It used to be said that self-preservation is the first law of
nature. But much of what has been happening in recent times in the
United States, and in Western civilization in general, suggests that
survival is taking a back seat to the shibboleths of political
We have already turned loose dozens of captured terrorists,
who have resumed their terrorism. Why? Because they have been given
"rights" that exist neither in our laws nor under international law.
These are not criminals in our society, entitled to the
protection of the Constitution of the United States. They are not
prisoners of war entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention.
There was a time when people who violated the rules of war
were not entitled to turn around and claim the protection of those
rules. German soldiers who put on U.S. military uniforms, in order to
infiltrate American lines during the Battle of the Bulge, were simply
lined up against a wall and shot.
Nobody even thought that this was a violation of the Geneva
Convention. American authorities filmed the mass executions. Nobody
dreamed up fictitious "rights" for these enemy combatants who had
violated the rules of war. Nobody thought we had to prove that we were
nicer than the Nazis by bending over backward.
Bending over backward is a very bad position from which to
try to defend yourself. Nobody in those days confused bending over
backward with "the rule of law," as Barack Obama did recently. Bending
over backward is the antithesis of the rule of law. It is depriving the
people of the protection of their laws, in order to pander to mushy
notions among the elite.
Even under the Geneva Convention, enemy soldiers have no right to be
turned loose before the war is over. Terrorists-- "militants" or
"insurgents" for those of you who are squeamish-- have declared
open-ended war against America. It is open-ended in time and open-ended
in methods, including beheadings of innocent civilians.
President Obama can ban the phrase "war on terror" but he
cannot ban the terrorists' war on us. That war continues, so there is
no reason to turn terrorists loose before it ends. They chose to make
it that kind of war. We don't need to risk American lives to prove that
we are nicer than they are.
The great Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said
that law is not some "brooding omnipresence in the sky." It is a set of
explicit rules by which human beings structure their lives and their
relationships with one another.
Those who choose to live outside those laws, whether
terrorists or pirates, can be-- and have been-- shot on sight.
Squeamishness is neither law nor morality. And moral exhibitionism is
beneath contempt, when it sacrifices the safety of those who live
within the law for the sake of self-satisfied preening, whether in
editorial offices or in the White House.
As if it is not enough to turn cutthroats loose to cut
throats again, we are now contemplating legal action against Americans
who wrung information about international terrorist operations out of
Does nobody think ahead to what this will mean-- for many
years to come-- if people trying protect this country from terrorists
have to worry about being put behind bars themselves? Do we need to
have American intelligence agencies tip-toeing through the tulips when
they deal with terrorists?
In his visit to CIA headquarters, President Obama pledged his
support to the people working there and said that there would be no
prosecutions of CIA agents for prior actions. Then he welshed on that
in a matter of hours by leaving the door open for such prosecutions,
which the left has been clamoring for, both inside and outside of
Repercussions extend far beyond issues of the day. It is bad
enough that we have a glib and sophomoric narcissist in the White
House. What is worse is that whole nations that rely on the United
States for their security see how easily our president welshes on his
commitments. So do other nations, including those with murderous
intentions toward us, our children and grandchildren.