Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Kill, don't capture

By Aussiegirl

In today's must read, Ralph Peters gives some much-needed advice -- kill, do not capture terrorist insurgents in order to negate the ludicrous rules of engagement that require us to fight like gentlemen while being attacked by murderous savages. Looks like Mr. Peters is experiencing some of the impatience and frustration that I expressed in my earlier piece, when it comes to the perception that our current administration is becoming too concerned with political correctness and molifying critics and winning hearts and minds. A timely and welcome piece. His book, which comes out today, looks like a good one to include on the summer reading list.

KILL, DON'T CAPTURE By RALPH PETERS - New York Post Online Edition: Postopinion

THE British military defines experience as the ability to recognize a mistake the second time you make it. By that standard, we should be very experienced in dealing with captured terrorists, since we've made the same mistake again and again.
Violent Islamist extremists must be killed on the battlefield. Only in the rarest cases should they be taken prisoner. Few have serious intelligence value. And, once captured, there's no way to dispose of them.

Killing terrorists during a conflict isn't barbaric or immoral - or even illegal. We've imposed rules upon ourselves that have no historical or judicial precedent. We haven't been stymied by others, but by ourselves.

The oft-cited, seldom-read Geneva and Hague Conventions define legal combatants as those who visibly identify themselves by wearing uniforms or distinguishing insignia (the latter provision covers honorable partisans - but no badges or armbands, no protection). Those who wear civilian clothes to ambush soldiers or collect intelligence are assassins and spies - beyond the pale of law.

Traditionally, those who masquerade as civilians in order to kill legal combatants have been executed promptly, without trial. Severity, not sloppy leftist pandering, kept warfare within some decent bounds at least part of the time. But we have reached a point at which the rules apply only to us, while our enemies are permitted unrestricted freedom.

The present situation encourages our enemies to behave wantonly, while crippling our attempts to deal with terror.

Consider today's norm: A terrorist in civilian clothes can explode an IED, killing and maiming American troops or innocent civilians, then demand humane treatment if captured - and the media will step in as his champion. A disguised insurgent can shoot his rockets, throw his grenades, empty his magazines, kill and wound our troops, then, out of ammo, raise his hands and demand three hots and a cot while he invents tales of abuse.

Conferring unprecedented legal status upon these murderous transnational outlaws is unnecessary, unwise and ultimately suicidal. It exalts monsters. And it provides the anti-American pack with living vermin to anoint as victims, if not heroes.

Isn't it time we gave our critics what they're asking for? Let's solve the "unjust" imprisonment problem, once and for all. No more Guantanamos! Every terrorist mission should be a suicide mission. With our help.

We need to clarify the rules of conflict. But integrity and courage have fled Washington. Nobody will state bluntly that we're in a fight for our lives, that war is hell, and that we must do what it takes to win.

[...]Sadly, even our military has been infected by political correctness. Some of my former peers will wring their hands and babble about "winning hearts and minds." But we'll never win the hearts and minds of terrorists.
(emphasis added). And if we hope to win the minds, if not the hearts, of foreign populations, we must be willing to kill the violent, lawless fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population determined to terrorize the rest.

Ravaged societies crave and need strict order. Soft policies may appear to work in the short term, but they fail overwhelmingly in the longer term. Wherever we've tried sweetness and light in Iraq, it has only worked as long as our troops were present - after which the terrorists returned and slaughtered the beneficiaries of our good intentions. If you wish to defend the many, you must be willing to kill the few.

For now, we're stuck with a situation in which the hardcore terrorists in Guantanamo are "innocent victims" even to our fair-weather allies. In Iraq, our troops capture bomb-makers only to learn they've been dumped back on the block.

It is not humane to spare fanatical murderers. It is not humane to play into our enemy's hands. And it is not humane to endanger our troops out of political correctness.

Instead of worrying over trumped-up atrocities in Iraq (the media give credence to any claim made by terrorists), we should stop apologizing and take a stand. That means firm rules for the battlefield, not Gumby-speak intended to please critics who'll never be satisfied by anything America does.

The ultimate act of humanity in the War on Terror is to win. To do so, we must kill our enemies wherever we encounter them. He who commits an act of terror forfeits every right he once possessed.

Ralph Peters' new book, "Never Quit the Fight," hits stores today


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