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

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Tue Nov 27 2001 - 14:00:54 MST

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:
> > 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.
> I'm not sure I see the vital national security concerns here. What
> information might come out at trial that wouldn't make the public even
> safer, like people's affiliations and histories, the security lapses
> they took advantage of, etc.?

In a war, ALL information about a) the enemy, and b) your own
capabilities, operations, methods, and assets, is to be regarded as
intelligence information. You may choose to release some of that
information, but such decisions should be based entirely on the basis of
its utility in the propaganda war versus the cost of letting the enemy
know that information, as they would once it is publicly published.

If, for example, it is detailed at trial what methods were used to
discover evidence about the planning, preparation, logistics, or
operations of terrorist attacks, the public record of this evidence is
then available for the al Qaeda or any other terrorist network to use to
figure out ways to avoid evidentiary discovery in the future.

Al Qaeda can determine, simply based on what evidence is used and what
is not used in a trial, which of their own methods are faulty and how,
what parts of their network are weak, etc, so they can then devise
methods to get around those failings in future attacks. It is certain
that the mere fact that the 911 attack was so successful is indicative
that they have this ability at intelligence analysis, and have drawn on
lessons learned from the transcripts of the trials of the suspects in
the 1993 WTC as well as the US Embassy bombings in africa. If we fail to
acknowledge this problem and act to prevent them from adjusting their
strategy again, then we are at fault when the next attack occurs.

> > 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.
> We'll just have to disagree here. If you don't try to live every moment
> of your own life by your own standards, then what's the point of having
> them?

You can live your own life by your standards, so I can live my life by
mine. When you try to force me to live by your standards, I sure as hell
am going to force you to live by your own standards. The one sure
defense against rape is to make the rapist enjoy the experience even
less than you do.

> > 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".
> You have a reading comprehension problem, Mike. I never said anything
> even remotely resembling the idea that I supported the American trial
> system as a whole, and I have been entirely consistent on that. I meant
> exactly, precisely, what I said in plain English, no more and no
> less. I'll say it again so you can get it this time: I hold the principle
> of PUBLIC TRIALS sacrosanct. Whatever other principles you consider to
> part of the American judicial system are fair game for reform--as long as
> the trials thus created remain open to public scrutiny. It's about
> transparency, not whatever particulars some document mentions. The
> particulars can change with the circumstances, but the one, and only,
> absolute inviolable principle is that trials be PUBLIC.

Even at the cost of your own life?

So you don't mind kangaroo court trials, so long as they are held in

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