RANGER AGAINST WAR: Terrorists are Criminals, not POW's <

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Terrorists are Criminals, not POW's

The recent Moussaoui trial shows both our divided philosophy on categorization of our enemies, and the correct legal approach to dealing with terrorism.

He was tried and convicted as a criminal, in a court of law. But if this is a war (on terror), as is perpetually contended, then Moussaoui is not a criminal, but rather a POW of said WOT. So which is it? Even as a POW, he could be tried for crimes against humanity. But we can't have it both ways. This is a case where the terminology of war does not suit our needs, for the common criminal is enfolded into the category of legitimate combatant.

Elevating terrorism to warfare legitimizes the terrorist's criminal atrocities, and this recognition should not be accorded to thugs. All terrorism is criminality, and should be dealt with as such. Shamefully, the U.S. government eschews this democratic principle of following precedent and legal channels, and recently seems to prefer secret courts, secret prisons, and indeterminate sentences which have not been adjudicated by a legal court action. It seems that secret police may not be too far in the future.

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