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America was built on the rule of law, not mob rule. A thin line separates the two.

In a Democracy there is no political cause that justifies terrorism. Every politician who stands by the rule of law should accept that as a basic truth. If there is a time that terrorism can ever be justified, it is when democracy has failed. When all is lost.

There are no ideas that can not be debated in America. There is no desperate cause that would morph someone from being a terrorist to a freedom fighter. Kalid Sheikh Mohammed was not leading an Army of revolutionary soldiers. To compare him to a soldier, or a revolutionary insults every American who fought against British rule to the valiant Private serving in the Army today facing gunfire in Afghanistan.

To appease terrorists is to concede victory to them and to condemn more people to lose their lives. The underpants bomber is not a freedom fighter or a political prisoner, he is a failed terrorist. A joke. A common criminal.

Felix Frankfurter said, "Limited as law is, it is all that we have standing between us and the tyranny of mere will and the cruelty of unbridled feeling".

Yet a once great Political Party, would for short term political gain hand back a Country founded to the rule of law to the baying mob.

Edmund Burke, very often quoted by the Right said "It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do: but what humanity, reason and justice tell me I ought to do".

That surely has to be to stand firm in support of your Judicial System, against those who only win by seeing you depart from Centuries of history founded on the rule of law. American values of justice pre-date America as a Nation. You share with Britain the Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus. Common Law principles are shared. Decisions of the Courts on one side of the Atlantic have standing on the other. The United States of America, through the Declaration of Independence confirmed that it is a Country founded on the rule of law.

You can not however claim to be a Party of law and order while working to undermine the courts which administer the law and the police who enforce it. Yet we see Republican politicians doing that on a daily basis, on not just National, but International tv.

You can not choose who gets a fair trial and who does not. Justice is not divisible. You do not enhance the rule of law and justice by selectively choosing who is entitled to a fair trial, in fact you smother it. The principle of a fair trial is then ended. It becomes a decision of a Politician, swayed by short term political desire and the need to catch the right headline.

Once you end that principle of fair and open trials, the baying mob rules. That mob may bay for you now. What will it bay for in the future?

If you are guilty of the Crime, let the Court establish the guilt, not the mob.

A terrorist uses force because they cannot win by democratic means.

Their aim is to induce fear in the hearts of people.

No democratic politician should resort to that.

Military tribunals are succour for the mob. You have a Judicial system built on centuries of tradition that has successfully tried criminal after criminal.

Civil societies must not use the weapons of terrorism to fight a terrorist. Law and order is not rule of the mob.

Abu Musab al Zarqawi, took hostage two Americans, Jack Hensley and Eugene Armstrong, and a Briton Kenneth Bigley.

They were murdered for the blood lust of those who followed and supported the kidnappers. That is mob rule.

What separates civil society from the blood lust of murderers and kidnappers is the rule of law and a fair but firm Judicial system.

It saddens me to see that the Politicians shouting the loudest about liberty are the ones who are the least of its defenders in the wake of the baying mob.

Originally posted to The BigotBasher on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:04 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I couldn't agree more. (7+ / 0-)

    Al-Qaida and similar groups like to present themselves as leading a war of Islam against Christianity. I have maintained for some time that we should take away the prestige of being a soldier away from them, and treat them as criminals.

    I have flow thru Detriot in recent months and the number of TSA women in hijab is alarming. It's like the foxes are overseeing the chicken coop -- A RW blogger.

    by Kimball Cross on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:11:02 AM PST

  •  Rethugs KNOW NO SHAME... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grada3784, sem, Nena20409, wolfie1818

    the G-NO-P are only concerned with their survival and nothing else...say and do ANYTHING to get electioned.

  •  hmm (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grada3784, happy camper, wolfie1818

    Total number of military tribunals 3, number of people found guilty 1

    300 or so however have been found guilty and are now in prison.

    I would say efficiency is on the civilian side and the rule of law.

    Oh no, the dead have risen and they're voting Republican. - Lisa Simpson

    by LaFeminista on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:34:49 AM PST

  •  It's not just republicans (0+ / 0-)

    and that's why the administration is having trouble giving KSM a fair trial.  It's moderate dems who are siding with them like (Webb, Nelson, Landrieu, Lincoln and probably a bunch of others).  The Administration is afraid that if Congress were to try to pass a law banning Article III courts, it would pass.  

    •  I'm not surprised at Nelson. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grada3784, Thomas Twinnings

      The principle still holds firm though, no politician that supports democracy should give in to mob justice.

      No terrorist in a democratic nation, founded on the rule of law, should be afforded the status of soldier or political prisoner.

      These principles should cross Party lines.

      •  Beam, meet mote (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        KSM was not, to quote you, "in a democratic nation, founded on the rule of law."

        He was in a corrupt, military dictatporship, supported by the west under which people's lives were expendable. Terrorism is the last refuge of the powerless and the oppressed, but it is also Western SOP. The point about predator drones is that they attack without warning and frequently without accuracy, controlled by people thousands of miles away, they are a terror weapon.

        Until you have lived the lives of people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, or any other nation where power is wielded by the corrupt and the violent, often supported and protected by countries like the US, the UK and Russia, until you have lived in a place where disappearances and casual killing and torture are standard practise, you cannot lump all acts of terror in the same basket.

        The US resorted to illegal war, torture, special rendition and all the panoply of the corrupt and violent state in defence of an unsustainable way of life and the cost in health, wealth and welfare of any arbitrary number of ordinary people; some of whom finally resorted to the same methods in return.

        But the US et al did not NEED to take that road, they chose to do so because they didn't care about anything beyond their own irrational, unearned privilege.

        Until you acknowledge the failures on your own part that lead people to desperate acts of violence, don't lecture anyone on the rule of law.

        Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

        by Deep Dark on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 12:17:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Other criminals have been captured from abroad. (0+ / 0-)

          Where he was caught is not the issue, it is where he will be tried.

          until you have lived in a place where disappearances and casual killing and torture are standard practise, you cannot lump all acts of terror in the same basket.

          I have not and do not lump all acts of terror together. Once you accept that someone has a valid cause for their terrorist act, you accept them as a political revolutionary, or freedom fighter. That confers on them a whole set of additional rights that are not offered by the United States.

          Accepting that the US was wrong in Iraq, does not mean that people should accept the end of a fundamental tenet of democracy.

  •  Not that clear.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skrekk, grada3784, Thomas Twinnings

    KSM was tortured repeatedly.  This is a bit worse than not reading someone their Miranda rights, which is often seen as enough to void any prosecution.

    And then the President of the United States has announced that the goal of this trial is not to determine whether the "alleged" person was guilty, but to convict him, which negates the very principle of what a trial means.

    He has been treated like a war criminal, so to decide that he will now get all the benefits of normally given to a murderer just not be possible, or even logically consistent.

    To ignore these defects, what has gone before with this defendant, may actually have the effect of defaming the very principles of an independent fact finding trial system, rather than affirming it.

    •  Further evidence of the Republican Party (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grada3784, Thomas Twinnings

      breaking with very basic traditions of respect for law. Torture should not have been used. Free, democratic Nations should not stand for it.

      The fact that it was used, does not negate his right to a fair trial. Whatever that outcome may be.

      •  It actually does.... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Samulayo, grada3784, Thomas Twinnings, sem

        and so does Obama's saying that the courts will deliver "justice" meaning will convict him.  

        That's not what a civil court does in our country, that why even serial killers are referred to as the "alleged" killer.

        It may seem trivial, but it is what defines our system.  It can not be abrogated at will and still believe it is the same system of justice.

        He has been convicted by the executive branch.  The trial will be a show trial, and our system of justice will be damaged by it.

        •  Convicted by the executive branch (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          A military tribunal cannot provide a "fair trial" in the same sense as a jury.  For one thing, tribunal members cannot claim to be unbiased peers.  Remember, tribunal members are EMPLOYEES of the Executive branch of government, and as such cannot be unbiased.

          An illusion can never be destroyed directly... SK.

          by Thomas Twinnings on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 12:03:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  As I said below (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          what a politician says about a trial, those are the words of a politician, even one as high as a President. It should still be for the Court to determine guilt and sentence.

          The politicians, including the President were just joining in with the baying mob, who now bay against him. It is for the Court to ignore that mob and decide the case based on merits.

  •  Why are military courts agains the rule of law? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samulayo, sandbox

    They may not be fit to judge terrorists like KSM, but I certainly wouldn't equate them to the tyranny of the mob.

    But I'd rather have a military trial than a show trial where the AG and the POTUS have already declared that the defendant will be convicted and killed - that strikes me as much closer to a lynch.  

    •  Because, GOP and Cheney say so. Daddy complex (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      party, the protectors of our homeland, 9/11, on their watch.

      The patriots of of country, 5 deferments, had a kid to avoid service, Dick.  Had a pimple in the butt, Rush.

    •  KSM is not a soldier. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skrekk, grada3784, Thomas Twinnings

      Elevating him to one makes him a political prisoner. That in itself is wrong.

      So with that point in mind, you would be giving a non Military person a Military trial. A very dangerous precedent that undermines democracy.

      As for what a politician says about a trial, those are the words of a politician, even one as high as a President. It should still be for the Court to determine guilt and sentence.

    •  Historically, military tribunals would be fairer (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      than what the MCA permits.  Even Judge Crawford recognizes that confessions extracted under torture should be prohibited - that's why she's dismissed several cases within the MCA.  What the MCA created is a kangaroo court...only because of a few individuals like Crawford and the seven prosecutors who resigned in protest has there been even a modicum of justice at Gitmo.

      I agree about the statements coming from the Executive - their political bravado is bad for jurisprudence.  Still, I'd rather leave these important cases in the hands of a tried and true judicial system, rather than one cobbled together ad hoc with this stated purpose:

      Wait a minute, we can't have acquittals. If we've been holding these guys for so long, how can we explain letting them get off? We can't have acquittals. We've got to have convictions.

  •  The repubs and their mouthpieces (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grada3784, The BigotBasher

    are still all dancing to the same drummer.  They must still be having the Wed. meeting when the weekly/daily meme is pounded into their heads.  How any sane, reasonable person could believe that torture is needed when someone is spilling the beans is beyond me.  Lindsay Graham is particularly disgusting.

    I don't want Cheney, Bush et al in jail, I want them tortured.

    by regis on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:52:12 AM PST

  •  Meet the Press, Gregory (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    could not channeling cheney. He had to lie about Obama "falling" poll numbers. I am dissapointed NO ONE mention the word "constitution" when talking about the NY trial.  what a shame.  the wet, milk breath repub congressman must have used the term "most americans want" 10 different ways and times. I was screeming please someone tell him that  Majority of American People voted and they voted you and your party out of power.

  •  It needs to be understood (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grada3784, The BigotBasher

    that a significant part of the Nixon Revolution (prelude to the Reagan revolution) was the elevation of the executive branch to primacy, we called it the Imperial Presidency back then. Its basic impulse is anti democratic and, as a secondary principle, scorn for the rule of law. It has taken them 40 years but they have finally divided our society into the democrats and the authoritarian followers.

    "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

    by johnmorris on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:05:06 PM PST

  •  Of course they only believe in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grada3784, The BigotBasher

    "order", but the law, not so much. That's why they like W so much. The motto they lived by was "No rules".

  •  You wrote (0+ / 0-)

    There is no desperate cause that would morph someone from being a terrorist to a freedom fighter. Kalid Sheikh Mohammed was not leading an Army of revolutionary soldiers. To compare him to a soldier, or a revolutionary insults every American who fought against British rule to the valiant Private serving in the Army today facing gunfire in Afghanistan.

    This is the exact point of disagreement.  IMO KSM and others are soldiers in a jihad war against the west and moderate muslims.  The radical islamists say they are at war with us in their books, articles, video tapes and so on. It is naive not to believe them--they are acting on those beliefs.

    •  If they are soldiers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grada3784, sem

      they need to be accepted as such and because they are "fighting for a cause", not a Country that also  makes them political prisoners. That would confer on them additional rights that the US system is not prepared to give.

      If they are not to be treated as soldiers they need to be tried as a common criminal.

      You simply cannot have it one way, without the other.

      This is why the position held by the right on this issue is intellectually and morally bankrupt.

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