Re: If we do get Afghanistan, what shall we do with it?

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Tue Nov 27 2001 - 09:42:57 MST

Samantha Atkins wrote:
> Mike Lorrey wrote:
> >
> > > Sorry, Mike, but when trials are closed, it's too easy to accuse
> > > anyone of being anything, whether they are or not. PUBLIC trials
> > > for all offenses are a fundamental human right everywhere, under
> > > all conditions, without exception. Anyone who proposes closed
> > > trials for any reason is an enemy of freedom and justice.
> >
> > Ah, public trials for all offenses, provided the accused agrees to
> > surrender for trial with no caveats. If someone refuses to be captured
> > and remains a threat, how far should others risk their lives just so
> > they can have their trial whether they want it or not?
> >
> That was not the issue here. The issue was whether military
> tribunals are appropriate.

So? You are assuming that they will not be made public, to start with.
Furthermore, public trials are actually NOT the right of every person.
You have a right to a trial by a jury of your peers. There is nothing in
the constitution that says that the trial has to be public as it occurs.
Indeed, it is often the prerogative of judges to seal a trial to
whatever extent they feel necessary. Trials must be a matter of public
record, i.e. their proceedings must be made public at some time after
they occur, but, for instance, jury deliberations are not a matter of
public record, nor are many settlements and plea bargains.

Given the circumstances, sealing trials of terrorists until the conflict
is concluded, or for simply some time after trial to greatly reduce the
intelligence value of those public records, is a rational measure to
take. It is a bit extreme, but we are not dealing with citizens here,
nor are we dealing with anyone who would in any rational way accept OUR
posession of similar civil rights.

Human/civil rights only exist de facto when all participating parties
agree they do, regardless of their de theorem basis. If a murderer
doesn't think you have a right to live, then he similarly loses his
right to live. This is the basis of self defense. Similarly, the Taliban
and al Qaeda organizations have denied that human beings posess any
human rights outside the Sharia Law. Hold them to their own standard.

> > >
> > > There are certainly some aspects of the American judicial system
> > > that can be changed: jury selection, rules of evidence, many
> > > procedural details. But openness isn't one of them: if anything,
> > > American trials should be _more_ open: ALL of them, including
> > > those for suspected foreign terrorists.
> >
> > Ah, so you think that jury members identities should be public knowledge
> > for terrorism trials? How naive.
> Not in the least. The identities are just as public or not at
> the court's discrestion as in trials of say, Mafia bosses.

That is so obviously the problem. Yet the problem with Lee's argument
now is that he is insisting that our trial system be inviolate, in that
the principle of public trials be held sacrosanct, but he is perfectly
willing to violate his own premise in changing jury selection rules,
rules of evidence, and procedural details just so his concept will work.
One more example of "stealing the assumption".

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