Monday, June 06, 2005

Rules of War

Rottweiler fisks a NYT oped piece that wants to shut down Gitmo. One statement caught my eye:

Over more than two centuries of peace and war, the United States has developed a highly effective legal system that, while far from perfect, is rightly admired around the world.

Right, and that includes the Rules of War, under which an enemy operating in disguise can be executed as a spy. This would solve the NYT's problem & might cause the killers back home to pause before disemboweling the next aid worker.

Executing unlawful combatants (undocumented combatants?) was SOP during the Revolutionary War, when as today's American Spectator says of Nathan Hale:

The British sometimes simply imprisoned American spies. Had Hale been captured one night earlier, he might have been merely incarcerated. As it was, he was strung up.

It worked both ways - Washington hanged the remarkable Major John Andre:

Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander in New York, did all he could to save him. He appealed to George Washington to be executed by firing squad, but by the rules of war he was hanged at Tappan on October 2, 1780.

Both were brave men who went to their deaths without complaint. Surely the Islamic killers would be at least as stoical, given the 73 virgins awaiting them?