11/16/09 - 12:05am
by Chas Danner

Thoughts From This Week

Terrorists are criminals. They are not soldiers, or enemy combatants, or any other term we’d like to use that might somehow remove the rights they deserve. They are criminals. Criminals are dealt with through our justice system, treated fairly and humanely, and then put in prison if they are convicted in a court that respects our rule of law. The prison must also be in a place where that rule of law is respected. Treating a criminal like this is what makes America America. And if acting this way as a nation somehow makes America more of a target, bring it on. It is not an act of weakness but of strength, and better we be targeted for that than for black sites, torture, or for hateful rhetoric.

If a politician or pundit wants to suggest otherwise, then they are, literally, un-American.

(And no terrorist should ever face the death penalty. The unique mindset of terrorists that celebrates death as it does should forbid us from anything they might feel is a reward.)

Also, we are fighting 2 wars right now, asking men and women to die for the freedom we hardly ever remember to enjoy. There is often a bunch of explanation that usually diffuses that but at it’s core that’s exactly what our armed services protect. And this past week between the murders at Fort Hood and the always overdue retrospection around Veterans/Armistice Day it was hard not to think about this price we pay for freedom.

One hears this word far too much these days here in the US. It’s Bravehearted by the questionably informed (and questionably sane) at “tea” parties, on vaudeville political talk shows, and with staged passion on the floors of congress. But it’s important, this word, this idea, this ideal. It supersedes nationalism or other bullshit expressions of patriotism, it supersedes the theater of the marginalized or fearful, and it especially supersedes the idea that we can pick and choose who is or is not entitled to our rule of law – a system which defines what freedom actually means outside of a dictionary or rhetorical flourish.

How can we choose to narrow the very thing our service members are still dying for, every single day…