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Article > Rule of law
Description :: The wars on terrorism are wars against ourselves
It seems popular these days to blow up cars from a distance, using missiles fired from a helicopter or an unmanned spy plane. But I'm not talking about the terrorists: I'm talking about those who want to stop them at all costs.

In the last few days (as of this writing,) Israeli military helicopters have attacked two vehicles in Palestinian territories; their targets were heavily suspected terrorist leaders. They're not the only ones guilty: the US launched a decapitation attack against Saddam Hussein on the eve of a full-scale war, and earlier, the US destroyed a vehicle in Yemen carrying suspected terrorists. We've detained supposedly illegal immigrants for weeks without pressing charges or providing a lawyer, while searching their backgrounds for terrorist links. We've held prisonners (not of war, as that'd require us to treat them well, and quickly) caught during our brief attack in Afghanistan.

We have abandoned simple rules of freedom, in order to gain what we see as security. Habeas corpus? Or maybe "innocent until proven guilty?" We've committed murder rather than bring suspected criminals to justice: if they're terrorists, or might be, they don't deserve justice. That's the way we're moving our world forward, toward peace, freedom, and prosperity for everyone. In the mean time, however, we have made ourselves judge/jury/executioner out of frustration, cynicism, and utter laziness. If we can fire a missile at them ... don't you figure we can arrest them and bring them to court? If we feel so comfortable killing our enemies, shouldn't we be able to prove, in a court of law, that these people are guilty of heinous crimes beyond any doubt?

(A note here to those who think I'm being partisan: it was President Clinton, not Bush, who signed the order to kill Osama Bin Laden, wherever and whenever it became possible. The use of spy planes to carry weapons was conceived of by Clinton's administration, though they hadn't finalized the plans. The plans were forwarded to Bush's team, who later made use of them.)

Freedom and justice are worth too much to me to allow us to blatantly violate our own rule of law to obtain them. I don't want freedom bought by murder. I don't want justice at the cost of innocent bystanders being blown to shreds by missiles. I don't want this security, when I may in fact be the next target of a missile from my own benefactors. I don't want to be guilty of striking first, out of fear and uncertainty: the terrorists have won when we can no longer obey our own laws.

Freedom ... murder. Someone has reminded me that this sounds an awful lot like a revolution. We're proud of the American revolution -- "freedom" from the rule of aristocrats. Wasn't that terrorism? Do we not honor the terrorists who fought off the British? The US wasn't its own nation yet: it was only a colony under British rule. At the time, they were fighting their own government, using violent means, to get what they wanted. That is the definition of terrorism we use today: use of violence and/or threats to coerce a government for your own political or religious reasons. The U.S. of America were born of terrorism; terrorism was their method. Our fight for freedom was successful, and we are proud of it. Now we just have to crush everyone else's... (Note that the USA has had a heavy hand in repressing revolutions in many other nations: people wanting freedom in their own lands, not just terrorists striking abroad. Revolution is only acceptable when we deem it to be. Freedom, justice, liberty for all? I think not.)

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Owned by Unordained - Created on 06/12/2003 - Last edited on 07/02/2003

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