Thanks to No Left Turns.
Andrew Cochran at Counterterrorism blog thinks that the Supreme Court ruling in Hamdan that slaps down the administration's attempts to put some Gitmo detainees before a war crimes tribunal, so far from being the defeat the media are portraying it to be, is actually a win, both militarily and politically, for the President. Here's his reasoning:
The news networks are proclaiming that the Supreme Court handed the President a "strong rebuke" in the Hamdan case by declaring the proposed Gitmo trials are illegal under U.S. law and international Geneva conventions.
The decision is actually a huge political gift to President Bush, and the detainees will not be released that easily. The President and GOP leaders will propose a bill to override the decision and keep the terrorists in jail until they are securely transferred to host countries for permanent punishment. The Administration and its allies will release plenty of information on the terrorist acts committed by the detainees for which they were detained (see this great ABC News interview with the Gitmo warden). They will also release information about those terrorist acts committed by Gitmo prisoners after they were released. They will challenge the "judicial interference with national security" and challenge dissenting Congressmen and civil libertarians to either stand with the terrorists or the American people. The Pentagon will continue to release a small number of detainees as circumstances allow. The bill will pass easily and quickly. And if the Supremes invalidate that law, we'll see another legislative response, and another, until they get it right. Just watch.
If Congress and the President do seek legislation that would make trying these prisoners legal, and it appears Senators Graham and Kyl are going to do just that, it will make life miserable for Democrats who will have to either support the legislation or explain to their constituents why they're trying to get terrorist killers released from prison. Whatever reason they come up with, it won't be embarrassing.
One of the oddest things about this decision, by the way, is that the Court ruled that the prisoners can be held for the duration of hostilities. Given that the war on terror could last for the rest of this century the upshot is that the administration can essentially hold these guys for life and never try them in court, but if they do try them it has to be in federal court rather than before a military tribunal.
That's just what we need - hundreds of terrorist trials clogging our court system while their buddies on the street threaten the jurors with their lives. What civilian jurors, or judges and lawyers, for that matter, will want to be involved in these trials?
America would greatly benefit from one more Bush Supreme Court pick before he's done. Perhaps Ginsburg (73) or Stevens (86) will soon retire.
Martin Edlund at Slate dissects the strategy of the religious left's two most prominent figures and concludes that they're like two immiscible liquids. Michael Lerner and Jim Wallis both seek to sway the devout toward the ideals of the Democratic party (whatever they may be), but they have two very different and mutually incompatible messages for two very different constituencies.
The difference is starkly illustrated by a pair of conferences hosted by each of these religious gurus. Lerner's conference drew:
...liberal people of faith who feel alienated by the narrow politics of the religious right, and the 26 percent of Americans who self-identify-according to a recent Newsweek/Beliefnet poll-as "spiritual but not religious." There was a strong Christian presence among the 1,200 attendees at the NSP conference, but it leaned heavily toward liberal denominations. Quakers and Unitarians outnumbered Evangelicals and Catholics. They were joined by scores of liberal Jews, fewer Muslims, and a sprinkling of Buddhists, Sufis, Baha'i, Wiccans, Native American shamans, and various metrospiritual seekers. Even secular humanists were welcomed.
Together the attendees all prayed in concentric circles, sang John Lennon's "Imagine" (with the line "and no religion too" tastefully amended), and meditated while eating vegan boxed lunches.
Wallis, on the other hand, wants to attract:
...two voting blocs that will be critical to the 2008 election, moderate evangelicals and Catholics. His plan is to focus on poverty, an issue he believes all Christians can get behind, rather than ceding the floor to gay marriage and abortion, which the religious right uses to estrange Christians from the Democratic Party.
Wallis' conference this week, Pentecost 2006, will bring hundreds of Christian activists to Washington to promote a Covenant for a New America aimed at eradicating poverty at home and abroad. Unlike Lerner's conference, Wallis' isn't going to be dominated by the liberal fringes: Among the speakers are Republican Sens. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Sam Brownback of Kansas, two of the most prominent voices on the religious right.
The source of Wallis' appeal is his apparent moderation, both political and theological. His argument is compelling in its simplicity: An overriding commitment to social justice is more basic to Christianity than the issues championed by Christian fundamentalists. But to prevail he must avoid seeming too militantly progressive.
Which means not being identified with the Michael Lerners in the party.
Wallis is much better positioned to appeal to voters who might otherwise drift Republican than Lerner is, but in my opinion his problem is this: Any candidate which implements his approach will, in order to appeal to the constituency that Wallis targets, have to base his call for social justice on Biblical mandates and principles. Otherwise, people will just see it as more Great Society liberalism that seeks to solve problems by throwing money at them.
This means that the candidate will have to firmly espouse a Biblical worldview or risk sounding phony. However, and this is the problem, anyone who firmly espouses a Biblical worldview is going to alienate much of the Democratic base which is resolutely secular. So a social justice candidate risks either sounding phony, like John Kerry did when he talked about faith, or sounding genuine and scaring away the secularists.
Christopher Hitchens skewers his erstwhile comrades on the left for the stark inconsistencies in their position on Iraq. He titles the essay Four Projects for Righteous Anti-War Types, and he asks firstly where those who were so vocal in their opposition to land mines have disappeared to now that IEDs are being employed with such deadly effectiveness against Americans and their allies.
He also wonders why there are no human shields rushing to protect Iraqi schools and hospitals from the savageries of the insurgency as they rushed before the war to shield Iraqis from American bombs, at least until the bombs actually began to fall. He would like to know, too, why the left has changed its mind on sanctions which, they told us during the Clinton years, were killing Iraqi children. In the run-up to the war, however, it seemed that sanctions had suddenly become a much better way to deal with Saddam than deposing him. Finally, Hitchens notes that, now that Islamists make it a special point to target homosexuals, the left has quietly abandoned its demand to allow gays to serve in the military.
Hitchens is almost always a good read, and this column is particularly effective in exposing liberal pretensions of principled opposition to the war and inviting the left to show a little more sincerity by being a lot more consistent.
Those who say the Iraqi insurgency is a home-grown affair might wish to read this report by Omar at Iraq the Model on the capture of the leader of the plot to blow up the Samarra Mosque:
In a news conference currently being broadcast on TV, Iraq's national security advisor Muwaffak al-Rubaie says Iraqi security forces arrested Abu Qudama al-Tunisi in a raid in the suburb of al-Dhuloiya north of Baghdad. 15 other foreign terrorists were killed in the raid according to al-Rubaie.
The terrorist of Tunisian origin confessed that he was responsible for the attack that destroyed the Askari Shrine in Samarra back in February 22 of this year. Muwaffak al-Rubaie said the security forces are still searching for Haitham al-Badri who is believed to be the field commander under whom Abu Qudama was operating.
Al-Rubaie described Al-Badri is a terrorist with connections to elements in the past regime who later became one of the leaders of Ansar al-Sunna and later al-Qaeda organization in Iraq.
Al-Rubaie adds that this terror cell was responsible for the assassination of the late al-Arabiya reporter Atwar Bahjat.
Al-Rubaie described how the bombing was organized and says details were taken from the confessions of the captured Abu Qudama:
Four Saudis, two Iraqis and one Tunisian entered the mosque at night, handcuffed and locked up the guards in a room and spent the night planting the bombs all around the mosque. Next day they kidnapped and murdered Atwar Bahjat while she was trying to cover the news of the bombing.
So, the captured leader was Tunisian, the perps were predominately Saudi and the fifteen killed in the raid were described as "foreign" terrorists. At least this cell sounds like it enjoyed enough diversity to delight the administrators at any American university.
Hamas wanted war with Israel and it appears that now they're going to get it. They killed two soldiers and kidnapped a third, holding him in Gaza. The Israelis demanded the soldier be returned but Hamas demanded that Israel release all prisoners under 18 and all females. Israel refuses to negotiate and has apparently moved into Gaza in force and appears to have blocked all escape routes for Palestinian fighters.
Meanwhile, Palestinians in the West Bank kidnapped and murdered the 18 year old Israeli shown in this photo.
Now Israel has captured dozens of Hamas officials and is holding them in prison.
Hamas is the duly-elected governing party of the Palestinian people and they are carrying out acts of terrorism against Israel. The Israelis say they only want to get their kidnapped soldier back, but if that's all this is about there will be more kidnappings and murders to come. Hamas will not stop terrorizing Israelis no matter what concessions the Israelis make short of abandoning their country to the Palestinians. Surely the Israelis recognize that they are in a war over their right to exist, and the only way to protect their people is to eliminate the Palestinian killers.
Check out Captain's Quarters for updates on this unfolding conflict.