Category Archives: War Commentary

Treason Watch

“I’m willing to kill the Americans. I will kill every American that I see in Afghanistan. And I’ll kill every American soldier that I see in Pakistan,” Junaid boasted to British television correspondent, Jon Gilbert, in an interview for the ITN Channel 5 network.

“I do have an American passport. But at the end of the day, I’m a Muslim,” Junaid said last week.

Again I ask, what is the legal situation here? Are we or are we not at war? Is this or is this not treason? If by some miracle, he doesn’t get his sorry butt killed over there, and tries to come back, is there any reason that we shouldn’t simply confiscate his “American passport” (on which he apparently places so little value anyway) upon attempted return, and be told to go somewhere else (if not actually arrested and tried)? If, that is, at the end of the war, there is anyone else who would take him…

Taliban Emigration Halloween Update

Downing Street said that anti-terror laws would be used to punish Britons who fought for Osama bin Laden, but pointedly added that most would die in action.

[Emphasis mine…]

Apparently, the UK doesn’t require a formal declaration of war to allow trials for treason. I believe that we do, but I am still awaiting word from the lawyers.

[Update update]

Jim Bennett, UPI columnist, informs me via email that

“here’s the short answer — you can prosecute for treason in the UK in peacetime, but to hang ’em, you need to declare war.

Another good reason for declaring war. Actually, there are so many international treaties and war crimes whatnots these days that we really ought to think about a declaration of war to keep our armed forces and policy-makers from being legally harrassed for the rest of their lives. Case in point: the survivers of the Argentine cruiser Belgrano are trying to sue the Brits for sinking them.”

Of course, this doesn’t resolve the issue of the American ability to try for treason. Do we need a declaration of war? My understanding is that we do.

Just what are the pros and cons of a declaration of war?

Pro:

  • It will concentrate our minds even more fully on the task at hand, and make clear in a way unseen in sixty years, just what we are up against.
  • It will allow us to exert marginally more propaganda pressure on Taliban/Al Qaeda when they inevitably fail to follow Geneva.
  • It will allow us to arrest and try people for treason who express sympathy for Taliban/Al Qaeda.
  • It will put more pressure on wavering “allies,” forcing them to either commit to being with us, or take an official neutral position, but not allow them to fence straddle any longer.

Con:

  • We may have less freedom of action, being more firmly bound by the Geneva Convention (though this is probably only a theoretical disadvantage, as we’ll be much more constrained by politically-correct handwringers on the home front than by Geneva, in any event.)

I can’t think of any other cons, and still have not heard a good explanation of why Congress has not declared war. Is it because they fear giving Bush too much power? Is it because they don’t want to be in the position of being able to prosecute Taliban sympathizers for treason? Or have we simply gotten out of the habit, having sent troops into battle on so many occasions since 1945 without such a declaration, that it is now viewed, like much else in the Constitution, as a quaint old unnecessary procedure, irrelevant to the modern world?

I’ll welcome any corrections or additions to the above listing.

Proportionality

Even if you use the Taliban’s inflated numbers and the Taliban sticks around until next spring, we’ll still have plenty left on the balance sheet for when we move beyond Afghanistan.

I would go beyond that. There should be some discount factor to account for deliberate murder of civilians vs accidental casualties in waging legitimate war. Such a factor would also account for the unknowable numbers of future civilians saved by rooting out the infection as soon as possible. I’m not sure what the discount rate should be, but even if tens of thousands of civilians die collaterally (though I think that unlikely and unnecessary, unless it’s because the scum choose to hide behind the skirts of their women and children, as Saddam did), it might be acceptable to prevent the deaths of hundreds of thousands, both in the West and in the Mideast, in the absence of such necessary action.

Anyway, as Professor Reynolds noted yesterday, Mary Robinson’s definition of proportionality (no civilian casualties) truly is a prescription for no war at all, which is tantamount to utter defeat for civilization.

Web Slander/Libel

I’m not sure to just what “ravings” Mr. Dog is referring, since he provides no actual quotes, but anyone can do a deja and see that I for one, have never proposed nuclear carpetbombing of Afghanistan, or even using nukes, though I may have said that it was conceivable that this might be required at some point as the war progresses (though I seriously doubt that they would ever have any utility in Afghanistan, other than possibly some small tactical nukes to flush out caves, but even this would be unlikely). I have also never proposed murdering survivors of such an attack, or sterilizing anyone.

I should also add, in response to what was to me the greatest insult, that I almost never watch CNN, and I certainly don’t consider it a source of useful knowledge. It is true that I have proposed that we may have to do what we did in Japan and Germany (not nuke, but subjugate, install a decent government, and reeducate) to have a true long-term solution to the Current Unpleasantness. Perhaps this is what upset him.

I am genuinely curious as to just what it was that I wrote that got his canine panties sufficiently in knots that he felt compelled to slander me on his web site, but whatever it was, I hope that this sets the record straight until he chooses to elaborate.

More Airline Insecurity (Part Deaux)

It’s not a laughing matter, but: “”If you don’t take this plane to China, I’ll cut everyone’s nose hair…”

…You have no idea how long you’ll be in ticket and security queues. I’ve gone to an airport five hours before my flight and reached the gate in 15 minutes. Friends have arrived at DIA four hours prior to flights and were shut out. Nobody, especially airport officials, knows when you should get there…

…They took away my fingernail clippers and razor, but I was able to walk into a newsstand and buy fingernail clippers and a razor before I got on the plane. I went into a B Concourse Discovery Channel store and counted a dozen things I could use to cause problems on an airplane…

Hopefully, enough such commentaries will result in a little more sanity, but I’m afraid that they’ll just back off on the new draconian nonsense without actually doing anything effective, because the terms of the debate remain fundamentally orthogonal to the real problem.

What happened on September 11 was a result not of lax security by the government, but rather the culmination of decades of attempted infantilization of the American people, in which we’ve been told that we have no responsibility for our own security, and that the only safe way of life was to disarm ourselves and trust to our paternal government. If there is any good to come out of the attacks, starting to roll back that tide may be part of it, but only if we start to have the serious discussion about it that the mainstream media has been studiously attempting to avoid for many years.

More Psywar

South America ? The administration is collecting evidence of al Qaeda operatives involved in cocaine trafficking in Paraguay and Colombia. Islamic fundamentalist cells are operating in a tri-border area of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Evidence has been found of al Qaeda members in this no man’s land, a senior administration official says.

This reraises the issue that I brought up last week–what would be the impact on domestic cocaine consumption (and concomitantly, Andean drug warlords’ revenues) if the rumor were to spread that nose candy supplies have been laced with anthrax?

The War Has Come To Us

This apparently hasn’t sunk in yet. A lot of your save-the-Earth-grandmothers-against-guns types can parade around public buildings all they want chanting and carrying poorly constructed anachronistic peace signs, but they happen to be at war while doing so.

Why, just the other day passengers on a United Airlines airplane took it upon themselves to keep a deranged passenger from trying to enter the cockpit. Hip, hip, hooray! That behavior is an act of civil defense in a time of war, is it not? It even requires that we shake the conventions of peacetime travel when we are expected to sit tranquilly in our seats and follow federal regulations.

And on that note, I point out that I was prescient, and reprint a little editorial I posted on s.s.p the day after the attack.

End of an Era

They blew their wad.

The grounding of the nation’s air fleet can be lifted–it’s safe to fly again.

Whoever committed this heinous crime yesterday did do the world at least one favor. In a single day, they ended the four-decade reign of fear over aircraft hijacking.

Forever.

This incident didn’t result from a breakdown of security–no one had weapons that the security system looks for. The reason, and the only reason, that the perpetrators succeeded in their diabolical plot was that they had the element of surprise.

Prior to September 11, 2001, aircraft hijacking was something to be prevented if possible, but if it wasn’t possible, the hijackers were people to be cooperated with until they could somehow be brought to justice, in order to save plane, crew and passengers.

This attitude allowed men armed, apparently, with only knives, to commandeer an aircraft in which they were massively outnumbered, by threatening or killing individual passengers and crew. To save those people, everyone went along, at least on three of the four planes.

Had those passengers been aware of the ultimate purpose of those hijackings, they would have failed–the hijackers would have been overcome and subdued, if not killed, by passengers and crew desperate to save themselves and their plane.

The paradigm has permanently shifted. From this day forward, passengers will now be aware that there are worse things than letting hostages die in an aircraft.

Whoever did this screwed it up for all future hijackers, regardless of their purpose. A similar scheme will not succeed today, or tomorrow, or any time that the flying public retain memories of what happened yesterday.

No need to change procedures–the potential victims themselves have changed, fundamentally, and will be victims no more.

Let the aircraft fly.