Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lindsey Graham, R-SC, knows more about war than you do, so just STFU.

He knows more about being a troop than you do, it says so right here in his biography:

Graham logged six-and-a-half years of service on active duty as an Air Force lawyer.

From 1984-1988, he was assigned overseas and served at Rhein Mein Air Force Base in Germany.
Um, dude... Rhein Main Air Force Base... Frankfurt... I'm thinking that's a far cry from Baghdad myself, but what do I know? I've only ever been to Montreal and Juarez and the only time I ever spend at military bases is in museums.
During the first Gulf War, Graham was called to active duty and served state-side at McEntire Air National Guard Base as Staff Judge Advocate where he prepared members for deployment to the Gulf region. His duties included briefing pilots on the law of armed conflict, preparing legal documents for deploying troops, and providing legal services for family members of the South Carolina Air National Guard.

State-side, if any of you are less familiar with this stuff than I am, means here, inside the borders of the United States. And while parts of South Carolina can possibly be compared to Fallujah, McEntire Air National Guard Station, near Columbia, South Carolina, probably doesn't even come close. Sure, it's a real zoo there, but the food is probably better than MREs.

Now that we've established his bona fides, what did Graham have to say to us, We The [clueless] People, today?

First off, Graham, as a Member of Congress and a former troop himself, knows that the last thing our troops need in the way of help is 535 Members of Congress micro-managing their rotations and deployments. Okay, so that was a bit of a mashup. Here's what he really said:
Senator Graham Press Release
Contact: Wes Hickman (202) 224-5972 or Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417
Date: 09/19/2007

Graham Opposes Webb Amendment

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted against the Webb Amendment to the Senate Defense Authorization bill.

The amendment was a power-grab which sought to take the responsibility of setting troop rotation schedules away from the military and President and give it to the Congress. War opponents have touted the amendment as one means of ending the troop surge in Iraq.

The vote failed by a vote of 56-44. Sixty votes were required to move forward

“The Webb amendment intended to take care of the troops. I don’t question anyone’s intent, but if you really want to take care of the troops let them win.

“The Webb amendment was one of the more ill-advised approaches to fighting the War on Terror. It was a historic constitutional infringement on the power of the Commander in Chief allowing Congress to micromanage troop rotations and deployments. The amendment would have hurt the brave young men and women fighting the War on Terror and set a terrible precedent for fighting future conflicts.

“The last thing in the world we should do to our troops -- particularly in the name of helping them -- is to put 535 Members of Congress in charge of troop rotations as we fight the War on Terror. With an approval rating below 20 percent, Congress has not risen to the level of being visionary leaders.

“The Webb amendment was a back door attempt to stop the war in Iraq by restricting the available manpower. I’m very pleased the Senate rejected this ill-advised amendment.”
Power grab? I wish the Democrats would grab the reins of power that we handed to them back in November of last year. As in almost one year ago. Graham's right about this much: Congress needs to quit micromanaging the war. What Congress needs to do is quit pussy-footing around and de-fund the war. Right now.

On the law of armed conflict, a smoking gun:
In 2005 and 2006, Graham played a leading role in the passage of the Detainee Treatment Act and the Military Commissions Act (MCA) respectively. The laws set forth the procedures for determining enemy combatant status, a very limited federal court review of military detention, and the procedures for the trial of the most dangerous terrorists by military tribunal. Graham authored a provision which denies terrorists the right to file habeas corpus rights.
He goes on to whine about how all those enemy combatants at Guantanamo will file frivolous lawsuits if we don't take away their habeas corpus rights. They're gonna want medical care and fast internet, fer cryin out loud!
Senator Graham Press Release
Contact: Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
Date: 09/19/2007

Senate Turns Back Specter-Leahy Amendment Giving Terror Suspects Expanded Access to Federal Courts

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today took to the floor to speak against an amendment offered by Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Pat Leahy (D-VT) giving terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba expanded access to file lawsuits in federal courts.

Less than an hour later, the U.S. Senate defeated the Specter-Leahy amendment on a 43-56 procedural vote. Sixty votes were required to move forward.

In 2005 and 2006, Graham played a leading role in the passage of the Detainee Treatment Act and the Military Commissions Act (MCA) respectively. The laws set forth the procedures for determining enemy combatant status, a very limited federal court review of military detention, and the procedures for the trial of the most dangerous terrorists by military tribunal. Graham authored a provision which denies terrorists the right to file habeas corpus rights. Enemy combatants have used habeas petitions to demand faster mail delivery, high speed internet access, and even to allege medical malpractice and demand millions in punitive and compensatory damages from our troops. These laws ensure that federal courts do not take over the military decision of determining who is and is not an enemy combatant.

“Never in the history of warfare have enemy prisoners been able to bring lawsuits about their detention,” said Graham. “Thousands of Germans and Japanese soldiers were captured and held by the military during World War II. Not one case was allowed in federal court where they were allowed to sue for their release. Our rules for the War on Terror should be no different.”

Under the Specter-Leahy amendment, enemy combatant terror suspects would have expanded rights to file habeas corpus petitions in federal court challenging their detention. It would also fundamentally weaken the rules governing military tribunals.

“The decision of determining who is an enemy combatant belongs with the military, not federal judges,” said Graham. “Judges are not trained to determine who presents a threat to our nation. That is why Congress has only provided for a limited procedural review of combatant status determination.

“Before the MCA was signed into law, enemy combatants were filing frivolous suits requesting better mail delivery, more exercise, judge-supervised interrogation, Internet access, the right to view DVDs and alleging medical malpractice," said Graham. "We also made it clear in the MCA terror suspects could not sue American troops for doing their job. The MCA protects our troops and national security while living up to our international commitments and obligations.

“It's time we put terror suspects on trial before military tribunals for their crimes against the United States," said Graham. "If we begin tinkering with provisions of the MCA, it will slow efforts to bring terrorists to justice. Some of the masterminds of the 9/11 attack on America are being held at Guantanamo Bay. I'm ready to see them stand trial and suffer the consequences of their actions against the United States. It's time for justice to be served, not delayed.

“I cannot think of a better way to undercut the War on Terror than to adopt the theory that Al Qaeda members are common criminals, not global warriors,” concluded Graham.
Okay, so somebody's got to be the adult around here:
Comment by Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
google news commentComments of Sen. Patrick Leahy on the Republican Filibuster of the Leahy-Specter Amendment to Restore Habeas Protections - 9 hours ago
"The vote today showed that a majority of the Senate supports our efforts to correct the historic mistake made in last year's Military Commissions Act, but ... click to shrinkLess
there is still more work to be done to overcome the Republican filibuster. Like the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the elimination of habeas rights was an action driven by fear, and it was a stain on America's reputation in the world.

"This bipartisan initiative has brought together Americans who call themselves conservatives, Americans who call themselves liberals, or libertarians, or evangelicals, or independents, and I am proud to be associated with them in this effort. We will continue to work for what is right and what is just.

"Senator Specter and I came to this Floor to offer this amendment back on July 10, when this bill was initially being considered, and thereafter. I thank him for his work in this effort. I also want to express my appreciation to Majority Leader Reid, Chairman Carl Levin, Senator Dodd, Senator Menendez, Senator Bingaman, and others who have participated in or facilitated this debate.

"We have brought this to the Senate Floor not because it is politically easy or popular, but because it is the right thing to do. This has been a debate that has invoked constitutional principles, legal precepts, Latin phrases, and historical precedents. This is an issue that lends itself to politically provocative distortions. Constitutional principles need our defense not so much when it is popular to do so, as when it may not be popular or easy to do.

"It is difficult to defend the higher ground by taking the lower road. The world knows what our enemies stand for. The world also knows what this country has tried to stand for and live up to - in the best of times, and the worst of times.

"It is from strength that America should defend our values and our way of life. It is from the strength of our freedoms, our Constitution, and the rule of law that we shall prevail. I thank and commend Senators who joined with us to stand up for a stronger America, for the America we believe in, by voting to invoke cloture on the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007. We will not give up on this important effort."
Working for Change predicts that the House will take this one up in the next few weeks, so now we can start calling them.


Bryan said...

Hey, Rhein-Main was a dangerous assignment - the apfelwein in Sachsenhausen can really mess you up and the Deutsche Kantin had some pretty dodgy rennswurst from time to time.

He is a totally worthless "ass kissing chickenshit", as some of us old-timers used to say.

Steve Bates said...

Shouldn't some law school consider revoking Graham's diploma? He seems to lack a certain understanding of the underpinnings of English and American law.

Maybe he's had too much of that apfelwein. And the laws he's made are, as the old saying has it, like sausage...

hipparchia said...

scuse me while i whip out my langenscheidts y'know, i've never really liked german food, or perhaps it's just that i've only had the americanized version of it, so i'll just have to take the word of the expert on that one. :P

i kind of like toadying jerkface myself.

hipparchia said...

no, no, steve! the constitution is a living document, and it's begging for body modification!

i think we'd be over-busy if we tried to impeach all the senators who craft unconstitutional legislation, but i find the idea appealing.