44 Questions to Ask Yourself

Jun 6, 2006 at 11:15 AM
Recent arrests made in our war have me thinking.

While I am VERY much in agreement with catching our enemy and arresting real criminals and crazies before they can do damage to ethical, productive, good people (who wouldn't be?), I am terribly bothered by the charges I have just heard, and the fact that our enemies in a war, are being arrested.

Let's break that down into two points:

1. Arresting your enemy in wartime.

Aren't you supposed to separate peacetime terms from wartime terms? Aren't we supposed to separate these two ideas - in protection of the return to peace afterwards?

Notice the terminology in use recently:
arrest, warrants, crime

These are peacetime terms.

If we are at war, shouldn't we use our separate rules of war against our enemy? Shouldn't we be applying war terms to them? What about "prisoner of war" - if we're capturing our enemy? When did they become "detainees" - that bland, oblique term that hazes the grey line between peace and war even further?

Doesn't this result in a yawning limbo-land between the two? A grey area in the middle between peace and war into which civility and freedoms might very well fall - where our war is within? Where the police are also our soldiers againsdt the enemy that may become one of us? What happens when this enemy is beaten? Do we stop making up new crimes that would only have been crimes in a war environ?

When civilians get arrested and charged in civilian court systems for new crimes that are caused by a war mentality, is not acceptable. I do not accept that.

2. Arrested for studying?

OK - let me disclaim now that I am NOT pro-criminal. Punishment for crime is as important to society as is reward for achievement. I demand that people who committ crimes get charged. I also demand that people who have not yet committed a crime be allowed to continue unfettered. No grey area. Planning a crime is a crime. Arrest once you have solid proof that a crime is planned.

Nine recent arrests in the war on terror were said to be "for receiving training from a terrorist organization". That is not planning a crime. That is learning. If it has deeper meaning, why is the charge "receiving training"? Regardless of what THESE people did, that crime is now there to arrest others with.

Yes, we can tell these people are up to something, in this specific case. I agree.

But the creation of a crime of "receiving training" definitely raises a huge red flag. These people were being trained by a group known to have created other criminals - that is a very obvious bad thing, and it makes it really easy to know who to watch for the beginning of real crimes. It, in itself, is not arrestable.

How is receiving training - partaking in knowledge - a crime? Are we back to biblical times, the tree of knowledge? Are we back to believing that certain knowledge is dangerous?

While it might seem that it is terribly obvious that certain kinds of training are a step in the direction of a heinous crime, this begs the question of who defines which training is criminal?

Since there is no division between civil crime and war crime anymore, when does this new kind of crime start making it so that taboo subjects become criminal to train on?

Examples of areas of society presently taboo, disliked, or that make people uncomfortable that might be under the microscope of this law at some date in the future.

  • Religions. THis may seem far-fetched, unless you've taken a good hard look at the mental health arena. The anti-spiritual crowd currently has a firm grip on government. Psychiatry is the cause celebré of the anti-spiritual crowd, prayer is not allowed in schools, religions are not allowed to place their art in public places (where - God forbid - someone might see it and feel spiritual!). Psychiatry is actually known to have categorized religious fervor (often caused by receiving training in your religion) as an insanity. When does study - which after all leads to "Religious Fervor Disease" or "Spiritual Disorder" or what have you - of religious works become a crime?

  • Weapons and physical mastery. What isn't considered within the realm of a possible crime tool that you could learn in the martial arts and outdoor activities. Rappel? Martial arts? Self defense? Hunting? Swordsmanship? SCUBA? What about those weekend warriors who go to executive boot camps to improve their grasp on reality? Are they getting profiled as training with militants? This study actually can be linked to immediate crimes. Does the study of weaponry and personal physical mastery lead to the crimes that some people who have studied them become proficient in? You tell me. Does my black belt and gun ownership make me more likely to commit a violent crime? When do we start searching amongst ourselves for criminals before they happen by carefully tagging our study history for the proverbial red flag?

  • Alternative government. How about the fact that nearly every troublemaker against a government has studied the enemies of that government? Does agreeing with a taboo or alternate system of government make you a criminal? Does studying world history - which involves learning about the alternate forms of government that have affected world history - make you likely to become an anti-government militant? Since you can't tell the merely interested from the obsessed, wouldn't the mere study become a crime, if we're making "training" a crime?

  • Sciences. Knowing our world that intimately makes you have an edge against your "potential victim", makes the area of possible impingement quite a lot bigger, doesn't it? Think of the knowledge imparted in a study of advanced computer electronics, bio-chemistry, particle physics, or other sciences. Is a masters degree in applied astrophysics a warning sign of capability to harm others? Will we start arresting anyone who studies these sciences?

What about someone with a history of deeply held spiritual beliefs, martial arts training, a gun license, an interest in astro-physics, and who holds an irreverent view of government?

Oh, wait that's me! I'm a deeply spiritual person (as a Scientologist), I have a black belt (15 years ago) and a handgun license (single female in the woods needs one), I am Libertarian (I don't agree with the abuse of power but I'm not anti-government, I love my country). I have a hobby of reading about astrophysics that stemmed from my childhood addiction to Sci-Fi books - I wanted to know what they were talking about. I'm sure the government knows all this already, since I've bought most of my books through Amazon by credit card or from B & N on my membership card. Does my knowledge of computers make me a target?

Where do we draw the line, if mere training can get you arrested?

When did we stop waiting for the obvious future criminal to commit his crime? When did we start arresting those who are merely extremely likely to commit a crime because they've learned how?

I am fine with finding and obliterating the enemy, as long as the enemyt is not confused with the populace and the enemy is either outright killed, as one does with a war enemy, or charged and tried with war tribunals, war crimes, WAR anything.

Stop making civil charges against war criminals. It is not allowable to blur the lines, to push back our rights as a people, to allow new strange complicities to emerge as arrestable crimes so that we can catch our war enemy within our borders.

Keep the division obvious so that civilians on our side are not considered open targets. If the enemy soldiers are treated as civilians, so will our civilians be treated like soldiers by our enemy. If the enemy has decided there is no difference, that makes them bad. If we do it, that makes us foolish.

We want our peacetime laws and our peacetime lives and our peace. Stand up and say that you refuse to lose freedoms for the sake of safety.

The fear of loss results only in the loss of freedom. Unless people wake up and demand to keep what we have - a free society in the west, a free world - we will lose our freedoms through encroachment and the slow ebb of awareness from generation to generation of what was lost.

The laws that protect my freedom are ultimately not something I am willing to lose, even in wartime. If we lose that, the purpose and point of the entire war is gone. Every casualty of war, every veteran will be negated their glory. Every person who has ever fought for freedom will have failed.

I refuse to allow civil crimes and war crimes to co-mingle in terminology, in forum, in consideration. Please don't allow this to slip past you.

Are you gonna let this happen?