Thursday, March 11, 2010

Inconsistent Reasoning and Patriotism - Keeping America Safe?

I do not do politics here. I do, however, engage in examination of the various things I see and hear, for consistency. Let us examine the current flap over the Defense of the Terrorists in our Civilian Courts. While not wholly against the premise, I am outraged by the misinformation and distortion of history as provided by both sides in the debate.

In 1770 the American colonies were spoiling for war. The Boston Tea Party had already happened. The Boston Massacre had taken place and the trial of the British soldiers responsible, including the Captain who gave the order to fire, was underway. John Adams, one of our noted Founding Fathers would defend them. All but 2 were acquitted, the Captain included. Mr. Adams called it “…one of the most gallant, generous …..and one of the best pieces of service I ever rendered my country.”

This past week many analogies have surfaced telling us that this was a glorious moment in American history which showcases the need to defend terrorism suspects in our Civilian Courts. While I am not in total disagreement with this, I must point out the inaccuracies of the argument. I can’t help it. I have to set the record straight.

In 1770 there was no America. Just a colony under English law. The court in which Mr. Adams tried his defendants was an English court. America would not have her own independent courts until after 1776, and officially not until after the Revolution had ended in 1781 at Yorktown. During the Revolution, Military Tribunals were the norm in dealing with enemy combatants, when warranted.

As for Mr. Adams having done “one of the best pieces of service I ever rendered my country”, let us examine this phrase.

The country he was serving at the time was England. The result of his defense was that 7 out of the 9 accused in the massacre, including the Captain who ordered it, were set free. In other words, Mr. Adams helped to free, in an English Court, the English soldiers who had massacred his neighbors.

And yet this episode is being held aloft as the reason why we must defend the terrorists in our courts with lawyers from the Justice Department, even while not knowing who they are and who their previous business dealings have involved.

If this sounds harsh, consider this. In 1770 the American colonies were, as I have stated earlier, spoiling for a fight. What better way to bring it to a boil than by defending and helping to free the soldiers who had murdered the civilians in Boston. Mr. Adams may have had an ulterior motive other than that of rendering “one of the best pieces of service” he ever undertaken for his country. Although undoubtedly a Patriot, his country at the time was England, the same as the Defendants. He was also a son of Samuel Adams, a noted smuggler and enemy of the Crown.

The lesson is clear in the outcome. 7 out of the 9 soldiers who committed sanctioned murder by the Crown that day were freed. Now ask yourself if justice was served. Then apply these lessons of history to the current debate and draw your own conclusions.

My own opinion is that the entire argument is specious and without merit. An apple is being compared to an orange in a grand effort to confuse the public. What do you think?

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