How does U.S. government figure the Christmas bombing attempt on Northwest Flight 259 was a failure? It accomplished what al-Qaida wanted. Whether it brought down the plane, Americans will spend millions to put the would-be bomber on trial.He, shoe-bomber Richard Reid and those wackos in Gitmo do not deserve American justice. They should be executed as soon as the plane lands. We could use the money on more important things.
First, some minor grammatical grievances. This sentence:
Whether it brought down the plane, Americans will spend millions to put the would-be bomber on trial
makes very little sense.
It could read:
Although it did not succeed in bringing down the plane, Americans will spend millions to put the would-be bomber on trial.
An added sentence about how one of al-Qaeda's stated goals is to bleed America dry would have really improved the sentiment.
But the real problem, aside from the fact that the letter writer seems to be cribbing off of Bill O'Reilly without giving O'Reilly his proper due, lies in the philosophical assertion of the letter, that being:
He, shoe-bomber Richard Reid and those wackos in Gitmo do not deserve American justice.
I'll let Keith Olbermann - because I am into giving props when props are due - take the reins about one of the real problems with this argument (relevant part transcribed below):
KEITH OLBERMANN (SPEAKING AS BILL O'REILLY): "Simply put, al-Qaeda thugs have no rights, none. They should be killed on the spot. And they are being killed by the drones. So if they're captured, they should undergo harsh interrogation and be placed in military prisons."KEITH OLBERMANN (SPEAKING AS HIMSELF): Okay, were you planning to still put them in the military prisons after you kill them on the spot, or do you need to rephrase your plan? Seriously, Bill, we need to walk you through the idea of why we have trials? Ultimately, why we ask questions first and shoot later? It's not about rights, it's not about who's a thug, it's not about how much sadistic joy you and the sickos like you from the thought of "harsh interrogation". It's so we get the right guy. Mankind figured this out thousands of years ago, and we replaced that old method of "kill them then ask them if they're guilty" because the dead men proved to be mediocre at answering questions! And then it also turned out that often we were killing the wrong guys which is inconvenient! Especially for them!
But, aside from the inconvenient aspect of killing the innocent, there is a not so insignificant fact that applying an impartial judicial system is one of those key things that sets us apart from those who wish to terrorize us. Applying our rule of law to those who would indiscriminately kill, allowing for the fact that our values system is strong enough and significant enough and, perhaps most importantly, sacred enough to try and convict those who are guilty, and try and set free those who are found not guilty.
Because even though Olbermann is right that it isn't wholly about rights, it is at least somewhat about rights. Because the judicial system isn't set up for the government to reign supreme. It has been set up in favor of the defendant. Because the guilty aren't the only ones accused; but also because the guilty have the fundamental right of due process as well. Partly, that is to protect the innocent, because if the guilty are not worthy of trial by jury then the whole process by which we decide who is indeed innocent gets a bit truncated. And then we circle back to a lot of the wrong people dying, which - again - is inconvenient.
Perhaps my Letter Writer means only al-Qaeda terrorists don't deserve American justice. Perhaps those others who break the law are still subject to the rule of law, as long as they aren't Islamic extremists. That may be where his line is drawn. But that doesn't mean that's where everyone's line is drawn. Maybe someone else's line for which crimes deserve a fair trial is less broad than "everyone who isn't engaged in terrorism for the benefit of al-Qaeda"; maybe someone else's line encompasses those who drive while texting, or who kill anyone for any reason. And that's really why denying the American system of justice to one group you personally don't like, even if it saves a bundle of cash, is one of the stupidest ideas I've ever heard - because it rests predominately on the idea that everyone else will agree that this subset of criminal is the subset that does not deserve to go through due process and be subject to Amendments 5 through 8.
Let's take in that number for a sec, shall we? Our Founders felt that the whole criminal and civil trial thing was so important, they chose to utilize four whole amendments out of the original ten to explicitly setting down rules for how trials should be set up. Four. It is inconceivable to me that those who purport to love our country so much they want to kill anyone on our soil immediately who allegedly engaged in an act of terrorism could so willfully ignore the very words of our Constitution. For all the talk about how actually trying these people plays into the terrorists' hands, those same people do little to engage with the notion that ignoring those parts of our society that makes it our society because we're scared or angry or vengeful does more harm than it does good. Because it fundamentally alters our society, and not for the better. Because it ignores that the justice system isn't there to exonerate the innocent. It is there to provide rights to the guilty.