The first beneficiary of Barack Obama's promise to expand health-care access could be Osama bin Laden.
The senator would rather see Osama captured, not killed, then put into
our federal system for trial. That means the terror master would get
better medical treatment - for free - than many Post readers can
Is that really what Americans want? To spend
millions of dollars protecting a captive bin Laden and millions more
treating his kidney problems?
Is that an effective reply to 9/11? Does it pass any common-sense test?
Recent events should have made it clear - again - that captive
terrorists are overwhelmingly a liability. The meager intelligence we
get interrogating them is rarely commensurate with the array of
financial, moral and legal costs involved in keeping them locked up.
Worst of all (as I've repeatedly argued), a jailed terrorist, not a
dead one, is the true "martyr." Incarcerated terrorists become
celebrated causes for our domestic left and rallying points for foreign
fanatics. The dead just rot.
A few weeks ago, a well-planned
terrorist assault on a prison in Kandahar, Afghanistan, freed dozens of
Taliban midlevel managers and perhaps 200 terrorist foot soldiers.
What benefit had we gained by taking these butchers prisoner instead of
killing them on the battlefield? They merely lived to fight another
Almost simultaneously, our Supreme Court ruled that
terrorists who slaughter Americans should enjoy legal protections meant
for US citizens. I respect and admire the Supremes, but this decision
drives home the truism that "Only God is perfect."
A dead terrorist is a good terrorist. Keeps costs down, too.
To be clear: I do not
advocate executing prisoners. We should treat any terrorist we capture
rigorously, but with basic decency. I would only condone forceful
interrogation methods in the most exceptional cases (there are always
exceptions in real life, once you leave the rarefied air of the law
library or the campus).
But it is my belief that our
conventional military and special-operations efforts should emphasize
killing terrorists on the battlefield or in their lairs - conditions
where it is entirely legal to do so. Taking these murderers prisoner
should be an accident, not a goal.
Once a terrorist raises his
hands in surrender, we must honor the pertinent conventions. But
effective military and intelligence operations shouldn't give him the
chance to wave a white rag.
Certainly, we should do all we
sensibly can to avoid harming the innocent. Effective targeting demands
sound intelligence work (ours has gotten much better). And, once in a
great while, we'll decide that a senior terrorist should be taken alive for interrogation.
But the left-wing arguments against killing those who do all they can to kill us are simply wrong. You can
kill your way out of terrorist challenges - it's been done countless
times through the centuries. (That's what's happening to Al Qaeda in
And killing terrorists doesn't put us on a
"slippery slope." Killing Osama or Ayman al-Zawahiri wouldn't
inevitably mean that our Special Forces would then turn to
assassinating Iowa aldermen or Alabama church deacons.
greatest left-wing fallacy in the War on Terror is the conviction that
protecting the rights of terrorists is more important than protecting
the rights of the innocent. It is utterly wrong to imagine that, by
according exaggerated legal protections to terrorists, we strengthen
the legal basis of our society.
Our government's basic justification for existing is the protection of its own citizens.
There is nothing heroic or noble about defending a fanatical mass
murderer's "rights." The nobility lies in protecting the masses of
innocent human beings who obey the law. When anyone chooses the path of
terror, he or she leaps beyond all constitutional guarantees.
Over and over again, our military has found that escaped or released
terrorist prisoners kill again. And hard-core terrorists can't be
rehabilitated: The redemption of human monsters is a myth.
terrorist captured abroad should ever set foot on American soil. No
terrorist taken overseas should ever enter a US courtroom. And no
terrorist of any kind should ever receive free health care that working
Americans can't afford for their families.
No special diets, either. Let 'em eat corn dogs.
The greatest weapon we could apply to fighting terrorists is common sense.
Ralph Peters' new book, "Looking for Trouble," hits stores next week.