The warrior ethos of the U.S. military is that you never leave anyone behind—whether injured, captured, or killed.
“The United States has always had a pretty sacred rule, and that is: We don’t leave our men or women in uniform behind. Regardless of circumstances, whatever those circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an American prisoner back. Period. Full stop. We don’t condition that.” — President Barack Obama.
This credo has never been questioned — until now — by the Chickenhawk cowards of the conservative media entertainment complex, nearly all of whom never served in the U.S. military, but who were bellicose cheerleaders for the Neoconservative’s unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq, and Dick “six deferments” Cheney’s perpetual “war on terror” (terrorism is a tactic, fool, not an enemy). Critics Are Questioning American Military Credo of Leaving No One Behind.
There are no words to adequately describe the level of anger I feel towards the vile despicable creatures of the right-wing noise machine who dare to deem themselves worthy of being judge, jury and executioner of Pfc. Bowie Bergdahi without evidence or trial, and for their vicious attacks not only on this prisoner of war but his grieving parents as well. I am tempted to make the time-honored throw-down threat of every veteran in my family to these vile despicable creatures: “I’ll rip your head off and piss down your throat, motherfucker!”
The U.S. military will investigate the circumstances of Pfc. Bowie Bergdahi’s capture, imprisonment, and release. Much of what you have heard in the media may not be true. Can Bowe Bergdahl Be Tied to 6 Lost Lives? Facts Are Murky. Let the military do its job.
No member of the U.S. military should be tried by the media through anonymous sources, innuendo, speculation and slander, especially by the vile despicable creatures of the conservative media entertainment complex who are bottom-feeding sewer dwellers. Their willingness to attack this member of the U.S. military demonstrates their willingness to attack any member of the U.S. military as it suits their needs for partisan politics. Fox Contributor Grenell Behind PR Campaign For Soldiers Critical Of Bergdahl.
This latest outrageous conduct from the right-wing noise machine is but a microcosm of a larger context: ending Dick Cheney’s perpetual “war on terror”and the coming fight over closing the prison camp at Guantanomo Bay.
The Neoconservative war mongers want their “war on terror” to continue in perpetuity, and to hold the prisoners at Guantanomo Bay “indefinitely,” i.e., until their death. And they really do not want to see a brokered peace agreement between Afghanistan and the former de facto government of the Taliban.
The Taliban prisoners at Guantanomo are officially classified as “unlawful combatants,” not terrorists, subject to Article Four of the Third Geneva Convention. “Unlawful combatants” are not entitled to prisoner of war status. If there is any doubt about whether a detained combatant is a “lawful combatant” then the combatant must be held as a prisoner of war until his or her status has been determined by “a competent tribunal.” If that tribunal rules that a combatant is an “unlawful combatant” then the person’s status changes to that of a civilian which may give them some rights under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Article 45 (3) of the First Protocol provides further implicit confirmation that unlawful combatants are protected under the Fourth Convention. All unlawful combatants, regardless of their nationality, where they were captured, and whether they are covered by the Fourth Convention, are entitled to the guarantees of Article 75 at all times. Even if the Fourth Convention or the First Convention should leave some loopholes or uncertainties, Common Article 3 applies to all persons and regardless of whether a non-international or international armed conflict is involved. (The U.S. Supreme Court held Common Article 3 applies, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld). See, The Status and Protection of Unlawful Combatants.
The Fourth Geneva Convention provides, in pertinent part, Geneva Convention (IV) – ICRC:
Chapter XIII. Release, Repatriation and Accommodation in Neutral Countries
Art. 132. Each interned person shall be released by the Detaining Power as soon as the reasons which necessitated his internment no longer exist.
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Art. 133. Internment shall cease as soon as possible after the close of hostilities.
Internees in the territory of a Party to the conflict against whom penal proceedings are pending for offences not exclusively subject to disciplinary penalties, may be detained until the close of such proceedings and, if circumstances require, until the completion of the penalty. The same shall apply to internees who have been previously sentenced to a punishment depriving them of liberty.
The triggering event is the “cessation of active hostilities.” President Obama has already ordered that active U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan will cease by the end of 2014. Thereafter, only a small contingent of advisers and trainers to the Afghanistan military will remain until 2016, at which time the U.S. presence will be reduced to a normal embassy security presence. The war in Afghanistan for the U.S. is over.
This means the status of prisoners held at Guantanomo Bay must be determined, and soon. Those prisoners who have not been prosecuted and sentenced to serve time must be released.
CNN reports today:
At its peak, Guantanamo Bay had 770 men believed by the U.S. government to be involved in terrorist activity or military attacks.
That number has dwindled significantly. As of last month, the facility had 154 detainees.
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Peter Bergen, a CNN national security analyst, and Bailey Cahall, a research associate at the New America Foundation, wrote in an op-ed last year that said dozens of detainees cleared for release years ago “remain in seemingly perpetual custody.”
“They have found to be guilty of nothing, yet they are being held indefinitely,” Bergen and Cahall wrote.
“Indefinite detention without charge is a policy that we usually associate with dictatorships, not democracies.”
There is a core group of prisoners who cannot be tried by a tribunal because the U.S. subjected them to torture, illegal under both U.S. law and international conventions of war. The Final Report of the Guantanamo Review Task Force, dated 22 January 2010, found that 48 detainees were determined “too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution.” Guantanamo Review Task Force Final Report (.pdf). If the U.S. cannot try these prisoners, following “cessation of hostilities” the U.S. must release them.
This does not mean that these prisoners will go free. It is more likely these prisoners will be renditioned to Afghanistan or to their country of origin where they may be tried for war crimes under the jurisdiction of those countries. This is likely the fate of thefive prisoners recently released to Qatar, where they will remain under guard for the next year. The right-wing noise machine’s hyperventilation that prisoners are going to go Scot-free is fear mongering.
The prisoners eventually will be freed after being adjudicated. But this is the case in every war. No country is permitted to hold prisoners forever following the end of a war.
The fact that Neoconservatives and the bottom-feeding sewer dwellers of the conservative media entertainment complex propose to do so is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. But after illegally torturing prisoners — for which no one in the chain of command who ordered, authorized or carried out the illegal torture has been held accountable to prosecution — what’s another war crime to these vile despicable creatures? It’s no wonder they engage in outrageous conduct with impunity.
UPDATE: Amanda Terkel and Sam Stein at Huffington Post break down the Republicans who demanded action to obtain the release of Pfc. Bowie Bergdahi and who are now taking their marching orders form the conservative media entertainment complex to trash this prisoner of war and his family. GOP Urged White House To ‘Do All It Can’ To Get Bowe Bergdahl. Igor Volsky at Think Progress has more. Lawmakers Change Their Minds After Demanding ‘Every Effort’ Be Made To Free Bergdahl.