When it comes to battling suspected terrorists it's
time to reject the false choice between law enforcement and military; to be safe, America needs the best of both.
President Obama's critics
say that law enforcement does not prevent disaster, but, as a former
prosecutor I can say categorically that this is false and defy them to
find one prosecutor who will swear that law enforcement cannot help
prevent terrorists from committing their crimes.
analysis offered by George F. Will in his 2006 column "The Triumph of Unrealism," written after British law enforcement and intelligence
personnel worked together to avert disaster:
The London plot
against civil aviation confirmed a theme of an illuminating new book,
Lawrence Wright's "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11."
The theme is that better law enforcement, which probably could have
prevented Sept. 11, is central to combating terrorism. F-16s are not
useful tools against terrorism that issues from places such as Hamburg
(where Mohamed Atta lived before dying in the North Tower of the World
Trade Center) and High Wycombe, England. Cooperation between Pakistani
and British law enforcement (the British draw upon useful experience
combating IRA terrorism) has validated John Kerry's belief [...] that "many
of the interdiction tactics that cripple drug lords, including
governments working jointly to share intelligence, patrol borders and
force banks to identify suspicious customers, can also be some of the
most useful tools in the war on terror." [...] Kerry said that although the war on
terror will be "occasionally military," it is "primarily an
intelligence and law enforcement operation that requires cooperation
around the world."
Immediately after the London plot was
disrupted, a "senior administration official," insisting on anonymity
for his or her splenetic words, denied the obvious, that Kerry had a
point. The official told The Weekly Standard: "The idea that the
jihadists would all be peaceful, warm, lovable, God-fearing people if
it weren't for U.S. policies strikes me as not a valid idea.
[Democrats] do not have the understanding or the commitment to take on
these forces. It's like John Kerry. The law enforcement approach
doesn't work." This farrago of caricature and non sequitur makes the
administration seem eager to repel all but the delusional. But perhaps
such rhetoric reflects the intellectual contortions required to sustain
the illusion that the war in Iraq is central to the war on terrorism,
and that the war, unlike "the law enforcement approach," does "work."
The official is correct that it is wrong "to think that somehow we are
responsible -- that the actions of the jihadists are justified by U.S.
policies." But few outside the fog of paranoia that is the blogosphere
think like that. It is more dismaying that someone at the center of
government considers it clever to talk like that. It is the language of
foreign policy -- and domestic politics -- unrealism."
The President's critics
also say that when disaster strikes, Americans have to surrender our
independent judiciary to our executive branch via military tribunals.
But our Constitution, drafted during a war of secession against a
monarch, expressly requires separation of powers and an independent judiciary to punish
President Obama tasks our independent judiciary with trying more
suspected 9/11 terrorists, count me among those who agree with Mayor
Giuliani's first position on trying alleged terrorists in US courts:
in the yes column. When it came to trying "20th hijacker" Zacarias Moussaoui in
federal court just miles from the Pentagon, Giuliani said: "I think
there is value in demonstrating to people what America is like — that
we can have these kind of emotional disagreements, but that there is a
law and we will follow it."
Agreed; it's time to reject false choices, end the politics of unrealism, and let justice be done.