Friday, February 15, 2008

Terrorism is a crime.

I won't claim an expertise on terrorism, just put it bluntly, I have lived with the reality of terrorism. And that was a fact since I had served in Germany during the Cold War. Terrorism during the Cold War being "state sponsored" was more readily an act of war since those of a specific ideology or faith and acting in opposition to a government and a people of another ideology and faith and disrespecting their sovereignty, etc. had been going on in Germany since the 1970s, with the Beider-Meinhoff gang--Islamo/Red, the RAF--obviously Communist. Supported by the Soviets targeting any country having "western values" and in alliance with the U.S. In the case of Islamic extremists, hatred of Israel was the prime driving force for terrorist attacks against that nation, and any allies inclusive of the U.S. We were at war with terrorism when states used ideological mercenaries as a useful tool against other nations and the citizens of those nations. We simply did not publicly acknowledge it as we fought against it, including the use of due process in order to bring such people to justice.

Having that background knowledge, I find it extraordinary what Kevin O'Brien would write and get republished in the Spokesman-Review. He doesn't think that terrorists who can fund themselves through criminal activities, don't have to be dependent on the states to direct them to what ever target, just states that have a sympathetic populace or government where they can set up bases, recruit and train; should be regarded as a criminal, and definitely multinational organization. But that should such criminals find themselves captives of the American military, who had committed crimes against Americans, their interests, on American soil or anywhere in the world, should not have the rights of due process that Americans have been granted. Huh. Homegrown terrorist Timothy McVeigh, who most assuredly had committed a single act of mass murder in the name of an extreme anti-government ideology, did indeed face due process, was handily convicted and executed. If we could do that to McVeigh, why not any of bin Laden's ilk? Well, now, Americans aren't exactly being granted due process themselves when they are presumably accused of having terrorist connections when making overseas phone calls and e-mailing who ever in foreign countries. Yep, if there is an argument here that "war" becomes the justification that we don't have to act justly toward those we hold captive, then we are just as assured to act without the principles of civil liberties in mind when spying on our fellow Americans.

Terrorism is a crime, O'Brien. And it is to this nation's benefit to employ due process when pursuing justice against the criminals. O'Brien writes for the Plain Dealer of Cleveland.

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