Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Human Rights for Terrorists

Are we in a war against terrorism?

Can the loss of this war result in the end of our constitutional rights by our victorious enemy?

People answering “no” to the two questions above would have no urgency to protect America. They would grant terrorists the same constitutional rights as American citizens and would focus on winning over the hearts and minds of “the Arab street.” The UN anti-American bias and the State Department’s undermining the war effort would be highly valued. National sovereignty, the military and border security would be low priorities. Our humiliation in the war would level the playing field of America’s dominance ushering in a one-world government to fill the vacuum created by our downfall.

People answering the two questions “yes” would have a different set of priorities. Survival would be the overriding objective. All resources would be provided to military and intelligence gathering agencies. Victory to preserve our freedom, prosperity and leadership of the world would be the goal.

These two diametrically opposed viewpoints indicate we are in a Culture War as well as a War on Terror.

Many elites are more concerned with impressing others instead of doing what is right for the American people. They are arguing to allow terrorists to see classified information exposing our tactical strategies to our enemy. This grandstanding for national and international audiences jeopardizes all of us. These self-centered actions are weakening our nation.

Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, is worried about clearly defining the Geneva Convention for it would “encourage the world to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism and put our own troops at risk.” Mr. Powell ignores the reality that leaving the vague and subjective language of Article 3 of the Geneva Convention places our interrogators at risk of criminal charges for doing their job to protect Americans. He does not seem to understand that the barbaric behavior of terrorists towards our soldiers will not be any more humane no matter what we do.

Beheading, cutting off limbs, dragging soldier’s bodies through the streets will not be reversed using “kid gloves.” Any handcuffing of our efforts to win will be seen as weakness. The Geneva Convention of more than 50 years ago was a treaty to protect a nation’s soldiers from facing a horrific fate by hostile armies. Terrorists are not covered under this treaty.

Even if terrorists were recognized by the Geneva Convention it does not mean our soldiers would be protected. John McCain would say that the Viet Cong did not follow the Geneva Convention in Vietnam. A nation of law does not mean it has to agree to international law that would hamper self-defense. Thwarting a terrorist plot though harsh interrogation is preferable to deaths of innocent citizens. This is not humane. It will only prolong the killing and the war.

A divided Supreme Court unilaterally undermined our ability to protect ourselves. By changing the rules of fighting this global war it usurped the power of the office of the president to do his duty as commander and chief. It arbitrarily assigned the legislative branch to define the procedures for military tribunals.

John McCain is the spokesman who states no valid intelligence can be gained from coercive interrogation. John McCain insists that torture does not produce truthful information. He demands the end to any form of coercion including many used by local police officers. Loud music, sleep deprivation, water boarding and even grabbing a suspect’s shirt could be “an outrage upon personal dignity.” The same John McCain said on page 198 of his book, Faith of Our Fathers, “I should not have given information on my ship and my squadron and I regret very much having done so.” His torture as a P.O.W. produced accurate information for the enemy.

Torture does work. Brian Ross investigative reporter for ABC News, stated on the O’Reilly Factor on September 20, 2006 that Kalid Sheik Mohammed and eleven other high level terrorists gave valuable information after tough interrogation methods were used. You cannot use the manners of Emily Post to fight homicidal terrorists intent on killing innocent people.

The advocating of “human rights for terrorists” who vow to annihilate us is contrary to self-preservation. Traditional Americans are either scratching their heads or are outraged by this suicidal thinking. U.S. citizens have constitutional rights: the right to self-defense and the freedom to debate how we want to conduct ourselves in a war without an identified nation or soldiers.

Americans should demand their leaders do their patriotic duty to protect us from cultural and terrorist enemies. Divided we fall even with our constitutional rights. United we will stand with our rights intact for our citizens not the enemy.



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