(InfoWars home.)
Quotes In Favor of Realpolitik
" "The other argument is the Geneva Convention doesn't apply in the case of terrorism, and that leads you down a different track from a legal standpoint.... We need that information. We need to be able to interrogate them and extract from them whatever information they have."
-- Vice President Dick Cheney, as quoted in the New York Times (2002 Jan 27), on the brutally pragmatic reason why those captured in the Afghan campaign will not be considered prisoners of war by the administration. Note carefully that no regard will be paid as to whether, in fact, the Geneva Convention does apply or does have machinery to handle these cases.

"We have to get away from the ethos that knowledge is good, knowledge should be publicly available, that information will liberate us ... Information will kill us in the techno-terrorist age, and I think it's nuts to put that stuff on Web sites"

--- University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Arthur Caplan, quoted in The LA Times (2001 Nov 18). So much for openness in science.
"As far as ethnic profiling; it's very troubling. It pains me to say this, but some of it may have to be done. We just have to recognize that we cannot bend over backwards in our innate American fairness to overlook that there are some people trying to hurt us."
--- Warren B. Rudman, the former Republican senator from New Hampshire and the chairman of the president's foreign intelligence advisory board, quote in the New York Times (2001 Nov 24).
"[W]e must not let foreign enemies use the forms of liberty to destroy liberty itself."
-- President George W. Bush, quoted in the New York Times (2001 Nov 29). Apparently, the task of destroying liberty is reserved to domestic powers.
"We do not believe our system of justice prevents us from protecting people's constitutional rights and protecting American lives"
-- Mindy Tucker, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department. As quoted in the New York Times (2001 Nov 29).
"[T]here have been a few voices who have criticized. Some have sought to condemn us with faulty facts or without facts at all. Others have simply rushed to judgment, almost eagerly assuming the worst of their government before they've had a chance to understand it at its best."
-- Attorney General Ashcroft, as quoted in the New York Times (2001 Nov 30). After all, the whole foundation of American freedom has always been, "Trust me ... I'm from the government." We won't dwell on the fact that some condemn with faulty facts precisely because the Attorney General won't release any facts.
"The arguments for a military tribunal are that it would protect classified information, judges and jurors; that it would eliminate the possibility of a legal circus (remember the O.J. Simpson trial); and it would make it easier to get convictions because the defendants would have fewer rights."
-- Michael Glennon, professor of law at the University of California, Davis and a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, in an Op-Ed in the Washington Post (2001 Dec 23).
Quotes In Favor of Principled Responses
"Simply declaring that applying traditional principles of law or rules of evidence is not practicable is hardly sufficient. The usual test is whether our national security interests outweigh our due-process rights, and the administration has not yet made this case. In doing so, it would have to explain how so many terrorists have been convicted in our federal courts using time-honored criminal procedures."
-- Senator Arlan Specter, in an op-ed in the New York Times (2001 Nov 28).
"It seems to us to be a big dragnet and fishing spree."
-- Ambassador Farid Abboud of Lebanon, as quoted in the New York Times (2001 Nov 30).
"My job is to defend the Constitution from its enemies. Its main enemies right now are the Justice Department and the White House."
-- Bill Goodman, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, a group that grew out of legal efforts to defend civil rights protesters in the 1960's. As quoted in the New York Times (2001 Nov 29).
"If the president can suspend one constitutional principle today, the danger is he can suspend others tomorrow."
-- Timothy Lynch, director of the criminal justice project of the Cato Institute, a group often associated with conservative causes. As quoted in the New York Times (2001 Nov 29).
"What the attorney general has done here is the equivalent of putting an F.B.I. agent's ear to the confessional."
-- Irwin H. Schwartz, a Seattle lawyer who is president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, regarding the monitoring of conversations traditionally accorded attorney-client privilege. As quoted in the New York Times (2001 Nov 29).
"Obviously, our president and his advisers don't have the deep and abiding confidence in the American Way that this tree-hugging Democrat and your conservative Republican columnist do."
-- Pamela Fiore, in a Letter to the Editor, New York Times (2001 Nov 29). Ms. Fiore is referring to an op-ed ("Kangaroo Courts") by William Safire, in the 2001 Nov 26 edition of the same paper.
"I believe in the rule of law, and I believe if we have a case to make against someone, we should make it in a federal courtroom in the United States"
-- a senior official at the FBI, speaking anonymously in a New York Times article (2001 Nov 30).
"That is not the way the American system works. This is a nation built around the rule of law, not faith in the goodness of particular officials."
-- The editorial board of the New York Times, in an editorial. (2001 Dec 1).
"We have a choice. We can fight and win a just war against terrorism, and emerge with the greatness of the United States intact. Or, we can win while running roughshod over the principles of fairness and due process that we claim to cherish, thus shaming ourselves in the eyes of the world and — eventually, when the smoke of fear and anger finally clears — in our own eyes as well."
-- Bob Herbert, in an op-ed in the New York Times (2001 Dec 3).
"It is a two-tier system of justice: a violation of America's historic promise of equal justice."
-- Anthony Lewis, in an op-ed in the New York Times (2001 Dec 4)
" I am terrified that so many of us are so eager to hand over the freedoms that have been fought for and have had blood spilled over for 225 years, freedoms that separate us from the dictatorships of today and those of history."
-- Alan Katz, in a Letter to the Editor, in the New York Times (2001 Dec 4).
"But by apparently denying some of the detainees their right to due process of law, the Justice Department, in its effort to protect the American people, is eroding our constitutional freedoms."
--Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), in an Op-Ed in the Washington Post (2001 Dec 23).
"Our hearings showed that this is more than a theoretical debate about security vs. liberty in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. There is reason for real concern about the tragic impact on innocent lives of the indiscriminate and unchecked use of government power in this investigation."
--Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), in an Op-Ed in the Washington Post (2001 Dec 23).
"Members of Congress and public interest organizations have been told that our effort to oversee the Justice Department's investigation is tantamount to aiding the terrorists. That accusation is not only untrue, it is offensive in a democracy, and a stunning example of the lengths to which some will go to deflect criticism about the way the Justice Department is conducting its investigation."
--Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), in an Op-Ed in the Washington Post (2001 Dec 23).
"And while it is true that convictions are easier to obtain without requirements of unanimity, proof beyond a reasonable doubt, hearsay limitations and the like, a price may be paid in legitimacy for short- cutting traditional due process requirements... The easier the conviction, the less it's worth in the court of world opinion."
-- Michael Glennon, professor of law at the University of California, Davis and a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, in an Op-Ed in the Washington Post (2001 Dec 23).
Note to Readers:
This page began as a collection of quotes regarding the use of military tribunals to adjudicate the cases of people accused by the United States of being terrorists. However, over the past few weeks, it's become apparent that the argument is bigger than the original order of the President. We are now debating things such as whether to follow the Geneva Convention of 1949, one of the most widely-recognized and successful international legal structures ever.
On the one hand we have a driving pragmatism that says the reach of the United States should be limited only by the length of its arm -- that wherever the US has the physical power to act, it may -- no, must -- do so to further its ends, regardless of previous commitments or the opinions of our allies. On the other hand is the belief that the United States has signed international treaties regarding conduct precisely because those treaties were the right thing to do, and that doing the right thing is ultimately more in the interest of the United States and its citizens than any short-term advantage that might be gained in violating widely-accepted principles of humanity and legality.
At this moment, with this administration, the course we will take certainly seems to be the former. Only time will tell if this route saves the United States grief or if it, as I believe, sows the seeds for tears and dragon's tears.

March Toward Tyranny :

Quotes a propos:

Military Tribunals vs. the Rule of Law