Underwear bomber planners were Gitmo alums

ABC reports that al Qaeda Leaders Behind Terror Plot Were Released by U.S.:

Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans.

American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an "art therapy rehabilitation program" and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.

Guantanamo prisoner #333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner #372, Said Ali Shari, were sent to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 9, 2007, according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody. Al-Harbi has since changed his name to Muhamad al-Awfi.

Both Saudi nationals have since emerged in leadership roles in Yemen, according to U.S. officials and the men's own statements on al Qaeda propaganda tapes.

Combating terrorism with art therapy classes! We had these guys in custody! We are planning to let more of them out! The terrorists seem to be so much smarter than we are.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Kirk

    Art Therapy? That’s almost satirical.

  • Kirk

    Art Therapy? That’s almost satirical.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Only we could be so gullible. It would have been much better if we had put them in horse care therapy that works much better….
    Curious what an art therapy class would even look like in Saudi Arabia. I mean Islam hasn’t exactly been recognized as any great patron of the arts. The strong Iconoclastic element in that society has been more known for destroying art.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Only we could be so gullible. It would have been much better if we had put them in horse care therapy that works much better….
    Curious what an art therapy class would even look like in Saudi Arabia. I mean Islam hasn’t exactly been recognized as any great patron of the arts. The strong Iconoclastic element in that society has been more known for destroying art.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I knew that the moment Obama started letting all those terrorists out, it’d come back to bite us! He’s so focused on being PC that he has no idea how to fight this war. Why, I …

    Wait, what’s that? It was Bush who let them out? Oh.

    No wonder there’s not a lot of comments here.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I knew that the moment Obama started letting all those terrorists out, it’d come back to bite us! He’s so focused on being PC that he has no idea how to fight this war. Why, I …

    Wait, what’s that? It was Bush who let them out? Oh.

    No wonder there’s not a lot of comments here.

  • fws

    todd. what he says…. those fascinating group dynamics here at cranach… never fails to fail to surprise….

  • fws

    todd. what he says…. those fascinating group dynamics here at cranach… never fails to fail to surprise….

  • DonS

    OK, I’ll bite, guys. I blame Bush for attempting to appease the left by releasing prisoners of war that he had no business releasing. Appeasement never works. Nor, apparently, do art therapy classes in Saudi Arabia.

    Hopefully, Obama will learn from this experience and reverse course regarding the closure of Gitmo, and the pending disastrous twin policies of trying terrorists in mass trials in New York federal courts and moving the Gitmo prisoners to Illinois.

  • DonS

    OK, I’ll bite, guys. I blame Bush for attempting to appease the left by releasing prisoners of war that he had no business releasing. Appeasement never works. Nor, apparently, do art therapy classes in Saudi Arabia.

    Hopefully, Obama will learn from this experience and reverse course regarding the closure of Gitmo, and the pending disastrous twin policies of trying terrorists in mass trials in New York federal courts and moving the Gitmo prisoners to Illinois.

  • http://puttingoutthefire.blogspot.com/ Frank Gillespie

    tODD, there were many of us conservative types that didn’t want these guys let out, myself included. It was wrong for Bush to do it and it will be wrong when Obama does it. My biggest problem with Bush was his inability call Islam what it is: dangerous. The politicians can call Islam a religion of piece all they want but actually thinking that only puts bad people in art classes and us in danger.

  • http://puttingoutthefire.blogspot.com/ Frank Gillespie

    tODD, there were many of us conservative types that didn’t want these guys let out, myself included. It was wrong for Bush to do it and it will be wrong when Obama does it. My biggest problem with Bush was his inability call Islam what it is: dangerous. The politicians can call Islam a religion of piece all they want but actually thinking that only puts bad people in art classes and us in danger.

  • http://www.fatherhollywood.blogspot.com Rev. Larry Beane

    There seems to be the assumption that there are two ways to deal with such prisoners: 1) detain them forever (or summarily execute them) with no trial, Soviet-style, or 2) Free them to Saudi Arabia art classes on the promise that they will behave.

    How about trying them, and doing so quickly? If they are guilty, incarcerate or execute them. If they are innocent, free them and compensate them for their time. If I spent years in a foreign jail cell, I would expect some kind of apology, a ride home, and some compensation. These people should have been tried speedily and treated humanely. We let our rage and sense of invincibility lead us into acting stupidly. Do we honestly think there won’t be any consequence?

    Holding people year after year in a cage without trial and without access to basic human rights is not really too smart. Even if such people were innocent (it does sometimes happen that innocent people get swept up in mass arrests) going in, after a few years of captivity with no access to a trial might make you a little mad at your captors.

    And if they are guilty, why are we afraid to try them, and even execute them if convicted? There seems to be a little worry that these people might be found not guilty. That’s the only reason not to try them.

    When our justice system becomes no different than the Gulags and concentration camps in Russia, China, and tin-horn dictatorships, how have the terrorists not won?

  • http://www.fatherhollywood.blogspot.com Rev. Larry Beane

    There seems to be the assumption that there are two ways to deal with such prisoners: 1) detain them forever (or summarily execute them) with no trial, Soviet-style, or 2) Free them to Saudi Arabia art classes on the promise that they will behave.

    How about trying them, and doing so quickly? If they are guilty, incarcerate or execute them. If they are innocent, free them and compensate them for their time. If I spent years in a foreign jail cell, I would expect some kind of apology, a ride home, and some compensation. These people should have been tried speedily and treated humanely. We let our rage and sense of invincibility lead us into acting stupidly. Do we honestly think there won’t be any consequence?

    Holding people year after year in a cage without trial and without access to basic human rights is not really too smart. Even if such people were innocent (it does sometimes happen that innocent people get swept up in mass arrests) going in, after a few years of captivity with no access to a trial might make you a little mad at your captors.

    And if they are guilty, why are we afraid to try them, and even execute them if convicted? There seems to be a little worry that these people might be found not guilty. That’s the only reason not to try them.

    When our justice system becomes no different than the Gulags and concentration camps in Russia, China, and tin-horn dictatorships, how have the terrorists not won?

  • http://puttingoutthefire.blogspot.com/ Frank Gillespie

    Well said Pr. Beane as is the norm with you.

  • http://puttingoutthefire.blogspot.com/ Frank Gillespie

    Well said Pr. Beane as is the norm with you.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Larry,
    I think the question has been more as to what type of trial is appropriate, military or civilian, rather than not trying them at all. But then for those of us that have been through the military, and have taken classes in the Geneva Conventions it seems most of these people can blame themselves for the predicament they are in. If you fight you where a uniform. If found on the battlefield, weapons in hand, and no uniform, you have no right to trial, and probably just ought to be shot so as not to create this headache.
    But all that aside, thinking that art therapy in Saudi Arabia is the key to rehabilitation should take the comical news story of the year if we can still vote on that. Arabian art, incessant doodling.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Larry,
    I think the question has been more as to what type of trial is appropriate, military or civilian, rather than not trying them at all. But then for those of us that have been through the military, and have taken classes in the Geneva Conventions it seems most of these people can blame themselves for the predicament they are in. If you fight you where a uniform. If found on the battlefield, weapons in hand, and no uniform, you have no right to trial, and probably just ought to be shot so as not to create this headache.
    But all that aside, thinking that art therapy in Saudi Arabia is the key to rehabilitation should take the comical news story of the year if we can still vote on that. Arabian art, incessant doodling.

  • DonS

    Larry @ 7: I think Bror hits the nail on the head in his post #9. Originally, the Bush administration wanted to treat the detainees as illegal combatants under the Geneva Convention, which is exactly what they are. They wanted to detain them and interrogate them to obtain any information they could to assist the Iraqi and Afghani war efforts, which takes years, and then, as appropriate, conduct military tribunals, in secret, to determine which of them, if any, would be eligible for release and/or a suitable punishment. The left applied intensive pressure on the administration to imbue these terrorists with the same constitutional rights that U.S. citizens deserve, and got some federal judges to generally go along with that previously unheard of notion. So here we are, and now even the Obama administration realizes how impossible it is to treat these terrorists as if they are U.S. citizens. For example, if you conduct trials in U.S. federal courts, how do you keep important U.S. military intelligence secret? How do you account for the fact that these detainees weren’t Mirandized? Will all of the information extracted from them during debriefings be excluded as evidence because of this change of rules in the middle of the game? If so, there is a very real chance that one or more of them will not be convicted. Then, what do you do? Do you release them? If so, then into whose neighborhood? More art classes in Saudi Arabia? How do you secure the courtroom, and even more importantly, the lives of the judge that presides over the trial? What about the jury? Would you want to serve on a jury that convicts an internationally known terrorist? Would your family want you to?

    Things are not so simple as you make them out to be in your post.

  • DonS

    Larry @ 7: I think Bror hits the nail on the head in his post #9. Originally, the Bush administration wanted to treat the detainees as illegal combatants under the Geneva Convention, which is exactly what they are. They wanted to detain them and interrogate them to obtain any information they could to assist the Iraqi and Afghani war efforts, which takes years, and then, as appropriate, conduct military tribunals, in secret, to determine which of them, if any, would be eligible for release and/or a suitable punishment. The left applied intensive pressure on the administration to imbue these terrorists with the same constitutional rights that U.S. citizens deserve, and got some federal judges to generally go along with that previously unheard of notion. So here we are, and now even the Obama administration realizes how impossible it is to treat these terrorists as if they are U.S. citizens. For example, if you conduct trials in U.S. federal courts, how do you keep important U.S. military intelligence secret? How do you account for the fact that these detainees weren’t Mirandized? Will all of the information extracted from them during debriefings be excluded as evidence because of this change of rules in the middle of the game? If so, there is a very real chance that one or more of them will not be convicted. Then, what do you do? Do you release them? If so, then into whose neighborhood? More art classes in Saudi Arabia? How do you secure the courtroom, and even more importantly, the lives of the judge that presides over the trial? What about the jury? Would you want to serve on a jury that convicts an internationally known terrorist? Would your family want you to?

    Things are not so simple as you make them out to be in your post.

  • http://www.fatherhollywood.blogspot.com Rev. Larry Beane

    Dear Bror:

    It’s true that those outside of uniform fall into a different category than POWs. But they are still human beings. Locking up a human being indefinitely, torturing them, denying them any legal representation, all based on someone’s testimony is simply unchristian and uncivilized. It borders on turning a human being into a non-entity – even without being convicted of anything.

    Do you really want to live in an Almighty State that claims such power? “When they came for the Jews, I said nothing because I was not a Jew.” We have seen what is done to 40 million babies since those in utero were redefined as non-persons.

    No, I don’t trust any government with that kind of power.

    Whether tried by military tribunal or civilian courts, we must respect that all human beings are created in the image of God – including terrorists as well as those who are suspected of terrorism. The principle of due process is not a privilege granted by a benevolent government to citizens (which would, of course, make it revocable), but rather fall under the rubric of inalienable rights granted by the Creator. If we really believe our own words, we ought not take life or liberty extrajudicially. We used to rail against the Godless Reds for doing the same thing – and rightfully so.

    There were innocent people rounded up on the battlefield. In a guerilla war, you will capture innocent people – it is inevitable when the combatants are not uniformed and are wandering among the people. Locking them up with no legal (let alone human) rights is only sowing the seeds for future attacks. The Communists did not make a whole lot of friends among the peoples they “liberated” with similar secret prisons and confessions extracted under torture.

    You can just imagine the outcry if the tables were turned, and Americans were being subjected to such treatment.

    Pax!

    Larry

  • http://www.fatherhollywood.blogspot.com Rev. Larry Beane

    Dear Bror:

    It’s true that those outside of uniform fall into a different category than POWs. But they are still human beings. Locking up a human being indefinitely, torturing them, denying them any legal representation, all based on someone’s testimony is simply unchristian and uncivilized. It borders on turning a human being into a non-entity – even without being convicted of anything.

    Do you really want to live in an Almighty State that claims such power? “When they came for the Jews, I said nothing because I was not a Jew.” We have seen what is done to 40 million babies since those in utero were redefined as non-persons.

    No, I don’t trust any government with that kind of power.

    Whether tried by military tribunal or civilian courts, we must respect that all human beings are created in the image of God – including terrorists as well as those who are suspected of terrorism. The principle of due process is not a privilege granted by a benevolent government to citizens (which would, of course, make it revocable), but rather fall under the rubric of inalienable rights granted by the Creator. If we really believe our own words, we ought not take life or liberty extrajudicially. We used to rail against the Godless Reds for doing the same thing – and rightfully so.

    There were innocent people rounded up on the battlefield. In a guerilla war, you will capture innocent people – it is inevitable when the combatants are not uniformed and are wandering among the people. Locking them up with no legal (let alone human) rights is only sowing the seeds for future attacks. The Communists did not make a whole lot of friends among the peoples they “liberated” with similar secret prisons and confessions extracted under torture.

    You can just imagine the outcry if the tables were turned, and Americans were being subjected to such treatment.

    Pax!

    Larry

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    So, are we all agreed that President Bush shouldn’t have released these guys? Anyone disagree, raise your hand. No one? OK. So are we all agreed that President Obama shouldn’t release the remaining ones, most of whom are Yemenis? tODD? President is going to close down the Gitmo detention center, trying some of them in civilian court and incarcerating some in Illinois. (Do you think that’s a good place for them?)

    The main question is this: Are these detainees criminals or combatants in war? If the latter, the Geneva accords apply, but one of those accords is that captive soldiers may be detained but they may not be tried as a criminal! (If they fought out of uniform or as a spy, they could be. But soldiers under a chain of command have rights, among which is the right NOT to be tried as a criminal.

    During WWII, when we caught a German private or they caught an American GI, neither side would try him for murder, even though he may have killed in combat. He could be detained to keep him out of battle as a prisoner of war, with assurances of decent treatment.

    So, ironically, those who want the jihadist prisoners to have their Geneva rights as P.O.W.’s shouldn’t also want them to be tried in civilian court. And vice versa.

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    So, are we all agreed that President Bush shouldn’t have released these guys? Anyone disagree, raise your hand. No one? OK. So are we all agreed that President Obama shouldn’t release the remaining ones, most of whom are Yemenis? tODD? President is going to close down the Gitmo detention center, trying some of them in civilian court and incarcerating some in Illinois. (Do you think that’s a good place for them?)

    The main question is this: Are these detainees criminals or combatants in war? If the latter, the Geneva accords apply, but one of those accords is that captive soldiers may be detained but they may not be tried as a criminal! (If they fought out of uniform or as a spy, they could be. But soldiers under a chain of command have rights, among which is the right NOT to be tried as a criminal.

    During WWII, when we caught a German private or they caught an American GI, neither side would try him for murder, even though he may have killed in combat. He could be detained to keep him out of battle as a prisoner of war, with assurances of decent treatment.

    So, ironically, those who want the jihadist prisoners to have their Geneva rights as P.O.W.’s shouldn’t also want them to be tried in civilian court. And vice versa.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Larry,
    Perhaps a few innocents have been rounded up. I would not doubt it. Based on someones testimony? Well, we had operatives in Afghanistan almost a day after 9/11 working with old contacts from the 80s when we used afghan blood to defeat the Russians, then left them all high and dry because of the isolationist bent in American politics that thinks even after the invention of the Airplane that America is an Island that doesn’t need to worry about anyone but themselves in this world. Those operatives had a pretty good I dea f who was who, and the people in Gitmo are not people who rehabilitate through an art class.
    I agree they are still people, created in the image of God. Rights are rights and not bestowed by a benevolent government. Yet they can be revoked, if you take certain actions you give up those rights. That is just how it works. If for some reason you find yourself on a battle field as a civilian, you can be smart enough not to pick up the AK 47, put your hands in the air and surrender. I just don’t feel sorry in the least for the people there at Gitmo.
    Perhaps we don’t detain them indefinately, just till this war is over, like all other POWS are kept until the war is over.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Larry,
    Perhaps a few innocents have been rounded up. I would not doubt it. Based on someones testimony? Well, we had operatives in Afghanistan almost a day after 9/11 working with old contacts from the 80s when we used afghan blood to defeat the Russians, then left them all high and dry because of the isolationist bent in American politics that thinks even after the invention of the Airplane that America is an Island that doesn’t need to worry about anyone but themselves in this world. Those operatives had a pretty good I dea f who was who, and the people in Gitmo are not people who rehabilitate through an art class.
    I agree they are still people, created in the image of God. Rights are rights and not bestowed by a benevolent government. Yet they can be revoked, if you take certain actions you give up those rights. That is just how it works. If for some reason you find yourself on a battle field as a civilian, you can be smart enough not to pick up the AK 47, put your hands in the air and surrender. I just don’t feel sorry in the least for the people there at Gitmo.
    Perhaps we don’t detain them indefinately, just till this war is over, like all other POWS are kept until the war is over.

  • http://www.puttingoutthefire.blogspot.com/ Frank Gillespie

    “The main question is this: Are these detainees criminals or combatants in war” They are by their own admission combatants in war. The problem with applying the Geneva accords is that they have gone outside of the accepted rules of war. Just because an enemy combatant isn’t wearing a uniform or a member of recognized country of the United Nations doesn’t mean that individual or group can’t declare war on a country, an entire system of government like democracy, or faith system as the Islamist have done.

    Just as we did with the Barbary Pirates we need to call a thing what it is; evil and declare war on them and terminate with extreme prejudice. We understood in the 19th century that we had a problem in a way that we can’t seem to admit in the 21st because of political correctness. Until we are willing to admit that we have a problem with a belief system that promises to convert by the sword I don’t see tha changing anytime soon.

    I can’t seem to recall in basic training or any other class I took while serving in the armored forces that that I needed to see what uniform somebody that was shooting at me was wearing nor do I recall anybody telling me I had to read a prisoner his rights. All I seem to remember is that churches were off limits unless somebody was hiding behind or in one while killing my fellow soldiers. If someone was dumb enough to set up shop and try to kill people from a church; then the church was forfeit no questions asked. In other words; the rules of war applied until they didn’t.

    “So, ironically, those who want the jihadist prisoners to have their Geneva rights as P.O.W.’s shouldn’t also want them to be tried in civilian court. And vice versa.” Brilliant point!

  • http://www.puttingoutthefire.blogspot.com/ Frank Gillespie

    “The main question is this: Are these detainees criminals or combatants in war” They are by their own admission combatants in war. The problem with applying the Geneva accords is that they have gone outside of the accepted rules of war. Just because an enemy combatant isn’t wearing a uniform or a member of recognized country of the United Nations doesn’t mean that individual or group can’t declare war on a country, an entire system of government like democracy, or faith system as the Islamist have done.

    Just as we did with the Barbary Pirates we need to call a thing what it is; evil and declare war on them and terminate with extreme prejudice. We understood in the 19th century that we had a problem in a way that we can’t seem to admit in the 21st because of political correctness. Until we are willing to admit that we have a problem with a belief system that promises to convert by the sword I don’t see tha changing anytime soon.

    I can’t seem to recall in basic training or any other class I took while serving in the armored forces that that I needed to see what uniform somebody that was shooting at me was wearing nor do I recall anybody telling me I had to read a prisoner his rights. All I seem to remember is that churches were off limits unless somebody was hiding behind or in one while killing my fellow soldiers. If someone was dumb enough to set up shop and try to kill people from a church; then the church was forfeit no questions asked. In other words; the rules of war applied until they didn’t.

    “So, ironically, those who want the jihadist prisoners to have their Geneva rights as P.O.W.’s shouldn’t also want them to be tried in civilian court. And vice versa.” Brilliant point!

  • http://www.fatherhollywood.blogspot.com Rev. Larry Beane

    Dear Bror:

    If these people are guilty, then convict them in a trial. Execute them after a trial, even. But allowing people to sit in a cell year after year with no charge against them is the stuff of the gulag.

    Let’s say we have such a breakdown of law and order in the U.S. as they have obviously had in Afghanistan. Our homes and neighborhoods become a battlefield – non-uniformed factions are gunning it out. Maybe we are too poor to simply move, or maybe we can’t physically move. I live on a battlefield, I have a gun, and I would not hesitate to use it if my family were under attack by thugs from either side. But let’s say UN troops come in, determine that 4th street in Gretna is a battlefield, and arrest me for having a gun to protect my family with. And let’s say the UN soldier is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and is just plain angry. He might even embellish his testimony a bit and turn me into an Al Qaida operative. And to prove the point, I am not wearing a uniform! There you go. In such a situation, I could be arrested, tortured, held in a prison without notifying any embassy, denied legal counsel, etc. All in the name of freedom.

    We had a similar situation after Katrina. National Guard troops were illegally seizing peoples’ guns – the very things that would protect them from looters. One of our guys doing rescue work had an M16 aimed at his head. If the criminal justice system were suspended, Michael might still be in a prison waiting for a trial that will never happen – all because an overzealous guardsman might not want to admit that he was acting rashly to point a weapon at an unarmed man on a flatboat with the caged animals he was rescuing.

    We have trials because we aren’t omniscient. We need to punish the guilty and free the innocent. If we don’t care about the innocent, we might as well just kill everyone and have done with it.

    If we already know who is guilty without trials, why not just abolish *all* courts? I mean, if a police officer says you were speeding, why bother with allowing you to plead? Don’t we trust our men and women in uniform?

    The point is that we don’t know who is innocent and who is guilty until there is a trial. Original sin insures that the innocent are not always protected. The guilty are not 100% innocent, and the innocent are not 100% guilty. “Kill them all and let God sort it out” may be satisfying, but I would not want it on my conscience.

    You make a good point about the “war” being over. War was never declared. This “war” is like the “war on poverty.” It isn’t a war at all. And it will never end until (just like the “war on poverty” and the “war on drugs”) the second coming of Christ. Part of the problem of this legal no-man’s land is our own fault for not following our own constitution.

    Even Ted Bundy received a trial. We would allow a foreign national to be tried for not stopping at a stop sign. Nobody should be allowed to sit in a prison or be executed without a trial – especially if we are trying to show people that our form of government is something they might want to have or emulate.

    I remember how outraged we all used to be when the Chinese and the Russians did the same thing. But I suppose if we’re going to go to a Soviet-style healthcare system, we might as well adopt their approach to jurisprudence as well. Heck, we’re following in the Soviet footsteps by pouring troops into the “graveyard of empires.”

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  • http://www.fatherhollywood.blogspot.com Rev. Larry Beane

    Dear Bror:

    If these people are guilty, then convict them in a trial. Execute them after a trial, even. But allowing people to sit in a cell year after year with no charge against them is the stuff of the gulag.

    Let’s say we have such a breakdown of law and order in the U.S. as they have obviously had in Afghanistan. Our homes and neighborhoods become a battlefield – non-uniformed factions are gunning it out. Maybe we are too poor to simply move, or maybe we can’t physically move. I live on a battlefield, I have a gun, and I would not hesitate to use it if my family were under attack by thugs from either side. But let’s say UN troops come in, determine that 4th street in Gretna is a battlefield, and arrest me for having a gun to protect my family with. And let’s say the UN soldier is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and is just plain angry. He might even embellish his testimony a bit and turn me into an Al Qaida operative. And to prove the point, I am not wearing a uniform! There you go. In such a situation, I could be arrested, tortured, held in a prison without notifying any embassy, denied legal counsel, etc. All in the name of freedom.

    We had a similar situation after Katrina. National Guard troops were illegally seizing peoples’ guns – the very things that would protect them from looters. One of our guys doing rescue work had an M16 aimed at his head. If the criminal justice system were suspended, Michael might still be in a prison waiting for a trial that will never happen – all because an overzealous guardsman might not want to admit that he was acting rashly to point a weapon at an unarmed man on a flatboat with the caged animals he was rescuing.

    We have trials because we aren’t omniscient. We need to punish the guilty and free the innocent. If we don’t care about the innocent, we might as well just kill everyone and have done with it.

    If we already know who is guilty without trials, why not just abolish *all* courts? I mean, if a police officer says you were speeding, why bother with allowing you to plead? Don’t we trust our men and women in uniform?

    The point is that we don’t know who is innocent and who is guilty until there is a trial. Original sin insures that the innocent are not always protected. The guilty are not 100% innocent, and the innocent are not 100% guilty. “Kill them all and let God sort it out” may be satisfying, but I would not want it on my conscience.

    You make a good point about the “war” being over. War was never declared. This “war” is like the “war on poverty.” It isn’t a war at all. And it will never end until (just like the “war on poverty” and the “war on drugs”) the second coming of Christ. Part of the problem of this legal no-man’s land is our own fault for not following our own constitution.

    Even Ted Bundy received a trial. We would allow a foreign national to be tried for not stopping at a stop sign. Nobody should be allowed to sit in a prison or be executed without a trial – especially if we are trying to show people that our form of government is something they might want to have or emulate.

    I remember how outraged we all used to be when the Chinese and the Russians did the same thing. But I suppose if we’re going to go to a Soviet-style healthcare system, we might as well adopt their approach to jurisprudence as well. Heck, we’re following in the Soviet footsteps by pouring troops into the “graveyard of empires.”

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Larry,
    The hypothetical of what might happen on Gretna Street, or what did happen after Katrina is not quite the same as what has been happening in Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
    It is war, and it has been declared, it has been authorized. And it is a mess, but then what war isn’t.
    I don’t hold to the same idealism that you do, not anymore anyway. Somewhere along the line I suppose I lost my innocence. I just wish the United States would stop feigning their own, and start doing the job and getting it done properly. It’s war. It’s ugly, but posturing political correctness during the whole thing is only making it worse. Innocent people get caught up in it. I don’t relish that. But perhaps fewer would if we stopped worrying about it as much, and berating our country as Nazi’s and Commies, and besmirching the men and women of our armed forces who are doing the best job they can defending us. That doesn’t mean we can’t voice concern, protest, etc. But I’m not going to lose sleep over Gitmo. And any country that thinks they can do better, wants to sling mud etc. Well we see what they have done to help us solve the problem. Nothing. They aren’t any better. Nor would they be.
    But as one who crossed back and forth over Check Point Charly as a kid, after walking the grounds of Bergen Belsen, and has served in the Military, I take extreme umbrage to your comparison of our country to these governments. No one is keeping you here. The mere fact that you feel so free to criticize should show you that you are not dealing with that type of government, and there are plenty of people in other countries who would die and have died to enjoy the freedom you have.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Larry,
    The hypothetical of what might happen on Gretna Street, or what did happen after Katrina is not quite the same as what has been happening in Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
    It is war, and it has been declared, it has been authorized. And it is a mess, but then what war isn’t.
    I don’t hold to the same idealism that you do, not anymore anyway. Somewhere along the line I suppose I lost my innocence. I just wish the United States would stop feigning their own, and start doing the job and getting it done properly. It’s war. It’s ugly, but posturing political correctness during the whole thing is only making it worse. Innocent people get caught up in it. I don’t relish that. But perhaps fewer would if we stopped worrying about it as much, and berating our country as Nazi’s and Commies, and besmirching the men and women of our armed forces who are doing the best job they can defending us. That doesn’t mean we can’t voice concern, protest, etc. But I’m not going to lose sleep over Gitmo. And any country that thinks they can do better, wants to sling mud etc. Well we see what they have done to help us solve the problem. Nothing. They aren’t any better. Nor would they be.
    But as one who crossed back and forth over Check Point Charly as a kid, after walking the grounds of Bergen Belsen, and has served in the Military, I take extreme umbrage to your comparison of our country to these governments. No one is keeping you here. The mere fact that you feel so free to criticize should show you that you are not dealing with that type of government, and there are plenty of people in other countries who would die and have died to enjoy the freedom you have.

  • http://www.fatherhollywood.blogspot.com Rev. Larry Beane

    Dear Bror:

    War was not declared.

    I can see you’re getting a little emotional, my friend and brother in Christ, and I don’t think any further discussion will be fruitful.

    The first American president (who held the unique rank of General of the Armies) warned us:

    “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”

    It is not that the American government is evil, it’s that all mankind is evil, and government (whether American or not) has to be watched. That’s why we have a Constitution.

    Pax!

  • http://www.fatherhollywood.blogspot.com Rev. Larry Beane

    Dear Bror:

    War was not declared.

    I can see you’re getting a little emotional, my friend and brother in Christ, and I don’t think any further discussion will be fruitful.

    The first American president (who held the unique rank of General of the Armies) warned us:

    “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”

    It is not that the American government is evil, it’s that all mankind is evil, and government (whether American or not) has to be watched. That’s why we have a Constitution.

    Pax!

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Larry,
    not sure what you call planes flying into sky scrapers, but I took it as a declaration of war.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Larry,
    not sure what you call planes flying into sky scrapers, but I took it as a declaration of war.


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