The Way Forward in the "War on Terror." RJ's response to Rand's recent comments.Submitted by RJHarris on Sat, 11/21/2009 - 02:29
By RJ Harris, U.S. Congressional Candidate Oklahoma 4th District
The Ethics of Liberty Apply to All or to None
Our Constitution allows Congress under Article I sec 8 to "...define and punish Offences against the Law of Nations…" within the confines of the Due Process and Equal Protection required for all PERSONS, not only citizens, under our jurisdiction. Using the Necessary and Proper clause, we have codified the Due Process and Equal Protection required for prisoners of war through the Uniform Code of Military Justice. At a minimum enemy combatants must be afforded notice and an opportunity to be heard. However, since there has been no declaration of war against any foreign sovereigns, nor Letters of Reprisal issued against persons or activities, then the prisoners we are currently holding have been denied notice of their legal jeopardy as potential prisoners of war rather than as civilian criminals. The other critical element of Due Process is an opportunity to be heard. Yet to date barely a handful of the Gitmo detainees have received a trial. Due Process is always able to be provided so long as the law which underpins it has not itself been broken. We must then be very careful when weighing the arguments of those responsible for the breakdown in the enforcement of our law for to concede that we are not capable of providing Due Process is to admit that we have broken our own law. Providing these things, to the worst of humanity, is what separates the law abiding from the pirate and the terrorist.
Guantanamo Bay is a stain upon our National Honor. Within its walls we denied other human beings the same Due Process we gave to Nazi's guilty of genocide. Within it’s walls we committed torture in the name of convenience. Within it's walls our government abandoned the Ethics of Liberty for the cheap bauble of expediency. It must be closed and what went on there must never be repeated.
The opportunity to declare war on the Taliban government of Afghanistan has long since passed. The un-declared and therefore illegal war there was won when the Taliban Government was ousted and a new government was seated. What is going on there now is an occupation centered around nation building and the continued promulgation of an illegal empire.
Constitutionally speaking the way forward in the "War on Terror" is clear. 1. We must withdraw conventional occupation forces from any sovereign that has not had a Congressional Declaration of War issued against it (which is all foreign nations wherein conventional forces are currently garrisoned). 2. Those groups and individuals that have in the past and continue to this day to use violence to infringe upon the lives, liberty or property of Americans must have Letters of Reprisal issued against them so that they can be killed or captured legally. Those that are then captured must be treated as prisoners of war and housed in military prisons until they can receive a fair trial in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice. 3. We must use our superior force projection capabilities and diplomatic efforts to interdict those with Letters of Reprisal levied against them as they attempt to travel and or congregate.
Rand, please reconsider your position on this issue. It is clear to me that now that you are the front runner some neo-cons have infiltrated your inner circle and tricked you with a false dichotomy choice to say that we either try the Guantanamo prisoners in civilian courts or hold them indefinitely in Gitmo. My fellow Patriots, even the greatest General commits errors in the rage of battle. Please give Rand an opportunity to retract these comments and clarify his position. Such is the size and scope of our legal errors prosecuting the "War on Terror" that they are nearly insurmountable. But if we will return to our founding principles, codified in the Constitution, the Spirit of the Founders will light our way.
"it is easy to make light of insistence on scrupulous regard for the safeguards of civil liberties when invoked on behalf of the unworthy. It is too easy. History bears testimony that by such disregard are the rights of liberty extinguished, heedlessly at first, then stealthily, and brazenly in the end." Justice Felix Frankfurter
About RJ Harris:
RJ Harris is a currently serving nineteen-year Oklahoma Army National Guard Officer, two-time Iraq War Veteran and U.S. Congressional Candidate for Oklahoma's 4th Congressional District. He is a University of Oklahoma graduate in Philosophy and a second year law student at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. RJ is a Constitutional Conservative Republican and the first 912 Liberty Candidate in the nation. He has appeared on Fox News' Freedom Watch twice with Judge Andrew Napolitano and been the featured guest on conservative/libertarian talk-radio programs across the country.