Opinion

The Great Debate

Boston bomber acted as ‘enemy combatant’

By Michael M. Rosen
April 23, 2013

The Obama administration announced on Monday that suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev would “not be treated as an enemy combatant” who would be tried in a special military tribunal. Instead, White House spokesman Jay Carney declared, “we will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice.”

But this decision is a grave mistake for legal, political and practical reasons. As we sift through the challenging implications of last week’s events, we must aim to deter future acts of terror on our soil by U.S. citizens and legal residents. Treating and trying domestic terrorists as enemy combatants  can provide such a deterrent.

The strongest reason to do this is to send a signal to other would-be terrorists that we, as a society, consider these acts so repellant that we treat them as acts of war.

There are many other reasons as well. First, when overwhelming evidence indicates a suspect’s guilt; when that suspect or his associates appear to have links to foreign terrorist movements, and when the crime they’re accused of involves intimidating the public. Under these circumstances, it’s appropriate to cite the suspect as an enemy combatant.

In 2006, Congress expanded the post-September 11 definition of “enemy combatant” to mean someone “who has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its co-belligerents who is not a lawful enemy combatant (including a person who is part of the Taliban, al Qaeda or associated forces).”

There is now good reason to believe that the Tsarnaev brothers have supported hostilities against the United States and its allies. While no clear link exists yet between the suspects and radical Chechen separatists (let alone al Qaeda or the Taliban), the circumstantial evidence available to the public — including Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s recent lengthy visit to the north Caucasus, his familiarity with online jihadist content and Russia’s 2011 request for further investigation — suggests a connection to Islamic militants.

Even under the Obama administration’s refinement of the concept, in which the Justice Department jettisoned the term “enemy combatant,” Washington still has the right to detain anyone who “substantially supported” our enemies ‑ “including any person who has committed a belligerent act, or has directly supported hostilities, in aid of such enemy armed forces.”

Some legal scholars and pundits, including in these pages, have argued it would be unlawful to try the remaining suspect as an enemy combatant. One writer, for example, said it would be “absolutely nuts,” notwithstanding the criminal complaint [PDF] filed against him Monday morning, alleging “use of a weapon of mass destruction.”

The critics are correct that the standards for detaining the younger Tsarnaev, a naturalized U.S. citizen, are higher. But neither his status nor his capture on U.S. soil bars the application of combatant status.

Second, treating and trying the Boston suspect as an enemy combatant confers important practical benefits. As Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have contended, eliciting information from Tsarnaev now, in the early days, is key.

“We need to know about any possible future attacks which could take additional American lives,” the senators rightly proclaim. “The least of our worries is a criminal trial which will likely be held years from now.”

Detaining the suspect as a belligerent would be the most effective method of gleaning key intelligence. Setting aside the legal debate about the “public safety” exception to his Miranda rights, let alone whether those rights even apply, the White House cannot keep Tsarnaev away from his attorney for much longer under ordinary criminal procedure.

By contrast, a combatant designation would, as the Wall Street Journal puts it, “allow for extensive, long-term interrogation without a lawyer,” including “long-term psychological pressure [that] can be crucial to learning if the brothers worked with anyone else, if they received terrorist training and more.”

The administration can always later reclassify Tsarnaev as a civilian suspect. Abandoning the opportunity to classify him as an enemy combatant now, however, risks losing actionable intelligence.

Trying Tsarnaev as a combatant would also relieve the severe logistical and security pressures created by a civilian trial in federal district court. Much as the Justice Department recognized when it acquiesced in Congress’s wise 2011 decision to preclude trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other Guantanamo Bay terrorists before civilian courts, the circus of a public trial, its potential for the revelation of sensitive intelligence and security concerns should render a this a non-starter in Boston.

While a public trial can provide catharsis for the marathon bombing survivors and their families, as the civilian trial of Zacarias Moussaoui showed — during which the 20th September 11, 2001 bomber declared “God curse America, and God save Osama bin Laden! You will never get him!” —it can also provide terrorists with an open microphone to spout propaganda.

Moreover, while Daphne Eviatar has in these pages eloquently cataloged certain serious problems infecting military commissions in Guantanamo, the solution is to improve those tribunals, not to end them.

Whether the terrorist is foreign or domestic, visitor or citizen, Muslim, Christian or Jew, if he or she seeks to inflict mass casualties on Americans while in league with our enemies, they will be hunted, held and, ultimately, sentenced.

Just as we’ll bring to bear the entirety of our local, state and federal law enforcement apparatus to catch a perpetrator, so too we should apply every legal weapon in our arsenal — including military tribunals — to bring them to justice.

PHOTO: People at a candlelight vigil for slain MIT police officer Sean Collier at the Town Common in Wilmington, Massachusetts, April 20, 2013. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter

 

 

Comments
31 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

But he’s an American citizen. The law is clear. We certainly don’t want a situation where authorities can by-pass the laws of our criminal justice system at will, by simply finding a statement by a defendant railing against the United States. Good God, with Congress having a 15% approval rating (according to Gallup, and lower in other polls), most Americans have railed against this country in one form or another at some time in their lives. I have. Does that make me an enemy combatant? It’s disturbing how those on the right will wave the Constitution around like they’re wielding a loaded gun in order to fight their case for the profit-motivated gun lobby, then turn right around and advocate for side stepping the Constitution when applied in another context. It doesn’t suggest to me a devotion to the Constitution. To the contrary, it smacks of opportunism and abuse of our system. If you’re really that skeptical about the proficiency of our criminal justice system, perhaps you should be op-eding about that instead of advocating a path around our Constitution, considering that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is just one person and we have over 2 million people in our criminal justice system.

Posted by flashrooster | Report as abusive
 

I agree with you, I believe we should put every person who commits a “more serious crime” into the Ministry of Love.

Posted by twoturboz | Report as abusive
 

Frankly, I don’t think anyone should be charged as an “Enemy Combatant’ unless Congress officially declares a war.

Posted by branchltd | Report as abusive
 

When you give this power to the current president, you give it to all future presidents. What could be worse for a wannabe terrorist mastermind than being ignominiously branded a criminal and thrown in jail until death from decrepitude? The law works fine as it is, we don’t need a special sub-category for people who make us very mad: it serves to over-glorify the base actions of a common criminal wacko.

To change our nature would be the greatest loss.

Posted by Benny27 | Report as abusive
 

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

- Benjamin Franklin

There is absolutely no reason to treat the Boston Bomber as an enemy combatant. As much as the hawks decry the rights given to all Americans, they serve to protect our vital rights from an all powerful government. We have a horrible case where a man has committed several crimes, why then do we feel the need to allow torture and the abrogation of his rights without due process? The argument that we need intelligence from him to stop future attacks is speculative at best and generally wrong. The investigative powers of the police are already broad and they do a perfectly fine job of solving crimes. Remember, it was good police work, not the torture of an Al-Qaeda operative that solved this crime.

Posted by triviaguy | Report as abusive
 

I respectfully disagree with the author. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his ilk are common criminals and should be treated as such. They don’t deserve any special treatment. We are not afraid of such. We will deal with them the same way we deal with common murderers, rapists and thieves – a fair trial, likely conviction, and they can rot in jail like their brethren.

Posted by AgedPuppy | Report as abusive
 

Even pretending that a US citizen, arrested within the borders of the US, could somehow be an “enemy combatant,” why is everyone treating Tsarnaev like he’s Carlos the Jackal? He’s a common criminal, and treating him like he’s anything else gives his crime a dignity and purpose it does not deserve.

Constitutional rights have survived a Civil War, two World Wars, labor riots, a Cold War, and Richard Nixon. Surely we’re not going to allow someone this inept and pusillanimous to destroy them now.

Posted by DukeOfOmnium | Report as abusive
 

In America we have had difficulty in establishing “public” standards” for controlling pornography. Some might say that the result has been no control at all because of the difficulty of defining pornography clearly in terms universally agreed. We similarly need a definition of “Enemy Combatant” better than “if you see it you’ll know it.”

The writer is absolutely correct that America faces a new and increasing threat of domestic terrorism by American citizens. We dare enot ignore the many losers residing in this country, the disaffected and the disgruntled, who have always blamed others for their own failings. These are a ticking time bomb.

Americans must swiftly and clearly establish a precedent that “we, the people” will not tolerate unilateral or foreign planned acts of war against any or all Americans just because some idiot has a grudge and is willing to act on it. There must be effective deterrent such that “acts of terrorism” bring into swift and sure action procedures that will (1) identify other imminent threats from the same source, and (2) establish sure and swift removal of the perpetrators from our society such that never again can they attack us or our country.

It is implicit that the benefits of civil society are not for the uncivil. The expense in time and money of according such benefits fully to those who refuse to accept and live by our society’s principal rules is as unbearable as it is unnecessary. So now it falls to this generation to establish those limits of activity by which a person’s “membership card” in society, that of their very citizenship will be once and forever forfeit.

At the same time, such extreme penalty should not be wielded by one person any more than the launch of a nuclear missile. There should be some sort of “federal Grand Jury” convened as necessary that could be selected for service from a pool of wise and accomplished citizens to exercise such power.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

Terrorism is worse than war, since terrorism targets innocent civilians and war, at least in theory, is fought between two armies, following the laws of war. Giving a terrorist the enemy combatant designation ennobles his act unnecessarily.

Posted by MBmb | Report as abusive
 

Our strength is precisely the rule of civilian law. Mr. Rosen reveals either an ignorance of terrorism or a disturbing lack of faith in the strength of our country.
The terrorist doesn’t expect to defeat his enemy in a frontal attack; the terrorist merely hopes to instill fear that leads his enemy to turn on itself. The terrorist ‘wins’ when we suspend our normal liberties and protections. By suspending our rule of law, we encourage more terrorists because we give them exactly what they need – we indicate our fear of them is so great we will sacrifice even our precious liberties to fight them.
On the other hand, we win when we show our strength by treating the terrorist will the full rights of any criminal on our soil. We show the terrorist we do not fear him; we show our confidence that nothing the terrorist does will bring meaningful harm to our nation. Such is the true show of strength – the absolute confidence that our system will not be brought down by the actions of others. And it is that strength, the strength of our convictions, that will convince other terrorists there is no hope in their chosen path.

Posted by JohnMetz | Report as abusive
 

Gunning down twenty children and six teachers as Adam Lanza did though wasn’t repellant enough to strip mass murderers like him of their status as citizens?

Posted by ToshiroMifune | Report as abusive
 

Rosen, Your reasoning amounts to circumventing due process to deter would be “terrorists” A word whose definition can easily be changed to suite the current political climate.

you say this will send a signal to would be terrorists that we as a society find these acts to be so repellant as to treat them as acts of war.
How about man slaughter? child molestation, rape, stealing millions of dollars from people retirement plans? These acts are not also so repellant as to treat them as acts of war?

Your article is a reflection of the damage an act like this can do. The courageous manor in which men and women at the scene of this crime rushed into help victims shows “would be terrorists” the strength of America.
People willing to toss out rule of law and due process out of terror is where bombings like this find their true power.

Posted by MarkDenman | Report as abusive
 

@JohnMetz

“The terrorist ‘wins’ when we suspend our normal liberties and protections.” You can take that position.

We are not so stupid as to portend we can continue to fly without intrusive personal inspections. Do they “win” by that or do we “win” by preventinf further attacks? I think the latter. I think the goal should be DETERENT, not “PRINCIPLES”. The formed can be compariticely cheap. The latter expensive beyond measure.

Those who do are accepting that “we, the people” will suffer your original harm inflicted. We agree to then inflict further financial harm on ourselves “ad infinitem” with the legal and incarceration/execution process. All the while we will give these criminals and those like them a public platform to vent and spread their hatred wherever the “soil” is fertile and accepting.

The “true show of strength”…the “turned cheek” only today gets one sore cheeks. America is broke. We can’t AFFORD to do as you suggest because more and more of our “citizen losers” residing in this country, the disaffected and the disgruntled, who have always blamed others for their own failings, will step forward again and again for their “fifteen minutes of fame”. America CAN’T afford THAT perhaps most of all.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

This is really frightening stuff. Bending laws to enable torture (intensive interrogation without a lawyer).

Do you think this will win you more friends around the globe? Are you totally morally bankrupt?What will be next? Mob lynching

Posted by aussie66 | Report as abusive
 

Another classic example of how Republicans support the Constitution in whichever way their wind blows.

We’re to abandon the Constitution for “deterrence”? Are you kidding me? Expanded background checks to purchase guns would have been a “deterrence” but the Republicans waved the it’s-against-the-2nd Amendment-flag, and “it won’t stop violence” argument, and now you’re telling me that deterrence will be effective to stop terrorism.

This is too funny.

Posted by JL4 | Report as abusive
 

@aussie66, the majority of U.S. citizens are not morally bankrupt, but the smaller percentage would bend our Constitution in a heartbeat if it meant they could dispense justice without due process to Americans they don’t like. And unfortunately for the majority that live here, these days it’s the minority who rules – or the best lobbyists. The minority thinks that we can’t “afford” to uphold our Constitution, unless it puts weapons of mass destruction into Christian hands.

Posted by JL4 | Report as abusive
 

@JL4,

Actually, it’s YOU whose opinions are laughable.

Expanded background checks would do nothing to prevent recent classroom massacres and nothing to prevent the Boston tragedy. They needlessly burden law abiding American citizens and move our society one step further towards a “Big Brother” society. To some of us, that’s unacceptable. Live with it.

I happen to believe in effective deterrence. To believe otherwise is to accept your personal role as an impotent and defenseless appeaser and apologist for the status quo.

As an example, I advocate the mining of our southern border as a deterrent to the ongoing flood of substantially uneducated and unskilled economic leeches, illegal alien wetbacks, that swarm across nightly to invade America. This could be done quickly and at minimal expense without any change in existing law. It would, in my opinion, absolutely and forever eliminate this problem, and concurrently and substantially lessen the ongoing flow of illicit drugs into this country.

Complaints without suggestions for improvement are a waste of everyone’s time.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

While he was supposedly motivated by the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Tsarnaev should not be treated as an enemy combatant, defined as “members of the armed forces of the state with which another state is at war”. He has no military training or experience in combat whatsoever, and has no apparent affiliation with any known terrorist groups. His actions are merely those from the mind of a disturbed and violent individual, most likely coaxed into reality by his now-deceased older sibling, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

How is he any different than those who carry out shootings in theatres or schools, who have been merely tried with counts of first degree murder (not to treat those charges lightly)? James Eagan Holmes, the perpetrator of the 2012 theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado, was not labelled as such, and yet his death toll was much greater and he too made use of explosive devices.

It would not only be wrong for the sake of all those before Tsarnaev who were not titled as such, but also for the sake of future prosecutions.

I am not arguing to show him any mercy or remorse, but rather in an effort to uphold and defend the legal and constitutional values of the United States.

Posted by mpirie525 | Report as abusive
 

Mr. Rosen, why is it OK for America to forget its laws? Would you have recommended that Timothy McVeigh be treated as an “enemy combatant”. If not, then why? And exactly how does labeling and trying a terrorist as an enemy combatant send a message to potential terrorists? Is our justice system deficient in its ability to deter? There is a stinking hypocrisy in declaring a “War on Terror” in the name of freedom and, at the same time, abandoning that very freedom for convenience.

I think you have forgotten that justice is not supposed to take emotion into account. You are allowing your anger (and possible racism) to cloud your thinking. As a civilised country, we’re not supposed to endorse an eye-for-an-eye justice system. Your recommendation to treat this terrorist as an enemy combatant is based on a desire to obtain vicarious pleasure by torturing him. Where do we draw the line then? What’s to stop a racist in power from declaring any violent criminal an enemy combatant and torturing him?

Also, Republicans’ branding the fight against terror as a war is one of the biggest strategic blunders made by our government. This grants such low thugs legitimacy and, in fact, undermines our cause. Whether people like you like it or not, most terrorists enjoy some level of community support somewhere in the world because they are professional propagandists who use deprivation to justify murder. Therefore, a battle for hearts and minds is a necessary, if small, part of this fight. Further, framing it as a war probably convinced George Bush’s idiotic administration and invasions and toppling governments was the best way to deal with terrorism. Lesson for you and the GOP: TERROR FLOURISHES IN A VACUUM OF POWER.

Posted by asrinath3 | Report as abusive
 

@OOTS, I certainly DO have a suggestion for battling illegal immigrants, and that is to arrest the owners of American companies, small and large, who HIRE illegal immigrants. Here’s my logic: if they couldn’t find work, they’d stay home.

But you want to kill as many as you can. You probably wouldn’t have a problem with lining them up and shooting them. There isn’t much of a difference.

Your messages throughout most of your posts are twofold: Kill illegal immigrants as they cross the border, and worship at the feet of the wealthy.

And here’s my suggestion for dealing with “homegrown” terrorists (because these guys were AMERICANS) here it is….wait for it because it’s profound…..

Try them in an American court of law.

Posted by JL4 | Report as abusive
 

@JL4,

You seem to ignore the fact that those who employ illegal aliens either break no existing law or said law is not being properly enforced. In neither case are they presently subject to arrest. Once again, FAIL! I certainly agree this should be changed, with or without “immigration reform”.

My “…messages throughout most of…posts…” on this subject are simple and direct. Stop the endless flow of fence jumpers that threaten to overwhelm our society…whatever it takes. Those few lucky enough to get through a well designed and laid mine field to get here will likely discourage others with their tales of the experience, and the amount of drugs many of them carry into America on their backs will cease to be profitable.

You’re like most aggressive liberals…you will defend the rights of “every accused” with every last taxpayer’s dollar. But real life has limits, like Public Defender budgets. The U.S. is BROKE. There are a lot higher priorities for available funds than this kind of liberal indulgence.

In racing there is a saying: “Speed costs money…how fast do you want to go?” Well “justice for sociopaths” costs money…how many can you afford to sponsor for rights intended for LOYAL law-abiding citizens? So how much of your own money are you willing to put where your mouth is…up front?

(pregnant silence)

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

@asrinath3,

You don’t seem to understand that an “enemy combatant” is a hostile dedicated so long as they live to challenge our society and it’s laws anywhere and everywhere. They LIVE to wreak such vengence as they can upon any who challenge their “world view”. They are islam’s version of the Kamikaze.

We catch many such “soldiers” before they have sufficient expertise and experience to do something for which aour society deems a life sentence or execution appropriate sentences. It is no secret that any time these people are not under effective confinement and control each constitutes a real and present danger to each American and each friend of America.

So you would exact no sacrifice of American citizenship by any impersonal hostile act against fellow Ameicans and accord them all normal rights and privileges at great expense in our civil courts? That is illogical, since we know after serving most possible sentences they could and would return into the world at large to gain such expertise and experience and continue “jihad” somewhere else someday? The only exceptions would be “life without possibility of parole” and execution, the “legal bar” for which is understandably high for normal citizens. Our present leaders may not be the brightest lights in the harbor, but they aren’t THAT stupid.

It is not “news” that long conflicts necessitate effective and reliable means by which “enemy hostiles” are kept from returning to the battlefield again and again. Historically this has meant “prisoner of war” camps and military tribunals. Is anyone so foolish as to believe the current world wide “war on terror” by civil societies will end in the foreseeable future?

Ans so there is Gitmo, our ONLY active prisoner of war camp. It can’t be closed, or it’s occupants transferred to mainland America, for reasons obvious to one and all. Perhaps the greatest is the existence of America’s “loose cannon” liberals that will bitch and moan and thresten and harrass until eventually each is released with utterly predictable results. Please.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

While he was supposedly motivated by the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Tsarnaev should not be treated as an enemy combatant, defined as “members of the armed forces of the state with which another state is at war”. He has no military training or experience in combat whatsoever, and has no apparent affiliation with any known terrorist groups. His actions are merely those from the mind of a disturbed and violent individual, most likely coaxed into reality by his now-deceased older sibling, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

How is he any different than those who carry out shootings in theatres or schools, who have been merely tried with counts of first degree murder (not to treat those charges lightly)? James Eagan Holmes, the perpetrator of the 2012 theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado, was not labelled as such, and yet his death toll was much greater and he too made use of explosive devices.

Posted by mpirie525 | Report as abusive
 

@OOTS, we’re talking about American citizens being tried in an American court – not a military court. That’s what this discussion is about.

Where do you get these ideas, that the Constitution can be ignored because everyone is very angry? We’re angry – very much so, but I’m not prepared to abandon the 1st Amendment because I’m emotional. Don’t confuse my desire to uphold the Constitution as being soft on terrorism.

The reason so many in your camp want to try this remaining “Homegrown Terrorist” in a military court is so that he can be tortured, and kept indefinitely without legal representation for “additional information.”

And no “loose cannon liberal” that I’ve read or spoken to wants to release all GITMO prisoners. I may be mistaken, but isn’t torture (waterboarding as a recent example) illegal – against the Geneva Convention, or military rules for the treatment of POWs?

Eric Rudolf, who killed for his Christian beliefs – he should go to GITMO? Anyone who kills in the name of Christianity should go to GITMO? Of course not.

You want to set up mines along the U.S./Mexican border as a “deterrent” which means you want to kill a few to get your message across. You want to use death to get a message across to people who come to this country whose biggest crime is hanging drywall and picking tomatoes. Seriously?

You are as bad as the terrorists – advocating violence and death as a means to get YOUR message across. Isn’t that what the jihadist wants to do?

You want to kill a few as a deterrent because *it’s cheaper* than ways that don’t include their deaths.

And give people a chance to respond, bro. I have a life, and don’t spend every waking moment on the computer.

Posted by JL4 | Report as abusive
 

@JL4,

One way of “talking about” American citizens who turn against and act against Americans and American society is “treason”. Look it up. Those convicted, sometimes in a military court, can be tied to a pose and executed. To “make an example” of those exhibiting abhorrent behavior is not emotional, but logical. While the penalty of death is not an effective deterrant to all, it is in enough instances to still have a place in American penalties.

You’re comic relief if you think a “military court” is for torture. It is simply a court that operates by simpler rules than civilian courts. There are events that require more swift and efficient measures in emergency…look up “martial law”.

There are incorrigibles that perform acts against society again and again and some states have finally said ENOUGH and enacted “three strikes” laws that send them away for good and end their otherwise endless attacks on people or society. Well, if these wetbacks come across illegally again and again, a mines field is entirely an appropriate way to make it clear America has had ENOUGH and they WILL NOT be allowed to repeatedly flaunt OUR laws again and again for ANY reason whatsoever.

You would have America become a nations of victims. I do not. It’s that simple.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

@OOTS, you are a complete waste of time.

Posted by JL4 | Report as abusive
 

OOTS,
Treason refers to wartime, as in a citizen defects and gives the Russians nuke codes during the cold war. A psycho with an axe to grind is not committing treason, they are committing a crime. Your non-solution of mining the border to prevent illegal immigration (many immigrants cross in vehicles, not the desert – along with all the drugs, if you bother to look into it) dhows your callous disregard even for effectiveness. You would rather stand on the principle rather than look for a solution that works. I cannot think of anything better than prosecuting those who hire the border jumpers. Problem is, business needs them all to undermine local wages, so they fight every attempt at immigration reform.

Despite the hysterical rantings of thugs and bullies like Mr. Rosen, we are not at war against this Tsarnaev kid any more than we are at war with Timothy McVeigh. Therefore military courts in this case would simply be an egregious overreach by our military into civilian life. We have many layers of law enforcement that does a pretty good job already, no need for tanks on the streets. That you would have greater military control shows the hypocrisy behind your yelling about government control of our lives.

We are supposed to be a country of laws…

Posted by Benny27 | Report as abusive
 

@Benny27,

Your words are as a dog chasing it’s tail, entertaining but without purpose, effect or substance. The conscious and deliberate hijacking of American airliners and using them as weapons against civilian Americans on American soil was no less a declaration of war than the similarly unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor, and resulted in more fatalities. It will be a war without end. Get used to it.

Your silly excuses for a “…psycho with an axe to grind…” fits virtually every current occupant of Gitmo.
While wetbacks and drugs may be carried across the desert on each side of America’s southern border, I really doubt that “Many…actually cross” it in vehicles. Something amphibious or a tunnel would be required (unless Mexico is throwing up pontoon bridges at night).

I do not disregard effectiveness, I repeatedly call for the “…solution that works”. But the present administration does not diligently and predictably enforce laws already on the books, so you suggest the “solution” to be more laws? Please.

America doesn’t need “immigration reform”. It needs predictable, effective, immediate, verifiable and maintainable closure of our southern border. It will take an unacceptable period of time to revise current laws and practices to have any meaningful effect on the unending flood of fence-jumping criminals carrying drugs into America night after night.

Tell the families who lost loved ones and the runners and spectators who lost limbs, etc. in Boston that “we are not at war with this “…Tsarnaev kid…”. And yes, Timothy McVeigh declared war on our government and could have been tried and executed with greater expediency and less cost than was done.

It is, in fact, I who “looks for the solution that works” for this new and continuing threat to America, and YOU who would rather “stand on principle”. I do not call for “tanks on the streets” but America has in place laws, rules and regulations that would do just that if and when “those in charge in emergency” deem such action appropriate and necessary.

It is to our detriment that this country has ceased to be a country “ruled by law” and become one “ruled by men” (with all the inconsistency and pettiness that that inevitably brings with it.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

Ignorance.

Apparently the US government admits that there are people held at guantanamo that have done nothing wrong, (kidnapped by mistake) but have since been radicalized by inhumane treatment: therefore they cannot be released. That is a farce of justice. If those individuals are psychos with an axe to grind, certain among them were made that way by our own rash actions.

Needless to say, the Japanese fascists you refer to were a legitimate government in charge of a powerful army. Pearl harbor doesn’t come into it: Al Qaida, on the other hand, consists of like-minded individuals that often do not even share communication, let alone a place to make war upon. This war vs an idea is an excuse for permanent war, nothing more.

AS for your ignorance regarding illegal immigration, there are thousands of trucks passing into the states every day from mexico. You think they search them all? Laughable.

You are a confused soul: Tsarnaev thought he was at war with us, but one man doesn’t make an army. I will not be cowed by your invocation of the victims as though I have no sympathy. Boston was bad enough, but it seems you forgot how huge the federal building bomb was. Similar number of victims, if I recall, but more of them died. (my respect for the emergency responders in Boston has grown immeasurably after this crime)

The point being that existing courts took care of McVeigh. No need to invoke the military like a panicky child. Calling for the military to treat a citizen (disgusting though he is) as an enemy combatant when they have simply committed a very large violent crime is to allow your mind to be clouded with rage. They just are not legally the same thing, and that is what matters if we are to be ruled by law, not the passions of men.

I agree: enforce the law. But to call for the military to do the work of policing is the first step towards military dictatorship, not regulating gun ownership, as you imply.

Posted by Benny27 | Report as abusive
 

Rosen is wrong. Was Timothy McVeigh classed as an enemy combatant? No, and he was eventually put to death. Just desserts.

Posted by explorer08 | Report as abusive
 

@Benny27,

You title your most recent post as “ignorance”. OK, I won’t disagree. In fact I would agree completely!

Have you any verifiable facts to back up your wild speculation of “people held at Guantanamo that have done nothing wrong (kidnapped by mistake)…”. I find your thought process and rationale fascinating. Why would any loyal American choose to see those who wage war upon America itself as victims?

The “…war vs an idea is an excuse for permanent war, nothing more?” That might have been how pacifists in England during the American revolution might have felt. But that was not the reality, now was it? Makes no sense.

Yes, thousands of trucks cross into America from Mexico every day. If you KNOW a significant number of illegal immigrants or illegal drugs enter the country in such manner, please give credible reference. I’m sure present procedures would quickly change were that fact. Otherwise your personal speculation serves no useful purpose.

“War” today will never again see the great tank battles of Desert Storm or WW II, nor the terror bombings by all combatants of the latter. It is no longer feasible for a “legitimate government in charge of a powerful army” to undertake a direct attack in any form on a country America (or any western nation) is prepared to fend (think Kuwait). The fundamental possibilities of “war” have changed. Even North Korea understands that.

Increasingly “war” is waged by individuals or human Kamikaze “suicide bombers” capable of significant harm. It may be one or more small groups identifiable as “hostiles” or “locals” only by whether they are burying an IED or holding a Kalashnikov at a given time, or not. At least Kamikaze pilots wore uniforms and flew planes clearly marked with national insignia.

My mind is not “clouded with rage”. I am offended when the U.S. has to use “smart bombs” on those dummies in the middle east, or must dirty it’s hands on those who are “American by paper” but traitors at heart. It was not my intent to suggest that you lack sympathy. It seems common sense is your primary mental deficiency.

The logic with which I would “deal with them” is not hot and fast for immediate gratification. It is cold and calculating, deliberate in it’s selection of the best long term deterrents. There is no “panic, but only resolve.
The humanity of any terrorist is shed like a snake’s skin the moment they pose a credible threat to civilized society.

As far as I’m concerned, this country should treat the Taliban and muslim radicals who fight without the identification of uniforms and hide in religious buildings, hospitals and among women and children as spies were tteatred in WW II. These were captured and, if not shot on sight, or executed without significant delay. If such execution is by drone by a serviceman far out of harm’s way by drone, so much the better. Whatever works.

You would have this country “roll over” when the challenge of thwarting or eliminating those who would threaten it is complex. You would be another Chamberlain seeking “peace in our time” from Hitler given the chance. Soon it will be ongoing in cyberspace as “unidentified actors” within “Legitimate states” seek to damage America’s economic system or infrastructure. You would have us “read Miranda rights” to some chinese soldier at a laptop half the world away? Sheer idiocy.

Times and threats change, and so we submit to government intrusion into our emails, etc. looking for the “chatter” of radicals who threaten us. We submit to intrusive search of our persons and luggage unthinkable in past years because we do not wish to be blown out of the sky by some idiot radical. Threats exist we dare not ignore.

If you prefer to stick your head in the sand and live as if nothing has changed, be my guest. But don’t expect much company. The predator the ostrich can not see can easily see and eat him. Reality has a way of not being denied for long.

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