Wednesday, July 7, 2010

British, American Courts: Plodding, Frustrating - But Consider the Alternatives

From today's news:
"Five charged as al Qaeda plotters in U.S. and U.K."
CNN (July 7, 2010)

"The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against five people who prosecutors say are members of an al Qaeda plot to attack targets in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The charges link a plot against the New York subway system to a scheme to attack a target in the United Kingdom, and say both were directed by 'senior al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan.'...
The CNN article shows the sort of concerns that British courts - and, I think, Western courts in general - have. An immigration tribunal decided that one of the men involved, Abid Naseer, is an Al Qaeda agent. He wasn't deported to Pakistan: because he might be tortured there.

Some red-white-and-blue-blooded Americans might say that's being 'soft on criminals.' Maybe so: it's also one of the reasons I sincerely hope Western civilization wins the war on terror. The more rabidly "Islamic" countries, like Iran, are quite definitely not soft on criminals. ("Halt stoning of Iran 'adulterer' - Human Rights Watch," BBC (July 7, 2010))

I put "Islamic" in quotes, since I don't think that outfits like Al Qaeda are any more representative of Muslims and Islam, than the Ku Klux Klan of the fifties and sixties was of Americans and Christianity.

There's a Lesson Here: Several, Actually

First, I think the legal proceedings in today's news show that Al Qaeda and like-minded organizations are
  • Not nice
  • Not safe to have around
  • Nowhere near willing to sit down and chat about living peaceably alongside people aren't just like them
If that sounds patently obvious: you haven't been keeping up with the sillier statements of America's more earnest subcultures.

Second, for all its (many) faults, the sort of judicial system that's been hammered out in the English-speaking world could be worse. A lot worse. Principles like 'innocent until proven guilty' may not feel good all the time: but there's a reason why we're careful (on paper, anyway) about assuming that someone's guilty - and then stringing the varmint up.

Not-entirely-unrelated posts:In the news:


Brigid said...

"I put 'Islamic' in parentheses" actually, you put it in quotes, but who's counting?

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian H. Gill said...


You are - and thanks! Fixed it. (Hoo boy: and fixed a minor format error, while I was at it.)

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.