“This is nuts”—Charles Krauthammer

This is nuts”–Charles Krauthammer

I hope you will read the following article by columnest Charles Krauthammer.

Obama’s Gitmo obsession is not rooted in the real world

By Charles Krauthammer

WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, Nigerian would-be bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was indicted by a Michigan grand jury for attempted murder and sundry other criminal charges. The previous day, the State Department announced that his visa had been revoked. The system worked.

 Well, it did for Abdulmutallab. What he lost in flying privileges he gained in Miranda rights. He was singing quite freely when seized after trying to bring down Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit. But the Obama administration decided to give him a lawyer and the right to remain silent. We are now forced to purchase information from this attempted terrorist in the coin of leniency. Absurdly, Abdulmutallab is now in control.

And this is no ordinary information. He was trained by al-Qaeda in Yemen, and just days after he was lawyered up and shut up, the U.S. was forced to close its embassy in Yemen because of active threats from the same people who had trained and sent Abdulmutallab.

 This is nuts. Even if you wanted ultimately to try him as an ordinary criminal, he could have been detained in military custody — and thus subject to military interrogation — without prejudicing his ultimate disposition. After all, every Guantanamo detainee was first treated as an enemy combatant and presumably interrogated. But some (most notoriously Khalid Sheik Mohammed) are going to civilian trial. That determination can be made later.

 John Brennan, President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, professes an inability to see any “downsides” to treating Abdulmutallab as an ordinary criminal — with a right to remain silent — a view with which 71 percent of likely voters sensibly disagree.

 The administration likes to defend itself by invoking a Bush precedent: Wasn’t the shoe bomber treated the same way?

 Yes. And it was a mistake, but in the context of the time understandable. That context does not remotely exist today.

 Richard Reid struck three months after 9/11. The current anti-terror apparatus was not in place. Remember: This was barely a month after President Bush authorized the creation of military commissions and before that system had been even set up. Moreover, the Pentagon at the time was preoccupied with the Afghan campaign that brought down the Taliban in two months. The last major Taliban city, Kandahar, fell just two weeks before Reid tried to ignite his shoe on an airplane.

 To be sure, after a few initial misguided statements, Obama did get somewhat serious about the Christmas Day attack. First, he instituted high-level special screening for passengers from 14 countries, the vast majority of which are Muslim with significant Islamist elements. This is the first rational step away from today’s idiotic random screening and toward, yes, a measure of profiling — i.e., focusing on the population most overwhelmingly likely to be harboring a suicide bomber.

Obama also sensibly suspended all transfers of Yemenis from Guantanamo. Nonetheless, Obama insisted on repeating his determination to close the prison, invoking his usual rationale of eliminating a rallying cry and recruiting tool for al-Qaeda.

 Imagine that Guantanamo were to disappear tomorrow, swallowed in a giant tsunami. Do you think there’d be any less recruiting for al-Qaeda in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, London?

 Jihadism’s list of grievances against the West is not only self-replenishing but endlessly creative. Osama bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa commanding universal jihad against America cited as its two top grievances our stationing of troops in Saudi Arabia and Iraqi suffering under anti-Saddam sanctions.

Today, there are virtually no U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia. And the sanctions regime against Iraq was abolished years ago. Has al-Qaeda stopped recruiting? Ayman al-Zawahiri often invokes Andalusia in his speeches. For those not steeped in the multivolume lexicon of Islamist grievances, Andalusia refers to Iberia, lost by Islam to Christendom — in 1492.

 This is a fanatical religious sect dedicated to establishing the most oppressive medieval theocracy and therefore committed to unending war with America not just because it is infidel but because it represents modernity with its individual liberty, social equality (especially for women) and profound tolerance (religious, sexual, philosophical). You going to change that by evacuating Guantanamo?

Nevertheless, Obama will not change his determination to close Guantanamo. He is too politically committed. The only hope is that perhaps now he is offering his “recruiting” rationale out of political expediency rather than real belief. With suicide bombers in the air, cynicism is far less dangerous to the country than naivete.


The previous article by Charles Krauthammer appeared in many newspapers across this Nation. It was reproduced from Townhall.com.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.     1/13/10

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2 Responses to ““This is nuts”—Charles Krauthammer”

  1. vtmawhinney Says:

    Thank you Brice. We are of like mind on these issues. VTM


  2. Brice Petgen Says:

    Krauthamer is probably the best columnist I have ever read. Not to bad for a psychiatrist. His point that there is nothing we as a country can do to appease the terrorists is so true that it is sad that there are those who deny or are willfully ignorant of the point. Those who wish to kill scores of innocent lives to punish others, or as a means of proselytizing their faith are not rational. Yet there are those who are unable to find these monsters as anything but un-rational. These monsters are not subject to logic. In an odd manner the terrorists remind me of people who are in a psychotic break, you cannot reason with them as reality is no longer real for them. Perhaps the president and his advisors should try and negotiate with someone in an active psychosis. Perhaps they would begin to comprehend just what a losing proposition that appeasement is.

    As for what we should do with captured terrorists here are my thoughts. They are not lawful combatants due to the fact that they do not follow the rules of war. As such Geneva conventions are not applicable, regardless of what some may think. These people are not criminals because their actions are of war not crime. Military tribunals are fitting for foreign terrorists. Homegrown terrorists should be tried for treason. As a nation we must crush these terrorists as brutally as possible, while doing what we can to protect innocent life the world over. The last war that we decisively won was WW2. In that war we demolished 2 nations, and subsequently rebuilt them. We fire bombed cities such as Dresden and Tokyo. We dropped atomic weapons on 2 cities. We broke the spirit of our enemy and that is why we won. We must find a way to destroy the spirit and psyche of the terrorists to win. I believe Sun Tzu said all war is psychological, and he is correct. We as a nation need to learn this lesson because our enemies truly understand it.


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