Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A Conservative Viewpoint
- The Terrorists Are Cheering

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

Imagine: On a clear April morning sometime in the future, U. S. intelligence discovers a plot to blow up a large Midwestern city within the next 30 hours. A terrorist, being held in a federal prison in western Pennsylvania, is awaiting trial and is suspected of having information that would prevent the bombing.

Interrogators feverishly question him. He refuses to talk, knowing there is nothing the government can do to make him cooperate. He is, after all, on American soil. He has rights. And it’s precisely those “rights” that will trump survival of innocent Americans to unknown death, destruction and chaos.

In this frighteningly real setting there is no guarantee that the detainee has the information needed to avert the attack. There’s also no assurance he doesn’t.

Given the circumstances, I would have done whatever necessary to try and extract the necessary information from this detainee, up to and including waterboarding. I’m certainly no advocate of routine torture, but I’m not going to take any chances when it comes to saving American lives either.

President Barack Obama has rejected the more aggressive posture of the Bush administration when it comes to dealing with terrorists. Ushering in a new era of American leadership last week, Obama signed an executive order to close the camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba within a year as well as any remaining CIA “black site” or secret detention centers abroad.

To his credit, Obama is trying to restore the moral authority of America. He states this ultimately will strengthen our national security, but I’m not so sure our standing on a higher moral ground will dissuade terrorists.

Wishing terrorism away is not a deterrent when dealing with fanatics and religious zealots who hate us and all we stand for. While playing nice might make us feel better, it will only embolden those hell- bent on our destruction. When it comes to terrorists, killing them with kindness is a dangerous game.

This isn’t Vietnam, Korea or World War II when our enemies were clearly defined. While intelligence gathering was important then, it is even more so in this age of the nuclear suitcase bombs, biological warfare and clandestine hacking into government internet sites. Jeopardizing our ability to gather intelligence about terrorist plans to prevent future attacks, borders on a suicidal death wish.

No one understands that more than the families of 9-11 victims. In a recent New York Post article, New York Fire Department Lt. Jim McAffrey, who lost his brother-in-law at Ground Zero, declared: “ The terrorists are going to be cheering” when Obama closes Gitmo.

In that same article, Long Island Rep. Peter King, R-NY., said, “We live in a dangerous world. Guantanamo is a necessary evil.” King, who supports waterboarding, wondered, “On September 10, would you have put Mohamed Atta’s head under water for 20 seconds to prevent the September 11 attacks?” King was referring to the lead 9-11 hijacker.

Michael Burke, who lost his brother on 9-11, recently wrote a letter to the New York Daily News. He chastises President Obama and “the classic clueless ultra-Liberals-the ones who can generate great passion for the rights of the guilty defendant and none for the innocent victims. With a single stroke of the pen, Obama has delayed justice for the victims of 9-11, and in essence, granted a reprieve for Al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the architect of 9-11.”

“The only thing Obama has accomplished,” he said, “is convincing these mass murderers that we are too narcissistic, too foolish and too weak to protect and defend ourselves; just as the terrorists believed prior to 9-11.”

The U. S is a signatory to the Third Geneva Convention of 1949, which deals with the treatment of prisoners of war. On occasion we have violated this treaty. At times it may have been necessary to prevent an attack. Clearly the 2004 abuses of Iraqi prisoners at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison by U. S. soldiers did not meet any reasonable standard of “necessity.” The civilized world had reason to be outraged. Those found guilty were rightfully punished.

Human rights activists around the world are concerned about the treatment of anyone held captive. But where are their cries of outrage when our enemies in the Middle East are slitting the throats and/or beheading soldiers and civilian captives? It seems in the world community, anger is often directed only at America.

While we are a nation of laws, our Constitution was never intended to serve our enemies. Yet we are bestowing constitutional rights upon individuals who are not entitled to them, ironically in spite of their contempt for the very document on which they appear. In fact, the rights we’re giving them are the rights they’re seeking to take from us.

In the coming days, months or years it is possible America will face a scenario similar to the one described at the beginning of this column. Will our new president’s fresh approach to terror provide us with the intelligence to protect our security and our lives? Obama obviously feels it will. It’s a high risk gamble for this new administration- but more importantly, for all of us.

I am flabbergasted at the number of people who support Barack Obama who cannot see how much he is over his head. His comments on Al Aribiya denote a man with almost no understanding of either our history or the history of the middle east. There is a famous quote about those who do not understand history being forced to repeat it. That is why mankind has had to fight so many wars over the centuries. Tighten your belt. This is going to be a really bumpy ride.


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