotiation when it reaches into matters off the battlefied. Could the President have agreed to "exchange" committing a murder in the US for the release? Could he have agreed to provide trade secrets that are prohitted for export? No. The power to negotiate does not include a power to give things illegal as part of the deal, or to otherwise violate law.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Except, of course that there's no evidence that he's done much but ride on previous expansions. If anything he's been the least aggressive about expanding power since Grover Cleveland, so far he's mostly just failed to cede back much in the way of previously allowed overreaches.

Thank you for your statement of the political propaganda talking point, I'll give it the exact weight it's worth in my further analsis of this issue.
At least there are statistics that can back it, as opposed to your completely unfounded assertion that doesn't have any actual evidence to support it.

http://www.policymic.com/articles/80707/which-president-has-bypassed-congress-the-most-in-u-s-history-definitely-not-obama

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
If we're talking Geneva conventions, then these are POWs and this is a standard POW exchange.

No, they are not POWs. And yes we are talking Geneva conventions.
quote:
If they're terrorists, then we've long held the precedent that they should be tried in our civil courts, which have the body caselaw and precedent to properly handle such.
Who said they are terrorists. Last I checked fighting on a battlefied in violation of the Geneva conventions made you a War Criminal not a terrorist. Using your own courts to try foreign citizens for the "crime" of fighting against you is itself a war crime.

Of course you don't have to try them to hold them.
quote:
The legal status we created for them is not part of the Geneva convention. We created it specifically to prevent the Geneva convention from applying to them and being required to treat them as POWs.
Nonsense. They have no protected status under the Geneva Convention, that's not the same thing as no status.
quote:
At least there are statistics that can back it, as opposed to your completely unfounded assertion that doesn't have any actual evidence to support it.
Laughing at loud. Blatant effort at deception. This administration has acted heavily through administrative agencies, regulation, and policies rather than issuing actual executive orders. Your evidence is just something that looks pretty but is completely deceptive.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Even if they aren't -- and, frankly, I don't concede that they aren't; I think the legal status we invented to justify holding them is a shameful sham,

That's the first time I have heard anyone outside North Korea refer to the Geneva convention as a sham.
The legal status we created for them is not part of the Geneva convention. We created it specifically to prevent the Geneva convention from applying to them and being required to treat them as POWs.
We coined the phrase but the concept is developed in the Third Geneva convention. Do your homework, or search the site for the last time I explained this in detail. (Which was at a time I was actually getting paid to research Geneva and this associated issued like terrorism and torture.
Since writing that stuff a few years back I have probably forgotten more about Geneva and international law re war than you know. [Smile]

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Jack Squat
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Interesting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unlawful_combatant

quote:
Article 4


A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:

1. Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.

2. Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfill the following conditions:

(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
(c) That of carrying arms openly;
(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

3. Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.

4. Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labour units or of services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received authorization from the armed forces which they accompany, who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card similar to the annexed model.

5. Members of crews [of civil ships and aircraft], who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.

6. Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

B. The following shall likewise be treated as prisoners of war under the present Convention:

1. Persons belonging, or having belonged, to the armed forces of the occupied country...

...

Article 5

...

Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.

And:
The term "unlawful combatant" has been used for the past century in legal literature, military manuals, and case law

So the argument that we made this term up specifically for the Taliban is wrong.

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Pete at Home
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Under international law, even unlawful combatants have the right to not be tortured.

OTOH, under Geneva a spy can be shot without trial.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Who said they are terrorists. Last I checked fighting on a battlefied in violation of the Geneva conventions made you a War Criminal not a terrorist.
It's worth noting that not everyone still in Gitmo was captured while fighting on a battlefield.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
We have an established policy on not negotiating with terrorsist specifically because people have been concerned about the consequences of the alternative.
Every president in my lifetime has negotiated with terrorists. Every single one. Heck, we negotiated with the Barbary Pirates, centuries ago, despite the fact that they're generally the first example anybody gives of the American tradition of not negotiating with terrorists.

We have a fine, upstanding tradition of continually negotiating with terrorists while loudly saying that we don't.

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AI Wessex
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
quote:
Snowden didn't flee until after he tried 10 times to report the problem via the proper channels, after which he realized if he didn't scram he;d wind up with an NSA/CIA black bag over his head and occupying Jose Padilla's old torture cell in Egypt or wherever.
10 times? You have something besides Snowden's claim to back that up?
The alternative is to trust an intelligence bureaucracy that we know now lied straight to Congress's face under oath by their own admission. Which would you choose?

Also, to suggest that no one sincerely cares about this exchange is very insulting. A lot of people care. I care quite a bit because I have great sympathy for our boys and girls out in harms way, because I was there myself. And I know that this will paint a huge target on them to kidnap them now that terrorists know Obama will ransom kidnapped soldiers when they are taken by terrorists. This is nothing like trading POWs. Are the people in Gitmo POWs?

Just to be clear here, you SAID "10 times" as a flat assertion, aka a statement of fact, aka the plain truth, but you actually have no evidence whatsoever to back it up other than the statement by Snowden himself WHICH HE CAN'T BACK UP. In other words you're blowing smoke and instead of admitting it you claim that not saying it would be a guaranteed lie.

Thanks for clarifying how your thinking works -- again.

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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Who said they are terrorists. Last I checked fighting on a battlefied in violation of the Geneva conventions made you a War Criminal not a terrorist.
It's worth noting that not everyone still in Gitmo was captured while fighting on a battlefield.
Just what part of Afghanistan are you proposing is not a battlefield?
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TomDavidson
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Leaving aside the idea that every single inch of Afghanistan is somehow a "battleground," not every person in Gitmo was captured in Afghanistan or captured while fighting.
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Pete at Home
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Gitmo includes some AQ terrorists, some known talibandits, and then some poor saps who were grabbed from their homes on the questionable sayso of some of our dubious tribal "allies".
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
We have an established policy on not negotiating with terrorsist specifically because people have been concerned about the consequences of the alternative.
Every president in my lifetime has negotiated with terrorists.
I don't know how old you are, but if Carter negotiated with Terrorists, I don't remember. Reagan did it, which I considered treacherous not because he was negotiating with terrorists but because he did so before he even took office.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
If we're talking Geneva conventions, then these are POWs and this is a standard POW exchange.

No, they are not POWs. And yes we are talking Geneva conventions.
quote:
If they're terrorists, then we've long held the precedent that they should be tried in our civil courts, which have the body caselaw and precedent to properly handle such.
Who said they are terrorists. Last I checked fighting on a battlefied in violation of the Geneva conventions made you a War Criminal not a terrorist.

This doesn't directly contradict what Seriati said, but just to clarify: Fighting on a battlefield in volation of Geneva is what makes you a war criminal.

Fighting without respecting points 1,2,3,4 of what Geneva deems as valid identifiers of official Geneva POWs, does NOT make you a war criminal; it simply designates you as not entitled to Geneva protections.

Spies and covert saboteurs, for example, do not violate the Geneva convention, but are denied POW status under Geneva. For decades, our caselaw has referred to these poor chumps as "Unlawful Combattants." An unlawful combattant may also be a terrorist, and may also be a war criminal, but none of those three categories is co-terminous.

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AI Wessex
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quote:
I don't know how old you are, but if Carter negotiated with Terrorists, I don't remember.
Depends on how you slice it. Carter released quarantined Iranian funds that were held in US banks to get back the hostages. It may or may not have contributed to their release.
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Pete at Home
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Hmm. Technically, since the US embassy was in fact the center of a spy ring, those hostage takers, while violaters of international law, and arguably "as bad as" many terrorists, were not in fact terrorists under any definition that I'm aware of.

Don't get me wrong: violence or threatened violence against embassy staff is horribly evil under standards and laws that go back at least 3000 years before anyone even conceived making laws against "terrorism."

But the laws that protect ambassadors are not per se "humanitarian" laws; they are perhaps the most ancient laws pertaining to the "Law of Nations." Therefore folks that take ambassadors prisoners are arguably not terrorists but something analogous to a terrorist in the same way that pirates and war criminals are analogous to terrorists.

If you want to impugn my Cousin Jimmy of negotiating with terrorists, you'll have to point to his dealings with Begin and with Arafat, who were arguably ... "former terrorists." [Smile]

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Greg Davidson
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I think that the possibility that the Obama Administration violated the law is serious. Even stupid or politically-based laws should be obeyed, and if violated, there should be consequences.

With respect to Bergdahl, the massive propaganda campaign serves right now to distort the truth. I don't trust the Benghazi/birther Republican machine to accurately report the facts of the situation.

I recommend this 2012 story in Rolling Stone (link). The author's contention at that time is that Burgdahl was an idealistic former home-schooler who was strongly disturbed by the problems in his units.

quote:
In his blog posts, which have since been removed from the Web, Fancey detailed a unit that seemed to have almost no discipline. The company's first sergeant, Fancey wrote, "calls the Captain a quitter, then calls me a quitter. Picture a 2nd LT screaming at a 1SG, who is screaming back in broken Puerto-Rican-fied English, and about 5 Privates sitting quietly in terror." As the combat simulations continued, the sergeant's behavior grew even more disturbing. He refused to go to the bathroom, preferring to pee into a Gatorade bottle by his bed, and he obsessed over his desire for a Diet Coke. After one botched operation, according to Fancey's blog, the first sergeant just gave up. "I need a Coca-Cola," he said. Then, upset at how screwed up the operation had become, he tore off his body armor and stormed off to his tent, screaming, "**** 'dis 'chit!"

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/americas-last-prisoner-of-war-20120607page=2#ixzz33pKrGg1H
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

quote:
The unruly situation was captured by Sean Smith, a British documentary filmmaker with The Guardian who spent a month embedded with Bowe's unit. His footage shows a bunch of soldiers who no longer give a ****: breaking even the most basic rules of combat, like wearing baseball caps on patrol instead of helmets.

quote:
In early June, after photographs taken by Sean Smith appeared in The Guardian, Bowe's unit got reamed out by its commander for its lack of discipline. Bowe's squad leader, Sgt. Greg Leatherman, was demoted, and two other sergeants in the squad were reassigned. According to Fancey, one was made "a gate guard for the rest of the deployment." As often happens in the Army, senior officers were going unpunished for screw-ups like the MRAP mission, while lower-ranking men paid the price for minor infractions.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/americas-last-prisoner-of-war-20120607page=3#ixzz33pLdu7WE
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

A member of Bergdahl's battalion was killed June 27th, which led to a very depressed email to his parents, and three days later was when he went AWOL.

And I was also surprised to hear this (from 2012)

quote:
According to White House sources, Marc Grossman, who replaced Richard Holbrooke as special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, was given a direct warning by the president's opponents in Congress about trading Bowe for five Taliban prisoners during an election year. "They keep telling me it's going to be Obama's Willie Horton moment," Grossman warned the White House. The threat was as ugly as it was clear: The president's political enemies were prepared to use the release of violent prisoners to paint Obama as a Dukakis-­like appeaser, just as Republicans did to the former Massachusetts governor during the 1988 campaign. In response, a White House official advised Grossman that he should ignore the politics of the swap and concentrate solely on the policy.

"Frankly, we don't give a **** why he left," says one White House official. "He's an American soldier. We want to bring him home."


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Seneca
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Well, we know for sure this will lead to increased kidnappings. How do we know? From the horse's mouth:

quote:
A Taliban commander involved in the negotiations for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl said the recent deal by the Obama administration makes kidnapping U.S. soldiers much more attractive.

The commander, speaking to Time on the condition of anonymity, said it logistically made sense at this point to try and kidnap soldiers and other high-value targets.

“It’s better to kidnap one person like Bergdahl than kidnapping hundreds of useless people,” he said. “It has encouraged our people. Now everybody will work hard to capture such an important bird.”

The statement reaffirms the fear of those critical of the trade, including Sen. Ted Cruz.

“What does this tell terrorists?” Cruz told ABC’s This Week. “That if you capture a U.S. soldier, you can trade that soldier for five terrorist prisoners?”


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AI Wessex
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OK, so this is from an unnamed source "close to the negotiations" interviewed by telephone and who is not "authorized" to talk to the press. I guess it's as rock solid as any right-wing antiBaman could ever need. Or you could look at it as just a hit-and-run 130-word story with no way to verify the source and, of course, no likelihood that anyone like Cruz (or Seneca) will ever back down from the supposed "...we know for sure..." judgment about it if it turns out that the future doesn't unfold as foretold.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Well, we know for sure this will lead to increased kidnappings. How do we know? From the horse's mouth:
Sure, now they'll put in the effort to take them alive rather than just blowing them up or shooting them. You still haven't addressed the fact that taking people alive and trying to negotiate is a marked improvement over the status quo.
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Greg Davidson
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quote:
Well, we know for sure this will lead to increased kidnappings. How do we know? From the horse's mouth
Okay, let's see how much you want to stand up behind your assertion:

How many kidnappings of American soldiers do you believe will occur by June 6, 2015?

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Seriati
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Well Tom, I think that the unique part of this deal is that its direct, its explicit and it was friggin announced in a press release. The history of the US and negotiations with terrorists is shadowy and disputable. But I agree that no one rationale believed it was an absolute hard line. But that's very different from announcing with pride that we're bringing home a single enlisted man that we traded five enemy leaders for. That's the kind of thing that seems to deliberately undermine our credibility and long standing policy for very little gain.

Greg, you are reacting on one sided paranoia. Evil Republican operatives are not behind everything that is wrong in the world. If if this guy was an angel that's been maligned it's still a deal trading five enemy leaders for an enlisted man. And regardless of any operatives bad faith, it's virtually impossible to actually explain voluntarily walking into enemy hands in these kinds of circumstances in a way that reasonable.

And being able to measure something doesn't make it usefull. It's ridiculous to try and measure the impact of a deviation from a long standing policy by it's impact in a 12 month period. Events may show up they may not. And you've completely discounted the impacts of the propaganda - which we already know has been made in that measure - or the credibility hit if these guys "skip bail". Will you admit this was a complete failure if any of these five kills a single American more?

Pyrtolin, thanks again for demonstrating that no matter how terrible a result is there's always a propaganda friendly way to re-describe. Admit it you came up with the idea of using sanitation engineer on resumes.

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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Well, we know for sure this will lead to increased kidnappings. How do we know? From the horse's mouth:
Sure, now they'll put in the effort to take them alive rather than just blowing them up or shooting them. You still haven't addressed the fact that taking people alive and trying to negotiate is a marked improvement over the status quo.
Wow. Did you seem to forget the way quite a few of these hostages have "lost their heads" in recent years? I wouldn't want to take that chance. If it were me I'd rather go down fighting and take as many terrorists with me as I could than be used as a bargaining chip to free terrorists who will try to kill more Americans. Also, even in systems of common kidnapping like Mexico, the hostage does not always reliably get returned alive. Who would want to gamble on those odds?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Who would want to gamble on those odds?
It depends. Are they doing kidnappings instead of other things, like bombings and mass murders, or are they adding kidnappings to their already full schedule?
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Well, we know for sure this will lead to increased kidnappings. How do we know? From the horse's mouth:
Sure, now they'll put in the effort to take them alive rather than just blowing them up or shooting them. You still haven't addressed the fact that taking people alive and trying to negotiate is a marked improvement over the status quo.
Wow. Did you seem to forget the way quite a few of these hostages have "lost their heads" in recent years? I wouldn't want to take that chance. If it were me I'd rather go down fighting and take as many terrorists with me as I could than be used as a bargaining chip to free terrorists who will try to kill more Americans. Also, even in systems of common kidnapping like Mexico, the hostage does not always reliably get returned alive. Who would want to gamble on those odds?
And it the people in question are actually trying to take you alive, you'll actually have a better chance of taking some of them down, whereas before they had an incentive to take that effort you simply would have been dead before you knew that you were in the blast zone.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Pyrtolin, thanks again for demonstrating that no matter how terrible a result is there's always a propaganda friendly way to re-describe. Admit it you came up with the idea of using sanitation engineer on resumes.
You should at least give Grant a little credit here, since he's the one that initially pointed out that kidnapping and negotiating is a significant de-escalation from just blowing people up.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
But that's very different from announcing with pride that we're bringing home a single enlisted man that we traded five enemy leaders for.
That's true if you're casting the Taliban as an unqualified enemy rather than, as the situation in Afghanistan seems to be demanding more, an opposing faction that you want to convince to work through the political system rather than through violence.

The Taliban, while distasteful, is only actually our enemy to the degree that they give shelter to terrorists that are trying to hurt us and use violence against our interests. If they can be convinced not to do either of those, then they're not exactly enemies anymore so much as a political faction that we disagree with, but it ultimately an internal issue to another country that we'd likely do better to let them work out on their own terms instead.

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Jack Squat
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The Taliban are a disease. There is no moral difference between the Taliban and Boko Haram.
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AI Wessex
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From our point of view, perhaps. From theirs they are a legitimate social and political faction competing for local control over certain regions of the country. If they are successful they will probably once again reach for larger portions of territory.
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Seneca
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How do the Taliban treat women and homosexuals? How do they treat their children? Is there anything redeeming about them at all?
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AI Wessex
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Badly. Is your conclusion that they don't represent a faction competing for control of portions of the country?
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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
From our point of view, perhaps. From theirs they are a legitimate social and political faction competing for local control over certain regions of the country.

"The" country? They cross Pakistan and Afghanistan, and they don't actually believe in borders.

I'm OK with negotiating with them, and treating them like a legitimate social and political faction if they are willing to pretend to be that. By all means let's limp away from the fight and link our wounds. But let's not deceive ourselves. They are our enemy and the enemy of the whole human race.

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AI Wessex
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I'm not a Taliban sympathizer. Just trying to keep a rational perspective. I agree with your point except that I don't think they represent an "enemy of the whole human race". That's a lot of real estate to infiltrate, conquer and convert. Their knives aren't long enough.
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Greg Davidson
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There is a risk in releasing prisoners, either by exchange or just letting them go.

It's a very tough call for a President. And if your last name is Obama it's evidently much worse. Because while the risk that released enemies may come back to harm Americans cannot be denied, somehow it is far worse when Obama does it, at least to the majority of Republican voices now taking a position on the issue.

There is a chance that this could turn out with additional American deaths because of this prisoner exchange. It's also possible that this could facilitate reaching a diplomatic solution that helps the US get out of Afghanistan with fewer casualties. The reason I have started inviting people to make predictions about the future is that the endless Republican opposition of this Administration has a near-zero batting average in their scandals and disasters of the week,. If I am wrong, all you have to do is make your accusation, set a date on it, and we can see who is right. But if you don't even have the confidence to do that (after all, there's nothing at stake except some credibility), you should tone down your accusations to reflect the level of uncertainties.

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