Refuting Safire

November 23, 2001

I have just finished reading William Safire's article of November 15, 2001, Seizing Dictatorial Powers. I think he has lost his mind. His venting and ad hominem attack on President Bush and AG Ashcroft regarding Military Tribunals appears to have been written by some left-wing-nut rather than by one who is suppose to be the wordsmith extraordinaire of the Right.

The article begins, "Misadvised by a frustrated and panic-stricken attorney general, a president of the United States has just assumed what amounts to dictatorial power to jail or execute aliens. Intimidated by terrorists and inflamed by a passion for rough justice, we are letting George W. Bush get away with the replacement of the American rule of law with military kangaroo courts."

Replace the American rule of law with military kangaroo courts and dictatorial power? Where does he get that from? The Military Tribunals that Mr. Safire is so upset with apply only to NON-CITIZENS.... Hello, Bill!

What we are talking about here is some madman with a “diaper on his head held on by a fan belt.” A TERRORIST! You know a swarthy, Middle Eastern, male that likes to fly airplanes laden with fuel into tall buildings, killing some Five Thousand innocent civilians. Surely you can remember what occurred on September 11, 2001 in NYC, Washington and a field in PA.

All of this blather about seizing power, dismissing rules of evidence, attorney client privilege, and the suspension of habeas corpus is irrelevant! The people we are talking about here are NOT citizens. They have no constitutionally protected rights.

Yes, I am aware that the SCOTUS has in the past ruled that anyone in the country, legally or illegally, is afforded the rights Americans enjoy by birthright and naturalization. However, those rulings do not apply to those that are here as spies and agents of states or organizations waging war on Americans, on American soil.

That same court has also upheld the right to trial and execution of such individuals by military tribunal. It was done during WW II and no citizen suffered a loss of liberty because of it. Nor does it apply to those captured in battle on foreign soil.

Terrorists have no rights under US law! They don't even have the right to a Military Tribunal. Once they surrender or are captured they should be stood up against a wall and shot. Both the Geneva Convention and the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) allow for the shooting of spies during the time of war. Although I hesitate to afford this scum even the protection of these honorable documents because that would elevate them to the status of soldiers.

Mr. Safire goes on to say: “Proponents of Bush’s kangaroo court say: Don’t you soft-on-terror, due-process types know there’s a war on? Have you forgotten our 5,000 civilian dead? In an emergency like this, aren't extraordinary security measures needed to save citizens' lives? If we step on a few toes, we can apologize to the civil libertarians later."

(Yes, that is exactly what I say, except no apology is required.)

"Those are the arguments of the phony-tough. At a time when even liberals are debating the ethics of torture of suspects — weighing the distaste for barbarism against the need to save innocent lives — it's time for conservative iconoclasts and card-carrying hard-liners to stand up for American values."

Phony-tough? Stand up for American values? Ok, one more time, these people are NOT Americans; these people want to KILL Americans. They have no values of their own, why should they be afforded the privilege of ours? That is the kind of thinking that permeated this county for the past eight years. Moral equivalence.

Mr. Safire makes the case that a Muslim terrorist is the moral equivalent of an American citizen. When exactly did Mr. Safire become a member of the dominant culture? Funny, I always though he was a Conservative.

The sad part about this is that Mr. Safire is not alone in his hysteria. From the Right, Wes Pruden, the editor in chief of The Washington Times writes: “There's nothing about this, or the plans for this, that does not insult centuries of American law and justice, and the ancient canons of Anglo-Saxon common law from which American law and justice proceed."

I can think of no greater insult to American law and justice than Usama bin Laden standing in the dock of an American court. If O.J’s was “the trial of the century,” Usama’s would be “the trial of the millennium!”

From the Left, Laura Murphy of the ACLU said, "The use of military tribunals would apparently authorize secret trials without a jury and without the requirement of a unanimous verdict, and would limit a defendant's opportunities to confront the evidence against him and choose his own lawyer."

As Mona Charen put it in her article on the subject; “Well, yes, unless we can shoot the bastards before they get a chance to surrender.”

It has become very popular to quote Ben Franklin lately. Ole Ben was right when he said: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” The key is that we are not giving up liberty by treating the evil doers in a manner consistent with their actions. And contrary to the ACLU, the touchy-feely left and apparently some conservatives we are not becoming “like” them.

There is a disease loose in the world; its name is Terrorism. It is our duty and responsibility to eradicate it.

© 2001 John Galt

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