Back in 2005, Lynne Stewart, a civil rights lawyer, was convicted of providing material support to terrorists. She is in the news now because she has been sentenced to 28 months in prison for her part in aiding convicted terrorist Omar Abdel-Rahman. If you haven’t heard of Omar Abdel-Rahman, you were probably paying attention only to items covered by the mainstream media, so let me fill you in a bit. In 1995, Rahman was convicted of masterminding the World Trade Center bombing two years earlier. So he is obviously a really nice guy. Stewart was convicted for providing material support to him and his terrorist organization. But she claims her innocence:

In a letter to the judge, Stewart proclaimed: “I am not a traitor.” She said she did not intentionally enter into any conspiracy to help a terrorist organization.

But being a lawyer, she should know that the charge of treason isn’t based on intent. The Constitution defines treason in Article III, Section 3: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” And what Stewart did was most certainly giving aid and comfort to our nation’s enemies. Again, as Stewart’s 2005 conviction states, she was found guilty of “providing material support to terrorists.” Sure sounds like giving “aid and comfort” to our enemies to me. But rather than giving her a 30-year sentence as federal guidelines state, District Judge John G. Koeltl gave her 28 months because of her decades of “dedication to poor, disadvantaged and unpopular clients.”

Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs points out an interesting aspect of this case: one of the people indicted along with Stewart, Ahmed Abdel Sattar, was sentenced to 24 years for his part in smuggling messages from Omar Abdel-Rahman to his followers. Isn’t it interesting that Stewart got 28 months for her part while Sattar gets 24 years for his?

And speaking of interesting, here’s an interesting quote from Stewart at her sentencing:

“The end of my career truly is like a sword in my side,” Stewart said at her sentencing. “Permit me to live out the rest of my life productively, lovingly, righteously.”

What she’s really saying here is “Please don’t send me to prison! Please, please, oh please!” I think she should spend her final days living life “productively, lovingly, righteously” in prison, perhaps making aid packages for the members of our military putting themselves in harm’s way to fight the same people to whom she gave aid and comfort. I see it as being a fitting end to her career, but not everyone sees her as equally guilty:

Earlier, about 150 Stewart supporters who could not get inside the filled-to-capacity courtroom stood outside the courthouse, chanting “Free Lynne, Free Lynne.”

“It’s not just Lynne Stewart who is a victim; it’s the Bill of Rights that’s the victim,” said Al Dorfman, 72, a retired lawyer.

The phrase which applies to these Stewart supporters, and especially to Al Dorfman, is “useful idiots.” This century’s version of the “useful idiot” is “dhimmi.”

Brigham Young University professor Steven Jones has hit the news again. I first wrote about Jones when his “controlled demolition” theory about the World Trade Center collapse started to rattle around the Internet. I couldn’t believe his theory then, and I can’t believe it now.

KSL filed a report about Jones being put on paid administrative leave by BYU:

The man on paid leave is Dr. Steven Jones. He’s a physics professor involved in the so-called “9-11 Truth Movement.”

Jones believes unnamed government agencies orchestrated the fall of the twin towers and he says there’s evidence to back it up.

Two weeks ago he published his theory in a paper called “Why Indeed did the World Trade Center Buildings Collapse?” In it, the professor says the towers fell not because of planes hitting them but rather pre-positioned demolition charges.

He cites research conducted at BYU on materials from ground zero, asserting those materials show evidence of thermite, a compound used in military detonations. He says terrorists could have never set those charges.

The State Department has released a rebuttal to Jones’ theory in a 10-thousand page report.

I still say that Occam’s Razor doesn’t support the professor.

I like David Brin’s writing, and many of his novels and short stories sit on my bookshelf to be read and reread. The first of Brin’s novels that I read was The Postman, a post-apocalyptic story of a wanderer who found a postman’s uniform, and how that uniform changed the people he met. The book is a fast read, and I recommend it highly.

The movie version of this story, however, stinks like yesterday’s diapers. I do understand that movies and novels are different media, and while an author may have hundreds of pages in which to tell his story, the film director has only 90 to 180 minutes. However, it never ceases to amaze me when a screenwriter rewrites a million-copy-selling novel to “make the story better.”

*movie spoiler warning*

The 1997 movie The Postman stars Kevin Costner. It shares the character of a postman, some names, and the post-apocalyptic setting with the book. Pretty much everything else comes from the brain of someone other than David Brin.

At the end of the movie, there is a major mounted attack by postmen (not in the book) against General Bethlehem (not in the book) and his survivalist troops. It ends with a one-on-one fight between the Postman and the General (not in the book) for command of the troops, ending with the Postman choking the General (not in the book – I think you get the point). Rather than finishing the General and gaining control of the troops, thus stopping the attacks on the remaining people, the Postman stops and declares, “The killing stops here.” While this sounds good and “touchy-feely,” it bears no resemblance to reality. You can’t attack a vicious killer and, after hitting him a few times, tell him that his reign of power and slaying is over – particularly when your enemy doesn’t believe in peace. The people of Oregon didn’t have peace by giving up to the survivalist troops. They didn’t have peace by negotiating with the survivalist troops. They had peace when the troops were defeated and when General Bethlehem was killed. That is what you must do when you are at war.

And we are at war.

We didn’t realize it for years, but a group of Muslim fanatics had declared war on the United States. During the many attacks on America preceding the events on September 11th, 2001, we ignored what these zealots were doing, but seeing the World Trade Towers collapse was hard to ignore.

So here we are at war – the War on Terror – and there are three basic reactions to these attacks:

We Should Give Up

Osama bin Laden has said that America could avoid any further bloodshed if we were to give up our evil ways, renounce Israel, and become good Muslims. There’s just one problem with surrendering to a bully: once you have given in to him, what will stop you from giving up when the next bully comes around? Once a band of thugs realize that you are willing to roll over and piddle on yourself whenever they threaten you, just how much respect will you have in their eyes? And what will stop them from raining down all the horrors they choose upon you? Saudi Arabia is a Muslim nation, but al-Qaeda doesn’t have a problem with killing Saudis. Indonesia has a very large and faithful Muslim population, but this didn’t stop al-Qaeda from detonating a bomb in Bali.

But as much as al-Qaeda would like to see America give up, surrendering just isn’t part of our nature.

We Should Negotiate

“They attacked us! We must start some negotiations with them right away! If we could just talk with them and understand why they are so upset, we could get down to the root of the problem and make everything OK again. Why, with just a bit of work at the negotiation table, we could have peace in our time!”

The Democrat party is a leading proponent of going all Neville Chamberlain on these terrorists. The Democrats are as eager to solve things diplomatically as the former Prime Minister of England was to negotiate with Hitler, and they will have as much success. After all, how can you find common ground with people who want you dead? Do you think you could successfully negotiate them down to only a light maiming? Do you seriously think you can negotiate with evil people? I can just imagine the discussion:

Liberals: We must have done something terrible to make you hate us so. What was it?
Evil: We will kill you.
Liberals: I’m sure you suffered from a poor childhood. Let’s get you on
Oprah so you can talk about it.
Evil: We will kill you.
Liberals: Even though you have lots of oil money, I’m sure poverty is the root problem. Have some money.
Evil: We will kill you.

Oh, yeah, negotiating is the way to go here.

We Must Defeat Them

The only way to stop evil is to defeat it. If you must negotiate, do so after you have removed the evil from power. While the threat and use of violence can be powerful in overthrowing evil, there is something better: the word of God. When the Lamanite people were under attack by the al-Qaeda of their day, they “did hunt the band of robbers of Gadianton; and they did preach the word of God among the more wicked part of them, insomuch that this band of robbers was utterly destroyed from among the Lamanites.”[link] Isn’t it interesting that preaching the word of God has a stronger effect on people than the sword, and that this type of proselyting is specifically forbidden in Muslim countries? Since we are blocked from using the word of God, we are left with the less-powerful tool of defeat – the sword – and it is with the sword that we must now defeat the evil that is in the Earth.

The War on Terror is a war against evil. Too many liberals deny that we can or should look at the world in terms of black and white – but when your opponents are willing to behead innocent people whose only fault was being alive, non-Muslim, and available, what else can you call it? Can you really consider the beheading of Paul Johnson, Nicholas Berg, and now Kim Sun-il as anything but deliberately evil acts?

So after September 11th, President Bush looked over the world and saw the greatest threat of evil to the U.S. came from al-Qaeda, and Afghanistan was guilty of harboring Osama bin Laden and his organization. President Bush realized it was time to deny this evil the nation-state that protected it, and so he launched an offensive to remove the Taliban from power. Thanks to his vision, 24 million people are no longer under that oppressive government, and they are working toward a lasting freedom they have not known for years.

Once the Taliban had been overthrown and al-Qaeda scattered to the hills, what was the next place to go in our War on Terror? President Bush had identified an Axis of Evil that actively supported terrorism, and Iraq was specifically mentioned as part of this Axis. Liberals claim that President Bush led a “rush to war,” but this “rush” took over a year to gather up and execute. Thanks to his vision, 26 million people are no longer under that oppressive government, and they are working toward a lasting freedom they have not known for years.

Iraq had ties with al-Qaeda and funded other terrorists. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently said that after September 11th, 2001, the Russian intelligence agency passed information to the United States that Iraq was “preparing terrorist acts on the territory of the United States and beyond its borders, at U.S. military and civilian locations.”

So let’s review what we know about Iraq, folks:

  • Iraq certainly had weapons of mass destruction; it used them against its own people and Iran.
  • Iraq had twice launched major wars against its neighbors in recent history.
  • Iraq was funding terrorism and training terrorists.
  • Iraq had plans to attack America and Americans.

It’s pretty clear that removing Saddam was a fundamental part of the War on Terror. Twice now President Bush has been successful in major operations in this war. Notwithstanding these successes, the liberal left is certainly fully capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory if they have their way. Their continual harping on President Bush and the War on Terror can succeed in distracting us and sapping from this nation the resolve we need to win against this evil. As they keep demanding that we either give up or negotiate, they are pulling us away from the only option that will truly give us peace in our time: defeating the terrorists completely.

Addendum (6/27/2004): I added the discussion about The Postman to the beginning of this editorial. And speaking of the movie, I threw it out after watching it.

Steven Den Beste has written an article about the misuse of antibiotics to treat infectious diseases. Tuberculosis is one of those diseases that can require many months of treatment to cure, while many more common ills only need a few weeks of antibiotic treatment. When I had a strep or ear infection, I only needed to be on antibiotics for about two weeks to be cured, but tuberculosis cannot be treated that quickly. One problem with tuberculosis and other infectious diseases is how some people stop taking antibiotics mid-way through the cure. Too often people will discontinue the drugs before the treatment is complete because they start feeling better and think they no longer need treatment.

When people stop taking antibiotics too early, the initial drug treatment starts to kill off the bugs in their system, but there hasn’t been enough time to complete the removal of the disease. The bugs most susceptible to antibiotic treatment have died, but the strongest bugs are still around, and if they aren’t killed off they will breed and pass on their antibiotic resistance. As Nietzsche said, “What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.” The over-prescription and misuse of antibiotics has generated strains of “superbugs” that are resistant to our modern medicines. Since tuberculosis is difficult enough to treat as it is, being infected with a highly resistant strain of tuberculosis is in effect a death warrant. And if you land in this most unfortunate circumstance, you may blame those who failed to follow their doctors’ direction and stopped taking their antibiotics before it was time.

This brings me to my main point: we are at war. You may not recognize this based on what you hear in the press and what the liberals in government are saying, but our nation is at war. Arguably, the first blow by terrorists against the U.S. came when Ramzi Ahmed Yousef plotted the bombing of the World Trade Center in February 1993. Since that time, terrorists have continued to attack Americans both at home and abroad, but the fact that these terrorists had declared war on the U.S., the West, and all non-Muslims around the world didn’t ring loud and clear until Mohammed Atta slammed the first jet into the World Trade Center on a September morning in 2001. At this point, we could no longer ignore the existence of a wide-ranging body of people who hate the West and who want to see us dead.

Recognizing that we had been attacked, President Bush set out to deny a secure base of operations to these terrorists. This is why the U.S. removed the Taliban government from Afghanistan because the Taliban actively supported al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. The nation of Afghanistan supports them no more. This is why the U.S. removed Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq because Saddam actively supported al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. The nation of Iraq supports them no more.

This nation is at war, and as such there will be battles. People will die. As much as we value human life in the United States, there are those who do not feel this way. Omar Bakri Muhammad on April 18th: “We don’t make a distinction between civilians and non-civilians, innocents and non-innocents. Only between Muslims and unbelievers. And the life of an unbeliever has no value. It has no sanctity.” This comes from a cleric in the “Religion of Peace.”

There will be more attacks by terrorists. You can bank on it. We have been blessed with almost three years of no 9/11-type attacks on American soil, but we cannot assume this peace will last forever. In the three years since the attack in September, al-Qaeda has been busy attacking here, here, here, here, here, and here. Will al-Qaeda hit America again? It is not a question of if, it is a question of when. And it will happen this year. Count on it. Since the terrorists were so successful in terrorizing the Spaniards just before their elections, you can take it to the bank that they will strike the U.S. before our national elections in November.

What will be our response to the next big strike? Will we bury our dead, roll up our sleeves, and proceed to clean out the human cesspool that is terrorism? Or will we follow Spain’s lead? After the March 11th bombings, Spaniards marched in the streets shouting their anger and will to fight. But mere days later, they crawled to the voting booth and voted for a Socialist leader who pulled them out of Iraq and cried, “Don’t hurt us!” First they stood tall, then they rolled over on their backs and pissed themselves in fear. If this wasn’t a victory for the terrorists, what would be?

So when we get hit before the election, will we as a nation grit our teeth and strengthen our resolve to rid the world of this menace? Or will we give up and let the terrorists win? Having started the world-wide anti-terrorist medicine, will we see it through to the end when the terrorists are destroyed, or will we stop our treatment early and breed ourselves a group of “super-terrorists” who have survived our first wave of attacks and are that much stronger?

I guess you must ask yourself a simple question: will you stand up and fight, or will you die screaming as they cut off your head?