Peace through victory - the American way.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Fighting A War Or Fighting Crime?

The West is divided in this war. One of the fault lines is over whether the War on Terror is a real war or a metaphorical war. This AP story published in the San Diego Union Tribune (here)shows how that divide played out recently in Germany.

After 9-11 the German government passed a law to permit hijacked planes to be shot down by the military as a last resort. The Federal Constitutional Court reviewed the law and struck it down.
"In its ruling, the court found the bill 'incompatible with the fundamental right to life and with the guarantee of human dignity' for innocent passengers on an aircraft.

It also found that allowing the military to shoot down civilian airliners violates a constitutional bar on the military being deployed for domestic security – except in natural disasters or after a particularly serious accident has happened."
First, the notion that the dignity of innocent passengers on a hijacked plane heading for destruction is violated if the passengers are killed by being shot down is ludicrous. The bill only authorized shooting down the plane as a last resort. In that circumstance, the passengers are going to die as victims of terrorism. Is it really more dignified to die in a successful terrorist attack or die by friendly fire that thwarts the terrorists.

As for the use of the military, the ruling makes some sense if a terrorist hijacking is viewed as a crime to be dealt with by law enforcement. In that case, there is no justification for using the military. But the ruling makes absolutely no sense if a terrorist hijacking is viewed as an act of war that the military should be able to defend against, even as a last resort.

If the West is going to win the war we're fighting at some point the idea that we're fighting a real war is going to have to sink in and become more widespread.


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