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.