Michael Burleigh: Lawyers sap our will to combat terrorism

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Many jihadis seek to create a global caliphate, ruled by Sharia. At best, Christians, Hindus, and Jews would live in a state of submission tantamount to second-class citizenship. If they got above themselves, they would suffer the persecutions Islamists visited on the Coptic Christians of Egypt. The rule of Islamists has resulted in murderous chaos – 150,000 died in Algeria during the 1990s when madmen decided that most of the Muslim population were apostates. The Taleban anti-state so ruined Afghanistan that Americans joked that they had to bomb it forwards to the Stone Age. There are significant numbers of people living in Britain who wish to visit such chaos on us.

This is the backdrop to the debate about anti-terrorism legislation. As usual lawyers talk to lawyers, including those overrepresented in our political class. Overlooking that our greatest right is to life, civil libertarians are exercised about proposals to extend detention of suspects from 28 to 56 days.

Shami Chakrabarti, the barrister whom the BBC assiduously promotes as the voice of a presumed liberal consensus, will widen her Diana-like eyes in outrage, while Amnesty will mutter darkly about internment.

Read the whole thing.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism

Posted July 27, 2007 at 12:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Timothy Fountain wrote:

Really a tough issue - all the more reason for Christians to set aside worldly partisanship in favor of time to intercede for those in public authority.
Protecting order by the suppression of violence (“enemies foreign and domestic”) is government’s primary job.  Terrorism tests the will and competence of the government to do this - and also tempts the government to trample on the law abiding while rooting out the bad guys.
Pray for all in authority - whatever your party affiliation or policy views.  Intercession for government is a New Testament obligation - we can worry about being right or having the last word in our debates later.

July 27, 1:30 pm | [comment link]
2. libraryjim wrote:

Not only lawyers, but (near-traitorous) elected officials who seemingly do everything they can to undermine our efforts.

July 27, 1:31 pm | [comment link]
3. Tegularius wrote:

Utter nonsense.

Yes, there are places in which majority-Muslim countries have adopted theocratic governments with disastrous results.

No, there is neither a realistic plan nor a plausible opportunity for “jihadis” to implement a “Caliphate” over the vast parts of the western world in which Muslims are a minority.

If Islamic terrorism destroys the United States, it will be because Americans react to the threat by disregarding the rule of law and sacrificing our own liberties in the name of security, not because the terrorists somehow forcibly gain control of our government.

The rule of law is a good thing, and the best response to the threat of theocracy is a strengthened commitment to absolutely secular government.

July 27, 2:12 pm | [comment link]
4. Tegularius wrote:

(make that “...in the name of PERCEIVED security…”)

July 27, 2:13 pm | [comment link]
5. Irenaeus wrote:

The current U.S. administration, which regards itself as largely above the law, has amassed a rather miserable record in fighting terrorism.

July 27, 2:53 pm | [comment link]
6. Philip Snyder wrote:

Irenaeus - How many terrorists attacks have occured on US soil in the last 6 years?

There is a double threat of terrorism.  The first is to ignore it and try to fight it with law enforcement tactics.  This is the folly of the Democrats in Congress and of the Clinton administration.  The second threat is to so change our culture that we cease to be who we are or to become a big bully that uses force in all circumstances to get their way.  This is what we might become if we are not careful.  Irenaeus, in matters of foreign policy and the US military, the executive branch is the law to a large extent.  The US Supreme court has ruled on this several times.  The Geneva Convention, like all treaties, applies to signatories and to uniformed fighters or partisans who wear distinctive insignia.  It does not apply to people who use civilian cover to avoid fighting force on force.  It does not apply to people who store bombs or weapons in hospitals, ambulances, or houses of worship.

There have been many mistakes in the prosecution of this war, but that is the nature of war - mistakes will always be made.  The question is always before us - how do we best move forward now?  If we were to leave Iraq now, it would leave a power vacume into which militant shia would perpetrate genocide against their former overlords, the sunni.  Are the deaths of millions of Iraqis worth bringing down an adminstration that you loathe?

Phil Snyder

July 27, 3:23 pm | [comment link]
7. APB wrote:

The larger picture is that absurd legal rulings are slowly making it impossible to operate the country in either peace or war.  That is not going without notice by ordinary, frustrated people, who see even the most common sense efforts thwarted by court rulings.  There is a saying, variously attributed to Brandeis or Jackson, that “The Constitution is not a suicide pact.”  Forget the Ten Commandments.  I would prefer for that to be on display in every court in the land.

July 27, 3:31 pm | [comment link]
8. Irenaeus wrote:

Phil [#6]: Some many misconceptions, so little time:

—- You evidently know little about the Clinton Administration’s approach. Among many other things, it correctly identified Al-Qaida as the greatest terrorist threat to the United States, prevented several Al-Qaida attacks, and went after Al-Qaida several places. Clinton himself wanted to do more but was dissuaded from several strikes by the Pentagon.

—- Bush and his fellow ideologues largely ignored Al-Qaida before 9/11. From the time Bush took office, they wanted to invade Iraq and reshape the Middle East. They used 9/11 as a pretext for doing what they’d wanted to do anyway.

—- The Bush folks, ignoring advice from the Pentagon and others who knew better, badly botched the occupation of Iraq. American strength was too thin to securely hold the areas we’d seized—-allowing Saddam’s Sunnis to conduct and insurgency and Al-Qaida to establish itself. Think about it: this is not what has happened in U.S. occupation of foreign soil after major wars. The Germans and Japanese did not try to fight insurgencies because they could see they would be crushed. In Iraq, by contrast, our troops would subdue on area, then have to leave to put out fires elsewhere—-leaving those who had welcomed them to their fate.

—- No one familiar with Arab culture, Middle East politics, or guerilla warfare should be surprised that the U.S. would have trouble pacifying Iraq. Taking out Saddam’s government was straightforward. The really challenge lay in establishing an effective Iraqi government that could maintain control of the country, In this part of the world people tend to blame other, particularly disliked outsiders, for many of their own problems. We, as Zionist-friendly infidels, were a particularly ripe target for this sort of demonization.

—- And how did the Bushies approach all this? They told themselves we’d be greeted with flowers, as we were for about a week. Then what? Ah, their good friend Ahmad Chalabi, who talks such a nice line but, alas, has little following or credibility in Iraq. Then what?

—- Iraq poses more dangers to the United States than it did on 9/11. The United States is more isolated in the world than it has been for a long time. The Iraqi government, dependent on radical Shiite parliamentary support, was long complacent about Shiite extremism and terrorism.

—- This mess was foreseeable and experts (and FWIW, even I) did foresee it. The mess is not the usual product of war. It is the product of exceptional arrogance and folly.

July 28, 1:29 am | [comment link]
9. libraryjim wrote:

Um, Ireneus, Bush was only in office for about 8 or 9 MONTHS before 9/11/01.  Not enough time to fully set up his administration, let alone turn his gaze on every issue at the time.

And Clinton had several opportunities to get bin Laden, either by killing or capture. He waffled on each one.

The only ones who think the U.S. is more isolated now than before 9/11 are the Democrats and liberal Republicans.  My dad just got back from a trip abroad and was told everywhere he went how much America was admired.

July 28, 12:47 pm | [comment link]
Registered members must log in to comment.

Next entry (above): Savitri Hensman—Re-writing History: the Episcopal Church struggle

Previous entry (below): Benjamin Balint: One site in Jerusalem unites, and divides, Christians

Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)