Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Conflict Arena

For those not self-evident (i.e. ununiformed) enemy combatants, falling outside of the regular rules of war, but falling as well beyond the scope of jurisprudence, a special place will need to be established. These unique characters, it is alleged, cannot be released into society, here or abroad. They are simply too dangerous. Yet, circumstances are such that they cannot be prosecuted. President Obama, in Thursday's speech at the National Archives, "Our Security, Our Values" (beginning at time-stamp 27:40) describes a fifth category of Guantanomo detainees as fitting this mold. In certain cases, they cannot be prosecuted due to tainted evidence (i.e. they were tortured). Presumedly (though he does not here mention this scenario), in some instances, prosecution may be impossible because details related to the case at hand cannot be disclosed. The information held against the defendant rests in the oblique dominion of "sovereign immunity," a great black hole of intelligence into which everything may go, but from which nothing may come out (for the sovereign relinquishes the privilege of voyeurism by becoming a pornographer).

So, he is in search of a legal framework for dealing with this special category, as applies not only to these Guantanamo detainees, but to future terrorism suspects as well.

They must be contained.

But, if they cannot be prosecuted under the law, then they should be liberated.

Make a special place then... something of a geographic analog to the position of the "immunized sovereign" of the NSA, who may reside beyond the Constitution so long he remains a hermetic voyeur. Thus, the Conflict Arena... a "red zone" beyond the law... a dominion containing the Hobbesian war of all against all. All who may enter are beyond the verge of the law, whether they be former detainees, or military tourists, or "chicken-hawks" trying to prove themselves, or perhaps prison lifers optioning in. But all who enter are symmetrically armed with the most rudimentary of weapons and therewith engaged in a contest of uncertain outcome. Thus, the civil state contains a condition of primitive violence, lawfully circumscribing lawlessness.

So, where to put it?

Senator Feinstein: "We already incarcerate the worst of the worst in California."

Fine then, bring them to the CA: a carceralized Death Valley?

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