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First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers

Warning: another long rant about the war on terror. If you get bored with that sort of thing, go ahead and skip it -- and please accept my apologies for not doing this with my previous piece, "Fallujah Delenda Est."

As the old saying goes, “when your only tool is a hammer, after a while all your problems look like nails.” And when the most prominent forces in government becomes lawyers and judges, all issues seem to devolve into legal ones.

I don’t know when it started. Maybe it was the 70’s and “The Paper Chase.” Maybe it was in the 60’s with the Civil Rights movement. Maybe it was in the 50’s and the rise of TV, along with courtroom drama and crusading lawyers. Whatever it was, suddenly lawyers were everywhere, and everyone who had a problem suddenly ran for legal counsel. It pervaded our culture to the point where you could get bumper stickers that said “My Lawyer Can Beat Up Your Lawyer.”

As philosophically good for us the rule of law is, it has gone too far. There are various arguments as to when the War On Terror started. Some say 1993 with the first World Trade Center bombing; some say 1985 with the Beirut barracks bombing; some say 1979 with the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis. Whenever it did start, though, one fact remains indisputable: from the outset, it tended to be treated as a law-enforcement issue, not a war issue. And through September 11, 2001, that approach was not working.

Others have observed that, of all the changes that came with 9/11, the single most profound one was President Bush’s to treat that incident as not a crime, but an act of war. It was such an obvious thing, yet so important. No longer would we be seeking to arrest, try, convict, and punish individuals for acts of terror. Now whole organizations would feel the full fury of the US armed services. And nations that stood between us and our enemies would not be fought in the UN or in the World Court, but on the field of battle and dismantled with all due force and dispatch. And guess what? It worked. It worked better and faster than years of subpoenas and indictments and grand juries and other legal folderol.

And now, with the passage of time, the imminence of the threat has faded and the lawyers have come crawling back out from wherever we’d chased them to. We’re getting fixated on the legal minutiae again. We’re “investigating” the 9/11 attacks, to see who we can hold legally liable. And that investigation is being done with all the trappings of a trial. “Witnesses” are “presenting evidence” and “giving testimony” “under oath” and “under penalty of perjury.” Apparently it’s escaped some of the finest minds that the ultimate responsibility for the atrocities of that day was Osama Bin Laden, aided and abetted by Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and militant Islam.

Regardless of whose sins of omission helped enable Al Qaeda carry out their sins of commission, the simple facts are: it happened. We struck back. And we’re continuing to strike back. The ultimate enemy in this war is militant Islam, and our model should not be a trial, but World War II.

The starting date of World War II is debatable. Some say 1941, with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Others say 1939, and Germany’s invasion of Poland. Still others say 1933, and Japan’s invasion of China.

World War II was made up of several wars, all lumped into one OverWar. There was the War in the Pacific and the War in Europe (which included the War in North Africa). They were fought separately, but there were unifying elements.

The War on Terror started being truly fought in 2001, when we were hit hard, by surprise, and started hitting back – like after Pearl Harbor. We first went after the immediate causes of that attack – Al Qaeda and their protectors, the Taliban – but didn’t stop there, no more than we went after the Japanese Navy and left the rest of Japan’s military and Germany alone.

Next was Iraq, long a festering sore. We had all the legal justification to attack Saddam Hussein’s government we needed (maybe not for the lawyers, but certainly for the generals and admirals), so we did.

And what has this gotten us? Now Iran, another major sponsor of international terrorism, finds itself uncomfortably sandwiched between two states occupied by the nation they call “The Great Satan” while facing rising public unrest. Libya, one of the original “rogue nations,” has seen the writing on the wall and decided to “get right with Jesus” before it’s too late. Syria has started to settle down. And Saudi Arabia has realized that while we’ll still make polite noises about the “special friendship” we have with them, we have pulled out all our troops (the same ones who kept them on their thrones back in 1991 when Saddam was massed on their border) and have taken several steps to demonstrate just how little relevance they have in our grand scheme of things.

To steal a line from Churchill, the occupation of Iraq and the dismantling of the Baathist regime there was not “the end of the War on Terror. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is the end of the beginning.” Let’s keep this a war, not a legal action, and leave it in the hands of the military and away from the lawyers. Generals and Admirals have their eyes focused on goals and achievements, not process. Because the military measures time in body bags, while lawyers measure it in billable hours.


Comments (5)

Jay Tea,you are so... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea,

you are so right. Everyone is trying to blame everyone else on why 9/11 happened - and they have all forgotten that it was terrorists who did it - not the Bush administration, not the Clinton administration, not the American people, but the fricking Islamic terrorists.

quote: Next was Iraq, long ... (Below threshold)
Wilbert Smeets:

quote: Next was Iraq, long a festering sore. We had all the legal justification to attack Saddam Hussein’s government we needed (maybe not for the lawyers, but certainly for the generals and admirals), so we did.

No you didn't...
You just invaded a country, because they MAYBE could make massdestructionweapons (I don't want t o remind you that under the first Bush this sort of weapons (before Kowueit) were actually sold by amerika to iraq...)
I'm a Dutch citizen and I feel we indeed should stop mass weapons. Let's start with the country that does the most active develepment and has the most of these terrible weapons/...

Hey, that's amerika!

I have nothing against the most amerikan citizens, but sorry... you try to dictate others into not doing what you have allready done. Only one country killed 300.000 people with one bomb... Guess who...
Only one country actually used the a-bomb (thus proving it's willingness to kill innocent people on a huge scale!)... guess who...

Please, do the math...

Best regards,

Somewhat angry from the netherlands,

Wilbert Smeets

So, Wilbert, you have nothi... (Below threshold)

So, Wilbert, you have nothing against Amerikan citizens? Then why use the k?
As a Dutch citizen, you can complain all you want about what your government does.
Leave us alone. Your country was not attacked by Islamic Fundamentalist on 9/11/2001.
Ours was.

Wilbert, you worthless kloo... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Wilbert, you worthless klootzak. At least get a couple facts right before you demonstrate your idiocy to the world.

1) We were under no obligation to prove Iraq had WMDs. Iraq was obligated to prove they didn't have them ANY MORE. Iraq repeatedly refused. Go read up on the terms ending the first Gulf War, and the UN resolutions.

2) a few facts you might find inconvenient about the dropping atomic bombs on Japan: A) both sides were preparing for the invasion of Japan, with estimated Allied casualties in excess of a million and Japanese significantly higher; B) nobody fully understood the effects of atomic bombs -- they were considered just REALLY BIG bombs; and C) we'd already done as much devastation with our firebombing of other cities.

3) The vast majority of Saddam's weapons were sold to him by China, Russia, France, and Germany. Compare that with the list of nations who received the most money from the "Oil For Food" scam, and with the list of most obstructionist nations in the U.N. about taking action against Iraq. Explain the correlations. And the "biological weapons" you cite were medical samples, and utterly useless for weapons research and development.

Geez, that was too easy. Beth, think we can find any more challenging idiots out there?


One last point, Wilbert: Di... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

One last point, Wilbert: Did it really take you four months to come up with that stunningly ignorant comment? And people say I gotta get a life...







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