I was astonished to read two British experts’ comments criticizing the United States “for what they described as its overly militaristic approach to fighting terrorism and warned of a further erosion of civil liberties,” according to The New York Times.
Stella Rimington, former director general of Britain’s MI5 domestic intelligence agency, and Ken MacDonald, the top prosecutor for England and Wales, were quoted in the Oct. 22 New York Times.
MacDonald assailed the “Guantanamo model, in which the rights of defendants are severely curtailed or eliminated by governments in search of a response to the terrorism threat.”
And Rimington said she hoped the next president would stop using the term war on terror. An overreaction to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, “got us off on the wrong foot because it made people think terrorism was something you could deal with by force of arms primarily,” she said.
I pretend no special expertise on how to deal with terror suspects, but I do believe there is a vast difference between criminal acts generally involving individuals or a small group engaged in a conspiracy to commit a crime, as opposed to terrorist acts. Criminals are attempting to make an illegal buck or engage in random or premeditated acts of violence. Terrorists, on the other hand, are seeking to impose their will on government and affect its foreign policy.
In the case of Islamic terrorists, they are part of a worldwide conspiracy aimed at bringing the West to its knees. For example, the 19 Muslim terrorists on 9/11 were really enemy soldiers on a mission to inflict terrible damage on America.
In my view, terrorist suspects should not be afforded the same rights as ordinary criminals. But what about terror suspects who are U.S. citizens?
The several Americans charged with terrorist acts have sought in various federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, to be treated differently from non-Americans held under similar charges. To date, so far as I know, those attempts have not been successful. In the case of Jose Padilla, the Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal and made a decision that upheld the president’s authority to designate him and detain him as an enemy combatant. Padilla was convicted. John Walker Lindh pleaded guilty and did not pursue appeals, accepting a plea bargain.
So the net effect is to keep open these constitutional issues. I am confident that the Supreme Court will try to apply common sense and justice when and if it takes up these matters.
Fanatical Islamists take as part of their religious obligation the forced conversion of the infidel. Christians and Jews who refuse to convert or pay tribute and recognize the superiority of Islam are to be killed.
Last week, there were reports in both Iraq and India of attacks on Christians — in Iraq by Muslims and in India, apparently by fanatical Hindus.
I fear a lessening of support in the war on terror worldwide. We in the Western world, particularly in the U.S., lead a good life compared with much of the rest of the world. But many are unwilling to pay the price for protecting that freedom.
In contrast, the Islamic terrorists look forward to death as martyrs as a result of their killing infidels.
It was shocking when Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Anglican Church, said that adopting parts of sharia law is unavoidable, and “certain conditions of sharia are already recognized in our society.”
The two British experts say they are concerned about the way the United States pursues terrorists, endangering rights of privacy. Yet, as The Times points out, “the intrusion on individual privacy here [Great Britain] is greater than in America. Surveillance cameras are ubiquitous — in subway stations, in residential neighborhoods, on highways — and their pervasiveness is one reason that the police were able to track within 24 hours the travels of the cars used in the failed bombing attempts in London and on the Glasgow airport in 2007. The surveillance has probably made the British citizenry the most watched in the world, outside of Singapore.”
Our very lives and the survival of our civilization are at stake in the war against Islamic terrorism. This war will go on for many years.
I no longer am sure whether we have the intestinal fortitude and sufficient belief in our Western civilization to fight for it no matter how long the battle. There have been many more terrorist acts in Great Britain than in the U.S. since 9-11. Is it because of our vigilance and war on terror and Britain’s determination to treat the Islamic terrorist attacks as crimes, rather than as terror conducted by mortal enemies of freedom?
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