It’s not funny, but it should be. The Obama administration is now accusing its critics of helping the enemy, in a piece of irony thick enough to build houses with. Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan has an op-ed in USA TODAY which takes his opponents to task for claiming that valuable intelligence was lost when Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab was read his Miranda rights within an hour of being captured.
Brennan provides a detailed defense of the administration’s handling of failed Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab whom, he says, was “thoroughly interrogated and provided important information.”
He suggests that many critics are hypocritical and clueless.
The most important breakthrough in the interrogation occurred “after Abdulmutallab was read his rights, which the FBI made standard policy under Michael Mukasey, President Bush’s attorney general,” he writes, noting that failed shoe bomber Richard Reid “was read his Miranda rights five minutes after being taken off a plane he tried to blow up. The same people who criticize the president today were silent back then.”
Brennan said anyone who wants to change the policy would be casting aside lessons learned “in waging this war” on extremists.
“Terrorists such as Jose Padilla and Saleh al-Mari did not cooperate when transferred to military custody, which can harden one’s determination to resist cooperation,” he writes.
He calls it “naive to think that transferring Abdulmutallab to military custody would have caused an outpouring of information. There is little difference between military and civilian custody, other than an interrogator with a uniform. The suspect gets access to a lawyer, and interrogation rules are nearly identical.”
One wonders how, if what Brennan says about Reid is true, Congress passed legislation establishing a system of military tribunals to handle folks like him and Abdulmutallab. One also wonders how if interrogations through the civilian justice system are the most effective way to produce intelligence it was waterboarding which converted Khalid Sheikh Muhammad from a hard case who scornfully demanded an attorney to a compliant professor on Al Qaeda methods and organization in a short period of time; no such success story seems to have surfaced out of the civilian prosecutions of enemy jihadists.
At the end of the day, the basic problem with the Obama administration’s handling of the jihadist threat is the same as it has been with the Democrat Party and the Left’s handling of the issue from the start – these people fail to understand that jihadists are not criminals, but rather belligerents. They don’t recognize American law or American society, and their goal is to destroy us. For implacable enemies such as this, trials and imprisonment are worse than a waste of time – they’re counterproductive. They waste time and money on what amount to kangaroo courts; if for some reason an Abdulmutallab or KSM managed an acquittal in an American court there is zero chance that individual will be released, so there is no point in affording constitutional rights to someone who is an enemy fighter in a war – and an irregular combatant at that. The rules of criminal procedure don’t apply to these people, and neither does the Geneva Convention since Al-Qaeda is not a signatory to that document and these people aren’t fighting on behalf of a particular country.
This issue shouldn’t be a difficult one, despite the attempts by the Obama administration, its congressional allies and the army of lawyers undergirding both. Capture these people, squeeze them for every bit of intelligence they can offer and then put them in front of a firing squad (after offering them a blindfold and a cigarette, perhaps) unless they retain some national-security value. America owes them no more than that – we have seen what happens to Americans they capture, and it is the enemy which has defined the terms and the tenor of this conflict.
But according to Brennan, if you question the administration’s handling of a worldwide guerilla war as a matter for the federal courts, you’re advancing Al Qaeda’s cause. Get it?