A morality lesson in accepting refugees

Vox Day shares a lesson from history on the consequences of nations being too nice:

Never, ever, accept refugees

Last summer, a number of normally sensible people were shocked when I said that the European governments would be wise to sink the refugee ships that were crossing the Mediterranean. Most of those people now realize that the people of Europe would be much better off if their governments had rejected the ridiculous “it is moral to help poor defenseless refugees” argument and fulfilled their responsibility to defend their national borders.

But my opinion is not based on any heartlessness or cruelty, it is based on knowledge of history. As it happened, I’ve been reading Charles Oman’s The Byzantine Empire, and the following incident caught my attention, presaging as it does the current situation. You will note that last summer was not the first time refugees in peril were permitted to cross a border, and as Oman’s account suggests, it will not be the first time that the people whose governments betrayed them have paid a bitter price for that failure either.

Keep reading.

The story is long. It involves Goths and Romans, the latter ultimately being the chumps.

You’ll want to keep reading the whole thing even though you will know what’s going to happen every step along the way.

In principle, I could argue that a strong and confident nation can accept a limited number of refugees, but it doesn’t matter. Today, the only strong and confident nations are those that don’t accept refugees.

The Washington Post demands an irrelevancy on Guantanamo

The editors at The Washington Post are again demanding of President Obama that he close Guantanamo. (Alternative link here, if you do want to waste time reading what the Post’s editors have to say on the matter, but don’t want to waste one of your five free views per month.)

It’s the usual tripe about the “blight that Guantanamo placed on the country’s international reputation,” but Obama’s plan would have made everything better if only he hadn’t been thwarted by those nasty Republicans in Congress:

Obama’s contribution has been to find new homes for all but three or four of those cleared for release — some of whom have remained in Guantanamo years after they were judged to be eligible for transfer. Those who remain include 10 who were convicted or are being tried by the commissions, and two dozen who cannot be tried and are considered too dangerous to release.

Let’s note that last line again: “and two dozen who cannot be tried and are considered too dangerous to release.”

In other words, the editors at the Post do recognize that Obama was just moving Guantanamo — and not closing it. They fail to explain how “the country’s international reputation” could be saved by moving Guantanamo to a prison in the U.S.

Their next paragraph doubles down:

As importantly, Obama demonstrated that it is possible to wage war against international terrorist groups without resorting to Guantanamo; on his watch, suspects have been interrogated on ships or in other extraterritorial locations, but none have been sent to Guantanamo.

So, it’s fine to interrogate prisoners aboard ships or in Arab countries, and it’s fine to lock them up without a trial in supermax prisons. The Post is just dead-set against us doing these things in Guantanamo.

John Oliver whines about Guantanamo

I was wondering how I was going to respond to John Oliver’s ignorant Guantanamo diatribe. It’s longer than it should be, but I went through it, taking notes.

Frankly, I might not have watched this at all. But the first report I’ve seen on it mentioned an “innocent” detainee without naming him. I knew he wasn’t really innocent, of course, but my curiosity got the best of me. So, I watched it all.

Still, I thought there’s simply too much there, and too much wrong, for me to write a quick post. Fortunately, Mike Brown of Inverse selected a few key items to cry about, and I can focus on those. He started with the notable ex-Gitmo detainee:

Shaker Aamer read Harry Potter during his 13 years in Guantanamo Bay, where he was held without charge. The idea of Azkaban, a wizard prison where all the world’s happiness is sucked away by monsters, felt very similar to his situation. It’s a bleak description, but despite efforts to close the facility, Guantanamo has remained open and could soon get a whole lot worse. John Oliver gave a sharp reminder on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight episode that power over the facility may soon transfer to Donald Trump.

There are several points of contention right here in this paragraph.

Let’s start with the “held without charge” nonsense. I covered that deception before. In a nutshell, it wasn’t a crime for a non-American to fight for the Taliban or Al Qaeda. We locked up thousands of German soldiers in WWII even though it wasn’t a crime for them to be members of the German army. That’s the way things work in wars. That’s why the Supreme Court says Guantanamo is legal.

So, any time someone says a Gitmo detainee is “held without charge” or “never charged with a crime,” you should know you’re being tossed an irrelevancy.

Much of Brown’s article repeats Oliver’s confusion over this, referring to detainees “who the U.S. believes have committed crimes, but there is not enough evidence to bring them to trial.” Well, not exactly. That’s only technically true in a few cases, and not relevant because it’s not the reason we’re holding them. (The above linked blog post goes into this further.) The fact is, if it was really only a matter of crimes and trials, the Supreme Court would probably have closed Guantanamo a decade ago.

On Shaker Aamer’s “13 years in Guantanamo Bay”: There are three things wrong here. First, he had a tribunal, annual reviews, and then a habeas review by a federal judge. It was legal to hold him. Second, he had been approved for conditional release years ago. The critics will often repeat this part, pretending they don’t understand this, as if it was an evil glitch in the bureaucracy. And to be fair, most of the critics are simply ignorant on this matter, having been deliberately kept so by the upper tier of the far left. Oliver and Brown had been misled, just like everyone else.

Third: The reason he wasn’t released is because he didn’t want to go home. You see, “home” for Shaker Aamer wasn’t in England. He was only approved for release to his real home, Saudi Arabia, and their jihadi rehabilitation program. (Here’s a clue, folks: Shaker Aamer doesn’t want to be rehabilitated!) And unlike the John Olivers of this world, the Saudis weren’t stupid enough to fall for this stuff. They wanted him back. It may not seem like it sometimes but al Qaeda is an enemy of the Saudi government. I would have preferred Guantanamo, too.

Then there’s “the idea of Azkaban.” This is also plainly stupid, although it is clever the way Aamer plays lefties like the violin. I can imagine him laughing at them after he leaves the interview. An actual feeling of hopelessness would require Gitmo detainees being held unjustly. I already said they’re being held legally. It would only be unjust if the detainees really opposed al Qaeda and their jihad. Shaker Aamer does not.

He opposes ISIS, of course. They’ll all say that, and a lot of these reporters will lap it up. But it’s another irrelevancy. ISIS is an enemy of Al Qaeda. It means nothing for Gitmo detainees to say they oppose it.

Aamer will go a step further. He’ll say he opposes attacks in the U.K., and on civilians in general. Attacks on American or British forces overseas are another matter. He won’t say he opposes those, and the reporters aren’t going to ask him.

Oliver and Brown talk about “the beliefs the country was founded on” and “standing up for our highest ideals, even when it requires accepting a certain amount of risk.” They seem utterly clueless that the men who founded this country designed the system exactly this way: to hold enemy combatants until the end of a war. The media may not be aware of this, but the Supreme Court is.

And yes, I know, somebody’s going to whine about POW status. Don’t. That’s only for enemy combatants who qualify. The men who designed that system did so with the understanding that not every prisoner qualified.

That leaves the “sharp reminder” that Trump may (if we’re lucky) get the keys to Guantanamo next January, as if there’s some threat in that. I’ll have to leave that for another time. John Oliver is truly clueless.

Jihadi lawyers’ are a pro-bono firm of 2016

It’s alternatively funny and sick to see jihadi defenders acting like they care about human rights.

Now the website Law360.com is giving pro-bono firm of the year recognition to Covington & Burling, one of the bigger firms in the Guantanamo Bar. They specifically mention Guantanamo as one of their causes.

It was bad enough when they were whining that wartime detainees needed habeas corpus rights. The Supreme Court shouldn’t have given it to them, but they did. The court said Guantanamo was close enough, in a legal sense, to where they could have it — whereas they wouldn’t have had it if we still kept them in Afghanistan. Okay, they got it.

But that was years ago. Every detainee there now has had their habeas hearing. There is no question that they are being legally held even by some pretty generous standards. What are the lawyers doing that merits taking time away from other cases, including perhaps some truly worthy pro bono cases? What are they doing that merits such an award?

No, I don’t buy that these parole-style hearings are awardable work. Those are about trying to show that these detainees might not be too dangerous, after all this time. It’s not the same as making legal arguments.

It’s a popularity contest. The real shame is thinking that this sort of thing could make anyone popular, but such is the morality of lawyers.

If you want another reason to vote Trump, remember that Hillary Clinton will keep putting lawyers like this in charge of our Justice Department.

More anti-Trump nonsense on Gitmo

I came across this piece by Sean Colarossi, of PoliticsUSA.com, whining about how Donald Trump may want to try American citizens in Guantanamo.

What Trump is saying, Colarossi reminds us, isn’t legal. That’s technically true. The military commissions (trials for terrorists) are not for U.S. citizens — even if they’re jihadis caught fighting overseas.

The writer seems to be thinking that this is a violation of some ancient principle. It’s not. He may have forgotten that these military commissions were set up by Congress only ten years ago. They’re not for American citizens because they designed it that way at the time.

It’s as though Trump’s critics keep looking for things they can point to as stupid, ignorant and unconstitutional. This is none of those things.

The military commissions were originally set up by the Bush administration. They used the post-WWII Nuremberg trials as a model. What could be wrong with that? Most people would think that’s fine. Even lefties like to say they’d have been tough on Nazis. (I could argue that depends, but that’s an argument for another time.)

The Supreme Court decided (Hamdan v Rumsfeld, 2006) that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applies, and that meant they could only be tried in “a regularly constituted court.” The Court further decided that meant it needed to be set up by Congress. Note that this was the Geneva Conventions of 1949, which came after the Nuremberg trials.

But most of that was just details to the left. Of what I’d just written in that last paragraph, the lefties mostly just heard that the military commissions were illegal, and had violated the Geneva Conventions. The lefties didn’t seem to understand that all the Bush administration needed to do was ask Congress to pass a law authorizing the trials, which is what happened.

And that’s basically where Trump would be if he decided it was important to try jihadis who were U.S. citizens in Guantanamo military commissions. He would have to ask Congress to pass a law similar to the one they passed before, with one minor change. Would Congress do it? They will if it becomes important.


August 15, 2016

A number of critics point out that it would violate the Bill of Rights to try U.S. citizens in a military commission. The Sixth Amendment says:

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”

Elura Nanos at LawNewz.com writes: “In Ex Parte Milligan, an 1866 case that is still good law today, the Supreme Court specifically held that trying civilian citizens in military courts is unconstitutional when civilian courts are still operating.”

Nanos raises some good points, but neglects to mention Ex Parte Quirin (1942), where eight German saboteurs were convicted in a military commission. Two of those Germans were legally U.S. citizens, and yet the Supreme Court ruled that the military commission was legal under the Constitution, despite their citizenship.

While people can argue with the differences between WWII’s Quirin and the Civil War’s Milligan cases, I’m just going to leave it at this. Trump isn’t really likely to want to do this anyway unless the war takes a hard turn for the worse.

Ace of Spades on Political Honesty, and the Pro-Amnesty Wing of the Republican Party

Like many of us, Ace of Spades is fed up with the #NeverTrumpies and the GOP’s basic dishonesty.

But first, let’s start off with Peggy Noonan at the pay­walled WSJ, who recognizes that the elites are, well, elite:

From what I’ve seen of those in power throughout business and politics now, the people of your country are not your countrymen, they’re aliens whose bizarre emotions you must attempt occasionally to anticipate and manage.

In Manhattan, my little island off the continent, I see the children of the global business elite marry each other and settle in London or New York or Mumbai. They send their children to the same schools and are alert to all class markers. And those elites, of Mumbai and Manhattan, do not often identify with, or see a connection to or an obligation toward, the rough, struggling people who live at the bottom in their countries. In fact, they fear them, and often devise ways, when home, of not having their wealth and worldly success fully noticed.

…(snip)…

I close with a story that I haven’t seen in the mainstream press. This week the Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson reported that recent Syrian refugees being resettled in Virginia, were sent to the state’s poorest communities. Data from the State Department showed that almost all Virginia’s refugees since October “have been placed in towns with lower incomes and higher poverty rates, hours away from the wealthy suburbs outside of Washington, D.C.” Of 121 refugees, 112 were placed in communities at least 100 miles from the nation’s capital. The suburban counties of Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington—among the wealthiest in the nation, and home to high concentrations of those who create, and populate, government and the media—have received only nine refugees.

Some of the detachment isn’t unconscious. Some of it is sheer and clever self-protection. At least on some level they can take care of their own.

Noonan is talking about the elites. It was probably Democrat-elites making those particular decisions, but it still relates to the larger issue of immigration, which was the straw that broke the GOP elephant’s back.

Again, as she says, the elites see the rest of us as “aliens whose bizarre emotions you must attempt occasionally to anticipate and manage.”

Isn’t that #NeverTrump? Yes, of course it is.

They nominated amnesty-pusher John McCain in 2008, and then told us we had to bite the bullet for them even though he was often against us in the Senate. But now, when Donald Trump is nominated — based on the one issue that they’ve continually betrayed us on — those same elites refuse to bite the bullet for us.

That brings me to Ace’s piece. It’s long, but it’s well worth the read. Here are a few choice pieces:

If you’re not going to admit, for example, that you disagree with the Tea Party on ideological grounds, and yet you still wish to undermine them, you have no choice left but to simply attack them on a personal level.

And this is even more biased than simply — honestly, forthrightly — stating your ideological position on a matter!

What, to you, is more offensive and ugly — that the media disagrees ideologically with the Tea Party’s commitment to reducing spending and government, or that, refusing to express their ideological objection honestly, they seek to paint every Tea Partier as racist and violent by carefully suggesting only the misspelled and ugly signs from a Tea Party rally? Strongly implying “Only ignorant, stupid racists could support this nonsense”?

…(snip)…

Thus, John McCain, rather than honestly objecting to the parts of the Tea Party movement he disagrees with, or honestly expressing his opinion that we need a bigger government than Tea Partiers think we need, resorts to personal attacks: They’re Wacko-Birds. They’re Hobbits.

Ace then shows us the “Complete the Danged Fence” campaign ad that McCain ran, back when he wanted us to believe that he believed in a border wall. Naturally, he wasn’t willing to call people “racist” for it then.

So here we are, with 20% of the party refusing to support the Republican nominee, largely because he holds a “racist” position that that same 20% was too cowardly to announce to be racist previously.

It is stunning how many #NeverTrumpies are willing to jump on these fake accusations of racism. It is as though they’ve COMPLETELY forgotten that we’ve had to deal with this sort of thing when Democrats accused the Tea Party of it. They were easy to bat down back then because claims made to sell to low-level Democrats are no match for a serious debate.

But how did the #NeverTrumpies miss that? Well, some of them didn’t believe in the Tea Party other than as a means to manage the voters. They just weren’t paying that close attention. For the rest, it’s even more simple: The #NeverTrumpies have been reduced to defending their own line. With only a few exceptions, many are not trying to persuade actual Trump supporters.

There is no Guantánamo Bay

That’s right. In English, the name is “Guantanamo Bay.” There is no accent in the English spelling.

It’s not “Guantánamo Bay” in Spanish either. They call it “Bahía de Guantánamo.”

But we’re usually not even talking about Guantanamo Bay itself. Most of the time, we’re talking about Guantanamo Bay Naval Base or the detention center. Being American facilities, neither of them have accents in their names.

Do we do this for Deutschland or München? No, we call those Germany and Munich. We do this even though just about anybody dealing with Germany knows that they call it Deutschland.

Admittedly, this is a small thing. But I have to admit I find it funny.

Let’s be honest about what’s going on here.

First, most Americans are monolingual. Using an accented character allows people to feel pretendo multilingüismo. It’s like saying “internationale” when you really just mean “international.” (Yes, people actually do that.)

And second, let’s face it: Guantanamo is a hot-button issue that progressives like to claim they care about. Calling it by a half-Spanish name must appeal to their “¡No pasarán!” spirit of Résistance.

This is the kind of stuff you get when people learn Orwell from Stalinists.

If you oppose slavery, then you oppose radical Islam

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This is taken from the poster for the upcoming movie The Birth of a Nation. The movie is probably controversial. But I’m not talking about the movie today.

I am talking about slavery. Most people like to think that they would have opposed slavery if they had been around in the 1800s. And most of those people are fooling themselves. I doubt that more than a handful of those movie­makers would have fought against it.

Very simply, if you oppose slavery, then you oppose radical Islam.

If you do not oppose radical Islam, then you do not oppose slavery. Do not pretend you would have opposed slavery in the old South.

If you want Guantanamo closed before the war ends (and I mean really closed, and not just moved), then you support radical Islam. That means you are willing to compromise with slavery.

If you want more for Guantanamo detainees than we’d have given unlawful combatants in WWII, then you’re willing to compromise with radical Islam.

If you’re willing to compromise with radical Islam, then you’re willing to compromise with slavery.

There was a time when we would look back on the history of slavery, and imagine that we’d have fought against slavery if we lived in 1850. Maybe we’d have opened our homes to escaping slaves as a rest stop on the Underground Railroad to freedom. We might even like to think we’d have joined the Union Army in the Civil War.

But that’s history. All we really know is where we stand on slavery today.

Much is made of ISIS and Boko Haram and their overt practice of slavery. But all of radical Islam supports it. Saudi Arabia (considered by Islamists to be an apostate government) outlawed slavery in 1964, but it still goes on there. It is in the Koran. You won’t get an Al Qaeda member or sympathizer to denounce slavery. Few, if any, former Guantanamo detainees will denounce it without qualification.

I realize that some people say there is no “radical Islam.” That’s a discussion for another day. We all know who and what I’m talking about.

If you oppose slavery, then you oppose radical Islam.