11/09/07 — War on terrorists: Techniques to get information shouldn’t be pleasant

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War on terrorists: Techniques to get information shouldn’t be pleasant

Americans don’t like to be bullies. Not really. It is just not in our nature to oppress anyone when there is any other way to help or to get our point across.

This nation is supposed to be above all that — to follow the high road and to set an example of how business should be conducted on the international stage.

So, that’s the reason so many Americans are so concerned that the course of the war on terror might have taken a less than humane turn.

In addition to continued calls for “justice” for the political prisoners housed in a jail in Cuba, as well as other detainees around the world, there has been a call for the elimination of torture techniques — or what are called torture anyway — as officials continue to deal with the political prisoners who are the ultimate consequence in the war on terror.

OK, so the idea is a good one. The United States does want to set the standard for the conduct of a war — and the keeping of political prisoners. After all, that’s what leaders do.

But sometimes it seems that some Americans and their leaders have forgotten with whom they are dealing.

Many of those arrested so far in the war on terror have been active participants in the plotting that has killed thousands and thousands of people around the world — and they have even been instrumental in carrying out the atrocities against their own people.

They have sworn to eliminate all infidels — and that includes every American and European who does not subscribe to their religious views.

They see it as a cause and as a way to earn honor in their own lives. They are cleansing the world of evil.

So, they do not follow the rules.

Some of the men who have been detained were part of the group that planned and executed Americans in cold blood — on television.

They did not worry about world opinion or the rules for handling political prisoners. They did not ask the United Nations to intervene.

They killed them viciously on television.

And they plot to kill innocent men, women and children every day.

If there had been a way to get one of the planners of the Sept. 11 attack to crack, to give up some information, there would be 3,000 people alive today.

And while that does not mean there should be no controls, there is reason to suggest that the ends just might have justified those means.

You cannot negotiate with terrorists — especially these.

The only way to win, which in this case means to protect ourselves, is to play hard.

It is time to realize the stakes of another decision.

Published in Editorials on November 9, 2007 11:21 AM