Sunday, September 11, 2011

9-11: Ten Years Later...

Ten years after 9-11, here are some thoughts I agree with and want to share (from Charles Krauthammer and Michelle Malkin):

I watched the History Channel today. For hours, I watched the events unfold again. I watched, and remembered, That Day. I was on leave That Day, ten years ago, after a decade spent as an Army officer, and at that moment preparing to move back home and become a schoolteacher.

All that changed when the first, and then the second, tower collapsed.

Ten years later, I still do not live at home. But I have no regrets for the path I took instead.
What bothers me is when anyone -- from Deepok Chopra to Barack Obama to John McCain -- equates terrorists with soldiers, and demands that captured terrorists be given POW protections.

The U.S. government now affords Prisoner of War protections to unlawful enemy combatants who willfully violate every law of war: they wear no uniform, they directly target civilians, they use religious institutions, hospitals, and schools for military purposes, they take hostages, they use human shields to keep themselves alive.

It is a matter of international treaty and international law that unlawful combatants be afforded a military tribunal. When convicted, they should be executed... as was done in World War Two under a Democrat president, even to U.S. citizens who attempted to commit sabotage for Nazi Germany after landing by U-Boat on our eastern shores.

Why are jihadists given three hots and a cot, religious services, and even Starbucks coffee at Guantanamo Bay? That's better than we treat our own soldiers. Why do we coddle terrorists? Worse, why do we play catch-and-release? A growing number of Gitmo detainees, released to assuage the political left, have been killed or captured AGAIN on the battlefield, at the cost of how many U.S. and allied servicemen?

After ten years, I've lost enough friends.

All captured jihadists should be interrogated, given a military tribunal, and, if convicted of war crimes, executed as allowed under international law.

Tell you what: to be extra nice, rather than hang them as the common criminals they are, we'll simply and mercifully shoot them. My aim is true and my trigger finger is tireless.

The argument that such (lawful) treatment will result in atrocities committed against captured U.S. and allied troops is nullified by the atrocities routinely committed against captured soldiers and civilians alike at the hands of jihadists.

To treat captured terrorists as POWs is to morally and legally equate them to lawful, uniformed combatants. Yet lawful combatants increase the risk to their own lives by upholding the laws of warfare: they do not indiscriminately target civilians; they do not hide behind human shields; they do not hide or cache supplies in religious institutions, schools, or hospitals; they do not move forward in ambulances; they do not disguise themselves as civilians or police or wear the uniforms of their enemies.

There is a flip side to the coin of equivalency: why should anyone adhere to the laws of warfare if, in the end, how you act makes no difference in how you will be treated?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What To Do About Somali Pirates...

The crew of the yacht Quest,
murdered by 15 Somali pirates.

On Monday, a gang of Somali men (high on khat, wielding Kalashnikovs, and seizing unarmed vessels, therefore qualifying either as pirates or a 'voluntary coast guard' depending on if you're a rational person or Al Sharpton, respectively) shot and killed their four hostages aboard the American yacht Quest. U.S. Navy vessels trailing the yacht killed two pirates and captured thirteen.

Two out of thirteen is a start.

But given the increasing problem of piracy off the coast of East Africa, and the tepid international response (led by President Obama, the Prince of Tepid), what is the U.S. to do?

The latest trend has been to hand such pirates over to Kenya, the closest relatively civilized country, for trial and some jail time if convicted. This is the penalty Somali pirates consider in their stimulant-hazed calculations of risk vs. million-dollar ransoms.

Perhaps we should alter the calculus. Here's what we should do:

The responding U.S. Navy ship should tow the pirates' vessel back to its home port. The captain should then convene a tribunal. Unless the pirates have a really good excuse for seizing ships and killing hostages ("We're a voluntary coast guard! Ask Al Sharpton!") they should be hanged from the yardarm in full view of their khat-sucking kin. I don't know if U.S. Navy ships still have yardarms, but if not, we'll send them back to port immediately and refit them, just for this.

Then the pirates' vessel should be set on fire and sunk; again, in full view of shore.

If the Somalis open fire on the U.S. ship, the U.S. captain should say "I got something for that" and open fire with .50 caliber machine guns, 5-inch rapid fire cannon, and possibly cruise missiles. Just for 'funsies.'

"What's that? They're shooting RPGs now? I got something for that, too" the U.S. captain should remark. Flipping a safety cover and pushing a big red button labeled "50 Gigawatt Cobalt Fusion Laser," a 50 gigawatt cobalt fusion laser mounted on a satellite in geosynchronous orbit would then incinerate the entire town, a bug-zapper of biblical proportion.

What's that? There's no such thing as a 50 gigawatt cobalt fusion laser? No problem; we'll make that too. Just for this.

That's the response I'd like to see.

Instead, we got SecState Hillary Clinton impassively offering condolences at a press conference, and promising more of the same vague, pointless half-measures.

What happened to you, America? You used to be beautiful...

I'm going a little Tarantino there. Maybe America should, too.