7/31/2005

Second Thoughts

I've been struggling for the last week with what to do with my "The Only Good Indian" post. Of course there's always the eraser option, by which I look good (at least to everyone but me) by hiding the evidence. There's the edit option, by which I could, as our elected representatives like to say "revise and extend my remarks." But frankly I'm not happy with either of those.

So I'm going to just leave it as is, and give the benefit of time and reflection and see where we come out.

I still think that, on balance, the only good terrorist is a dead terrorist. I'm not in favor of the law enforcement approach to terrorism. Although there is considerable intelligence work involved in trying to protect us, it seems to me to be primarily a military problem. If we can find and kill, or capture as the case may be, these guys before they get to us, we're much better off.

However the killing of a man with no apparent terrorist connections highlights the problems we face in this battle. Now on the one hand, you can make the case that he brought it on himself. He refused repeated commands to stop, and despite the weather was dressed suspiciously. But of course a visa violation shouldn't be a capital offense.

So my bottom line conclusion is this: this death is just as much the terrorist's fault as the forty-something people killed in the train and bus bombings two weeks before. Due to their use of civilian warriors the terrorists have still more innocent blood on their hands. Not that they care. Such warfare is specifically prohibited by the Geneva Conventions precisely because it poses a grave threat to innocents.

Which brings me back to my starting point. They have chosen to make it a question of us vs. them. I suggest we take them seriously and prosecute the war around the world accordingly.

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