Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Over the last few weeks libertine columnists including the editorial writers of the Peoria Journal Star have been gleefully rejoicing that the United States “Supreme Court ruled that President Bush’s plan to try detainees before military tribunals violates U.S. and international laws.”  They seem to imply that President Bush is the first President to be chastised by the Supreme Court for actions taken in the time of strife and conflict.  Of course, such a position is preposterous.

In almost every conflict which lasted for several years, the current President took action that was criticized and that the Courts said was not appropriate.  President Abraham Lincoln, elected President from the State of Illinois, suspended the use of the writ of habeas corpus.  He did so to imprison critics of the Civil War without benefit of trial.  He was trying to win a conflict that was literally tearing the nation apart.

The following quotes were published in the Peoria Journal Star on July 9, 2006, page A9.  “Tomi Okano was 6 years old in 1942 when she (a 6 year old girl and many similar family members put in relocation camps—my addition) and her family were forced by the federal government to leave their Oregon home to live in a World War II detention camp for Japanese Americans.”

“Minidoka was one of 10 detention camps operated between 1942 and 1946 in the western United States and Arkansas.  The camps held thousands of West Coast residents who were deemed a security risk because they had at least one-sixteenth Japanese ancestry.

The forced removal of Japanese Americans from the coastal ‘military exclusion area’ was ordered by President Franklin Roosevelt two months after Japan’s Dec. 7, 1941, surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

Minidoka residents lived in dozens of tarpaper-covered barracks and worked on irrigation projects and farms.”

“’This was the site of some very dark days in our nation’s history, Sen. Mike Crapo,’ R-Idaho, said.  ‘The incarceration of almost 10,000 Japanese-American citizens here at Minidoka represents a blight on the otherwise bright record of respect for human rights that our nation strives to uphold and promote.’”

In hindsight, it is easy to criticize the actions taken by the President in time of conflict.  The Presidents were also criticized by some when they originally took the steps that they considered necessary to protect the wellbeing of the nation.  No President knows for certain if a future Court will determine that his actions were unconstitutional.  No President takes lightly actions that he orders that may be controversial.  Every President has a Constitutional duty to protect the United States of America.  In time of conflict, that may require extraordinary measures.  Those measures may at a later date be deemed by the Court to be unconstitutional.  So be it.

The point is: the President must act and must act in a manner that he believes will safeguard the United States.  He does not have time to sit around and wait for the Supreme Court to decide if a proposed action is Constitutional or not.  In fact, the Supreme Court does not have the power to give advisory opinions.  The Supreme Court can only act when there is a legal question before the Court.  The only way a President in an extraordinary crisis can know for certain that an action is not allowed is to have that action reviewed after the fact by the Supreme Court.  That is exactly what happened.  

What’s the big deal?  President Bush was not the first President rebuffed by the Supreme Court.  He almost certainly, if we remain as a nation, will not be the last.

I believe that it can easily be argued that the actions taken both by President Lincoln and by President Roosevelt were far more harmful than anything that President Bush has been accused of.  All three Presidents were and are taking actions that they believed were important for the preservation of the Union.

It’s time for these columnists and the editorial writers of the Peoria Journal Star to grow up.  It’s time for these columnists and the editorial writers of the Peoria Journal Star to learn a little American history.  It’s time for these columnists and the editorial writers of the Peoria Journal Star to recognize the fact that terrorists are trying to destroy the United States.  

What’s that phrase?  “United we stand; divided we fall.”  Do these columnists and the editorial writers of the Peoria Journal Star desire the nation to fall because of their dividing influence?  Do they hate George Bush so much that they would rather see the nation in peril rather than George Bush be successful in the fight against terrorism?  

Finally, it is an outright lie to suggest that if we follow the rules of war then the terrorists will also.  If we violate the rules of war then the terrorists will also violate the rules of war.  Our actions have nothing to do with what the terrorists will or will not do.  Terrorists by definition do not follow the rules of war.  That is one reason why they are terrorists!!!  The rules of war do not allow cutting off the head of a prisoner.  The rules of war do not allow cutting off the head of civilians.  The rules of war do not allow for the deliberate bombing death of children and other civilians.  In part, terrorists are terrorists because they do not follow the rules of war.

Makes you wonder.  What are the priorities of these columnists and editorial writers???          


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