Congress — with its endless squabbling with the Bush Administration over FISA, the equally endless torture law debates, and the relentless handwringing over Gitmo — has made its position clear: Pelosi and Co. are concerned, deeply concerned, with terrorists’ civil liberties. As Jed Babbin put it last September in his article “The Terrorist Bill of Rights,” “The Democrats’ national security agenda seems designed, point by point, to destroy the means by which we have been protected since 9-11.”
But try to see it from their point of view. After all, if we become like our enemy, all is lost! So with this longstanding solicitude of the Democrats and the Left in general for the jihadists confirmed yet again this week, it’s time to step back and codify the jihadists’ hard-won gains — the fruit of the political correctness and misbegotten attempts to win hearts and minds that have guided current policy to an alarming degree. That’s right: it’s time for a Terrorist Bill of Rights.
So with the appeasers and the willfully self-deceived running the show, exactly what rights to the jihadists have?
1. If jihadists’ phone calls plotting terrorist attacks are monitored by telecom companies, jihadists can sue the telecom companies and tie them up for years in the courts. This was enabled by the House Democrats’ allowing a surveillance act to expire last week. National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell and Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey wrote this week to the House Intelligence Committee: “We have lost intelligence information this past week as a direct result of the uncertainty created by Congress’ failure to act. Because of this uncertainty, some partners have reduced cooperation.”
2. When jihadists are interrogated, they have the right to have ACLU lawyers sit in on the questioning — lawyers who will watch the proceedings zealously and let the interrogators know when they’re getting out of line and their clients have no obligation to answer their questions. The Pentagon allowed this in 2005 during interrogations of Taliban and Al-Qaeda prisoners, leading one military observer to remark: “It’s as if they [the detainees] were [merely] shoplifters in the U.S. The lawyers may have left by now, but the damage is done. We’re sending guys [attorneys] down to interrogate on [the] taxpayer’s dime for absolutely no reason now.”
3. Jihadists will have the right to feast on “Asian-accented stews of beef, chicken, and fish,” such that the average weight gain among prisoners at the alleged “torture camp” of Guantanamo will be thirteen pounds.
4. Jihadists in U.S. custody shall have the right to receive a free copy of the Qur’an – yet no effort will be made to disabuse them of the notion that it commands them to make war against and ultimately subjugate the very people who gave them the book.
5. Jihadists will not be subjected to the psychological torture and ritual impurity of having to see that Qur’an handled without gloves by unclean non-believing prison guards. (These two are long-standing policy at Gitmo.)
It is vital that the United States and the West stand for the dignity and the rights of every person against the jihadists who would deny those rights to women, religious minorities, and others, but this kind of solicitude goes far beyond any sane notion of human rights. The Democrats’ refusal to extend legal protection to the telecom companies seems to be motivated by pure partisanship — by a desire to deny George W. Bush a legislative victory.
The interference of the ACLU in the interrogation of prisoners may likewise have stemmed from an anxiety to avoid even the appearance of human rights violations — although a captured Al-Qaeda manual makes clear that jihadist prisoners must always claim to have been tortured, no matter what the politically correct kid-gloves-on-the-Qur’an realities of the situation. That manual has been known for years, making it puzzling — to put it mildly — that the possibility that those who have claimed to have been tortured while in U.S. custody might simply be lying doesn’t seem to get much consideration in the mainstream media or even from the establishment human rights advocacy organizations.
And meanwhile, lost in the shuffle of all this solicitude for the rights of our enemies is the right of the American people to be protected from jihadist attack. Where is the anxious solicitude of Pelosi and her merry band for that?