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There was widespread mistreatment of German prisoners in the spring and summer of 1945. Men were beaten, denied water, forced to live in open camps without shelter, given inadequate food rations and inadequate medical care. Their mail was withheld. In some cases prisoners made a “soup” of water and grass in order to deal with their hunger. Men did die needlessly and inexcusably.br> This, of course, on top of the fact that none of these hundreds of thousands of Nazi “detainees” were told of their habeas corpus rights by Allied troops.
So now what? Sixty-three years have passed. Isn’t it time make amends to the Nazis?
WILL OBAMA, MAYER and Rutten have the courage to follow their arguments to their logical conclusions? If the idea is to have American taxpayers fork over damages to Osama’s men, why not Hitler’s? Where are the trial lawyers who have been flocking to Guantanamo? The size of the damage pot in a suit against the U.S. government for the treatment of Nazis would, one suspects, be considerable. Not to mention that many of the men in these “American gulags” doubtless have descendants who should, according to this line of thought, be recompensed for the horrors visited upon their families by America and the “men of zeal” (Mayer’s favorite phrase for the Bush-Cheney administration) led by Franklin Roosevelt.
Amazingly, Mayer isn’t satisfied with just ensuring that al Qaeda fighters get their day in court. Doubtless uncomprehendingly (one would hope) she chastises Abraham Lincoln for his “infamous” decision to suspend the right of habeas corpus during the Civil War. One can only be stunned at the use of the word “infamous” here. As written, she leaves the impression she would just as soon, with a sigh of resignation, accept the existence of slavery rather than impose on the rights of white Confederate sympathizers Lincoln saw as a serious impediment to his objectives of preserving the Union and ending slavery. Her sentiments, while startling 143 years after the war ended, are a reminder of the “dark side” exhibited by the Democrats of the day. Not only did they violently object to Lincoln’s actions, in 1864 they ran on a platform that proclaimed the war a failure. In short, supporters of slavery before the war (and instigators of the Ku Klux Klan and segregation after the war) were prepared to accept slavery for blacks as long as the white folks had their habeas. Is this the logic Mayer, Rutten — and more to the point Obama — are endorsing?
To be blunt, yes.
What is the difference between, say, German detainees Hans, “R,” and Jerry and an al Qaeda Gitmo resident named Abdullah Salih al Ajmi? The first three remained lawyerless while they waited out World War II in Iowa and Minnesota. The last, Abdullah, went through Gitmo’s thoroughly lawyered process and was released. On March 23, 2008, he showed up in Mosul, Iraq, when he drove a truck packed with 5,000 to 10,000 pounds of explosives into an Iraqi Army base. He killed 13 Iraqi soldiers and wounded 42 on his last mission, a mission that would never have occurred were he still in Gitmo.
Are mistakes made in war? Obviously, yes. No one would ever be foolish enough to deny it — whether in this war or any other. It is, as history sadly says, the nature of the beast. Should the now out-in-the open liberal demand for reparations to al Qaeda be an issue in this campaign? Should the thinking behind it be exposed and understood? One would hope that Senator McCain, the only man in this race who actually has seen war close up, would raise the subject.
Is it really okay with Obama that Americans pay damages to Osama?
Jeffrey Lord is the creator, co-founder and CEO of QubeTV, a conservative online video site. A Reagan White House political director and author, he writes from Pennsylvania.
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H/T to National Review Online