Sunday, September 17, 2006

Just a thought.

It seems that things have finally gotten so twisted in the GWOT that failure and defeat for our side is almost inevitable. The other side has GOT to be giggling in their palm shaded mountain top Pakistani villas as the Western left, and a surprisingly large number of politicians on the right are insisting that our people conform to higher standards of behavior, which might just cripple their ability to do their job. They want the CIA and the military to behave according to the "rules" when they imprison and interrogate the fuzzies that are picked up on the "battlefields" (when there really aren't battlefields) of the conflict.

Basically, the nit-pickers have come out of their bunkers and are poking the soldiers and spooks in the back to make sure they follow the rules of war, even as the enemy tortures, disembowels and then decapitates our people when they are taken captive. They want to make sure we follow rules of "civilized" warfare that were devised to cover combat between the armies of nation-states whose soldiers wear uniforms and who can and usually do make their soldiers conform to similar rules. And no one sees the insanity in that? They've GOT to be joking. I wonder how much of this is just an opportunity to slam America, the administration and the war, and how much of it is a genuine belief that the Taliban and Al Qaida folks we've picked up deserve the same legal protection as a person caught stealing a six-pack from a 7-11.

I'm reminded of the fact that 20th hijacker was sitting comfortably in a US jail on the morning of September 11th when his comrades where getting on those planes. Maybe, if he'd been "water boarded" those 3000ish folks in the planes and towers might not have had to die. Just maybe. I'm reminded that the previous administration had two or three opportunities to take out Bin Laden, but legal issues prevented them from doing it. They couldn't think of any "charges" to lay on him in the Hague, even though he'd already declared war on us and blown up our embassies in Africa.

How many of these confirmed killers will get out of Gitmo when the next administration comes into office or before, and how many more of our people will die for those misplaced legal principles? There's a historical precedent for such an outrage. About 1969-70, the radical left broke with the main stream of the anti-war movement and went underground. They called themselves the "Weather Underground" and began a series of bombings and armed robberies to finance more bombings, trying to topple the Nixon administration, end the war in Vietnam, and bring about a communist revolution in the country.

The Nixon folks and the FBI, believing the bombers were out to kill lots of people (they originally were, but changed their minds after some of their own people blew themselves up accidentally) threw out the rule book and went after them. They set up an office called "cointelpro" (counter intelligence program) and went underground themselves to find and diffuse the radical movement. In the process of doing that, they broke the laws that were set up to protect average people from the coercive power of the state, including wiretappings of harmless folks like Martin Luther King. So in the end, the radicals were cut loose from jail and now sit comfortably in the very country they had vowed to destroy. Some of them teach college, and are still active in liberal politics.

I submit that America and the international community need to come up with new rules of war to cover this specific irregular circumstances. We need to be able to differentiate between "civilized warfare" (as if there ever was such a thing), and the gritty reality our soldiers are dealing with today. As it is, the enemy can rely on the left to argue their legal defense and protection, like some sort of international public defender, even as they plot our fiery distraction, and their own death in the process.

It's amazing how these things cycle back and forth in history and nobody pays attention. Do we have the will to defend our society and values from these killers who are bent to see it burn, or should we just curl up and kiss it all goodbye? There's some truth to the idea that we can't become the enemy in order to defeat them, but I'd submit that there's a lot of elbow room between those extremes. We need to find a place there that will allow us to do what we need to do over there, while defending our values here.


Mushy said...

Never happen...we've grown too chicken shit! Too big for our britches - too afraid of world opinion to use our big guns - those weapons are useless to us anymore. We might as well put up a sling-shot defense around America, because we would no more use them than a nuke in fear of what some country or pansy-assed citizen would say if we missed and broke a window somewhere.

I for one am proud of our military, but ashamed of this country's politics and attitude.

Becky said...

I have to admit that I thought of you today when I saw a preview for a new documentary called The United States vs. John Lennon or something like that. It's basically Nixon (the devil) vs. Lennon -- as if Nixon started Vietnam. I'll be curious what you think after you see it (the preview).

Fathairybastard said...

I've heard about it, and know what it's about. It deals with events related to that "cointelpro" thing I talked about. Nixon went after a LOT of people who were completely innocuous in retrospect. He was a nut, but it was a nutty time. He went after Lennon because he'd come out against the war and was thought to have a huge following with the kids. Thing is, LBJ is the one who started using the FBI to investigate his oponents. Started the "enemies list" that Nixon as tagged with. Nixon inherited it and kept it going. Would like to see the documentary when it comes out. I'll be on PBS one day.

DirtCrashr said...

We're all tied up in knots about the definition of "torture" (instead of "terror") and how many Geneva Rights can balance on the head of a pin...