Saturday, December 19, 2009

Location, Location, Location...

I was thinking this morning about the trials of the perpetrators of the massacre on 9/11 and the political mayhem that has come about because of it. This issue is one that is a polarizing one and one that too many people on both sides of the argument have not given it any thought as to why they support their view...usually it is just a party line issue for most people. Party lines is not a good enough reason for any stand, though we all are guilty of hiding behind party lines at one point or another on some issue.

I have, however, given this some thought and wish to express them here for your consideration.

First off let me say that I am somewhat grudgingly in agreement with having the trials on US soil, in US court and particularly in NYC. And I actually have some reasoning behind that statement so hear me out before you show your ass of an attitude or elephant of an opinion.

(1) The crimes committed were committed by a criminal organization, not a nation. Pearl Harbor was an act of war by a nation (Japan) and the war declared was declared between official bodies of state. The war crimes committed by Japan against the United States were answered with deadly force that left them in a state of dependency that lasts even to this day.

The Crimes of Nazi Germany were ones that were committed by an official state and to this day are generally tried in a World Tribunal.

The act of terrorism committed on 9/11 were horrendous. The death of innocents was inexcusable and unpardonable. But they were committed by a criminal organization, not a nation. We went to great lengths to convince the world, and the Muslim world in particular, that our war was not with Afghanistan, but rather with the Al Queda they harbored and the Taliban that harbored them.

Now you may say I am splitting hairs here but remember we are the ones that made the distinction that our fight was with a criminal organization not a not a war with a nation. That makes the nature of 9/11 criminal..but not war crimes. Understand that the very nature of war crimes is the acts of a nation. or head of state, or people under the directive of the body of a state. Which was the purpose of the International Criminal Court being established.

The crimes committed in NYC on 9/11 were atrocities and they affected us all...we all stood by out brothers and sisters in their pain and loss...and their pain was our pain because we are ONE NATION UNDER GOD. But the truth and reality is that the criminal activity on 9/11 was perpetrated by a criminal organization, no different than the mafia that did the heinous massacre on Valentine's Day in 1929...with the exception that the people murdered were innocents...not rival gang members.

The very nature of the crimes committed as well as the response we gave the world, that this was a fight against terrorism not a war against Afghanistan requires that the criminals be brought to justice as criminals that committed crimes on US soil not prisoners of war. We were the ones that set the game rules, now we are obligated to live by them.

(2) Giving these criminals a Military tribunal only gives them legitimacy and a simple dignity they do not deserve. The Officer that shot up Ft. Hood, while crazy and a coot that deserves the just consequence for his actions, was still an officer in our military, had been for many years and had worn the uniform. He deserves, despite his crimes, the dignity of a jury of his peers. And there my friend is the crux. A jury of your peers. Our law provides for this in our justice system. These criminals of 9/11 declare themselves to be warriors in a holy cause. they declare themselves to be soldiers in a self declared jihad. They are, in reality, thugs and bullies. They are criminals of the worst kind not warriors or soldiers. To give them a military tribunal is to elevate them to a dignity they do not deserve. Their crimes were against the people of NYC, the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children of the victims of 9/11. Like Ted Bundy, all they deserve is to be brought in in their handcuffs and made to face the families they deprived of their love ones. Not to look at a group of soldiers as though they deserve the right to be sequestered away from the anger of those that suffered the loss.

The simple truth is, these criminals are not soldiers. They are not being tried by a jury of their peers in a military tribunal...they are civilian criminals with an overstated ego to compensate for an understated intelligence. Do not give them the dignity of a military tribunal, the legitimacy that a military tribunal affords them and the privacy of and avoidance of facing those they committed the crime against that said tribunal allows.

(3) To use security issues as an excuse for not doing the right thing is to violate all we represent and all that we claim to bring to the world. We declare ourselves the defenders of liberty and justice for all. To state that security issues is good enough reason to have these criminals tried as soldiers rather than civilians in the justice system we want to tout to the rest of the world, is equivalent to saying that our men and women in uniform can defend us abroad but are incapable of doing so at home. I ask those that want to use security issues as a defense for going against everything we represent...are you saying that our men and women in uniform are only good at offensive battles where they are attacking and blowing stuff up but are incapable of an ordered and sound and safe defense of us at home? Liberty and justice must be defended and that is not just with M-16s and Patriot missiles, but also with our actions and how we deal with the situations we face in the ever more interconnected world we live in. We must lead by example...not only with troops. We must show the world that we can enforce liberty and justice with more than just force.

I know many do not agree with this. I know this is a hot political issue. It is one of those subjects that the same party that touted the Patriot Act wants to use as proof of the President's inability to protect the country on his watch. I also know we have a President that those people detest. We have President that is a lawyer. He is a constitutional lawyer. He understands the constitutional implications of this issue and he understands what is right, even if people don't like it. I remind those same people, that were adamant defenders of President G.W. Bush. They were admirers of the fact that he did what he thought was right regardless of the fact that the very world was standing against him...yet they somehow miss the fact that the President is doing the same thing now...despite their crude accusations about his loyalty and love for this country. He understands, whether you agree with him or not, that sometimes the right thing to do is not always the easiest thing to do.


Anonymous said...

AMEN! A superbly written post.

And you are right, this issue is a polarizing one and most people have not given it any thought as to why they believe what they believe. The dichotomous thinking that plagues our country (largely a result of the two-party system, which is a result of Single Member District Plurality) means that one side is 100% right and good, and the other side is 100% wrong and evil. Angels v. demons. Right v. Left. Conservative v. Liberal. Republican v. Democrat. Anti-Life v. Anti-Choice. The list goes on and on.


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