February 28, 2013
By Grant Calder Reading Woodrow Wilson's 1917 war message to Congress in our American history class reminded my students and me of the ongoing debate over the use of drones by the American government to target suspected terrorists. In the early 20th century, submarines were useful primarily as hit-and-run weapons. They would sneak up on much bigger ships and hope to remain undetected long enough to launch a torpedo or two and get away. In his speech to Congress, the president expressed his outrage at the German government's policy of using submarines to sink any vessels (many carried passengers and cargo)
February 20, 2013 |
Concerned about violations of privacy by drones, State Rep. Angel Cruz of Philadelphia is proposing that law-enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania get court approval for any unmanned aerial surveillance. The bill, which has nine cosponsors, including Republicans and Democrats, is likely to be introduced next week, said Cruz, a Democrat. The amendment to the state's criminal code, similar to one he first proposed a couple of years ago, would limit drone use to investigating serious crimes, where the penalty could be year or more in prison.
October 27, 2011 |
The truth, the real truth, veteran journalist Martin Fletcher says, isn't told in news reports, but in fiction. It's hardly what you'd expect to hear from a war-hardened, five-time Emmy award-winning foreign correspondent whose 27 years of experience reporting on Israel for NBC News are distilled in a 2010 memoir, Walking Israel: A Personal Search for the Soul of a Nation . But Fletcher isn't simply a reporter. His first novel, The List , was released this month and has been chosen as the 2011-2012 selection for the fifth annual One Book, One Jewish Community literary program.
May 22, 2010 |
WASHINGTON - Prisoners held in a war zone, such as Afghanistan, don't enjoy the constitutional rights extended by the Supreme Court to detainees at Guantanamo Bay, a key appellate court concluded on Friday, rejecting a challenge brought by three men held at Bagram Air Base near Kabul. The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned a trial court's decision that the Bagram detainees who sought the right to challenge their imprisonment in American courts - two Yemenis and a Tunisian - were constitutionally similar to those held at Guantanamo.
March 11, 2010 |
The Obama administration did the right thing in trying to close the Guant?namo Bay prison and establish a clear, justifiable legal framework to deal with terrorist suspects. But the apparent reversal of its decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his coconspirators in civilian court has left the policy in shambles. It's time to hit the reset button. If these issues were easy, the bright people in the prior and current administrations would have solved them long ago. But they aren't, and a highly charged, hyperpartisan environment makes it even more difficult to choose and implement a policy.
June 20, 2008 |
TO PARAPHRASE our only (at least for now) President Clinton: "It's the Supreme Court, Stupid. " We can talk all we want about the economy, the subprime crisis, the spike in unemployment, $5-a-gallon gas and the millions of Americans without health insurance. We can talk about the situation in Iraq, which is showing marked improvement since the surge. We can even talk about things like the character of the candidates, their churches, wives or book rankings on Amazon.com.
June 20, 2008
TO PARAPHRASE our only (at least for now) President Clinton: "It's the Supreme Court, Stupid. " We can talk all we want about the economy, the subprime crisis, the spike in unemployment, $5-a-gallon gas and the millions of Americans without health insurance. We can talk about the situation in Iraq, which is showing marked improvement since the surge. We can even talk about things like the character of the candidates, their churches, wives or book rankings on Amazon.com. But all this pales in comparison to who gets to pick the next Supreme Court justices.
September 18, 2007
There's no word yet on whether President Bush has chosen one of his renowned nicknames for his nominee to succeed former Attorney General Alberto R. "Fredo" Gonzales. Good thing. One key strength of retired New York federal judge Michael B. Mukasey would be that he's from outside the Bush administration's inner circle of yes-men with pet presidential names. After being nominated yesterday, Mukasey quickly took on the appearance of someone who could be confirmed by the Senate.
August 1, 2007
When the White House decides to eavesdrop on Americans' overseas communications without court approval, it doesn't take much to launch new conspiracy theories about greater erosions of civil liberties. So a recent presidential executive order expanding the Treasury Department's authority to target the assets of groups aiding the Iraqi insurgency had the blogosphere buzzing in mid-July. The order's potential reach includes U.S. citizens in this country, and anyone regarded as at risk of aiding or committing violent acts "threatening the peace or stability of Iraq.
July 23, 2007 |
Closing the prison for "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo Bay now seems possible. Bills are pending in Congress. Even President Bush is discussing it. The politicians' motive, however, is that Guantanamo is bad public relations for the "war on terror," which can erode political support and embolden enemies. For the most part, they propose a PR solution: Move the prisoners. They aren't seeing the larger danger. The policy of indefinite detention, coercive interrogation and rigged trials impedes investigations necessary to prevent terrorist attacks.