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Saturday, May 23, 2009

How Hard Do We Want to Fight Terrorism?

This past week was dominated by Obama's attempt to take it easy on Islamic terrorists, clashing with the desire of Congressional Democrats to avoid being implicated as soft on terrorism. Obama has to know that he can't win over most Americans with a debate over Gitmo. Going soft on terrorism appeals to only a limited demographic, even within the Democratic party.

Closing Gitmo is a major gamble. The way Obama sees it, he can hope that no terrorist attacks successfully take place in the United States between now and 2010-2012. Considering how much damage has been dealt to Al Queda, and Al Queda's interest in keeping Obama and his weak on terror policies in office, this might be a gamble he can pull off, and use amateurs like the Muslim Con Bronx Bombers to argue that the conventional criminal justice system approach works fine when it comes to terrorism.

What that kind of argument really does is revert America to a 9/10 mentality, when the FBI managed to bust some terrorists now and then, just not the ones that really counted.

In the War on Terrorism, the terrorists just have to get through once. We have to catch them every time. That's why the porous approaches of the criminal justice system may work fine when it comes to dealing with crime by Americans. It maintains high standards of proof and protection for Americans, which is what any system meant to serve Americans should do.

However when it comes to terrorism, maximizing protection for Americans, means minimizing it for foreign terrorists.

That's the fundamental difference between criminal justice and national defense. Criminal justice takes place on the civic level. National defense is a thick skin keeping enemies out at any cost.

That's why the police don't deploy jets to bomb Detroit when there's a gang war, but the US military does deploy jets to bomb enemy targets. National defense and criminal justice are two fundamentally different things and require different approaches.

Terrorist attacks planned and executed by global terrorist groups are not criminal acts, they're tactical operations funded, implemented and executed by enemies of the United States using trained operatives. It is as ridiculous to argue that the justice system should handle terrorists, as it is to argue that the police should go to Afghanistan and bring Osama Bin Laden to justice.

Most people would understand the manifest absurdity of the latter. But the former is equally and just as absurd.

American standards derive from the responsibilities of government, which exist only for the benefit of American citizens as part of a direct social contract. They are not a form of absolute morality that supersedes that social contract. So regardless of how repugnant some politicians and pundits may find waterboarding, there is no reason whatsoever to toss it overboard. The American legal system was created to give the benefit of the doubt to Americans. The United States military was created to protect Americans by measures far more ruthless than are allowed to any police force.

The criminal justice system is built full of holes on the principle that it is better to weigh the odds toward freeing the guilty, than imprisoning the innocent. But applying that same system to enemy combatants is a blatant misapplication of the purpose for which it was intended.


The legal system is intended to clarify the guilt or innocence of the defendant, and then apply a punishment or release the defendant. This entire process has no relevance to terrorists, where our goal should be to extract information from captured terrorists. Certainly the usual "tools" for doing that with organized crime are not going to be particularly helpful. Offering reduced sentences to people willing to die in order to kill Americans is likeliest to earn belly laughs, rather than actionable intelligence.

Meanwhile all this puts the United States in the absurd position of seizing people who were never within United States borders and then trying them under US criminal codes that they never explicitly or implicitly agreed to abide by. Criminality is judged based on compliance or non-compliance with the law. A terrorist leader in Afghanistan is not guilty because he is in violation of our laws, he is guilty of making war on us, without abiding by the laws of war.

Terrorists are not criminals. We are not trying to capture or kill them because they broke the law, but because they made war on us. That fundamental distinction is at the heart of the leftist misunderstanding of the War on Terror. The terrorists are entirely aware of the fact that they are fighting a war against us. They base this war on the legal codes found in their Koran. It is only on our side that there is any doubt about it being a war.

Many lawyers naturally argue that terrorists belong in their jurisdiction, but then lawyers have a tendency to view the playing field of the legal system as being virtually unlimited. And there are plenty of European models to show what kind of ridiculous nonsense results from the unlimited jurisdiction of the legal system, from giving human rights to the great apes (Spain) to suing foreign countries over actions committed outside their borders (Belgium) to criminalizing the Bible (Sweden) to ruling on whether a prize should be withdrawn to a recipient because of his patriotism (Israel).

The bottom line is that there is no reason to apply the civil protections of the justice system to enemy combatants. It will not deter terrorists. It is not the best way of gaining intelligence from terrorists. It will not protect captured US troops, (in fact knowing that their own captured terrorists have their rights protected by a legal system is a formula for giving them the confidence to abuse US troops without worrying about retaliation in kind), and it will not win the hearts and minds of anyone, especially as the terrorists are trained to manufacture stories of being tortured anyway.

When Obama argues for closing Gitmo and letting the criminal justice system tackle the problem, he's waving the white flag in the War on Terror, and surrendering the initiative to the terrorists and their lawyers. With 1 in 7 released terrorists already known as reoffenders, with the Al Queda chief in Yemen an ex-Gitmoite, with terrorists in civilian custody having already blinded one corrections officer in an escape attempt-- the entire project is doomed from the start.

Most of all it ignores the reason why we're in this in the first place. To stop terrorist attacks on the United States and destroy the terrorist network. The best way to do that is not through the same criminal justice system which failed to deal with the terrorist conspiracies in the United States pre- 9/11, but through the same post 9/11 system which succeeded in dismantling much of Al Queda. That is the protection that the United States government owes Americans.

10 comments:

Hidden Author said...

"That is the protection that the United States government owes America."

Absolutely right! Keep up your insight!

No Bueno said...

This is by far best analysis I have yet to hear regarding the distinctions between domestic criminals and international terrorists, who have declared war on us simply because we are Americans!

Further, treating the later as the former has always been considered asinine. It just becomes a little more apparent after reading your analysis Sultan!

Pursuing the closing of Gitmo is not only extremely dangerous to this country, buy incredibly absurd from a political standpoint. Obama's fellow dems do not even support his pursuit of Muslim appeasement (atleast on this issue).

The closing of Gitmo "is" not only waiving the "white flag" but further, makes us look like the weak horse that we are becoming in this battle. The appearance of such a weakness is what fuels and motivates (along with better opportunities to blow us up) these islama-terrorists.

People do not die from staying at club Gitmo or for that matter, even waterboarding. They may get a little wet or even hot at times. But we have made sure a doctor is standing nearby for the best medical treatment that your tax dollars can buy - in the unlikley event Mohammed becomes distressed that is.

Arguably, more than-is-deserved measures have been implemented to ensure the comfort and well-being of those who have dedicated their lives to the annihilation of Americans at home and abroad.

On the other hand, Americans (and anyone else who happens to find themselves in harms way) do die from being blown up, or having their heads severed.

They don't do so well either when the jet aircraft they are flying on is flown into buildings at the direction of those wishing to cause "man-made disasters" against the infidels (that's us)!

That alone is a pretty compelling arguement for leaving Gitmo opened for business.

I know I know! Right now is the time we will hear that "Islam is a religion of peace" and "not all muslims are terrorists!"

Ok...fine! Not "all" Muslims are being held at Gitmo and certainly those who now found themselves at Gitmo are not being accused of spreading peace through Islam.

Can we atleast agree on that?

Hey, we will always be the infidels in the eyes of terrorists, irrespective of whether Gitmo remains open for business. So what's the hurry!

I suppose taking a terorist at his words that he "wants to kill Americans" is no longer politically correct. He's probably just joking!

It's about time that Obama made a decision based upon the best interest of American citizens, and not the well being some jihadist who is seeking his 72 virgins through martyrdom.

One can only hope!

No Bueno said...

Obama has managed to create the perception that his administration is the weak horse in this fight against terrorism - a perception that will not go unnoticed by international terrorists!

Rest assured, terrorists are in this fight to win. I could only imagine they appreciate every advantage Obama is willing to throw their way.

Essentially, Obama has surrendered this fight without officially surrendering! A faux fight against an enemy who will go to any lenghts to see America destroyed.

Does that make any sense?

Well never mind, it makes complete sense to those who have declared jihad against the United States and Israel. They will appreciate that nuance.

I wish it only made sense to the guy who is in charge of protecting America! Perhaps, Obama will eventually get around to appeasing Americans, rather than those who have dedicated their lives to destroying Americans, and our way of life.

No Bueno said...

Sorry Sultan,

I notice my post is peppered with spelling, er, I mean typing errors. I guess I could hire an editor ( or use a browser equipped with spell...I mean type check).

However, I prefer to keep it "real." Just an FYI so as to save someone the time and energy of pointing out the "error" of my ways - in the unlikely event they feel compelled to do so.

Yochana said...

Problem is, obama is a muzlim and therefore has to protect his own.

With Gitmo? Interrogate and then kill them. Saves money and prevents terrorists attacks.

Muzlims can celebrate all they want and encourage more of their scummy selves to follow in their footsteps. In the end, they eventually run out of people and thus - a quiet world at last. :)

Keli Ata said...

It's more than waving the white flag of surrender. It's giving the noose and opportunity to hang us with our own rope.

It drives me up the wall when I hear people compare Gitmo to the camps Japanese Americans were forced into during WW II. It's nothing like that at all.

Issei said...

NO the Japanese did nothing wrong and had worse accomodations than the terrorists in the Gitmo have.
Apartments were heated by coal stoves, but cooking in the residential area was discouraged. Furniture for the apartments included only army cots, mattresses, and blankets. Some residents constructed rough tables and shelves out of scrap lumber left lying around the camp.

The barracks, crudely constructed of pine planks covered with tarpaper as the only insulation, and sheetrock on the inside, provided little protection against the extreme weather of the semi-arid climate. The first killing frost was recorded the end of September 1942, and the first snowfall was on 13 October. Some of the apartments still had no windows installed at that time. The winter temperatures in the area typically hover near or below zero, and in the summer soar to the nineties.

Internees were employed at different jobs around the camp and were paid wages ranging from $16.00 up to $19.00 a month for doctors and other skilled workers. Residents could obtain passes to shop in nearby Delta, and some found employment in that community. One man who worked at the local newspaper was subsequently charged "rent" at the camp. On 11 April 1943 James Wakasa, age 63, was shot by a guard when he was standing near the southwest section of the fence. After an outcry from the camp population, guarding procedures changed.

No privacy for men or women. Fathers taken from innocent children.
Not nice at all. Gitmo is luxury

Keli Ata said...

You're right Essei; that's why comparisions of Gitmo to the cruel imprisonment of innocent Japanese American families drives me nuts. Gitmo is indeed a luxury compared to the camps they were imprisoned in.

A true American tragedy and outrage.

Keli Ata said...

And what do you want to bet some liberal group will fight for the Gitmo terrorists to receive reparation? No doubt Obama would hand it over hand over fist.

beniyyar said...

In a few weeks the North Koreans are going to force Obama to resort to force or give up the Korean Peninsula to the North.
Since there is no chance that Obama will choose to confront North Korean militarily, Israel will realize that she cannot count on Obama to do anything serious to stop the Iranian nuclear program and will finally carry out bombing raids on the Iranian laboratories and manufacturing plants in order to slow down or stop the Iranian nuclear program. This will of course lead to massive missile and terrorist attacks on Israel by the Iranian proxies Hamas, Hizballa, Syria, the Israeli Arab community, and also the Palestinian Authority.
The Iranians will also try to close the Straits of Hormuz to sea traffic, especially the oil tankers travelling to and from the Persian Gulf, and thus the American Navy will be forced to use their considerable military power to contain Iran.
This is all due to Obama's obvious weakness, ignorance of international reality, inexperience, immaturity, and Leftist appeasement ideology which blames America for most of the worlds problems, and by extention, Israel for being close to America and a Jewish State as well.

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