Jewish World Review July 27, 2005 / 20 Tammuz,
Will we defend ourselves?
Much ado in our country and Europe has been made about alleged
mistreatment and torture of suspected terrorist prisoners. First, there were
stories and hand-wringing over the treatment of prisoners at Iraq's Abu
More recently, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., equated our military's
treatment of captured Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorist suspects, held at
Guantanamo Bay, with something that would have "been done by Nazis, Soviets
in their gulags, or some mad regime Pol Pot or others that had no
concern for human beings." That statement not only demonstrates ignorance of
the horrors committed by the Nazis, Soviets and Pol Pot, but it supplied
ammunition for people seeking to destroy us.
Regardless of how we feel now about the treatment of terrorists,
and suspected terrorists, I can envision a day when Americans will care less
about interrogation techniques used in the quest to get intelligence about
terrorists. That day will be when there's a chemical or biological attack in
one of our cities that kills and injures tens of thousands of Americans. If
that day ever comes, you can bet the rent money that the Dick Durbins, the
Nancy Pelosis and others who've undermined and attacked our interrogation
efforts, complaining about our not treating international cutthroats
humanely, will blame the attack on President Bush. The last thing they'll do
is blame themselves for sabotaging our efforts to get intelligence that
might stymie terrorist plans.
It's tempting to invoke the Geneva Convention protections that
are afforded prisoners of war. Geneva Convention protections did apply to
Iraqi soldiers captured during our war with Iraq, but they do not apply to
terrorists or even soldiers who are out of uniform. In earlier times, when
common sense prevailed and we had the will to defend ourselves, that fact
was understood and appreciated.
During World War II, German soldiers captured not wearing their
own army's uniforms were lined up and shot. In 1942, a German submarine
landed eight Nazi saboteurs on the beaches of New York and Florida. Two
months after a secret military tribunal, convened by President Roosevelt,
six of the eight were executed, even though they hadn't killed or bombed
anyone just being here was enough.
For those of us who were around during World War II, can we
imagine anyone, much less a government high official, having said, "The
treatment of detainees is a taint on our country's reputation, especially in
Germany, and there are many questions that must be answered. These questions
are important because the safety of our country depends on our reputation
and how we are viewed, especially in Germany"? If you substitute "the Muslim
world" for "Germany" in that statement, you have House Minority Leader Nancy
Pelosi's, D-Calif., statement.
Let's be clear about one thing. I'm not suggesting that we treat
captured terrorist suspects the way the Japanese treated American POWs
during World War II. While harsh interrogation techniques are by no means a
guarantee that useful information will be acquired to thwart a deadly
attack, our interrogators should be permitted to employ every method at
There's an important terrorism issue for Muslim communities,
especially those residing in Western countries. They should be concerned
about backlash and retaliation against Muslims in the wake of a large-scale
disaster. Muslims must in no uncertain terms make it clear, as have
spokesmen for the Free Muslim Coalition (www.freemuslims.org), that the
terrorists do not speak for them, and they must report terrorists within
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