Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Terrorists convinced without suspending the rule of law

The trial of the Madrid train bombers concluded today, with 21 of the 28 accused were convicted today and most sentenced to long jail terms.

What interested me is how the trial was conducted in a regular court before a regular judge. Some Americans believe that our country is so weak and fragile that terrorism suspects can't be tried in a regular courts. Some Americans believe that the republic will collapse if the rule of law is applied.

They argue that suspects must never be charged with an actual crime. They argue that suspects must be kidnaped and shipped to black holes like Guantanamo Bay or to countries like Syria that our own government claims supports terrorism.

The Madrid trial (to say nothing of the Zaccarias Moussaoui, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and Timothy McVeigh trials) demonstrate what garbage this is.

If a country like Spain that was a fascist dictatorship only a generation and a half ago can hold such a politically charged trial in open court without suspending the rule of law and without the state disintegrating, then surely one of the world's oldest democracies like ours can figure out a way to do the same.

Or perhaps what supporters of the war against civil liberties are really arguing is that Spain is a more mature country than the United States.

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