Attorney General Eric Holder is prosecuting five suspected terrorists linked to 9/11, and that has put some Republican critics up in arms. Texas Senator John Cornyn said, "These terrorists planned and executed the mass murder of thousands of innocent Americans. Treating them like common criminals is unconscionable."
President Reagan understood a basic principle: War is about ideology. It isn't about guns, it isn't about bombs, though those certainly help; but it is all about ideology. It is especially so when we aren't talking about a "hot war" such as World War II, where actions and movements daily could determine the outcome of the war. Today's war is more about values, which is what Reagan saw with the Cold War. Reagan insisted that our greatest strength was to fulfill our destiny as the last great hope for civilization by being the beacon of freedom and justice to the world.
Reagan got it. President Obama gets it. President Bush didn't get it, and neither do these critics of the Obama Administration.
IF we truly believe in our values, then we must live up to them. If we don't live up to them, then we must not believe in them, and therefore, the world should not follow them. It is pretty simple actually. The world wants a higher standard from the world leader than "do as I say, not as I do."
To simply detain terrorists indefinitely without charges, with trial, without a chance to defend themselves, is to say that we don't truly believe in justice, we only believe in convenience and then we talk about justice because it makes us feel better.
This "war" is nothing more for terrorists than an attempt to undermine America in the world by exposing our hypocrisy, exposing our values as mythical rather than actual, exposing them as the great lie of America. Did you really think a band of stragglers was going to "take down" America literally? What did you think, they were going to bomb every Wal-mart and Target in the nation? Did you envision shooting on the streets, door to door with militia men in Wyoming? Did you really expect 10 cities to be nuked?
While threats must be taken seriously to protect Americans, we must also realize that they are never going to take down America by force. They are working to bankrupt us by having us spend trillions to respond to their few million. They are working to expose our hypocrisy as we overreact and toss our values out the window because we are afraid of a few guys with box cutters. And that is how it will be sold to the world, America abandons liberty and justice because of a few guys with box cutters, there is no true liberty and justice, they are only marketing words meant to sell you not to actually believe in.
No, John Cornyn and Lamar Smith don't get it. Presidents Obama and Reagan did. This war is about ideology not executions or detentions. This war is about whether or not America truly believes in liberty and justice, or whether they are simply talking points that our politicians use to manipulate people.
America may or may not be the last great hope for a free civilization, but if America wants to remain a world leader, it must not simply talk about values, it must start to be the beacon of liberty and justice to the world by acting on its values, not acting contrary to its values.
I pray the outcome puts these terrorists away for life if they are guilty, but I believe in justice, and I want them to have it. It isn't about whether or not another nation would give it to them. We aren't another nation. We are America. We must live up to a higher standard than the world, not just a step above the worst nations in the world.
Our creator endowed us with certain unalienable rights such as liberty and justice. I don't think he gave those only to America, but to all of humanity. The rest of humanity may not have figured out those rights yet, but our creator gave us the responsibility of being his messenger for those rights. We have a greater responsibility than to simply throw away those rights when we don't find them convenient. We must fulfill our mission, regardless of outcome.
With Liberty and Justice for ALL.