Just a few weeks ago, two reporters were forced to convert, at gunpoint, to Islam… and they were viciously castigated by a number of noble conservative bloggers. (An excellent round-up is here.) Evidently, martyring oneself rather than converting to Islam was seen as the proper course of action, and doing otherwise demonstrated a weakness of resolve and spirit to our enemies.
Today we have a new debate raging around torture, detainment, and due process — American values that have been held up for generations by people around the world. Yet many conservatives are now saying that to fight the enemy, we must jettison such weak principles. To hold onto them, according to Thomas Sowell, is suicidal and irresponsible.
No amount of security precautions can protect us from all the thousands of ways in which terrorists can strike at times and places of their own choosing — and eventually strike with nuclear weapons. Our only hope is to get advance information from those we capture as to where other terrorists are and how they operate.
Squeamishness about how this is done is not a sign of higher morality but of irresponsibility in the face of mortal dangers.
You bet I’m squeamish, but not so much about the techniques. I’m far more concerned about the willingness of Americans to simply embrace the methods of the enemies… and what it will mean to those same enemies.
“…what the target audience understands is quite different: that there is nothing we’re willing to die for. And, to the Islamist mind, a society with nothing to die for is already dead.
When the above paragraph was written, it was in response to those reporters who, by converting (according to the author), showed the “Islamist mind” that there was nothing we’re willing to die for… but I see a disturbing parallel to the current terrorist interrogation debate.
What, exactly, does our society stand for these days? And when did one’s willingness to die for religion become its measure?
If we’re willing to torture, break our own laws, re-write treaties or conventions, and execute people without due process, then clearly some folks have a much different view of what defines America than Polimom. Sowell (cited above) writes:
Does any sane adult believe that the cutthroats we are dealing with will respect the Geneva convention? Or that our extension of Geneva convention rights to them will be seen as anything other than another sign of weakness and confusion that will encourage them in their terrorism?
No. Of course they’re not going respect the Geneva convention, but if we don’t, we’re merely lowering ourselves to their standards. Remaining true to our values isn’t weak; it’s principled.
How can people say they’d die before they’d convert to Islam, but they’ll abandon what America stands for without a blink? Isn’t all of this what we’re fighting against?
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