Saturday, March 17, 2007

We're In A War, Not A Judicial Proceeding

As it happened, just minutes before I read Tim Rutten's column in the L.A. Times today, as I always do first thing on Saturdays, I glanced at Yahoo News and the New York Times Web site and found the reports that the enemy in Iraq -- in all likelihood Al Qaeda -- had launched a series of chlorine gas bombing attacks in Anbar province, killing at least two and wounding 356. Since January, there have been several poison gas attacks in Iraq.

There can be no doubt that if they got the chance, the terrorists would use the same weapons here, and possibly worse, and I cannot escape the view that stringent interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, are necessary to use to uncover their plans and abort them.

Admirable morally as Rutten's anti-torture views are, as is his desire to put Khalid Shaikh Mohammed on trial, the fact is that war is not a judicial proceeding. If a little waterboarding and psychological torture is necessary to find out what Mohammed and his friends are intending to do to us, then so be it.

Rutten seems implicitly critical of a Los Angeles Times editorial on Friday that I found I agreed with, and let me quote its last paragraph here.

"Whether you call it militant Islam, Islamic fascism or a clash of civilizations, there is a movement that has declared war on the U.S. and the West. It is neither a figment of President Bush's imagination nor a byproduct of the Iraq war. Americans disagree about how to engage that enemy, but its existence is undeniable. So is the willingness of its adherents to kill -- and die -- for the cause. The passage of time since 9/11 may have dulled our appreciation of that reality, especially as partisan bickering consumes Washington. By confessing -- and boasting about -- his crimes, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed has sharpened it."

On the same day the Times Op Ed page ran a column by Rosa Brooks that Rutten cites approvingly this morning. Basically her argument is that President Bush exacerbated the terrorist attacks by going after the terrorists.

But the terrorists are Nazis and I believe have to be fought. President Bush responded with military action, as I believe any president would have, to the terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 persons in New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001.

Even Brooks observes, "KSM's claim of moral equivalence may go over well with people alienated by post 9/11 U.S. policies, but it is dangerously misleading. U.S. failures and abuses are real and should be condemned by all of us. But nothing justifies the deliberate slaughter of innocents. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were neither legitimate acts of war nor some excusable 'exception,' but a hideous crime, a mass murder of appalling dimension."

We need to assure her, this mass murder would fade into insignificance if Al Qaeda were to obtain a nuclear weapon, smuggle it into the port of Los Angeles and blow it up.

To try to prevent such a catastrophe is the reason this war has to be fought, and not always by the Marquess of Queensberry rules.



Anonymous James Fulton said...

All I can say, thank heaven for the Times people who decided to submit work other than Tim Rutten's Robert Scheer-type columns as entries for the Pulitzer Prize.

3/17/2007 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you want to find a nazi close to home, look into the mirror and discover a true enemy of freedom.

3/17/2007 8:16 PM  

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