Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I won't exactly surprise you if I tell you that the point of the latest Ralph Peters column in the New York Post is to persuade the reader that liberals and Democrats are morally depraved and want all Americans to die. Now, there may be a few words in the column -- an "and," possibly a "the" -- that actually bear a passing resemblance to objective reality, but there isn't much. Even the caption under the accompanying photo sets up a straw man.

That photo is of Osama bin Laden. The caption reads: Bin Laden: Not going to be rehabilitated. See, the point of the column is to argue that Democrats and liberals think -- and, implicitly, Barack Obama thinks -- that bin Laden can do a few years in the joint and come out a new man. Um, did you ever think that? Me either. But Peters and the Post want readers to think that's what we think.

The text of the column is worse:


June 24, 2008 -- THE first beneficiary of Barack Obama's promise to expand health-care access could be Osama bin Laden.

The senator would rather see Osama captured, not killed, then put into our federal system for trial.

This is a lie. Obama advocates military action against bin Laden, even across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, a stance which gave right-wingers the vapors a few months ago. With regard to bin Laden and other al-Qaeda members, Obama frequently talks of steps needed to "take them out." That's not expressing a preference for capture.

That means the terror master would get better medical treatment -- for free -- than many Post readers can afford.

Is that really what Americans want? To spend millions of dollars protecting a captive bin Laden and millions more treating his kidney problems?

That's a lot of stupid in a short stretch of words. First of all, Obama's ultimate health-care goal is universal coverage coverage for all Americans. Second, if we do capture bin Laden alive, given the fact that he reportedly has chronic kidney disease, do we not treat this disease? Keep reading -- Peters himself says that would be immoral. But that won't stop Peters from demagoguing the issue -- he's going to attack Obama and any of the rest of us who believe precisely the same thing.

...Recent events should have made it clear -- again -- that captive terrorists are overwhelmingly a liability. The meager intelligence we get interrogating them is rarely commensurate with the array of financial, moral and legal costs involved in keeping them locked up.

Good grief. I wish the right would get its talking points straight -- I thought the whole point of Guantanamo and black sites and waterboarding and so on was that we live in a permanent ticking-bomb moment and every detainee carries secrets that, if revealed, can prevent attacks that are a millionbilliongazillion times worse than 9/11. Now Peters tells us that these guys don't know jack?

...A few weeks ago, a well-planned terrorist assault on a prison in Kandahar, Afghanistan, freed dozens of Taliban midlevel managers and perhaps 200 terrorist foot soldiers.

What benefit had we gained by taking these butchers prisoner instead of killing them on the battlefield? They merely lived to fight another day.

Oh, OK, I've got it -- we simply have to stop this not-killing of all enemy combatants. That's been our problem! Not killing them! Whose idea was that? Whose idea was a less-than-100% kill rate of the enemy? It simply has to stop!

...To be clear: I do not advocate executing prisoners. We should treat any terrorist we capture rigorously, but with basic decency.

...Once a terrorist raises his hands in surrender, we must honor the pertinent conventions.

Wuss. Liberal.

By the way,, the "pertinent convention" says prisoners "shall, if their state of health so requires, receive medical attention and hospital treatment to the same extent as the nationals of the State concerned." If we wouldn't let Charles Manson die of a treatable illness, the same goes for bin Laden.

But it is my belief that our conventional military and special-operations efforts should emphasize killing terrorists on the battlefield or in their lairs -- conditions where it is entirely legal to do so.

Waiting for me to object?

But the left-wing arguments against killing those who do all they can to kill us are simply wrong.

Um, where is it being argued that our troops should refrain from killing terrorists or combatants? Got any links, Ralph?

...And killing terrorists doesn't put us on a "slippery slope."

Oh, yeah, right -- fortheloveofgodpleasedontkillterrorists.com. killingterroristsputsusonaslipperyslope.net. Those guys.

...The greatest left-wing fallacy in the War on Terror is the conviction that protecting the rights of terrorists is more important than protecting the rights of the innocent.

Hunh? More important? Who the hell says this?

...There is nothing heroic or noble about defending a fanatical mass murderer's "rights." The nobility lies in protecting the masses of innocent human beings who obey the law....

Well, OK, there it is: To Ralph Peters, this is an either/or choice. I don't think it's either/or. And I don't know anyone on my side who does, either.

Peters actually doesn't mention Barack Obama in the text of his article -- but it runs under a headline that damns Obama, and I'm sure Peters has no problem with that.

For the record, Obama believes the death penalty is justified in the case of bin Laden and other terrorists. If there are trials, he just wants them not to be conducted in kangaroo courts.

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