FP: Victor Davis Hanson, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
First things first, let me ask you this.
If our government was serious about fighting Islamic terrorism and saving lives, wouldn’t Abdul Mutallab be getting water-boarded just about now?
We know that the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation on al-Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed – which included waterboarding – forced KSM to give up crucial information that ended up preventing countless terrorist attacks and saving an infinite amount of innocent lives. It allowed, for instance, the U.S. to capture key al- Qaeda terrorists and to thwart a planned 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles.
But now, thanks to the Obama administration and its approach to the terror war, Abdul Mutallab will probably be getting a lawyer and not have to say anything. This, naturally, drastically increases, rather than minimizes, the possibilities of a future terror attack on our soil and against our citizens.
Hanson: I don’t think right now the question is over interrogation techniques, but rather not giving this foreign national would-be mass murderer full rights, as if he were a common criminal rather than a non-uniformed soldier at war.
Mutallab apparently, has been happy to tell all he knows without even being interrogated formally, which makes the entire foiled attack even more absurd: a Nigerian radical Muslim buys with cash a one-way ticket, carries no check-in luggage, was previously reported by his own father as a threat to America, and boards a plane to America after previous stays in Yemen?
Before we even get to questions of interrogation, how about first some sanity? And in reaction to all this, Secretary Napolitano nonchalantly talks about the system working like “clockwork”? I think very soon we will hear of no more “overseas contingency operations” and “man-made disasters”—and no more Janet Napolitano as head of our homeland security.
And when the next official struts and says “Bush did it”, the public will sigh “Thank God, he did”, since in comparison with the seriousness with which the prior administration dealt with terrorism, the Obama team seems to consider radical Islam an interesting catalyst for a civil liberties debate. “Reset” button probably won’t be used any more either—the phrase is too ironic now, and would mean going back to our anti-terrorism policies from 2001-9, which are preferable to the present mess. In political terms, one cannot ask millions of Americans to take off their belts and shoes, and then not put someone like Mutallab on a no-fly list.
FP: The fate of Gitmo?
Hanson: With over 100 Yemenis in Guantanamo, I doubt the facility will be closed; perhaps it will be virtually closed like the Iranian deadlines to stop building a bomb, or the health-care deadlines. I doubt too that Khalid Sheik Mohammed is ever tried in New York; that partisan gambit will be quietly Guatanamoized.
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