The Wrong Way to Fight Terrorism

by Don Boudreaux on October 8, 2009

in Crime, Seen and Unseen, Terrorism

Here’s a letter that I sent in May to the New York Post:

Ralph Peters argues that terror suspects should be executed summarily, as “man-killing animals” possessing no rights (“Instant Justice,” May 26).

His argument takes as given that those persons suspected of being terrorists really are terrorists.  Like too many on the political right (and some on the left), Mr. Peters assumes that procedural protections for persons accused of wrongdoing exist primarily to make life easier for the accused.  Not so.  The chief functions of these protections are two.  One is to shield innocent persons from being wrongly convicted and punished.  The other is to keep the state’s powers in check.

A state that can summarily execute anyone whom it assures its citizens is a dangerous terrorist will itself, in time, become the most dangerous terrorist of all.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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{ 93 comments }

sandre October 8, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Excellent Letter! Neocon Lindsay Graham would rather have the U.S to strike @ Iran, than Israel. He says Israeli strike against Iran would unite the Arab world against Israel. In other words, he worries more about Israel than about America.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 3:04 am

what does this have to do with the post??

sandre October 9, 2009 at 3:25 am

That’s where these terrorists come from. Arabs uniting against America, and a bunch of totalitarian progressive legislators screaming for against Arabs and Muslims, and in support of Israel. What is Israel anyway? 51st state of the US?

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 2:21 pm

the post is about us legal procedures……

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 5:30 pm

“What is Israel anyway?”

A stable democratic system under familiar civil laws and at least a modicum of market freedom located in a region dominated by megalomaniacal autocrats, military dictatorships, medieval standards of punishment, violent fanatical mobs, and an astonishing suppression of basic human liberties.

Israel ain’t Texas, but then Syria ain’t Oklahoma either.

sandre October 9, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Israel is a jewish state – which can be thought of as theocratic or ethnocratic state. Israel has no constitution. It practices apartheid against the people that it occupies. We can argue all day whether who started the atrocities until we are blue in the face. But those are facts, and Israel has a terrible record on protecting human rights.

There are plenty of democracies around the world. Look @ India, it is surrounded Islamic world from north and east, and by military juntas and totalitarian dictatorships from other. India has over a billion people in population, where as israel has a few. Yet, Israel receives more in foreign aid than any other nation.

Most nations are parasite siphoning of american tax payers money, but Israel is the biggest one. Not just in direct U.S aid, but all the other military entanglements that the U.S takes on behalf of Israel. Israel is arguably the single biggest reason for Muslim resentment towards America and their motivation to conduct terrorist acts. For that reason, they are the biggest threat to civil liberties in domestically here.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 10:34 pm

And I would add a third reason – that even a guilty terrorist that should end up being executed still possesses the same rights that an innocent person does. The idea that anyone – innocent or guilty of any crime – should be thought of as possessing no rights is very disturbing.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Are you saying that if our troops capture some jihadi creep planting roadside bombs we shouldn’t summarily execute the bastard?

Sam Grove October 8, 2009 at 11:04 pm

The article refers to suspects, not to those caught in the act.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 1:00 am

“The article refers to suspects, not to those caught in the act.”

I searched the article for the word suspect and didn’t find it.

I don’t think any of the detainees at Gitmo are suspects. They were captured on the battlefield, and even if we gave them the benefit of the protections provided by the Geneva Conventions — they could have legally been executed on the battlefield. They were taken as prisoners because they had more value to us. It was political theater that raised their status to “suspect”.

Name October 9, 2009 at 2:02 am

“I don’t think any of the detainees at Gitmo are suspects. They were captured on the battlefield.”

Completely mistaken. Many of them were “bought” from locals who denounced them for cash. Which is a major reason why so many have been released after the military acknowledged that there were absolutely no grounds for suspecting them.

Sam Grove October 9, 2009 at 2:43 am

Sorry, Don was talking about “persons suspected”.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 11:11 pm

I don’t know enough international or military law to answer that question. Is he captured as an active participant in a fire-fight that’s going on? My guess is he shouldn’t be summarily executed in that case. If they see him, approach him, and shoot him (ie – by the time they take remaining captives he’s dead) that just sounds like a battle to me. If you call that “summary execution” I’m fine with it. But I don’t know – when it’s a battlefield issue it gets into areas I just don’t know enough about.

The downside of Peters’s line “they must be hunted as man-killing animals” is that it is hopelessly vague. If a unit is literally hunting them across an Afghan mountain range, by all means kill as many of them as you can. If they’re hunting them down in Denver, then no, they shouldn’t shoot to kill unless there is some idiosyncratic circumstance that justifies it.

Regardless of whether it’s right to kill them in circumstances or not – Don hits on an even more fundamental problem with Peters: the statement that terrorists, by virtue of being terrorists, don’t have legal or human rights.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 11:12 pm

I think that by virtue of not wearing a uniform and engaging in the activity that knowingly kills innocent people you’ve abrogated your rights.

Of course in WW2, we summarily executed Nazis who were in uniform, so there.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 9:52 am

>>I think that by virtue of not wearing a uniform and engaging in the activity that knowingly kills innocent people you’ve abrogated your rights.
<<

At the very least, one that engages in these acts of killing to cause terror open themselves up to the instant justice known as self-defense.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 5:47 pm

True. But there has always at least been the principle that I think is the rule in the military that intentionally killing anyone who no longer poses a threat, is murder.

It is a good standard, but it is easy to see the temptation of soldiers who are direct witnesses to murder wanting to take justice into their own hands, particularly when they have little faith in the justice system for captured combatants.

Just another reason why the temptation for war should be avoided whenever possible. A strong defense deterrent is one way, but a much more effective way is trade. It is the reason that the notion of war between say, the US and Canada, or France and Germany, today sounds absurd.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 3:09 am

The moment someone is convicted of a crime, they are essentially stripped of their rights. To what degree is debatable.

I think the gist of Dr. B.’s post is that a person can have no rights if he/she breaks their end of the deal. But in order to get to that point, the person must be processed accordingly.

This is very different than saying that one always has rights.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 3:38 am

Convicted != Suspected.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 4:39 am

It certainly should.

Name October 8, 2009 at 10:45 pm

I’m in favour of executing all suspected human beings. It’s the only way to ensure that no on can commit any acts of terrorism, ever.

Of course, I recognize the fatal flaw in my plan…

How do you ensure that the last person left commits suicide?

Except for that one problem, my plan is 100% foolproof.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Terrorism is the act of committing a crime against the innocent for the propose of creating terror in others. Your “last guy” has no “others” to terrify, so your plan is perfect, after all.

Prakhar Goel October 8, 2009 at 11:28 pm

You are confusing intention and results. Regardless of what your intentions may be, the results of the exclusionary rule and procedural guarantees is to aid guilty criminals.

More info here: http://www.joeljacobsen.com/journal/2006/6/17/126-knock-announce-and-pretend.html

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 11:54 pm

Is a person who has yet to commit a crime a criminal?Is that enshrined in someones law somewhere that I haven’t seen?Sadly enough freedom has to allow for people to have freedom of hatred in order to be true freedom.We fill our jails now with people who have harmed no one, should we now began to fill the corners and cracks of said jails with people we suspect of harboring intent to harm.Sticky sticky sticky!I hear a lot of hype about the guy in Denver who was sorta maybe kinda suspected of planning a killing act, but no actual proof yet, just hype hype hype to get you to panic and step out of the way of government and let them do as they please. Gosh oh golly, he made text messages to people in NYC that “may” have been requests to get more bomb making materials…..easy to say “may” but damn difficult to prove.Remember Waco is all I have to say on the subject.Well no it isn’t all I have to say, thanks to the edit function I can add this thought.My problem is not only with victimless crimes it is with the fact that when we actually know that someone has committed the crime worthy of death, we seem to find every excuse to not finalize the process and fry the bastards. Ted Bundy lived far beyond his justified years, as did Charles Manson, et. al.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 12:37 am

That is true. However, when the military or police have a practice of apprehending dangerous suspects rather than killing them, and the politicians have a policy of setting them free among us, it creates an incentive with popular support to murder.

If a system of civil justice is not maintained, a less civil form will tend to emerge.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 1:37 am

I see both points — but there is a dividing line.

When I was a young man I was working in Reno, and witnessed — with my three year old son — what was to be known as the Thanksgiving Day Massacre. A lady drove her car on the sidewalks of Virginia Street with the intent to kill as many people as possible. At one point she had a man on her hood, then she braked and stopped — throwing him in front of the car — and then ran over him. We had taken refuge off the street, watched as she passed, and was then apprehended by several police squads. As I remember, she killed six and left over a dozen wounded.

It wasn’t long after that I saw Reagan shot — on tape — by CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC … just as before, we saw the “suspect” taken into custody.

In both of these cases, I would have no problem with execution on the spot. Interestingly, neither one of them got the death penalty.

Yet — people are regularly given the death penalty based upon circumstantial evidence. Figure that one out. There are times when reasonable doubt simply doesn’t exist — such as being apprehended at the scene with dozens (or millions) of witnesses. To call these people suspects is to elevate procedure above common sense. “Rights” — sure. “Suspect” — no.

My guess is that those at Gitmo really don’t fall into the “suspect” category, and we shouldn’t expect much more illumination of the facts — despite campaign promises.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 4:08 pm

“people are regularly given the death penalty based upon circumstantial evidence. Figure that one out.”

Circumstantial evidence: CSI Miami.
Direct evidence: Rashomon.

My Cousin Vinny, Body Double.

That’s only popular culture, but in reality murder would be an option for a lot more people if conviction required an eyewitness. I don’t know how many murder convictions involve eyewitnesses, but I suspect not many.

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 12:24 am

Circumstantial evidence: CSI Miami.
Direct evidence: Rashomon.

That’s good!

Actually, most cases don’t involve DNA — yet DNA testing has released ~100 people from death row in the past 20 years. Eyewitnesses can be wrong, I get that. But when a person is caught in the act with multiple witnesses — that’s when everyone is careful to refer to them as a “suspect”. Do we really want to transfer that suspension of disbelief to the battlefield?

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 12:24 am

Circumstantial evidence: CSI Miami.
Direct evidence: Rashomon.

That’s good!

Actually, most cases don’t involve DNA — yet DNA testing has released ~100 people from death row in the past 20 years. Eyewitnesses can be wrong, I get that. But when a person is caught in the act with multiple witnesses — that’s when everyone is careful to refer to them as a “suspect”. Do we really want to transfer that suspension of disbelief to the battlefield?

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 1:38 am

I just took the time to read the linked article. Don, you insert the word “suspected”, Peters did not. By doing so you change everything.My previous post was based on your “suspected” and not Peter’s actual article.I agree with you in that I would demand that one produce irrevocable proof against a suspect.I also agree with Peters that in a battlefield, combat, or war zone scenario, where the captive has demonstrated irrevocable proof by his acts, grill him, water board him, and then toast the fucker on the spot and don’t complicate things. People like the voices speaking against Gitmo are not speaking from moral principle (IMHO) they are speaking in political oppostion and in agenda driven tongue.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 3:33 am

Although Don’s misreading of Ralph Peters’ argument does weaken his contention, I do think that he made many good points, as does Ralph. That the word “summary” has multiple definitions also adds to the confusion.

The key ingredient in “summary” is speed or quickness. It has acquired the connotation of “arbitrary”, but that is not inherent in the definition.

The standard procedures in the United States for trying those accused of crimes is, on purpose, slow, methodical, and, at times, excruciating in giving the benefit to the accused. That is appropriate for that time and place.

The battlefield is a different venue. Those captured /in flagrante/ on the battlefield still deserve (as human beings) due process — but that does not mean the same due process afforded citizens accused within the United States — as if they were apprehended as the result of a criminal investigation. Due process would probably include sentence by a field-grade officer or a three-officer court (assuming sufficient time available) after reviewing the action report of the terrorist’s capture, a review of the intelligence data obtained from the internee, and a specific determination that the terrorist did not fall under the cover of a “uniformed enemy combatant” as per the Geneva Accords.

This sort of thing would hinder the arbitrary misuse of authority while realistically and appropriately dealing with the terrorists so captured.

Perfect? Of course not, which is the way things are in this vale of tears. But it’s a lot better than arbitrary execution as well as better than treating battlefield conditions as if they were criminal investigations.

TeeJaw October 9, 2009 at 4:26 am

If a U.S. citizen or resident commits an act of terrorism against the U.S. it might be justified to treat that as a law enforcement problem. To treat enemy combatants who commit acts of terrorism as a law enforcement problem is madness. These monsters have no rights that we must honor. The most they deserve is a military tribunal, a blindfold and a cigarette.

Gil October 9, 2009 at 5:31 am

The U.S. Constitution allows for U.S. citizens to tried for treason hence a homegrown terrorist would be in it knee-deep.

TeeJaw October 9, 2009 at 2:19 pm

I’m not sure how a treason trial is conducted, whether it would be in a Federal District Court or a military court. I assume the former for civilians and the latter for military personnel. But either way it’s a trial with the procedural safeguards of any other federal trial, i.e., it’s a law enforcement matter. I’m also assuming without knowing that only a citizen can commit treason.My point is that enemy combatants who commit acts of terrorism on U.S. soil should be dealt with by the U.S. military and not law enforcement, although it may be law enforcement that detects their actions and apprehends them.The recent indictments of Kazi and his father are law enforcement matters as they should be because they are either citizens or legal residents (not sure which). However, they may be shown to be working for a foreign government or on behalf of an international terrorist organization, any if so their case should be transferred to a military court. This is what ought to be, not what is. That’s unfortunate and dangerous to the safety of the American citizens and legal residents, in my view.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 6:57 pm

Ken says “To treat enemy combatants who commit acts of terrorism as a law enforcement problem is madness.” As stated, it doesn’t ever apply. We don’t know “who commits”; we only know “who is accused of”.

+chh October 9, 2009 at 7:39 am

You Americans really need to wake up and get over your self obsessed delusion of being able to fight terrorism with guns, invasion and tit-for-tat killing! Is it your arrogance or your lack of common sense that prevents you from understanding that for each bomb you drop you are actually creating hatrade and many more suizide bombers YOURSELF?

What you need to export is EDUCATION not hate! Isn’t it your beloved God that your nation believes in, that preaches to counteract terror with love instead of war? Well start putting your (oh so important) believe in God into action and act like it, instead of preaching water and drinking wine.

If you bring secular education into the muslim world, especially to muslim girls, you are actively undermining the roots of all islamic terror and thereby errode it permanently. There is a great American who has realized that this is the way to go – go and read Gregor Mortensons’s book ‘Three Cups of Tea’ (http://www.threecupsoftea.com/) to get a reality check and a different perspective!

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 10:04 am

Sounds great! Just curious, though, regarding some minor details: what tit-for-tat behavior led to the U.S.S. Cole’s massive hole in its hull or three commercial airliners being hijacked and smashed into building where people were working; and how does one go about exporting a secular education system when an oppressive theocracy will not allow it?

+chh October 9, 2009 at 11:43 am

First of all, islamic hatrade against western societies and America in particular did not come out of nothing. It very much started with the crusades and with our own oppressive theocracies and religious extremism in the Christian world (Europe). Don’t forget it was us, that killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims ‘to save the holy city’, millions of Africans and South Americans ‘in the name of the holy church’ and hundreds of thousands for the ‘holy inquisition’. So from a historical point of view, we have mostly ourselves to blame and we exceeded todays islamic terror many times.
Besides that, who are we kidding? What is the difference between flying commercial airliners into buildings and dropping bombs over cities? Just by calling the civilian casualties in the latter case ‘collateral damage of a surgical strike’ might be more elegant and less crude, but doesn’t make it more right.

With regards to allowing a secular education – please take the time to read the book – it has been and is successfully being done, by an AMERICAN. Obviously on has to get rid of our western arrogance first and meet on an equal level – also in your mind. Maybe we should get rid of our urge wanting to evangelise everybody with our ‘western values’ and our so called ‘freedom’ (being nonstop wiretapped by the government and remote-controlled by FOX news …. ‘freedom my arse’ is all I say) first?

Of course it is not easy for a country to export objective secular education, if it has problems to offer it to its own people first …. (e.g. creationism vs. darwinism discussion in the rightwing religious extremist circles in the US bible belt)

Just some food for thoughts …

Alexei October 9, 2009 at 2:20 pm

You’re deluding yourself if you think that the crusades were a one-sided bloodbath with helpless Muslims as the victims. In point of fact, the crusades were wars just like any other that were fought in that region for millenia. The first crusade, anyway, differed only in the size of the initial army and the stated purpose (Christian Holy War was a fairly new concept then, as opposed to Islamic Holy War which existed from the founding of the faith). Of course, the stated purpose from the Pope’s standpoint was different from the goals of some of the crusade leaders, who were looking to establish kingdoms for themselves. The first crusaders actually were cheered on/received help from various muslim rulers, who saw opportunity for themselves in using the crusaders to get rid of troublesome rivals. The sacking of Jerusalem evoked no outcry from the surrounding populace, because it wasn’t much different from the sacking of myriad other cities that had happened countless times. It was only much later that various leaders in the Muslim world used the sacking as a rallying cry to raise their own armies. But again, that was just a means to further their own goals of self-aggrandizement and plunder. And of course, don’t forget that it’s not like the first crusade was the opening shot here either. There had been wars fought back and forth between the muslim and christian worlds for centuries before that. Muslim invasions followed by christian counterattacks, and vice versa were the rule, not the exception. The crusades were unique only in their name, and the fact that the Pope gave them sanction. Blaming them for modern islamic radicalism shows an ignorance of history.

+chh October 9, 2009 at 3:17 pm

With all due respect, but what a ridiculous collection of BS statements and mis-interpretation of historical facts! How many ‘religious’ wars where there exactly between muslims and christians before 1070??

Just to freshen up your missed history lessons: It was the byzantine emperor Alexios I who appealed to Pope Urban II for mercenaries to help him fight against Muslim advances into his territory in 1071. He did that not for religious reasons but told the pope (who was way more ‘worldly oriented’ th religious himself, like most popes are …) ‘it is to find off the muslims, who threaten the christian values’ – which was BS, because all he needed was free mercenaries. The pope (or Vatikan) thought it was a cool political move to strengthen the christian political influence in this strategically important reason and not only supported but sanctioned off the war for all the (usual) wrong reasons. What started off as a war for land, water and access to the (then) rich Mediterranean region became a religious war because of Urban II and Alexios.

The Islamic Holy or Jihad, which you claim, existed fro the founding of the religion actually means: The struggle to attain a harmony between islam (submission), iman (faith), and ihsan (righteous living). It is the counterpart to the struggle that Christians refer to as “resisting sin”, i.e. fighting temptation, doubt etc. It is the reckless idiots that re/mis-interpreted it and transformed it to the ‘real-world’ religious war as we know it today – pretty much exactly the same as the the christians declared other religions (e.g. South America) or even running around naked in the jungle as ‘devil’s stuff and sinful’ before trying to convert them into christianity and killing them if they failed to do so.

Fact is that Christians killed way more people for religious reasons and under the banner of religion than muslims. Fact is, that Christians maintain to this day, that their religion is the true and only one and that they have ‘the truth’ and Muslims are no better, because for them every other religion constitutes ‘non-believers’.

Freeing yourself from religious constraints would be the first step towards a more peaceful co-existence and to undermine the roots of terror – that applies to both western and eastern religious extremists.

Anonymous October 11, 2009 at 5:39 am

Which US president committed troops to the Crusades?

What you need to export is EDUCATION not hate!

Our educrats are good at teaching fascism, and little else. Islamo-fascists already have the fascism part.

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 1:00 am

The slave-master can do as he likes with his slaves, so long as his slaves submit.

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 1:00 am

The slave-master can do as he likes with his slaves, so long as his slaves submit.

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 1:54 am

Interesting post and I haven’t thought of some of the points.

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 1:54 am

Interesting post and I haven’t thought of some of the points.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 2:34 am

And for the others? My point is that it’s a bit difficult to merge the rules of engagement with the rules of law. There are going to be mistakes. Had they been executed on the field – it may have been a mistake. But it would have been justified under the rules.

The decision to go to war is never going to be pretty.

Name October 9, 2009 at 3:33 am

Come on. You must be joking. Obviously if there’s a firefight between the military and armed forces, people might get killed. But “execution” implies something totally different, namely killing people in cold blood when they pose no threat.

That piece linked to in this post works off of the assumption that anyone in Gitmo is a murdering savage. That is totally false, and we know it because the very people who put the inmates there said so in releasing many of them.

The rule of law either applies to everyone, or to no one. By definition, it cannot apply to some and not others, because then it is no longer a general law but simply one subject to arbitrary use by the authorities.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 4:09 am

rules of engagement huh?.if there were rules of engagement,a war would have been declared and geneva conventions adhered to.since it is basically a kidnap and torture operation,there are NO rules of engagement.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 4:14 am

“The rule of law either applies to everyone, or to no one. By definition, it cannot apply to some and not others, because then it is no longer a general law but simply one subject to arbitrary use by the authorities.”

I don’t want to call you naive — but you leave little choice, unless you believe that;

1) The law applies to the political class in the same way it applies to the commoner. Recent examples — Barney Frank, Tim Geithner, Ted Kennedy, other unindicted co-conspirators.

2) The law that applied to Scooter Libby applies to everyone who gives testimony. (It’s actually the first time I’ve ever seen it applied — despite much more compelling evidence in thousands of cases).

3) Victimless crimes are actually real crimes, and are pursued by law enforcement indiscriminately to protect the public.

4) In a court of law, the testimony of a law enforcement officer is given no more weight than any other law abiding citizen. If the officer is known to be connected to a corrupt organization — their testimony is given less weight.

I could go on all night. Men vs. Women. Black vs. White. Rich vs. Poor. Connected vs. Independent. The application of the law is arbitrary. The halls of justice are open to everyone — just as the doors of the Ritz-Carlton are.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 5:13 pm

“The rule of law either applies to everyone, or to no one.”

So “jurisdiction” has no meaning?

Alexei October 9, 2009 at 12:30 pm

The Geneva Convention applies to uniformed members of a nation’s military. Not to terrorists. Don’t fall for that trick.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 5:18 pm

The Geneva Accords are a treaty. Treaties imply reciprocation, otherwise they would not be necessary, since unilateral actions require only unilateral decisions, not agreements. If there is no chance of reciprocation, a treaty has no meaning. You may want the US military to behave in a certain way no matter what, but there is no place for international treaties in that argument.

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 5:34 am

Heads we win, tails you lose?You’re right. We either have the resolve to play on a level playing field — or we lose.I don’t know if it’s the media, or the audience — or the media playing to the audience — I suspect the latter — but we apparently don’t have the resolve.Many Americans will feel comfortable not coming to the aid of foreigners who are being habitually killed and raped and asking for assistance. They will defer to procedures, rules, and jurisdictional authority ….

I hear a lot of talk about boundaries being fictional when they impede trade — but they all of a sudden become real when they abet indifference.

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 5:34 am

Heads we win, tails you lose?You’re right. We either have the resolve to play on a level playing field — or we lose.I don’t know if it’s the media, or the audience — or the media playing to the audience — I suspect the latter — but we apparently don’t have the resolve.Many Americans will feel comfortable not coming to the aid of foreigners who are being habitually killed and raped and asking for assistance. They will defer to procedures, rules, and jurisdictional authority ….

I hear a lot of talk about boundaries being fictional when they impede trade — but they all of a sudden become real when they abet indifference.

Name October 9, 2009 at 5:30 pm

We’re talking about two different things. I’m talking about what we’re supposed to be working towards and you’re talking about things how they actually are. I don’t think the full rule of law is possible, given human failings. But I think we’d be much better off trying to attain that goal rather than throwing up our hands and saying, might makes right and the law is whatever the guy with the biggest club says it is. Which is what on the spot executions would be.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Modern weaponry will increasingly make “troops on the ground” irrelevant.

Yev October 9, 2009 at 10:04 pm

I would suggest that bearing grudges from almost 1,000 years ago is part of the problem. How you keep account of who slighted who and what the appropriate response is?

American’s just don’t have that long a memory. We don’t hate the Japanese or the German’s and we are not trying to settle some slight that occurred 60 years ago let alone 1,000.

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Let us clearly understand that muslims invaded Europe through Spain and into France hundreds of years before the Crusades. The muslim advance was stopped by Charles Marten at Tours, France. The reverence of islam through jihadist struggle continues.

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Let us clearly understand that muslims invaded Europe through Spain and into France hundreds of years before the Crusades. The muslim advance was stopped by Charles Marten at Tours, France. The reverence of islam through jihadist struggle continues.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Interesting that you vilify Israel, yet praise India which still practices the caste system. You have absolutely no evidence of this apartheid that Israel practices. Israel is one of the most innovative countries in the world in terms of science, and has the 2nd most amount of listings on the NASDAQ behind the United States. No one here cares about your lies.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Of course there is much to criticize Israel about starting from before its creation to the present day. But then when you see how the state of Israel treats its citizens compared to Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and even Jordan, such criticisms seem sophomoric. You say compare India to Israel, but in spite of intermittent wars with Pakistan, India’s problems with its neighbors hardly represent an ongoing threat to India’s existence.

Your criticisms are not all misplaced, but you do have a terrible sense of proportion. If you can for a moment ignore the perpetual risk from their neighbors that Israelis live with, where would you rather raise your family–Israel, or in one of its neighbors?

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Of course there is much to criticize Israel about starting from before its creation to the present day. But then when you see how the state of Israel treats its citizens compared to Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and even Jordan, such criticisms seem sophomoric. You say compare India to Israel, but in spite of intermittent wars with Pakistan, India’s problems with its neighbors hardly represent an ongoing threat to India’s existence.

Your criticisms are not all misplaced, but you do have a terrible sense of proportion. If you can for a moment ignore the perpetual risk from their neighbors that Israelis live with, where would you rather raise your family–Israel, or in one of its neighbors?

sandre October 9, 2009 at 10:33 pm

India practices a high degree of affirmative action. In India, if you are from one of the “lower castes”, it is very easy to get admissions to educational institutions and job with government agencies. Infact almost 50% of all educational admissions and government jobs are reserved for people from these disadvantaged castes. Now, I am no supporter of such a system. But those are facts. It is true, just as it is here that many educated upper caste Hindus have resentment, disgust, disrespect and probably hate for these lower castes, but the state itself officially practices discrimination in the opposite direction.

As for Israel, to me, it is no more special than Lesotho or Burkina Faso.

Once Israel allows the occupied Arabs to vote in their elections, we can debate whether Israel still practices apartheid. Let them tear down that walls they have built up around Palestinian lands, and we can talk.

sandre October 9, 2009 at 10:33 pm

India practices a high degree of affirmative action. In India, if you are from one of the “lower castes”, it is very easy to get admissions to educational institutions and job with government agencies. Infact almost 50% of all educational admissions and government jobs are reserved for people from these disadvantaged castes. Now, I am no supporter of such a system. But those are facts. It is true, just as it is here that many educated upper caste Hindus have resentment, disgust, disrespect and probably hate for these lower castes, but the state itself officially practices discrimination in the opposite direction.

As for Israel, to me, it is no more special than Lesotho or Burkina Faso.

Once Israel allows the occupied Arabs to vote in their elections, we can debate whether Israel still practices apartheid. Let them tear down that walls they have built up around Palestinian lands, and we can talk.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 10:39 pm

I notice in all of your Israel-bashing, you never once mentioned the rocket attacks from Gaza or the suicide bombings since 1994 that have killed over a 1000 Israeli Jews & Arabs. Yeah suicide bombers don’t seem to care if there are some Arabs in the bus they are about to blow up.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 10:39 pm

I notice in all of your Israel-bashing, you never once mentioned the rocket attacks from Gaza or the suicide bombings since 1994 that have killed over a 1000 Israeli Jews & Arabs. Yeah suicide bombers don’t seem to care if there are some Arabs in the bus they are about to blow up.

sandre October 9, 2009 at 10:44 pm

yeah, that’s their problem to deal with. Not mine. I don’t like one penny of mine going to Israel, India, Mongolia or Saudi Arabia. let them deal with their problems. It is a choice that Israelis have literally made for themselves. They have to live with the consequences.

sandre October 9, 2009 at 10:44 pm

yeah, that’s their problem to deal with. Not mine. I don’t like one penny of mine going to Israel, India, Mongolia or Saudi Arabia. let them deal with their problems. It is a choice that Israelis have literally made for themselves. They have to live with the consequences.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Ah sure. But when the Israeli tanks start rolling again into the West Bank or Gaza people like you start screaming “war crimes”.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Ah sure. But when the Israeli tanks start rolling again into the West Bank or Gaza people like you start screaming “war crimes”.

sandre October 9, 2009 at 10:55 pm

What do you mean “like me”?

sandre October 9, 2009 at 10:55 pm

What do you mean “like me”?

sandre October 9, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Yes, I do have a terrible sense of proportion. Because, it is costing me my money, possibly life of someone who matters to me, and my liberties. I don’t live in Israel, and I don’t care how wonderful it is.

sandre October 9, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Yes, I do have a terrible sense of proportion. Because, it is costing me my money, possibly life of someone who matters to me, and my liberties. I don’t live in Israel, and I don’t care how wonderful it is.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Yes you do. Your money has gone to Israel. It has also gone in roughly similar amounts to Egypt and Iraq, and smaller amounts to Lebanon, Jordan, and other countries. I don’t know specifically what your situation is, but Americans are far more likely to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan than in Israel.

Complain away about Israel, just make sure you increase your complaints proportionate to the same problems in other countries. Otherwise, some might wonder what the distinguishing factor is about Israel that prompts you to have such double standards.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Yes you do. Your money has gone to Israel. It has also gone in roughly similar amounts to Egypt and Iraq, and smaller amounts to Lebanon, Jordan, and other countries. I don’t know specifically what your situation is, but Americans are far more likely to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan than in Israel.

Complain away about Israel, just make sure you increase your complaints proportionate to the same problems in other countries. Otherwise, some might wonder what the distinguishing factor is about Israel that prompts you to have such double standards.

sandre October 9, 2009 at 11:44 pm

Yes you do. Your money has gone to Israel. It has also gone in roughly similar amounts to Egypt and Iraq, and smaller amounts to Lebanon, Jordan, and other countries

Why have all these entanglements at all? Why have this nepotism with Israel, and then send money to all the countries around it, in this futile effort to appear non-partisan?

Complain away about Israel, just make sure you increase your complaints proportionate to the same problems in other countries. Otherwise, some might wonder what the distinguishing factor is about Israel that prompts you to have such double standards.

Isn’t that funny! we can call Arabians sand monkeys all day long, and the moment we criticize Israel, people start thinking about distinguishing factors? Yet, I say it only because I see no need to distinguish Israel from Easter Island.

but Americans are far more likely to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan than in Israel.

Why should I care?

I stepped into a snake pit and got bitten by a snake. Is it because snakes bite, or is it because I stepped in the snake pit?

sandre October 9, 2009 at 11:44 pm

Yes you do. Your money has gone to Israel. It has also gone in roughly similar amounts to Egypt and Iraq, and smaller amounts to Lebanon, Jordan, and other countries

Why have all these entanglements at all? Why have this nepotism with Israel, and then send money to all the countries around it, in this futile effort to appear non-partisan?

Complain away about Israel, just make sure you increase your complaints proportionate to the same problems in other countries. Otherwise, some might wonder what the distinguishing factor is about Israel that prompts you to have such double standards.

Isn’t that funny! we can call Arabians sand monkeys all day long, and the moment we criticize Israel, people start thinking about distinguishing factors? Yet, I say it only because I see no need to distinguish Israel from Easter Island.

but Americans are far more likely to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan than in Israel.

Why should I care?

I stepped into a snake pit and got bitten by a snake. Is it because snakes bite, or is it because I stepped in the snake pit?

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 11:53 pm

You know your whole attitude since posting on this thread has been very hateful and reeks of antisemitism to me.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 11:53 pm

You know your whole attitude since posting on this thread has been very hateful and reeks of antisemitism to me.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 11:57 pm

“Why should I care?”

I don’t know. You are the one who claimed to care when you said that Israel is getting you and your loved ones killed. I have no idea why you are most worried about a mosquito bite when you are standing in a snake pit.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 11:57 pm

“Why should I care?”

I don’t know. You are the one who claimed to care when you said that Israel is getting you and your loved ones killed. I have no idea why you are most worried about a mosquito bite when you are standing in a snake pit.

sandre October 10, 2009 at 12:03 am

I’m not worrying about mosquitoes nearly as much as why I’m in the snake pit in the first place! I’m worrying why our leaders are making statements to the effect that they are worried about the well being of Israel over their own nation. I’m worrying why we are stepping into snake pits for that reason. If I’m of jewish descent will that still make me anti-semite?

sandre October 10, 2009 at 12:03 am

I’m not worrying about mosquitoes nearly as much as why I’m in the snake pit in the first place! I’m worrying why our leaders are making statements to the effect that they are worried about the well being of Israel over their own nation. I’m worrying why we are stepping into snake pits for that reason. If I’m of jewish descent will that still make me anti-semite?

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 12:11 am

Maybe we can find some agreement in that it would be nice to wipe our hands of the whole region and let them work through their own problems. But that won’t happen, much more because of oil than Israel.

“If I’m of jewish descent will that still make me anti-semite?”

Who you are needn’t have any bearing on why you think something. But it does appear that something other than a rational assessment of the geopolitics is causing you to disproportionately emphasize the Israeli problem. That something needn’t be anti-semitism.

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 12:11 am

Maybe we can find some agreement in that it would be nice to wipe our hands of the whole region and let them work through their own problems. But that won’t happen, much more because of oil than Israel.

“If I’m of jewish descent will that still make me anti-semite?”

Who you are needn’t have any bearing on why you think something. But it does appear that something other than a rational assessment of the geopolitics is causing you to disproportionately emphasize the Israeli problem. That something needn’t be anti-semitism.

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 12:14 am

On the spot executions are an expediency in war. I’m not an advocate of warfare — OTOH, it’s sometimes unavoidable. If you find yourself in a war, you can’t use two sets of rules — one for me and one for them. Hell, the Iranians in the war with Iraq were willing to sacrifice children just to clear minefields. What is it that you feel they are incapable of doing? They are fighting a war of attrition, and we are playing into their hand.

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 12:14 am

On the spot executions are an expediency in war. I’m not an advocate of warfare — OTOH, it’s sometimes unavoidable. If you find yourself in a war, you can’t use two sets of rules — one for me and one for them. Hell, the Iranians in the war with Iraq were willing to sacrifice children just to clear minefields. What is it that you feel they are incapable of doing? They are fighting a war of attrition, and we are playing into their hand.

sandre October 10, 2009 at 12:17 am

Let’s end it on that more conciliatory note.

sandre October 10, 2009 at 12:17 am

Let’s end it on that more conciliatory note.

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 1:06 am

Troops on the ground will be less relevant — never irrelevant. And their mission will be less military, and more political.

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 1:06 am

Troops on the ground will be less relevant — never irrelevant. And their mission will be less military, and more political.

+chh October 10, 2009 at 7:59 am

I firmly agree with you. The problem though with a short memory (which we all seem to have) is, that by not objectively looking back where and how exactly it begun, how it developed and how we ended up in today’s situation, history will repeat itself again – although it shouldn’t have to.

+chh October 10, 2009 at 7:59 am

I firmly agree with you. The problem though with a short memory (which we all seem to have) is, that by not objectively looking back where and how exactly it begun, how it developed and how we ended up in today’s situation, history will repeat itself again – although it shouldn’t have to.

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