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The Seizure of Elian González

     Little Elian has tested the WAISdom or WAISers, who have expressed their opposite feelings with UNWAIS anger. WAIS battles are fought with rubber bullets, so I have removed the live ammunition. Let us take first the posting by General Robert Gard. John Gehl attacks with a verbal brigade:
     General Robert Gard says: "Given that the Great-uncle caretaker of Elian continued to stick his finger in the eye of legitimate US authority and law ... "Oh? "Stick his finger'? This is some sort of new LEGAL term? Do we now have gestapo raids because citizens don't jump to the beck and call of "the authorities" (shades of fascism!)? The most recent court ruling, from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, was clearly sympathetic to the Miami relatives, and specifically rejected the requests of the Justice Department. Now, whether that view would ultimately prevail is certainly an interesting question, but the temporary ruling is, by definition, a RULE OF LAW. The idea that the INS can, on its "administrative discretion," ignore the normal legal process is preposterous -- though, sadly, not a new idea in the history of the world, and God knows not a new idea in this administration.
     "no choice but to remove the boy from his home." Were they beating him? Giving him drugs? "No choice"? "It's easy in retrospect to criticize the arming of the authorities involved in the operation; but when there is a suspicion that residents of the home and members of the assembled protestors are armed, there's no other prudent choice."
     "Suspicion"? Some people (in fact, a moderately large number of people) have a suspicion that Janet Reno and Bill Clinton are (in their different ways of course) sick people. But we don't encourage them to act out their "suspicions" and beliefs by sending 121 agents armed with automatic weapons to seize those two colorful characters and turn them over to psychiatrists. (Or even to PEDIATRICANS, who no doubt would have a lot of interesting to say about their stages of emotional development.)
     "Close examination of the photo shows that the weapon was pointed away from the boy, and the "storm trooper" did not have his finger on the trigger." What is mainly at issue is NOT the angle of the gun but the reckless endangerment of American citizens who had been (and STILL have not been, and no doubt will NEVER be) charged with committing a crime... Did you not watch all the videos? If you did, are you saying that troopers can crash down doors and waive automatic weapons around, as long as those weapons can not be proven to have been directly pointed at the head (or the heart? or the shoulder? or the foot?) of the boy being rescued in this LOVING commando raid? (Or at the fisherman who rescued him... or at anyone?)
     "Had I been in charge of the raid, I would have dressed the agents in attire more civilian in appearance, and would have armed them with less menacing firearms." The question is: Can that raid be responsibly defended? Answer: no. The real question is: Do we knock down doors in America without court orders, and in fact knock them down in a way that "sticks a finger in the eye" of a federal court of appeals?
     Dwight Petrerson rushes to relieve General Gard with a brigade of equal strength: I agree wholeheartedly with the comments of General Robert Gard in regard to the seizure of little Elian and his return to his Father. We cannot ever let anyone, in this case an immigrant community, flaunt our federal laws and disobey them for its own political agenda!! Linda Nyquist made me change my mind about the boy and his disposition months ago when she pointed out the legal question of departure from Cuba without legal permission of both parents. I had heard that Elian's Father was "unsavory", but it turns out he was a policeman and a good citizen. I wholeheartedly support our Justice Department's action in returning the boy to his biological Father!

     My comment: At this point, I rush in with my peace-making and -keeping brigade. The combatants go off to a friendly pub to talk things over, after which John goes off to fight allies of General Gard. My concern is largely factual. One lawyer or spokesman for Elian's great uncle said "Under Cuban law, children belong to the state, not to the parents." Can some WAISer tell me if this is true?

Ronald Hilton - 4/24/00