Friday, January 8, 2010

Terrorists Are Not Suspects

 The turning point for me was earlier this week when President Obama said we are at war with al-Qaeda.

Then why try foreign enemy combatants in our federal courts? Why give them the rights enjoyed by U.S. citizens? Why read them our Miranda rights so they can lawyer up? Why are we as a nation so preoccupied with our true values that we bestow them to people who never had them where they came from and want to kill us? These are not police criminal cases and they are not suspects. They are terrorists.

Obama is doing his best to stamp out the image of the Ugly American in world opinion thrust upon us by the Bush administration. But there has to be a line even he should not cross no matter how many times he bows to a sheik or emperor.

Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab, the inept underwear bomber from Nigeria, has all the rights in court as Bernard Madoff. So will Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the admitted mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

It is true the U.S. has successfully prosecuted al-Qaeda terrorists in the federal court system in past years. Other than Richard Padilla, none were U.S. citizens. So what, one may ask, is my problem?

There are two, in particular. One is the remote chance Abdulmuttalab and Shaikh Mohammed would be found not guilty on legal grounds. The other is an affront to those who died on the battlefields protecting the right of our citizens to habeus corpus and all other legal perks in which we take for granted. A lesser reason is the terrorists using the trials as a propaganda platform.

There is legal precedent to try these people as war criminals. The Supreme Court upheld the military trial and execution of captured German sabatours during World War II. The Nuremberg Trials of Nazis and military tribunals of Japanese managed to render justice, at least in the minds of the victors.

It is either that way or Congress should enact a new law dealing with trials of foreign combatants.

I agree with the president that Guantanamo Bay prison be closed. It's a poster child for al-Qaeda recruiters. Those remaining prisoners who cannot be tried because of legal problems but determined a threat if released should be transferred to maximum security prisons in the U.S.for life commitment.

The cost of security just to hold the trials is exorbitant and presents a greater risk than the terrorists' rights to a trial in which the outcome most likely will be predetermined or the feds wouldn't be going through this legal charade.

As for what the terrorists would do with a U.S. citizen or British subject? Think Richard Pearl.

Justice can find its way outside the federal court house in the form of a military tribunal.

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