Sunday, June 12, 2005

According to The Washington Post, only 39 out of 330 suspected terrorists have been convicted of crimes related to the atrocities of September 11. ("U.S. Campaign Produces Few Convictions on Terrorism Charges," Dan Eggen and Julie Tate, 12 June 2005, A1) More shocking is the revelation that 180, over half of the suspects, were found to "have no demonstrated connection to a terrorist group" (emphasis added).

What does this mean? The Post reports that "a large number of people appear to have been swept into U.S. counterterrorism investigations by chance — through anonymous tips, suspicious circumstances or bad luck — and have remained classified as terrorism defendants years after being cleared of connections to extremist groups." In other words, this ‘war on terrorism’ is a charade, orchestrated to appear like a serious, comprehensive investigation of the financial and logistical support given to the murderers who took the lives of 3,000 American people.

Instead, what we now see is a sham, a betrayal of the trust under which the state swore to protect us. The report continues, "A wide variety of crimes is included on the Justice Department’s list of terrorism prosecutions." ("Classifying Crimes," A19) Out of 319 total criminal convictions, the graphic (print version; the one posted online is different) reads that 46 were classified as relating to terrorism or national security — a little over 14% of the total.

This is nothing less than an outrage, and is at best counterproductive toward defeating al Qaeda, which is what we must do. Thus far, our government has failed us in that crucial effort, and has made the fight all the worse by giving Qaeda members and their affiliates their greatest propaganda victory, the invasion and continuing occupation of Iraq. This is a national tragedy, and because we live in a democratic society we all have a share of the responsibility. We must tell our entrusted leaders not to abrogate their duty to protect us, all the while ensuring the survival of the liberties are embedded in the founding of this country, so we can start to fight terrorism at last.

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