On March 11, 2004, the Islamofascists, set off a coordinated bomb attack on commuter trains in Madrid. 200 people were killed--just like that. View PBS Documentary below:
Within days of the Madrid bombings, as the police investigation was pursued, it became apparent from news reports that many of the bombers and their accomplices had been on watch lists in Spain. However, they had not been taken into custody because, presumably, the Spanish police lacked probable cause (or whatever they call it in Spain) to arrest and charge them. You can't arrest someone until there is evidence that they have committed a crime or plan (conspire) to commit a crime. This is because in our democratic societies with its laws and traditions of civil liberties, we do not have preventive detention. With the exception of wartime, we do not take individuals into custody on suspicion alone.
The initial response to Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorism in the 1990's was to treat it as a law enforcement problem. The example frequently cited was the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 where the government did not want to follow the investigation to the worldwide conspiracy that we now know it was. The Clinton Administration and the European Union's policy of not naming the enemy--it is just "terrorists"--reflect this approach. Call that approach Plan A.
Plan B is the approach of the Bush Administration and its allies since 9-11. Looking at the conspiratorial nature of the attacks and taking the fight to the enemy, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq. It is much more assertive in trying to make arrests of suspected terrorists in the US and in trying to prevent the spread of WMDs to terrorist nations or groups. This is a big improvement over Plan A, but there remains a major weakness with this approach.
That weakness was exemplified in the Madird bombings, and in many other attacks. Again, you can't arrest someone until there is evidence that they have committed a crime or plan (conspire) to commit a crime. So what are we to do?
The way I see it we have little choice but to change the rules (our laws) as they pertain to individuals classified as Radical Islamists. The very valid objection to this is: If we change the rules for the Radical Islamists, then who is to say that
the rules won't someday be changed for the rest-of-us by an overly aggressive
There are two answers to this urgent question:
1. We cannot assure that an overly aggressive gov't will not take advantage of the rest-of-us,extending the new rules that will apply to Radical Islamists.
2. Unfortunately we have to change the laws anyway. Our enemy gives us no choice.
As the bombings, shootings, and suicide attacks continue, with the future possibility of poison gas, bio-terrorism and nuclear attacks, we will be forced to change the rules. This is because a majority of people in our democratic society will demand that we do so or they will begin to take the law into their own hands. In other words, instead of sitting here and waiting for a few hundred thousand or million of our fellow citizens to be murdered in ways we haven't imagined, we need to revise our criminal code and (especially) our immigration laws as they relate to Radical Islamists.
It is better to approach Plan C now while we can rationally and legally try to determine its details. Radical Islam is at war with the West, the East, and non-fundamentalist Moslems. Its publicly stated goal is the murder or subjugation and religious conversation of everyone else on the planet. So, unfortunately, we will have to make a legal exception to our democratic procedures where Radical Islamists are concerned. There is no longer any choice.