Thiessen…adventures in Newspeak

Marc Thiessen had a column up in yesterday’s Washington Post and he continues in the proud tradition of his fellow propagandists.

One lawyer in the National Security Division of Holder’s Justice Department, Jennifer Daskal, has written that any terrorist not charged with a crime “should be released from Guantanamo’s system of indefinite detention”…Should a lawyer who advocates setting terrorists free, knowing they may go on to kill Americans, have any role in setting U.S. detention policy? My hunch is that most Americans would say no.

Uh…terrorist not charged with a crime?  How is that different from someone who’s innocent?

See the clever phrasing?  Couldn’t any of us meet Herr Thiessen’s definition of someone who needs to be locked up forever?  After all, if you haven’t committed a criminal act (and remember, conspiracy is a criminal act) how can you be labeled a ‘terrorist’ (oh, I know!  I know! .eds)

And advocating that we actual have some sort of rationale for detaining people indefinitely?  Does that really fall into the category of ‘radical and dangerous views’?

Do other lawyers in question hold similarly radical and dangerous views?

Yes!  Let’s smoke out these traitors!  Loyalty oaths and informants for all!

I have to admit, I had a moment when I thought this article might be a spoof by some hackers when I saw this line:

Where was the moral outrage when fine lawyers like John Yoo, Jay Bybee, David Addington, Jim Haynes, Steve Bradbury and others came under vicious personal attack?

Yes!  Yes!  And where was the moral outrage when these fine men were charged as well?  They were only trying to save their country.  Times were tough and danger was everywhere.  You can’t Monday morning quarterback from the comfort of your easy chair!

Marc is a speech writer who knows exactly jack about what he’s talking about.  It’s a free country so he can spew whatever totalitarian bile he wants but there’s very little excuse why the Washington Post (or any other reputable organization) should feel obligated to print it.  The desire to appear ‘fair and balanced’ seems to do little other than to give fringe elements the air of respectability and the impression that their positions are worthy of serious consideration.

Really, am I just totally naive or would these conversations (torture, indefinite imprisonment without charge, infinite executive power, etc) never have gotten out of the starting block twenty or thirty years ago?

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2 responses to “Thiessen…adventures in Newspeak

  1. If you are at War, and not merely at war, then these prisoners are PWs. PWs do not have to be released until the end of the conflict. Noting that we call this ‘the long war’ that may be some time away. You do not have to charge PWs with anything to keep them detained unless you have evidence they have committed a crime. If you take out any perceived need to punish or take reprisals against these prisoners, then you can quite safely and legally keep them locked up indefinitely…

    I equate most of this rhetoric to that on tax reform: lawyers keeping lawyers in work…

  2. I get what you’re saying about War vs. war but I don’t think that’s what Thiessen’s arguing. Identifying these people as prisoners of war would still give them some guarantees (like establishing that these people were actually combatants and preventing them from being tortured).

    Thiessen doesn’t argue for that however. He lives in a world where torture is fine and accusations equal convictions.

    And, of course, ‘war’ may not be the appropriate term for what we’re doing now. Wars have some theoretical end yet war against ‘terrorism’ can never end without a dramatic alteration of human nature.

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