Politics & Policy

Right Country, Wrong Camp

Observers are in Cuba and they're whining about us?

In less than five months since September 11, prominent Western organizations already have gone soft in the War on Terror. What commenced as a robust, united front to smash al Qaeda and crush the Taliban now is cracking over the treatment of combat detainees and scrutiny of airline passengers. If America and its allies truly intend to rid Earth of terrorists, each of us must suck in his gut and intensify this fight.

The hand-wringing over 158 suspects at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba would be understandable had it sprung from Berkeley’s sociology department. Alas, such distinguished groups as Amnesty International and the European Union as well as several British Labour MPs regard these inmates as veritable survivors of the Bataan Death March. In fact, America is giving them everything but cable TV. They eat Islamically correct meals and study free copies of the Koran. Muslim prayers flow from camp loud speakers. They receive bug spray to prevent mosquito bites. Too bad one Army guard had no terrorist repellent to keep a prisoner from biting him January 19. The Pentagon says one detainee consistently threatens to kill American soldiers while another has spat on two camp personnel.

The U.S. supposedly abuses these suspects by housing them in open-air shelters. With January 24 temperatures spanning 68 to 82 degrees, this is no hardship. The Red Cross complains that photographing shackled inmates humiliates them. But if the Pentagon shielded them from cameras, it would be slammed for concealing prisoners from the eyes of the world.

In another reputed atrocity, detainees flew to Guantanamo wearing handcuffs, leg irons, and hoods over their heads. Perhaps they missed the in-flight movie, too. International nail biters forget that these fanatics gladly would hijack American C-141 transports and plow them into major cities.

If global liberals want to battle real injustice, they should condemn Fidel Castro’s political prisons. The Red Cross, which already inspected Camp X-Ray, has been barred from Castro’s gulag since 1989. As the Pentagon opens a new, air-conditioned hospital tent for its guests, Frank Calzon reports that his Center for a Free Cuba has “received information that medicine taken to [Castro’s] prisoners by relatives of inmates is sometimes confiscated by authorities.” Of course, denouncing Castro’s dungeons buys one nothing among the blame-America-first crowd.

Here at home, the Justice Department went soft on accused American Taliban John Walker Lindh by sparing him a capital charge of treason. Yes, treason is hard to prove without the testimony of two eyewitnesses to treasonous acts. Still, Johnny Jihad applauds the World Trade Center’s demolition, reportedly knew before 9-11 that suicide bombers were in America and proudly schmoozed with his hero, Osama bin Laden. This remorseless thug might confess to treason in open court. If so, he could be convicted and given the hot-lead therapy he deserves.

Alas, the DOJ seems too squeamish to execute this Marin County militant. Had he been kidnapped and brainwashed, he might warrant a scintilla of sympathy. But as a volunteer for Mass Murder, Inc., he only merits last rites over his pulseless body.

Wimpy federal regulators also prevent airlines from scrutinizing passengers that match the — yes — profile of the typical terrorist. As the Middle East Forum’s Daniel Pipes notes, post-9-11 Transportation Department guidelines prohibit airline employees from considering “the propensity of members of any racial, ethnic, religious, or national origin group to engage in unlawful activity.” Recall that 100 percent of the September 11 hijackers were male, Muslim, Middle Easterners between ages 20 and 33. Accused shoe bomber Richard Reid, 28, is a male Muslim with a Middle Eastern nom de guerre (Abdul Rauff). President Bush did not craft this profile. Terrorists did.

Until 52-year-old Unitarian women try to detonate jets with boots that go boom, it is necessary, if unfortunate, to question twenty- and thirtysomething male, Muslim Middle Easterners before they board commercial aircraft. If they calmly explain themselves, they should be offered blankets, pillows and drinks. If they answer suspiciously, they should be interrogated further and, if appropriate, arrested.

None of this is easy, pretty, or convenient. However, America and our allies — cursed with short attention spans and self-hating elites — must remain tougher than tungsten if we are to eradicate terrorists like the pirates of yore. Anyone who gets spooked by pictures of manacled terrorists and images of young, Saudi men being quizzed before boarding aircraft should remember this: Scarier things exist — among them, smoking skyscrapers, plunging civilians, and great balls of fire.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.


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