Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Law Is Not A Suicide Pact

Here’s a study of liberal idiocy in action.

The sentence itself was fairly straightforward: An Algerian man received 22 years for plotting to bomb the Los Angeles airport on the eve of the millennium. It was what the judge said in imposing the term that raised eyebrows.

U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said the successful prosecution of Ahmed Ressam should serve not only as a warning to terrorists, but as a statement to the Bush administration about its terrorism-fighting tactics.

“We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant or deny the defendant the right to counsel,” he said Wednesday. “The message to the world from today’s sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart.”

He added that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have made Americans realize they are vulnerable to terrorism and that some believe “this threat renders our Constitution obsolete ... If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won.”

It’s worth noting here that the ONLY reason this guy was caught was because a guard at the Canadian border had a hinky feeling about him and decided to search the man’s car.  This wasn’t a triumph for law enforcement, it was nothing but sheer luck and good old-fashioned police work (with a smattering of racial profiling thrown in). 

And now, the other side of the story.

A month before the London bombings, British authorities denied a request by their counterparts in the United States to apprehend a man now believed to have ties to the July 7 bombers, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

Haroon Rashid Aswat, 30, of Indian heritage, is currently in custody in Zambia, U.S. and Zambian officials told CNN.

U.S. authorities wanted to capture Aswat, who was then in South Africa, and question him about a 1999 plot to establish a “jihad training camp” in Bly, Oregon.

According to the sources, U.S. officials had Aswat under surveillance in South Africa weeks before the July 7 attacks that killed 52 commuters and the four bombers.

U.S. authorities had asked Britain if they could take Aswat into custody but they refused because he was a UK citizen, the sources said. Later British authorities said they suspected Aswat lent support to the July 7 bombers.

Here we see the end result of diplomacy and being beholden to the rule of law over any other concern.  People are dead, and the mass transit systems of every city in the civilized world are on high alert.  But hey, at least we followed the letter of the law, right?  Look, I’ve stated my position on this subject many times.  I’m not thrilled about the idea of holding these men indefinitely without trial or access to counsel, either.  But I’m also willing to give the government wide latitude to fight an unconventional war against an unconventional enemy.  If this Aswat character had been kidnapped months ago and was safely ensconced in a CIA safehouse somewhere, maybe those Londoners would have gotten to work alive that day.

Posted by Lee on 07/28/05 at 04:29 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil • Permalink

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