Since the terrorist attacks on American of September 11th, 2001, two terms have arisen to describes ways of looking at the jihadi threat and, indeed, the broader threat posed by rogue nations and groups that seek weapons of mass destruction: the 9/11 and 9/10 mentalities. Subscribers to the first see the threat as primarily a military and intelligence problem, that our normal modes of criminal law enforcement are inadequate to deal with the danger. Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy's book Willful Blindness is a trenchant critique of law enforcement's inability to deal with jihadist terror. It is, I think it's fair to say, the mindset of neoconservatives, Jacksonians, and national security hawks in general, people who are comfortable with muscular efforts to defend Americans' at home and abroad. It is the view I subscribe to.
The 9/10 mentality, on the other hand, sees jihadist terror as exactly a law-enforcement problem. Playing defense and waiting for the enemy to come to us (to be fair, in cooperation with foreign law enforcement and intelligence services) is the preferred way to do things, with the enemy processed through our normal criminal justice system with all the attendant rights and rules of procedure. Ideally, one catches the terrorist before they carry out their deeds, but playing defense does run a greater risk of the enemy striking home. It is the preferred strategy of the American Left and liberal internationalists. It is also, in my opinion, a dangerously foolish notion, its failure amply demonstrated in the 1990s under Bill Clinton.
But even I didn't think they would carry it this stupidly far:
When 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was captured on March 1, 2003, he was not cooperative. “I’ll talk to you guys after I get to New York and see my lawyer,” he said, according to former CIA Director George Tenet.
Of course, KSM did not get a lawyer until months later, after his interrogation was completed, and Tenet says that the information the CIA obtained from him disrupted plots and saved lives. “I believe none of these successes would have happened if we had had to treat KSM like a white-collar criminal – read him his Miranda rights and get him a lawyer who surely would have insisted that his client simply shut up,” Tenet wrote in his memoirs.
If Tenet is right, it’s a good thing KSM was captured before Barack Obama became president. For, the Obama Justice Department has quietly ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured and held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan, according a senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. “The administration has decided to change the focus to law enforcement. Here’s the problem. You have foreign fighters who are targeting US troops today – foreign fighters who go to another country to kill Americans. We capture them…and they’re reading them their rights – Mirandizing these foreign fighters,” says Representative Mike Rogers, who recently met with military, intelligence and law enforcement officials on a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan.
Even worse, Hayes reports that visitors from the International Red Cross are advising detainees to exercise their "Miranda rights" and demand a lawyer.
Hello? May I remind you this is a war? We didn't even accord constitutional rights to Axis prisoners in World War II, and they at least were covered by the Geneva Conventions, unlike these 7th-century throwbacks. According them Miranda rights kills any chance of getting actionable intelligence that could prevent another devastating attack on the United States and its allies. (Such as, for example, the foiled plot to attack Los Angeles in a second wave.) In any war, but especially in a fight against a shadowy enemy, timely intelligence is crucial to any hope of victory. But the Obama administration is more concerned with proper legal procedure that will stand up in a civilian court than with treating this as the fight is really is, so they accord our sworn enemies the very rights they would destroy.
It's September 10th vs. September 11th, and the deluded believers in the fantasy world of September 10th are doing all they can to get more of us killed, whether they know it or not.
LINKS: More reading at The Weekly Standard (and here's video of Obama in 2008 laughing off the idea of giving Miranda rights to terrorists – expiration dates!); Sarah Palin gets another chance to say "we told ya so!"; Power Line; Jihad Watch; Tom Maguire; and Christopher Badeaux.