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Published: Tuesday, 12/7/2004

Prisoners: A clash of principles

Your Nov. 28 editorial, "Defying Geneva Conventions," makes me wonder whether the strict limitations of the Geneva Conventions make sense in a war against terrorists.

It is my understanding that the fundamental purpose of the conventions is to make a distinction between civilians and uniformed combatants. They make very clear distinctions between captured uniformed soldiers and others who are captured engaging in irregular combat, and it's clear that the terrorists held at Guantanamo don't meet the criteria spelled out in the Third Geneva Convention for designation as POWs.

Preserving the distinction between legal and illegal combatants is the reason not to give POW status to captured terrorist fighters. Applying different standards to terrorists does not abandon the conventions, but only recognizes that the U.S. faces a stateless enemy never contemplated by the conventions. In an age when a single terrorist has the potential to cause thousands of American deaths, the task of identifying, detaining, and interrogating the enemy is more critical than ever.

It seems to me that what we have here is a clash of two constitutional principles: the right of judicial review colliding with the presidential obligation to protect and defend America. Until recently, the Supreme Court has deferred to the executive branch on matters of national security, including decisions about how to define and handle the enemy.

It is hard to imagine that a federal judge can do a better job than the executive branch of deciding whether a terrorist prisoner remains dangerous.

Phil Miclot

Sylvania

Politicians, Waste. Are these two words synonyms? Locally we have many school districts that can't seem to manage their money, no matter how much the taxpayers give. Toledo government can't manage its money. Even though many of us don't live in Toledo but work there, and pay taxes there, we are not allowed to vote for Toledo politics, but are subjected to their obvious incompetence. Why does The Blade not print complete local school budgets so the people of these districts can see where their money is going? Sure, everyone could search and find these documents, but who has the time? The Blade does.

Give the teachers a raise and cut some of the overpaid, underworked "politicians"! Shouldn't The Blade print Toledo's city budget and let everyone read why the mayor wants to lay off cops and firemen? Extra garbage tax? Extra water tax? Extra bus tax? Too many bureaucrats getting paid for what? If Jack Ford wants police and fire to work harder, shouldn't he and his staff cut one cop, cut one politician, cut one fireman, cut one bureaucrat? Give Toledo politicians a taste of their own medicine. Vote them out!

Thomas H. Allore II

Swanton

Kudos to the registered voters of the City of Toledo for changing the smoking ban last month. Now that smoking will again be allowed in bars and bowling alleys, I was wondering: When can I expect a refund on my Taverns for Tots membership?

Mike Sarns, Jr.

Oregon



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