May 18, 2009

Knowledge of disparate impact on Arab Muslims is not the same as intent to discriminate against them.

Justice Kennedy writes for the majority in a 5-4 decision, Ashcroft v. Iqbal, announced today:
[Iqbal's] only factual allegation against [John Ashcroft, the former Attorney General of the United States, and Robert Mueller, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation] accuses them of adopting a policy approving “restrictive conditions of confinement” for post-September-11 detainees until they were “ ‘cleared’ by the FBI.” Accepting the truth of that allegation, the complaint does not show, or even intimate, that petitioners purposefully housed detainees in the ADMAX SHU due to their race, religion, or national origin. All it plausibly suggests is that the Nation’s top law enforcement officers, in the aftermath of a devastating terrorist attack, sought to keep suspected terrorists in the most secure conditions available until the suspects could be cleared of terrorist activity. Respondent does not argue, nor can he, that such a motive would violate petitioners’ constitutional obligations. He would need to allege more by way of factual content to “nudg[e]” his claim of purposeful discrimination “across the line from conceivable to plausible.”

79 comments:

hdhouse said...

Being from Long Island at the time this story didn't receive much press and now reading the account here and elsewhere, for good cause but not good reason.

I'm wondering about the thin line between "restrictive conditions of confinement" just a little niceity instead of thrown in the black hole without benefit of counsel.

It makes it sound like this was for Iqbal's protection and that the FBI worked diligently to clear his name. I think that falls under the general heading of "fat chance".

I can understand it but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

paul a'barge said...

Disparate impact on Arab muslims.

Disparate impact on Arab muslims.

Wow. Just wow.

You want to see disparate impact? I'll show you freakin' disparate impact:

hereand hereand hereand here you can see 3 of the disparate impacts at the same time.

Oh yes. I'm just oozing with moral outrage about the disparate impact on those Arab muslims.

Not.

Simon Hawkin said...

But regarding the 4 judges that were against. What was their reasoning?

Maguro said...

Strange - This sounds exactly like what happened to Babu after Jerry advised him to switch his restaurant from tacos, moussaka, and franks and beans to authentic Pakistani food.

"You're a bad man! Very, very bad!"

Robert Cook said...

Paul a'barge, you haven't shown any connection between the falling bodies you show, (and the many others who died inside the towers that we never saw) and the complainant in this case.

Do you suggest that it is appropriate any time a crime is committed that we set up a dragnet and arrest anyone or everyone who might have the slightest physical or other similarities to the perpetrators, and hold them without charge until the authorities determine their innocence of suspicion?

Revenant said...

instead of thrown in the black hole without benefit of counsel.

If he was thrown in the black hole without benefit of counsel, how'd he sue John Ashcroft?

Revenant said...

But regarding the 4 judges that were against. What was their reasoning?

The usual. "The government was mean, so the guy should be allowed to sue even if the law doesn't allow for it".

hdhouse said...

rev...i think he sued at a point later...read the article...not this one but even one on the front page of Yahoo..

and to Paul a'barge....wow man you are insane.

Juris Dentist said...

Insane?! Nah. He's a valued commenter around here. What's a little hatred of Arabs between smug friends?

Bob From Ohio said...

"Respondent pleaded guilty to the criminal charges, served a term of imprisonment, and was removed to his native Pakistan."

Key fact.

Non-American criminal is subject to strict confinement with, in the aftermath of 9/11, the worst thing he got was no prayer. No evidence that he lacked counsel.

Don't have to have "hatred of Arabs" to not give a darn.

paul a'barge said...

anyone or everyone who might have the slightest physical or other similarities to the perpetratorsonly when the crime is Islamist terrorism.

AJ Lynch said...

I am always shocked when I see pics of the WTC jumpers. Because, of course, the drive-by media closed ranks behind an embargo of those pictures.

paul a'barge said...

try this again

anyone or everyone who might have the slightest physical or other similarities to the perpetrators ....

...

Only when the crime is Islamist terrorism, yes.

... freakin' blogger.com's formatting vagaries.

John Burgess said...

Simon Hawkin: You can find the dissent beginning on page 28 of this 42-page PDF of the decision.

As SCOTUSblog suggests, this is going to make it all but impossible to bring any of the fanciful charges against other Bush administration officials for prior acts (known in the land of the lost as 'war crimes').

John Burgess said...

AJ Lynch: I suspect there is something much simpler going on in the absence of those images than mere media conspiracy...

The fact is, Americans don't like to see pictures of dead people. Maybe in a documentary, maybe in the back of a newspaper section, but on the whole, blood, not bodies lead.

AJ Lynch said...

John:

Maybe so but my main beef is they never actually showed the WTC tower pics even one time. That is my recollection however accurate it may be.

Revenant said...

rev...i think he sued at a point later...read the article...not this one but even one on the front page of Yahoo..

Yes, HD, but the point is that he was granted access to a lawyer. By the government.

So the worst you could say is that his access to a lawyer was delayed -- not denied.

Fen said...

Robert Cook: Do you suggest that it is appropriate any time a crime is committed that we set up a dragnet and arrest anyone or everyone who might have the slightest physical or other similarities to the perpetrators, and hold them without charge until the authorities determine their innocence of suspicion?


See above: The Left downgrades terrorism into "criminal acts" when it involves suspected terrorists; they upgrade differences of opinion into "criminal acts" when it involves the Bush administration.

Think on that for a bit.

Cedarford said...

John Burgess said...
AJ Lynch: I suspect there is something much simpler going on in the absence of those images than mere media conspiracy...

The fact is, Americans don't like to see pictures of dead people. Maybe in a documentary, maybe in the back of a newspaper section, but on the whole, blood, not bodies lead.
Pictures of "abuse" of "innocent until proven guilty" Muslim bad guys are also things Americans don't like to see pics of, yet the public was subjected to two years of media barrage of that after Abu Ghraib.

Pogo said...

Disparate impact on Arab muslims beats disparate impact by Arab muslims any day.

garage mahal said...

Fen didn't wish a slow death of Robert Cook's family, so that's a positive.

William said...

If an Elvis impersonator commits an act of terror, do we round up the Trekkies in order not to discriminate against Elvis impersonators?

Dale said...

What a wonderful decision showing the basic difference in reasoning:
`

The 5 Justices in the majority read the Constitution and the law and believed that it meant what it said.
`

The 4 Justices in the minority - liberal world-view all - looked to their feelings and tried to fashion an outcome with an end in mind.
`

Grown-ups in the real world vs. activists with an agenda.
`

Guess who is better for the lives of you and your children and their families.

Richard Fagin said...

If we have to consider the ethnicity, race, creed, color, national origin or religion of those who are believed to have waged war on the United States to avoid "disparate impact" as to their treatment as enemy combatants, then in the words of that FedEx commercial, "We're DOOMED!"

The fact that four Justices of the Supreme Court could think of reasons to do so shows how close we in fact are to being DOOMED!

Is there anyone, anyone left in this place who understands what a frickin' ENEMY is?

Fen said...

garage mahal: Fen didn't wish a slow death of Robert Cook's family, so that's a positive.


True. I did not Hope that his kidney fails.

PatCA said...

I'm not a lawyer, but this suit is just silly. What was the FBI supposed to do after 9/11, incarcerate some Presbyterians too?

Revenant said...

we set up a dragnet and arrest anyone or everyone who might have the slightest physical or other similarities to the perpetrators.

Of course not. But detaining citizens of hostile countries in response to an attack on the United States is the intelligent thing to do, particularly when those individuals are here illegally in the first place.

Any foreign nationals who don't like that kind of thing can avoid it by the simple process of staying the hell out of our country in the first place. :)

Peter V. Bella said...

The majority ruled on the facts, law, and their interpretation of the constitution.

The minority ruled on their belief, no, their feelings, nope, their social conscience, nope, their agenda, nope, ah, gee, em, er, eh, oh yeah, it was not fair that those mean bullies Ascroft and Mueller did this.

Robert Cook said...

"The Left downgrades terrorism into 'criminal acts' when it involves suspected terrorists; they upgrade differences of opinion into "criminal acts" when it involves the Bush administration."Acts of terrorism are criminal acts...no downgrading involved. The crimes of the Bush administration--illegal invasion of a country that posed no threat to us, justified with false accusations that said country possessed WMD and was five minutes away from annihilating us with them; additional false accusations of said country colluding with Al Qaeda ("evidence" of which we have recently learned were extracted by means of torture); illegal evesdropping on our electronic communications; and torture--are, in fact, crimes, and not mere differences of opinion. It would be no more a difference of opinion but a gross distortion of reality for me to assert that Timothy McVeigh was a murderer while another described him as merely a patriot expressing dissent against policies of his government with which he disagreed.

As Obama takes over Bush's wars and policies and tactics, he is now also a war criminal and mass murderer.

Revenant said...

Acts of terrorism are criminal acts.

And rape is bad behavior.

But if I described a rapist as merely "a bad boy", people could rightly say that I was downgrading the severity of rape.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Do you suggest that it is appropriate any time a crime is committed .

And therein lies the problem. 19 Muslim terrorists kill 3000 destroy two skyscrapers and part of the Pentagon and it's a crime. Just like robbing a bank.

Dale said...

Robert Cook, you seem to be one of those people who doesn't quite understand the social compact of words having pretty much fixed definitions.
`

I don't think the words you use -
"war criminal", "mass murderer", and plenty of others -
mean what you think they mean.
`

Dale said...

Ah, but Revenant has made the point far better.

Robert Cook said...

"I don't think the words you use -
'war criminal,' 'mass murderer,' and plenty of others -
mean what you think they mean."

Actually, they do.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Insane?! Nah. He's a valued commenter around here. What's a little hatred of Arabs between smug friends?
.

You know what intrigues me? The absolute knee jerk defense of liberals over a cult who is responsible for killing 3000 people in the US and seeing the outright nihilism displayed by Muslims over the past eight years over everything from Mohammed cartoons to videotaping sawing off the heads of innocent people while cheering God is Great.

And hdhouse is troubled because some guy didn't get his lawyer post haste.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Is there anyone, anyone left in this place who understands what a frickin' ENEMY is?.

Mark Steyn has a great quote about what an enemy is and I paraphrase:

"To the left there are no enemies, just potential friends whose grievances we haven't yet accomodated."

Seems that about sums up Obama's foreign policy at this stage.

hdhouse said...

Hoosier Daddy said...
And therein lies the problem. 19 Muslim terrorists kill 3000 destroy two skyscrapers and part of the Pentagon and it's a crime. Just like robbing a bank."

No it isn't like robbing a bank. Bank robbery is covered under USC 16 2113 etc. I don't think it serves a purpose to toss out strawdogs. No one believes it is "just another crime"....that makes you sound silly and naive.

Terrorism is covered under 18 USC 113. It is a crime.

Are you suggesting that we ignore our laws? Is that what you are about?

Or are you just funnin' us? Ya'betcha!!

hdhouse said...

and Hoosier....Iqbal's crime to which he confessed had nothing to do with terrorism..if of course you had bothered to READ instead of your usual babble.

Good Lord, you sound like Sean Hannity!

hdhouse said...

Revenant said...
"Yes, HD, but the point is that he was granted access to a lawyer. By the government."

He was granted access to a lawyer BY LAW. I think there is a legal difference don't you? You do see the distinction don't you?

"So the worst you could say is that his access to a lawyer was delayed -- not denied"

If access to counsel and other guarantees under the 4th amendment mean anything "delayed" past 48hrs (reasonableness) kinda is an issue which I think was raised.

The 5-4 vote sent it back for further consideration....and seemed to invite action against others...didn't it? Wasn't that your reading? Hello?

Anybody home? Lights are on but the noggin seems kinda vacant....

hdhouse said...

Anybody else just want to hurl bullshit on here? I'm up for a good fight.

Revenant said...

He was granted access to a lawyer BY LAW. I think there is a legal difference don't you? You do see the distinction don't you?

"The law" is a subset of "the government". If the law gives you something, by definition the government is giving it to you.

There is no law which is binding on the US government, beyond that which was made BY the US government.

hdhouse said...

gosh Rev, I thought we were the government...or did I skip civics on the wrong day?

Revenant said...

If access to counsel and other guarantees under the 4th amendment mean anything "delayed" past 48hrs (reasonableness) kinda is an issue which I think was raised.

There is no "48hrs" requirement for the 4th amendment. The reasonableness requirement is based in just that -- reasonableness. It is obvious that the detention of an illegal alien from a terrorist nation, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, is reasonable in a way that, for example, detaining some random pothead from Atlanta would not be.

Similarly, it is reasonable to detain captured enemy combatants until such time as their side surrenders or negotiates a peace; that is what we did in every one of our wars prior to this one.

Revenant said...

gosh Rev, I thought we were the government...or did I skip civics on the wrong day?

"We" are the government in the sense that it is democratically elected, if that's what you mean. Why you find that topical is a bit of a mystery.

hdhouse said...

Revenant said...
"It is obvious that the detention of an illegal alien from a terrorist nation, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, is reasonable in a way that, for example, detaining some random pothead from Atlanta would not be."

The only "fact" here is that he was an illegal alien. ... Is there some other "fact" that is overlooked? Interesting that you bring all the rest into it but that is what it is.....and pretty much the basis for the action..and again if you READ the decision on cert you might get that part of it straight.

As it is, the secondary issue resides in the state of the country after the attack and incidentally he came from the wrong country at the wrong time...

so the question goes to you to explain which individual case is that one case that goes too far? if you lined up all the detainees in order of what? threat? at which point in the lineup of potentials is the dividing line between probable and improbable?..

Stuff like this happens when we abandon the clear lines for the grey areas.

Revenant said...

The only "fact" here is that he was an illegal alien. ... Is there some other "fact" that is overlooked?

I'm not sure why you're putting the word "fact" in quotes, since I didn't use it. But yes, there are a number of other facts you're overlooking:

(1): He was not only here illegally, but using forged papers.
(2): He was, and is, a citizen of the #1 ally of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, namely Pakistan.
(3): He was living in New York, the primary target of Al Qaeda, during 9/11.
(4): As he was here illegally, he had no legal right to be released onto American soil.
(5): Whatever right he might have had to be released onto Pakistani soil was trumped by our national security interest in determining his possible relationship to Al Qaeda.

That about covers the relevant facts.

I do find it amusing that a person would illegally enter the country with forged papers and then complain of being detained, though. That's like breaking into someone's house and then bitching that they left you tied up a little too long before calling the cops. :)

Interesting that you bring all the rest into it but that is what it is.....and pretty much the basis for the action..and again if you READ the decision on cert you might get that part of it straight..

You're going to have to be a little less incoherent if you expect a response, HD. You appear to be claiming that Iqbal was detained solely for being an illegal alien. That's patently absurd, as the decision notes.

Stuff like this happens when we abandon the clear lines for the grey areas.

There isn't a gray area. The Court doesn't deny -- nor could it -- that the government has the right to hold illegal aliens indefinitely if freeing them poses a potential national security risk. Obviously sending a potential Pakistani Muslim terrorist back to Pakistan before he could be cleared would have been stupid.

But if that's too vague for you, we could simply adopt a policy of having the Army shoot any illegal entrants as foreign invaders. :)

Dale said...

Ooooh:
`

Revenant SCORES AGAIN!
`

HD is continually down in this bout, trying to come up with the stamina, trying different hooks and jabs. But Rev keeps knocking him down again and again.
`

At the end of 6 rounds:

Revenant (reason and logic) 5
Hdhouse ("if it was done under Bush, it has to be bad") 1 (for effort and fancy footwork)

Revenant said...

HDHouse's troll-fu is strong, but it lacks discipline.

Methadras said...

"Robert Cook said...

Paul a'barge, you haven't shown any connection between the falling bodies you show, (and the many others who died inside the towers that we never saw) and the complainant in this case."

Actually he has, since the origination of these people falling to their deaths rather than being burned alive was the direct result of 19 middle-class arabs along with a number of others who planned and executed an attack on America and it's citizens.

"Do you suggest that it is appropriate any time a crime is committed that we set up a dragnet and arrest anyone or everyone who might have the slightest physical or other similarities to the perpetrators, and hold them without charge until the authorities determine their innocence of suspicion?"

What's to suggest, it happens all the time. In the case of disparate impacted Arab Muslims I'd say that if a terrorist act was committed and they were in the vicinity, I'm sure Swedes, Mexicans, Germans, Italians, and a few transplants from West Hollywood would get weeded out right away?

Methadras said...

"AJ Lynch said...

I am always shocked when I see pics of the WTC jumpers. Because, of course, the drive-by media closed ranks behind an embargo of those pictures."

And I almost can assure you that as the bodies were falling to their doom, a few of them were looking for bookstores to by a Quran for a better mutual understanding of the soon-to-be repressed minority.

Methadras said...

"Robert Cook said...

"The Left downgrades terrorism into 'criminal acts' when it involves suspected terrorists; they upgrade differences of opinion into "criminal acts" when it involves the Bush administration."Acts of terrorism are criminal acts...no downgrading involved. The crimes of the Bush administration--illegal invasion of a country that posed no threat to us, justified with false accusations that said country possessed WMD and was five minutes away from annihilating us with them; additional false accusations of said country colluding with Al Qaeda ("evidence" of which we have recently learned were extracted by means of torture); illegal evesdropping on our electronic communications; and torture--are, in fact, crimes, and not mere differences of opinion. It would be no more a difference of opinion but a gross distortion of reality for me to assert that Timothy McVeigh was a murderer while another described him as merely a patriot expressing dissent against policies of his government with which he disagreed.

As Obama takes over Bush's wars and policies and tactics, he is now also a war criminal and mass murderer."

Wow, I can feel the impact of your faux indignation from here. High rhetoric, lowest of truth.

Hoosier Daddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hoosier Daddy said...

Iqbal's crime to which he confessed had nothing to do with terrorism..if of course you had bothered to READ instead of your usual babble..

No of course not. He just happened to be here illegally, using fake papers, from a country sympathetic to the Taliban who, lets see, was harboring the same Muslim terrorists who killed 3000 people in NYC. Of course to you, the Feds were acting unreasonably by detaining this poor fella, right after the worst attack on our nation's soil in history.

He wasn't thrown in a back hole as you stated but was given counsel. The fact that it wasn't immediately along with a prayer mat, haalal meal and Quaran may disturb your progressive sensibilities but it wasn't unconstitutional.

Robert Cook said...

"Is there anyone, anyone left in this place who understands what a frickin' ENEMY is?"

Yes. It's someone we pick on and attack without provocation while accusing him of crimes others have committed. When he defends himself we either kill him or throw him into a hole without charges, where we torture him to extract false confessions of having been involved in every outrage from the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby to the invention of gangsta rap.

Also: if he's a citizen of a country which we consider a "friendly," yet which has recently seen Taliban flowing across its borders, driven there by our attacks in their neighboring country of origin--like roaches fleeing bug spray who invade the next door apartment. We then accuse our ally country as being "friendly to Taliban," and thus every citizen of said country is our enemy until determined otherwise.

Paranoia: the dementia that keeps on giving.

hdhouse said...

Revenant said...
"number of other facts you're overlooking:

(1): He was not only here illegally, but using forged papers.
(2): He was, and is, a citizen of the #1 ally of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, namely Pakistan.
(3): He was living in New York, the primary target of Al Qaeda, during 9/11.
(4): As he was here illegally, he had no legal right to be released onto American soil.
(5): Whatever right he might have had to be released onto Pakistani soil was trumped by our national security interest in determining his possible relationship to Al Qaeda.

That about covers the relevant facts."

1. yes he did that. guilty.
2. Pakistan???? The wag in me wants to remind you that at the time it was Afghanistan and Iraq...you remember the war don't you?
3. 6.8% of the US lives in NY.
4. Where did I say he was to be released? Show me? Nowhere.
5. ahhh there you go again with the Pakistani thing...

The only relevant legal fact is that he forged his papers. Guilty. Deported. ya'betcha.

the rest is just what you want it to be. that is why we have laws. that is why we allow victim statements but don't allow the victims to determine the sentence.

Your observations fall flat. Thank God that he wasn't wearing the wrong color jeans.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Paranoia: the dementia that keeps on giving..

I still am amazed at how you can continue to live in a nation that you clearly despise.

Hoosier Daddy said...

1. yes he did that. guilty..

That's charitable of you.

2. Pakistan???? The wag in me wants to remind you that at the time it was Afghanistan and Iraq...you remember the war don't you?.

The wag in you obviously forgets that in 2001 Iraq wasn't on the radar and wasn't until late 2002. Relevance to Pakistan? Well other than I think Saudi Arabia, they were the only nation which recognized the Taliban as the official government of Afghanistan. If you need further reminding, the Taliban harbored Al Qaeda. Connect the dots and all that.

3. 6.8% of the US lives in NY..

6.8% doesn't live here illegally using forged papers and are not citizens of a country sympathetic to the landlords of the folks who attacked us. But please do continue with that lame ass defense.

4. Where did I say he was to be released? Show me? Nowhere..

You didn't. In fact you strongly imply he shouldn't have been detained in the first place.

5. ahhh there you go again with the Pakistani thing....

See #3. If you can't see the relevance then you being willfully obtuse or a complete idiot. I'll eager the latter.

Robert Cook said...

"I still am amazed at how you can continue to live in a nation that you clearly despise."

Ah, the old "if you don't adore and accept everything done by your government, you must hate your country" lie.

Actually, I hate when men with ambition for power usurp the Constitution and force it to their own purposes, violating both it and the law by their actions.
I hate when we become murderers and torturers and invaders of other countries, using the rhetoric of "peace" and "freedom" and "justice" to excuse our lawlessness. I hate when we are deluded into thinking that "we must destroy our Constitution in order to save it."

When the house you live in becomes disordered, do you abandon the house, or do you clean it up?

Hoosier Daddy said...

When the house you live in becomes disordered, do you abandon the house, or do you clean it up?.

Well according to you our house has been a terrorist haven since the Pilgrims landed. Based upon your past comments, there doesn't appear to be a single moment in US history that doesn't measure up to your standards. You have clearly expressed an affinity for a socialist state in previous threads so again, why are you here?

Robert Cook said...

"...why are you here?"

Because, despite all the evils we have done--which have always been in violation of our Constitution and not an expression of it--we have also been an agent of change and are in fact better in many ways than we were. Our Constitution is one of the great liberal documents of human history, and as long as we do not formally repudiate it by changing it to remove its core provisions and protections, we may still have the opportunity to continue to improve. Progress in human affairs is always a never-ending conflict between the forces of repression, ignorance, and tyranny and the agents and ideals of progress, law, and freedom, always a fight between the few and the many whom they would dominate.

This isn't to say I haven't thought of where else I might like to go.

paul a'barge said...

"Is there anyone, anyone left in this place who understands what a frickin' ENEMY is?"

Robert Cook: Yes. It's someone we pick on and attack without provocation while accusing him of crimes others have committed.Apparently, you are a moron. Given that, this is probably going to fly over your head, but what the heck, here goes: ...
Schwinnngggg

Hoosier Daddy said...

we have also been an agent of change and are in fact better in many ways than we were. .

That is a pretty charitable description of a country that not too long ago you described as a terrorist state.

Progress in human affairs is always a never-ending conflict between the forces of repression, ignorance, and tyranny and the agents and ideals of progress, law, and freedom, always a fight between the few and the many whom they would dominate. .

That was really beautiful. Then again the problem is that the realities of life tend to come into conflict with idealism expressed in that moving statement. Lincoln who Obama likes to emulate pretty much shredded the Constitution during the Civil War, because he had the testicular fortitude to do what was necessary to preserve the Union. So did Wilson in WW1 and FDR in WW2, those conflicts which didn't have nearly the same threat to our existance as the Civil War or the threats we're facing today when a couple of Muslim fanatics can smuggle a nuke or bio weapon across our pourous borders.

Brent said...

Robert Cook is, first an excellent and lucid writer.
`

That said, he is an example of the extreme left wing of American politics, a badge I'm certain that he wears proudly.

Robert Cook said...

The claim that the threat we face today from Islamic terrorists is greater than that which we faced in WWII is absurd, if not insane. Let's also not ignore the decades where we faced an edgy stalemate with Soviet Russia's bristling array of armed and aimed nuclear weapons.

"...a country that not too long ago you described as a terrorist state."

We are still a terrorist nation anytime we heave dumb smartbombs at targets many miles away and kill ever more civilians or invade countries that never were a threat to us or round up masses of men in dragnets (or buy them unquestioned from bounty hunters) and then render them to prisons abroad or at Gitmo to be held indefinitely without charge, facing torture at our or others' hands.

Robert Cook said...

Thanks for the compliment, Brent, your implied criticism of my politics duly noted as well. I too often see my comments as being more clumsy than I would like, hasty as I often am to get my thoughts out in the heat of the moment.

I honestly don't think of myself as "far left," and I don't even know what that might mean. I see myself as "liberal," to be sure, but mainly as someone who believes what my parents taught me about about American ideals of honesty, respecting the law, doing unto others as I would have them do unto me, (though I'm an atheist), and so on. In other words, I just see myself as standing up for good old American values.

Robert Cook said...

I'll add that I was raised Republican in a Republican family that is still Republican. I registered Republican when I came of age and voted for Ford against Carter and for Reagan against Carter. That was the last time I voted for a Republican, as over time I came to see the world as it really is, not as the Republicans perceive it.

Though my family sees me as an apostate, I see my values as deriving directly from those they taught me, and I see present day Republicans as traitors to their own purported values of honesty and respect for law.

Hoosier Daddy said...

The claim that the threat we face today from Islamic terrorists is greater than that which we faced in WWII is absurd, if not insane. .

Historically accurate nonetheless. Neither Japan or German posed an existential threat to the US. We could have made nice with Japan after Pearl Harbor with little change in our way of life or national security. Japan had neither the desire nor the capacity to invade the US much less inflict any kind of damage on the mainland. Hitler could not even invade England thus I think we didn't have to worry about the Wehrmacht marching down 1600 Pennsylvania singing the Horst Wessel.

On the other hand, 19 Islamic terrorists killed 3000 people (more than the Imperial Jap navy did at Pearl Harbor) and knocked down two skyscrapers using commerical airliners they hijacked with boxcutters. Now that we have a nuke armed N.Korea starving for cash, a soon to be nuke armed Iran and an already nuke armed Pakistan with a fanatical Islamic population that hated us long before Iraq I'll stand by my statement.

Let's also not ignore the decades where we faced an edgy stalemate with Soviet Russia's bristling array of armed and aimed nuclear weapons..

Personally I'd rather face the Soviets again rather than a nihilistic death cult who think killing millions is ticket to a harem of virgins.

Robert Cook said...

As I said: absurd, if not insane.

Revenant said...

2. Pakistan???? The wag in me wants to remind you that at the time it was Afghanistan and Iraq...you remember the war don't you?

The war against Iraq started well after Iqbal was already released from custody as a "person of interest".

As for the war in Afghanistan, of course I remember it. But I also remember that we fought that war using native Afghan allies. Our enemies in that war (a) the Taliban, which was established by and primarily supported by the government of Pakistan, and (b) Al Qaeda, which leadership immediately fled into Pakistan and has remained there ever since. So like I said, Iqbal was a citizen of our enemies' primary ally.

3. 6.8% of the US lives in NY.

Obviously his residence in NYC would not have been sufficient reason to arrest him, taken by itself. But in combination with the other facts it was cause for concern. :)

4. Where did I say he was to be released? Show me? Nowhere.

It is an indisputable fact that the government had the right to take him into custody; he was in the country illegally. Once he was in custody the only two options were (a) releasing him or (b) continuing to detain him. You're screaming and pissing your pants over our having continued to detain him -- ergo you wanted him released.

ahhh there you go again with the Pakistani thing...

And you still don't have a response for it. :)

The only relevant legal fact is that he forged his papers. Guilty. Deported. ya'betcha.

Nope. Guilty, detained until we decide to release him.

the rest is just what you want it to be. that is why we have laws.

Certainly, and we obeyed them. There is nothing illegal about indefinitely detaining illegal aliens from hostile nations while we're at war.

Even Iqbal didn't argue that the detentions themselves were illegal. He just argued that they illegally targeted people based on their race and ethnicity. :)

Revenant said...

The claim that the threat we face today from Islamic terrorists is greater than that which we faced in WWII is absurd, if not insane.

During the entirety of World War Two, the Axis managed to kill 1700 US civilians. Al Qaeda killed 2849 American civilians on one day in 2001.

QED.

Robert Cook said...

"During the entirety of World War Two, the Axis managed to kill 1700 US civilians. Al Qaeda killed 2849 American civilians on one day in 2001."This is puerile. You seem to base your appraisal of Al Qaeda's "existential threat" to us merely on the number of American citizens they managed to kill on one lucky day for them, one unlucky day for us. You do not consider the vastly greater number of humans murdered by the Nazis, both on the battlefield and in their concentration camps; you do not consider the many more Americans killed on the battlefield fighting the Nazis than were or will die fighting the Islamic terrorists; you do not consider the potential of vastly greater destruction and death that could have been wreaked by the Nazis had they not been defeated in Europe; you do not consider that the Islamic terrorists have no potential to kill as many people as the Nazis did.

Frankly, I'm nonplussed by anyone who can seriously consider the stateless and scattered Islamic terror groups to be even a fraction the threat to us the Nazis were, much less more so. Such a conviction is irrational on its face.

Revenant said...

You seem to base your appraisal of Al Qaeda's "existential threat" to usI never used the term "existential threat". The only existential threat the United States has ever faced was the Soviet Union, and I never claimed Al Qaeda was worse than them. Neither Nazi Germany nor Japan had any chance whatsoever of conquering or destroying this country, and neither does Al Qaeda.

I was disputing your claim that the threat of Islamic terrorism is less than what we faced during WW2. Well, during WW2 we faced enemies that had no way to strike at the United States and no plausible way of developing the ability to strike at the United States. We had to actually ship our people to other countries before our enemies had a chance to kill them.

merely on the number of American citizens they managed to kill on one lucky day for them, one unlucky day for us.

It is imbecilic to claim that 9/11 was a matter of luck, good or bad.

It didn't take any luck at all. The world is simply a much more dangerous place today than it was in 1945. In 1945 our cities did not have enormous flying bombs (i.e., airliners) circling our population centers at all time. Oh, certainly the Germans would have LIKED to have those, but they didn't. It is a sad fact that all the good our technology has brought us has had the unfortunate side effect of dramatically increasing the lethal force available to private individuals. That's why a group of ragtag Muslims from the ass end of nowhere can do more harm to us than a technologically advanced world power could have managed 65 years ago.

Robert Cook said...

Voltaire made remarks that well characerize our behavior in our terror war, and which are pertinent as well to a discussion of the unparalleled menace (sic) of Islamic terrorists:

""Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities."

Revenant said...

the unparalleled menace (sic) of Islamic terrorists:

You're not supposed to use "sic" when inventing a phony quote. You're supposed to use it when someone makes a mistake in an actual quote. For example:

Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities [sic].

(the actual line is "injustice", not "atrocities")

Anyway, Voltaire also said:

A minister of state is excusable for the harm he does when the helm of government has forced his hand in a storm.

But I expect you'll keep whining about how Bush and Obama are "war criminals". The lesson here is that few arguments are won through quotation; you'll probably have to actually defend your beliefs on your own eventually.

Based on your performance to date, I'm not holding my breath. :)

Robert Cook said...

Actually, (sic) does not refer to a mistake at all, but merely means the word or phrase so identified has not been mistakenly used, but stands as originally used.

Strictly speaking, it is used when quoting another, but I use it here to signify that while I think it a silly idea that Islamic terrorists present an unparalleled menace, it is a silly idea that others have fooled themselves into accepting as true.

In short, I use it in place of air quotes.

As for the quote from Voltaire, it has been translated variously, and the source where I found it used "atrocities." In fact, it apparently is actually merely a condensation of Voltaire's actual quote, which was longer:

"Formerly there were those who said: You believe things that are incomprehensible, inconsistent, impossible because we have commanded you to believe them; go then and do what is unjust because we command it. Such people show admirable reasoning. Truly, whoever is able to make you absurd is able to make you unjust. If the God-given understanding of your mind does not resist a demand to believe what is impossible, then you will not resist a demand to do wrong to that God-given sense of justice in your heart. As soon as one faculty of your soul has been dominated, other faculties will follow as well. And from this derives all those crimes of religion which have overrun the world.

* Questions sur les miracles (1765)
* Alternative condensed translation: 'Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.'"


From Wikiquotes

Robert Cook said...

"A minister of state is excusable for the harm he does when the helm of government has forced his hand in a storm".

Except our hand was not forced; we were attacked, yes, by a gang of stateless thugs, and our "minister(s) of state" used that terrible crime as an excuse to pursue a wholly unrelated geopolitical aim of the neocons, the invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Torture was used to extract a false "confession" of a non-existent link between Hussein and Al Qaeda. The man who made that false confession is now conveniently dead, a supposed jailhouse suicide in just the last few days or week.

Our hand was not forced, but was directing the great criminal conspiracy to wage war against an innocent nation, (innocent, that is, of any threat to us). We created the storm of war. None of what happened after 9/11 had to happen as it did, but we had the opportunity and we created the rationale, and the treasure awaited!

There's certainly no question that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, et al are mass murderers and torturers--that is, war criminals; this is simply a fact.

Revenant said...

it is a silly idea that others have fooled themselves into accepting as true.

I find it interesting that you chose to respond to my points by attacking a position I obviously don't hold. After all, I cited the Soviets as a worse threat than the Islamists, which means I cannot possibly think Islamic terror is an unparalleled threat. Meanwhile, the actual positions I have defended have thus far been ignored by you. Unsurprising, but funny nevertheless.

As for the quote from Voltaire, it has been translated variously, and the source where I found it used "atrocities."

The word is "injuste", which can only be translated as "unjust". People translate it as "atrocity" simply because what Voltaire actually said didn't sound dramatic enough.

There's certainly no question that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, et al are mass murderers and torturers--that is, war criminals; this is simply a fact.

Since they have never been and never will be convicted of any war-related crimes, their status as war criminals remains merely your opinion. As it turns out, your opinion on the subject doesn't actually matter to me.

In any case, I see that you still haven't actually responded to my arguments. So we're done here. :)

Robert Cook said...

I didn't say that you, necessarily, were one who held the Islamic terrorists where an unparalleled menace; there are some who do seem to hold that view. I was arguing, actually, against what seems to be Hoosier Daddy's position, who asserted it is "historically accurate" to say that the Islamic terrorists are a greater threat to us than were the Axis powers in WWII, (who were an unparalleled menace to us up to that point in time).

You jumped in with a non sequitur about the fewer American civilians killed by the Nazis in WWII as compared with Al Qaeda on 9/11. This certainly implies you support Hoosier Daddy's view, or at least that you consider Islamic terrorists as great a threat to us as that posed to us by the Axis powers.

I agree it is unlikely Bush, Cheney and the "whole sick crew" will ever be tried or convicted for their war crimes, but this makes them war criminals no less, as the mass murder and maiming and torture and wholesale destruction they unleashed is no less real for that. Among the guilty, Cheney certainly seems scared shitless of the possibility of prosecution, else he would not be engaged in his whirlwind tour of the obliging media outlets where he has been exhaling a cloud of excuses and lies for weeks now. He's acting, obviously, on the dictum that the best defense is a good offense.

Hoosier Daddy said...

This certainly implies you support Hoosier Daddy's view, or at least that you consider Islamic terrorists as great a threat to us as that posed to us by the Axis powers..

I won't speak for Rev's view of my position but here it is for you again. If you actually knew about history you would know that neither Japan or German had the capability of causing the kind of damage to the United States that AQ has. Rev did correctly point out that the advent of technology has allowed 19 Muslim terrorists to cause more death and destruction than the Japanese Imperial Navy did 67 years ago. That is an undisputable fact. You can jump up and down all you want but it doesn't change the facts. Germany may have been an existential threat to Europe but they weren't to us. Ditto for Japan. You have to be able to invade or at least strike the country you're trying to conquer and neither nation could do that.

On the other hand, those stateless rag tag Muslim terrorists can get their paws on nasty things like nukes or chem/bio weapons which is why we get concerned about proliferation. If you don't think that's a threat then I suppse you suffer from what the 9/11 commission coined, a failure of imagination.

While Rev correctly states that the Soviet Union was a true threat, I would also inject that we were dealing with a sane enemy. The Soviet's may have been totalitarians but they weren't fatalistic either.

In any event, your ability to think and counter my position in a coherent manner backed by facts rather than emotion and invented quotes is evidenced by your ingrained hatred of the US. I'll continue with my 'paranoia' of Muslim terrorists and you can continue to bemoan living in a terrorist nation that produces war criminals.