Tags: jasta | terrorism | victims | islamic

JASTA Law Against Terrorism Won't Work

Image: JASTA Law Against Terrorism Won't Work

A young girl holds her mother during a commemoration ceremony for the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum fifteen years after the day on September 11, 2016 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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Monday, 26 Sep 2016 12:32 PM Current | Bio | Archive

I understand the pain. I almost lost a son in Afghanistan. I have lost a number of good friends and colleagues over the years to the scourge of Islamic terrorism.

I also understand the frustration. I feel the weariness that comes with perpetual war. I wish for a government that will bring us victory and make those that have attacked us truly pay for the crimes they have committed.

On its face the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) appears straightforward enough. It will allow victims of terrorist acts to bring lawsuits against foreign governments deemed guilty of supporting terrorism. It will promote justice. It will help American citizens right wrongs.

In practice it will not be a benefit. In practice it will be harmful in the extreme not only to individual Americans but also to the country as a whole.

First, JASTA will not simply allow Americans to sue state sponsors of terrorism. That is, in fact, already possible under existing law and has been done regarding Iran. Rather, JASTA will allow any American to file suit against any foreign government for any action that an individual American claims to constitute terrorism.

Think about the implications of that. We are not simply talking about Americans suing Saudi Arabia. We are talking about Americans potentially suing Israel over its actions in the West bank or Great Britain for its actions in Ireland.

Second, JASTA will invite the enactment of a host of similar pieces of legislation worldwide. We may not lose any sleep over the idea of Americans suing certain Middle Eastern states. Are we prepared, however, to suffer the impact of the response? What happens to American soldiers, businessmen, and diplomats abroad when they are subjected to lawsuits and criminal prosecutions because of their actions on foreign soil? How many lawsuits will be filed against our citizens by Pakistani individuals angry with our nation’s drone attacks on its citizens?

Finally, we must wrestle with the very profound foreign policy implications. We live in an imperfect world. I know from personal experience how difficult it is to decide what issues to raise with foreign governments and when. With great frequency we make cold, hard calculations not to push certain issues, because in the larger scheme of things the continued cooperation of a foreign nation is critical to the safety and security of American citizens.

JASTA will, in effect, destroy the ability of the U.S. Government to make those critical calculations. It will hand foreign policy over to 360 million Americans, all of them with very different foreign policy ideas.

We will pay the price. At critical junctures, when the cooperation of a foreign nation is vital to our diplomatic and military efforts abroad, we will find individual citizens pushing personal agendas interfering with and thwarting our efforts to secure a deal or finalize a treaty. We will lose the use of a critical airbase. We will find a foreign government unwilling to continue to cooperate with us in intelligence efforts that save American lives and prevent attacks here at home.

We need justice. We need closure. We need to feel that we have responded to those who have attacked us and made them pay the price.

JASTA is not the way. If you are frustrated with the endless war and the futility of our efforts to date, demand better. Go to the polls. Vote for men and women who will prosecute the war against terror with vigor and the will win it.

The answer to our frustration with this conflict and our government’s seeming inability to bring murderers and terrorists to justice does not lie in having private citizens take on those responsibilities. It lies in demanding better. It lies in making our government do its job.

Charles S. Faddis, retired CIA operations officer, led the first CIA team into Iraq (in 2002) and retired as head of CIA’s Counterterrorism WMD unit. He is a senior counterterrorism editor for Homeland Security Today and a contributor to EpicTimes.com, Andmagazine.com, Fox News, and OANN.com. He also is a former congressional candidate and consultant to the U.S. government on military/intel issues. He is the author of “Beyond Repair” (on the need for intel reform). Faddis is a U.S. Army veteran and former assistant attorney general. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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CharlesFaddis
I understand the pain. I almost lost a son in Afghanistan. I have lost a number of good friends and colleagues over the years to the scourge of Islamic terrorism.
jasta, terrorism, victims, islamic
722
2016-32-26
Monday, 26 Sep 2016 12:32 PM
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