Monday, September 18, 2006

Going out of our way to Defeat Ourselves

I read a very good article a couple months ago about how we not only have to watch for the enemy without during war time, but also the enemy within. In this case, ‘the enemy within’ referred to those who espouse actions clothed in righteousness, but assuring defeat. This comes mostly due to speaking from a political position (if I can find the link again I’ll post it).

While it might require expanding the definition of that article, I’d like to include under the umbrella of this ‘enemy within’ four people I would not heretofore have guessed fit the description: Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, John Warner, and General Colin Powell. All four have staked out public positions that will unquestioningly weaken our ability to counter the terrorist threat, thus weaken our resolve to fight it until we reawaken to an incident that will make 9/11 look like a dress rehearsal.

The major points from the ‘Fatuous Four’ are these: we have to abide by our treaty obligation under the Geneva Convention when dealing with terrorist detainees because

1) We’re signatories to the agreement, so are bound by its principles
2) The world will think less of us if we don’t, and
3) Our solders will be treated badly if we don’t treat Al Qaeda prisoners well.

Let’s briefly deal with these in turn.

First, the Geneva Convention covers prisoners of war who meet very specific criteria. Among other things, the solders in question must have identifiable rank as part of a hierarchical command structure, be uniformed, and bear their weapons openly. Terrorists are not covered by the Convention by definition; they do none these things. In short, the U.S. is not a signatory to any agreement requiring specific treatment of terrorists like Al Qaeda.

Second, I have to wonder who in the world Colin Powell is worried about when being concerned about how we are viewed by other countries. I suspect Europe in general and Germany and France in particular would rank high on his list. He seems to spend a lot of time there these days and may have caught the ‘EU world view disease.’ At any rate, I’m not too concerned about how many of the above mentioned nations view us. Not only do they seem reluctant to defend their own cultures (witness the Islamic riots in France’s last year), but said countries also celebrate dictators (i.e., Fidel Castro) who practice methods far more questionable on mere dissidents than we imagine using on terrorists. And let’s not forget that many in some of Western Europe’s most outspoken ‘angels’ had lucrative financial dealings with Saddam Hussein before his fall from power. To paraphrase columnist Mark Steyn, you don’t conduct a war to the applause of the gallery.

Third, do we really expect that Al Qaeda to treat our soldiers well, even if we house detainees in the nearest Hilton and only use interrogation techniques that extend to “Pretty please with sugar on top?” No, they will torture and/or lop off the heads of any soldier they capture; that is what their philosophy teaches them to do.

A last thought; our brave men and women in uniform know what they face if captured. The least we can do as a nation is resort to every means short of REAL torture (defined as the infliction deformity or excruciating pain) to get information that will prevent such capture or loss of life, both military and civilian.

The ‘Fatuous Four’ want to criminalize the act of placing panties on the head of a murderer in order to glean life-saving information (It’s “degrading”). Such a warped view is proof that they have lost sight of the real world.

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