RANGER AGAINST WAR: Black and White <

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Black and White

The homegrown terrorist group from the 1970's, the Weather Underground, was back in the news today briefly (New York Times, 10/01/06), and it hearkened me back to the good old days, when terrorism was a crime, and we knew it.

The subject in this case is Judy Clark, who is petitioning for a new trial for her role in a 1981 Brink's armored car robbery in which a guard and two police officers were killed.

She was a member of the Weather Underground (WU) and the Black Liberation Army (BLA), both domestic terrorist organizations that conducted violent activities aimed at fomenting a revolution within the U.S. Both WU and BLA conducted murders, robberies and bombings to achieve their goals, and probably moreso than current terrorists, both groups had a large and sympathetic group of supporters offering aid and assistance, both actively and passively, within the U.S. Unlike contemporary Islamic extremist terrorists, they could swim in our sea like fish, to borrow from Mao. As native-born citizens, they were harder to ferret out.

Imagine the difficulties of identifying domestic terrorists in your midst. But, like the terrorist responses of the authorities in France, Britain, Italy, West Germany and Spain before them, the U.S. effort was reasoned, legal and Constitutional. Our system did not collapse simply because it was under seige.

The Red Army Faction, the Red Brigades, Action Directe, WU. BLA, and Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) have come and gone, but the Constitution of the U.S. was adhered to; it weathered the Weathermen, and then some. Terror suspects were apprehended and tried sans torture, suspension of legal rights or subjection to dubious ad hoc court proceedings. Short-term tactical goals did not trump long-held constitutional concepts, no matter how attractive these options to short-circuit the Constitution may have seemed at the time.

Terrorists are criminals and must be dealt with as such through the legal system. When their sentences have been served, or they are paroled or pardoned, they must reintegrated back into society.

A reasoned legal response is the only viable tool to deal with a terrorist threat, be it domestic or imported. The basic tenets of society remain constant, as they should in a democratic nation. They were, after all, established precisely to deal with just such contingencies, and to weather any storm.


Anonymous Mike D said...

Your post makes one thing very clear about the Bush administration - it's main aim is power and only power.

The tools to pursue and thwart terrorism are already there, all they need is the proper funding and the will and patience to use them. None of these anti-constitutional shortcuts will serve the purpose of fighting terrorism any better than the existing laws in place.

What they will do, however, is grant the President even more power and shield him from being held accountable. It's bad enough that this administration has proven itself incompetent with the power it already has, but now they want (and have been granted) even more.

I find it absolutely shocking that so many self-identified "conservatives" are so willing to let this slide. They are completely oblivious to history where past despots who have gained such power later used it against the very people who gave it to them in the first place. Obviously if Clinton was seeking this kind of power there'd be howls of protests from Limbaugh, Hannity et. al.. And rightly so! As much as I liked Clinton, no president should be given such power.

It seems that "conservatives" are more interested in praying in schools and keeping gays from getting married then they are about protecting the Constitution.

Monday, October 2, 2006 at 11:38:00 AM GMT-5  

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