The reaction of any person with a functioning conscience to the news of the barbaric murder of four U.S. Marines in Chattanooga, TN by Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, can only be sadness, sympathy, and fury at our leaders for creating "Unarmed Forces" by forbidding our well-trained soldiers to carry arms to protect themselves from jihadists.
For the odious Glenn Greenwald, infamous apologist for all things Islamist, that would be unjust. After all, these were simply military casualties, who cares about them?
In common usage (as opposed to legal definitions), “terrorism” typically connotes, if not denotes, “violence against civilians.” If you ask most people why they regard the 9/11 attack as so singularly atrocious, you will likely hear that it was because the violence was aimed indiscriminately at civilians and at civilian targets. If you ask them to distinguish why they regard civilian-killing U.S. violence as legitimate and justified but regard the violence aimed at the U.S. as the opposite (“terrorism”), they’ll likely claim that the U.S. only kills civilians by accident, not on purpose. Whether one is targeting civilian versus military sites is a central aspect to how we talk about the justifiability of violence and what is and is not “terrorism.”
But increasingly in the West, violent attacks are aimed at purely military targets, yet are still being called “terrorism.” To this day, many people are indignant that Nidal Hasan was not formally charged with “terrorism” for his attack on the U.S. military base in Fort Hood, Texas (though he was widely called a “terrorist” by U.S. media reports). Last October in Canada — weeks after the government announced it would bomb Iraq against ISIS — a Muslim man waited for hours in his car in a parking lot until he saw two Canadian soldiers in uniform, and then ran them over, killing one; that was universally denounced as “terrorism” despite his obvious targeting of soldiers. Omar Khadr was sent to Guantanamo as a teenager and branded a “terrorist” for killing a U.S. soldier fighting the war in Afghanistan, during a firefight. One of the most notorious “terrorism” prosecutions in the U.S. — just brilliantly dissected by my colleague Murtaza Hussain — involved an alleged plot to attack the military base at Fort Dix. Trumpeted terror arrests in the U.S. now often involve plots against military rather than civilian targets. The 9/11 attack itself targeted the Pentagon in addition to the World Trade Center.
The argument that even attacks on military bases should be regarded as “terrorism” rests on the proposition that soldiers who are not actively engaged in combat when attacked are not legitimate targets.
Let's not commit the customary logical fallacy of the left and dismiss his opinion out of hand simply because of Mr. Greenwald's previous lunacies.
Because, actually, he has a point. Are we in a "war" on terrorism? Mr. Obama doesn't like to use this term but it's still in common usage, and America as a whole still acts as if we are.
We would label it differently. We prefer to call it the "Fight Against (Islamic) Barbarism" - but, still, it bears many of the aspects of a war. There is a definite, though ill-defined, enemy; we have soldiers in the field as well as spies in back alleys working against them; and there are casualties on both sides. There are captives on both sides, too, though the side of Islam tends not to keep captives around for very long.
So, by the laws of war, the soldiers of Allah may be illegal combatants since they aren't in uniforms, but when they are killing our soldiers they are at least picking legitimate targets.
As Americans protected by two vast oceans, we aren't used to the horrors of war ever literally coming home. Most of the rest of the world doesn't enjoy this privilege; when war commences, virtually every other country can expect damage on the home front regardless of where the main fighting might happen to be. Other major Western capitals such as London have endured bombings for many years; they're still going strong.
Mr. Greenwald is absolutely right when he says that a major conservative argument is that the US military kills civilians only by accident, whereas Muslims do so on purpose. In fact, we've made exactly that contention, and believe it wholeheartedly.
In this light, consider the unnamed Canadian Muslim Mr. Greenwald mentions, who patiently sat in his car for hours on end while countless hundreds of unarmed civilians blithely walked by, waiting for uniformed members of the Canadian military to crush beneath his chariot wheels. Aside from the venue and type of weapon, is that not exactly the behavior we expect of honorable soldiers? Our soldiers are trained to kill uniformed opponents while, if at all possible, avoiding hurting innocent civilians, exactly what this guy did.
So does this mean that Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez should be accorded the privileges of a prisoner of war? Absolutely not, and for a very simple reason the article astonishingly passed over without comment:
Abdulazeez was a naturalized American citizen from Kuwait.
Was this killer a uniformed soldier of Islamic State, or Iran? No he was not.
Was he even a citizen of these countries, or of Syria, or Libya, or anywhere else that wishes us ill? Not that either.
No, Abdulazeez swore loyalty to the United States and acted, in disguise, as a soldier of an enemy power. Under international law, there has always been a perfectly acceptable penalty for this sort of behavior, endorsed by no less than Gen. George Washington, the Father of his Country: death for spies and traitors.
Forget these picayune terrorism charges. Abdulazeez should be tried, convicted, and executed for treason. So should Maj. Nidal Hasan, who murdered his fellow American soldiers on behalf of Allah.
By wrongly calling treason terrorism, we give fellow travelers like Glenn Greenwald ammunition to use against justice. Let's fix this problem by calling a spade a spade henceforward: If Muslims target innocent civilians, they are terrorists who should be shot. If, as citizens of Muslim countries, they murder American soldiers, they are spies who should be tried, convicted, and shot.
And if they're U.S. citizens who take the side of Islam and murder American soldiers - well, in that case they need to be tried, convicted, and hanged by the neck until dead.
Over the past five years, the editors have been secretly working on a book that summarizes the fundamental viewpoints of Scragged.