Friday, November 19, 2010

A Nation Of Laws?

I was watching The Last Word last night, and O’Donnell had on Jonathan Turley and a former governor of New York, George Pataki to discuss the trial of terrorists in civilian courts. The discussion was prompted, of course, by the trial of Ahmed Ghailani, which I won’t go into in any detail because it has already been discussed to death.

What struck me was not just Pataki’s presumption of Ghailani’s guilt, but his repeated and vehement denunciation that, “the guy murdered 200 people and was found not guilty.” Turley kept saying that Pataki was condemning the civil trial process because he didn’t like the outcome of this trial, and Pataki’s rejoinder was, “No I’m not, the guy murdered 200 people and was found not guilty” which, of course, confirms Turley’s statement.

We have literally gone insane in this nation whenever the subject is terrorism. Pataki’s rejoinder is not merely illogical, it is insane. I wish you could see a film clip of him, because, he was acting irrational. He was agitated, fidgeting, blurting out and ranting, sweating, and not in control of himself. “I was there,” he ranted, “I saw 9/11. This guy was guilty and we let him off.” Ghailani was not charged with anything even related to 9/11.

The purpose of terrorism is to create terror, and to succeed it requires that the people upon whom it is inflicted can be terrified. Europeans, apparently, cannot. They can be made wary; they can live their lives in accordance with their principles while keeping one eye open for safety.

We on the other hand, can be terrified. Faced with the prospect of terrorism, we are willing to abandon principle and to live quaking in fear and screaming at our leadership to make sure that, at all cost, let nothing bad happen. A man of considerable stature, a former governor of a major state, is willing to appear on national television, squirming and sweating in visible panic over his perception of the failure of our nation’s principles.

Unless we become a nation of military tribunals, the terrorists will…

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