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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Making a Treaty With al Qaeda: The Durbin Approach

Tomorrow Sen. Durbin (R-Ill) and his cronies on the Senate Judiciary Comittee will seek to stop Albert Gonzalez from becoming the next Attorney General by whining about US treatment of terrorists. Here, from Nationl Review, is their plan:

Since the early 1990s, al Qaeda has, at the very least, killed American
soldiers and desecrated their remains in Somalia; urged the murder of all
Americans — civilians and military alike — wherever on the globe they may be
found; conducted simultaneous sneak attacks on the American embassies in Kenya
and Tanzania, resulting in the mass murder of over 240 civilians (the vast
majority of them Muslims and non-Americans); killed 17 American seamen in an
attempt to blow up the destroyer, the U.S.S. Cole; murdered 3,000 Americans in
hijack attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; and spearheaded
guerrilla wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that have killed well over a thousand
American military personnel and countless civilians.

In addition to killing civilians in sneak attacks — commonly, detonating bombs within nondescript cars parked or driven in broad daylight in densely populated areas — hey also secrete themselves among their once and future victims. They wear no distinguishing insignia to segregate themselves as a militia. They use mosques and schools and hospitals to plan and store weaponry. They feign surrender and then open fire on unsuspecting coalition forces attempting the civilized act of detaining, rather than shooting, them. As for treatment of their own detainees, their practice ranges from execution-style homicide to beastly beheading — usually captured on film and circulated on the Internet to buck up the other savages while scaring the living hell out of everyone else.

So here's an idea: Let's make a treaty with them.

Are there any questions why the Democrats lost the last election? They are preparing to gin up a controversy, not about torture, but about the limits to be placed on interrogating terrorists.
In any event, on Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a
confirmation hearing for Gonzales. Critics are urging committee Democrats to
question the nominee aggressively on the benighted administration policy of no
Geneva protections for terrorists whose lives are singularly dedicated to
annihilating Americans. Fair game, one supposes, but no senator should be
allowed to take up the torch without at least answering a simple question: Do
you favor a treaty with al Qaeda?
The inarguable, inconvenient fact is we have no such treaty. Al Qaeda is not and, indeed, cannot be among Geneva's high contracting parties. It is not a country. The U.S. has for over two decades expressly rejected a treaty — the 1977 Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions — that would have vested terrorists with Geneva protections. I hate to spoil the party, but if we're going to have such a treaty with al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, it will have to be a new one.
Under Article III of the Constitution, the consent of two thirds of the Senate's membership is required before a treaty can be approved. Although we haven't yet been able to arrange getting President Bush and Emir Zarqawi together for a signing ceremony, getting the senators on record — especially given the caviling over Gonzales — could really get the ball rolling. So let's ask them. All of them. Plain and
simple, so the folks back home know just where you stand: Do you favor a treaty
with al Qaeda?
Does anyone think there are 67 yea votes on that one? How
about ten? How about one? No. The fact is, outside a lunatic fringe, there's not
a politician in America who would support something so absurd.
The next attorney general's position on this matter is not a radical view. It's America's view. So ask away — it'll be good for all of us to know where everyone stands.

And speaking as a dissident in The People's Republic of Illinois, I very much want to know where Sen Durbin and the Dems new heart throb, Barak Obama stand on terrorism.

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