Moving Targets

WARNING: (It is not my usual practice to infuse my writing with profanity. It is in my view an unnecessary embellishment. There are times however when certain terms have no appropriate substitute in making a point. This article is one of those occasions.–E.P.)

Among thousands of words written about the announcement by United States Attorney General Eric Holder that five of the “suspected” terrorists, until now detained at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would be tried in civilian court in the Southern District of New York, there is one word that rarely appears: justice. Something other than justice is the priority concern.

There are two basic reasons why the trials have now ended up slated for civilian court in the U.S., both entirely rooted in political considerations. The first was the decision by Barack Obama to champion the cause of closing the prison at Guantanamo, culminating in the publicity stunt surrounding his first official executive order as President. The second reason was the decision to treat the terrorist detainees as civilians rather than as enemy combatants, which was the unavoidable consequence of suspending the military tribunals established by the previous administration. Amnesty International and others, particularly among the political Left, who find it fashionable to criticize the U.S., expressed sympathy for the plight of those detainees and were ostensibly very concerned for their rights.

Of course, it has been eight long years since the rights of nearly 3,000 Americans were so brutally violated on September 11, 2001. Justice is certainly long overdue. However, since the murdered Americans were joined in destruction by the nihilistic terrorists whose ugly and irrational actions eradicated them as well, how is justice to be served?

The principle of justice requires that the initiation of physical force be removed from ethical human relationships and that civilized men conduct themselves on the basis of voluntary exchange, whether trading in goods or in ideas. When exceptions occur, such as the carnage inflicted by the despicably evil bastards involved in the planning and execution of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the principle of justice demands that the perpetrators and their state sponsors be dealt with swiftly and thoroughly. This has the dual purpose of delivering appropriate punitive consequences for the evil actions in the present, and sending a message that such future efforts will warrant an equivalent response.

The attacks were an act of war perpetrated on the U.S., committed on behalf of Islamic fundamentalists spewing a venomous hatred for Western individualism and rights-based civilization. The appropriate response to an act of war is immediate and overwhelming force to neutralize the nation-state sponsors. George W. Bush may have erred first by declaring a War on Terror—a tactic rather than a named enemy—effectively appeasing the real enemy: Islamic Fascism and its main state sponsor, Iran. In choosing to invade Iraq following the bombing of Afghanistan and routing of the Taliban regime the resources of the U.S. were committed to strategic nation-building in the Middle East rather than directly and efficiently defending U.S. interests. Saddam Hussein deserved to be removed from the seat of his terror regime, but the priority and the real enemy remains Iran.

International law placed an obstacle to the proper handling of Guantanamo detainees because they could not be covered under the Geneva War Conventions. This was because they were not affiliated directly with any country at war and were not properly attired in military uniforms when apprehended on the “battlefield”. The point is, the captured terrorists should have either been kept at Guantanamo with continued efforts to prosecute them according to military justice procedures, or they should have been returned to their countries of origin without concern for any consequences rooted in justice that might befall them. This latter option would not be so worrisome for Americans concerned about repeat offences against humanity by these bastards if their main source of inspiration and weaponry were cut off, i.e. by destroying the Iranian regime.

There are no guarantees of prosecution in civilian courts in the U.S., only assurances from senior officials like Holder and Obama. That attitude sends a signal to the enemies of the U.S. that the results are predetermined. I can already hear the accusations of show trials and kangaroo courts. How can that be an effective demonstration of the objectivity and efficiency of the U.S. justice system to the rest of the world, which by the way is likely to remain unmoved? The trials, because of procedural matters, could well last a period of years. Khalid Sheikh Muhammed (KSM) has already confessed in 2003 to the plotting of the attacks on September 11, 2001 but much of the evidence may be inadmissible because of the procedural rules of civilian courts. Exceptions may only be made to permit the introduction of testimony about how KSM was interrogated using techniques such as the now infamous “water boarding”.

Who benefits from this fiasco? Certainly there may be some short-term benefit to the President and his administration in accounting to the radical Left wing of his following. The trial lawyers will of course benefit from another “trial of the century” performance opportunity, and of course most will be handsomely compensated, largely at taxpayer expense. It may not work out entirely as hoped for by Obama and Holder. If one or more of the terrorists are acquitted or a mistrial is declared, it will be Holder who may have to fall on his sword while Obama and his supporters from the Left will remain pristine. If the trials go on for several years and then end in mistrial, a new standard for the level of audacity and buck-passing could also be set by the Obama administration by blaming it all again on the mess inherited from the previous administration. That will be difficult because by then the previous administration could well be his.

This type of situation is what the military calls a “Cluster Fuck”. Political economists might refer to it as “unintended consequences”. What it is, is a failure to think in principles, the applicable one in this case being the principle of justice. Political expediency has been the guiding force since an astonishingly short-lived period of principled resolve that commenced on September 12, 2001. Any compromise in the struggle between good and evil can only benefit evil.  Irrational, bloodthirsty, Islamic terrorists have been granted rights to a civil trial for their militant acts against the civilized world. Civilization itself is the loser in this particular concession to evil.

©Copyright 2009 Edward Podritske

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