Sen. John McCain has been carrying so much water for his friends in the mainstream media that he now has to state for the record to Republican audiences: "I hold no brief for al Qaeda."
Well, that’s a relief.
It turns out, the only reason McCain is demanding that prisoners like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, the beheading of journalist Daniel Pearl and other atrocities — be treated like Martha Stewart facing an insider trading charge is this: "It’s all about the United States of America and what is going to happen to Americans who are taken prisoner in future wars."
McCain, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. John Warner — or, as the Times now calls him, the "courtly Virginian" — want terrorists treated like Americans accused of crimes, with full access to classified information against them and a list of the undercover agents involved in their capture. Liberals’ interest in protecting classified information started and ended with Valerie Plame.
As Graham explained, he doesn’t want procedures used against terrorists at Guantanamo "to become clubs to be used against our people." Actually, clubs would be a step up from videotaped beheadings.
Or as the New York Times wrote in the original weasel talking points earlier this summer: "The Geneva Conventions protect Americans. If this country changes the rules, it’s changing the rules for Americans taken prisoner abroad. That is far too high a price to pay so this administration can hang on to its misbegotten policies."
There hasn’t been this much railing about the mistreatment of a hostage since Monica Lewinsky was served canapes at the Pentagon City Ritz-Carlton Hotel while being detained by the FBI.
The belief that we can impress the enemy with our magnanimity is an idea that just won’t die. It’s worse than the idea that paying welfare recipients benefits won’t discourage them from working. (Some tiny minority might still seek work.) It’s worse than the idea that taxes can be raised endlessly without reducing tax receipts. (As the Laffer Curve illustrates, at some point — a point this country will never reach — taxes could theoretically be cut so much that tax revenues would decline.)
But being nice to enemies is an idea that has never worked, no matter how many times liberals make us do it. It didn’t work with the Soviet Union, Imperial Japan, Hitler or the North Vietnamese — enemies notable for being more civilized than the Islamic savages we are at war with today.
By the way, how did the Geneva Conventions work out for McCain at the Hanoi Hilton?
It doesn’t even work with the Democrats, whom Bush kept sucking up to his first year in office. No more movie nights at the White House with Teddy Kennedy these days, I’m guessing.
It was this idea (Be nice!) that fueled liberals’ rage at Reagan when he vanquished the Soviet Union with his macho "cowboy diplomacy" that was going to get us all blown up. As the Times editorial page hysterically described Reagan’s first year in office: "Mr. Reagan looked at the world through gun sights." Yes, he did! And now the Evil Empire is no more.
It was this idiotic idea of being nice to predators that drove liberal crime policies in the ’60s and ’70s — leading like night into day to unprecedented crime rates. Now these same liberal ninnies want to extend their tender mercies not just to rapists and murderers, but to Islamic terrorists.
Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill had a different idea: Instead of rewarding bad behavior, punish bad behavior. How many times does punishment have to work and coddling have to fail before we never have to hear again that if we treat terrorists well, the terrorists will treat our prisoners well?
Fortunately, history always begins this morning for liberals, so they can keep flogging the same idiotic idea that has never, ever worked: Be nice to our enemies and they will reward us with good behavior.
Never mind trusting liberals with national security. Never mind trusting them with raising kids. These people shouldn’t even be allowed to own pets.
If the Democrats and the four pathetic Republicans angling to be called "mavericks" by the New York Times really believe we need to treat captured terrorists nicely in order to ensure that the next American they capture will be well-treated, then why stop at 600-thread-count sheets for the Guantanamo detainees? We must adopt Sharia law.
As McCain might put it, I hold no brief for al Qaeda, but what would better protect Americans they take prisoner than if America went whole hog and became an Islamic republic? On the plus side, we can finally put Rosie O’Donnell in a burka.