Monday, October 23, 2006


My post about Barack Obama has generated a link to this guy's blog where he attacks the Illinois Senator. First of all, let me just ask that people who comment on my posts actually, you know, comment. A link to your blog feels more like spamming and I'd appreciate the courtesy of some words to go with your link. But that's beside the point. Porkopulis contends that Obama is "a propagandist, bullshit artist and lying politician." He quotes Obama as saying that the new Detainee Bill is the first time Habeas Corpus has ever been eliminated in our country's history. This isn't correct, of course, as Abraham Lincoln suspended it during the Civil War. Porkopolis calls him a liar. Did Obama purposely lie to gain advantage or did he make a mistake? He then quotes Obama as saying the legislation would "not give them that basic hearing in court". Porkopulis goes on to say that "Mr. Obama claims that a "basic hearing in court" would be denied to combatants is a flat out lie". Unfortunately, Porkopulis left off an important word when quoting the quote: "that". Obama is refering to the fact that this legislation doesn't give detainees the Habeas Corpus hearing, not any old hearing in court.

To me, that's part of what is so wrong with political discussion today. We are so quick to believe the worst of everyone. And that goes for Democrats and Republicans (and apparently Libertarians as that's how Porkopulis identifies himself). I'd far prefer to give Obama the benefit of the doubt and believe he made a mistake. Just as I give George W. Bush the benefit of the doubt and believe that he really thinks what he's doing is what's best for our country. And just as I give Porkopulis the benefit of the doubt that he just misread Obama's quote.

That's really just a small part of what I want to write about. This Nation and specifically, the Democrats and Republicans, could have a civilized discussion about their different points of view on this Habeas Corpus issue instead of viciously attacking each other. I can see both sides of this issue. It comes down to this question: Should we treat suspected terrorists the same way we've treated soldiers of enemy countries during wartime?

The Bush position is Yes. And I understand where that thinking comes from. We are at war with these terrorists in the sense that they have declared a desire to destroy our country and our people and our way of life. Holding a enemy combatant until the war is over has precedent. And if the person is proven to be a terrorist, then I have no problem with keeping that person locked up.

The reason there's disagreement is because this is not a traditional war. There is no country to attack. We can't easily tell who is on the other side. And we have no way to know when this war is over. There is no country to make peace with. This war has even changed fundamental terms as another website points out. "The term ‘enemy combatant’ has historically referred to any member of the armed forces of a state with which another state is at war. Enemy combatants in the current conflict are not defined by simple, readily apparent criteria such as citizenship or military uniform, and the power to name a citizen as an 'enemy combatant' is therefore extraordinarily broad." (wikipedia)

So do we treat suspected terrorists as enemy combatants or do we treat them as criminals who would have full access to our legal system? Because this new type of war has made the classification of enemy combatant so broad, there has to be a middle ground between the two choices. Habeas Corpus is simply the right to challenge the legality of detention. If we believe in this right, we should believe in it for all people, not just Americans. It seems to me that if we're to live up to the ideals of this country that we all love we must err on the side of giving more rights rather than limiting those rights. It is critical that we hold fast to the faith that embracing our ideals will lead us to victory. To do otherwise jeopardizes the ends for which we strive.

Have faith in our country. Have faith in our ideals. Have faith in our freedoms. And have faith that by standing firm to what we are as a Nation, we will prevail.


At 1:39 PM, October 28, 2006, Blogger Porkopolis said...


First an apology for the 'spam-like' comment. The intent was never to abuse your site...just to forward the discussion on our Nation's potential next leader.

This follow-up comment is done in the same spirit and will be more than just a simple link.

As an aside, I have previously lauded Senator Obama for his work with Senator Coburn on pork barrel spending.

Secondly, the strongly worded argument I made (and for which I'm responsible for proving if I'm calling the Senator a liar and a propagandist) about Senator Obama's disingenuousness is reinforced by two updates to my original post that refer to the following important items:

1. Andrew McCarthy's article The New Detainee Law Does Not Deny Habeas Corpus

2. The Wall Street Journal statement from Senators McCain, Warner and Graham...who are by the way no apologists for the Bush adminstration. Specifically they state:

"...Habeas Corpus : Another myth is that, under our bill, detainees would lose the basic right to challenge their imprisonment. Actually, both the Detainee Treatment Act and the Military Commissions Act allow an individual to challenge his status in administrative and judicial fora. These challenges are in excess of what our soldiers would be afforded as prisoners of war."


"...Judicial Review : Other critics claim that our civilian courts would have no power to review any aspect of the military tribunal system, except verdicts by military tribunals. The truth is that our federal courts today already have the right to review the decisions made by military Combatant Status Review Tribunals. "

I still stand by my argument that Obama was trying to deceive. Don't forget that the Senator is a Harvard trained lawyer. He does not deserve the benefit of our doubt on such an important matter.

I share your faith that our ideals and Nation will prevail, but we can't be blind to the facts and individuals like Obama who seek to manipulate us. If he really is that 'good' his record will stand up to a rigorous review like the one I offer...Our nation deserves no less. A rigorous review was lacking for our last two Presidents (Clinton and Bush), both of which I supported at the time and regret now with reflection.

If you peruse my site you will find that I'm equally hard with Republicans, having taken many of them to Senators Ted Stevens, Mike Dewine, George Voinovich and John McCain, Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, Governor Bob Taft and more.

Thanks for visiting and for this follow-up post.


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