The use of our democratic system and the rule of law by those whose intent is to destroy our civilization is a cynical tactic that Americans ought to be smart enough to see straight through.
Islamic jihadis are manipulating Western-style legal systems everywhere to their own benefit while we, the founders of those systems, are floundering in a morass of moral relativism, multicultural meaninglessness, and a deplorable amnesia about the genuine worth of our own heritage, traditions, and values.
The current case in point involves the three Navy SEALs who, as members of Seal Team 10, captured the Iraqi terrorist Ahmed Hashim Abed in September 2009. Abed is charged with directing the March 2004 ambush of four Blackwater security guards in the town of Fallujah in which the four were killed, and their bodies mutilated, burned, and hung from a bridge. Unbelievably, the three heroic Navy SEALs are now being court-martialed because Abed claims that at some point in the capture and interrogation process, they treated him a bit roughly; the charges against the SEALs also allege they made false statements about that treatment.
Aside from obvious confusion about the appropriate application of the Uniform Code of Military Justice on the part of Major General Charles T. Cleveland (the commander who signed off on the charges), the utter absurdity of the situation must have jihadis everywhere wondering gleefully just what are the criteria Americans are using these days for promotion to general. To be fair, it's not just Maj. Gen. Cleveland -- it's the entire system of which he is just one deplorable example.
We, the inheritors of the liberal democratic system that makes our Republic a beacon of hope for the entire world, are allowing that system to be assaulted, corrupted, and suborned to the shrewdly calculated agenda of an international coalition of forces that do not believe in American exceptionalism, or liberal, pluralist, democracy under rule of man-made law.
The American Constitution gave us a system that protects the natural rights of citizens from abuse by government; those inalienable rights are the inheritance of all Americans. They were never intended to apply to barbarians, much less illegal enemy combatants, who are not American citizens, and who reject and seek to destroy civilized society wherever it may be found. Likewise, in terms of international law, the Geneva conventions and protocols were written to provide some minimum boundaries to the conduct of war. As such, they stipulate appropriate behavior and treatment of uniformed combatants, who are expected to operate under the military chain-of-command of a recognized nation state.
Terrorists like Ahmed Hashim Abed, who wear no uniform, whose allegiance is to no country, and who deliberately perpetrate horrific violence targeted specifically at civilian non-combatants, don't qualify. He and others like him, such as Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and his 9/11 cohorts, merit the minimum of humane treatment -- food, water, shelter, clothing, medical care, and protection from torture -- but no more. They most certainly don't merit the full panoply of the American legal system, including taxpayer-funded lawyers, trial by civilian jury, or the pre-trial discovery process.
From captured al-Qaeda documents, including its infamous and very detailed training manual, it is known that Islamic jihadis are trained to understand and manipulate the U.S. and other Western-style legal systems. Specifically, the al-Qaeda training manual instructs jihadis to claim abuse, mistreatment, and torture as soon as they are detained. Al-Qaeda, Taliban, and other Islamic jihadis have made an art form out of loud allegations of civilian deaths and U.S., NATO, and Coalition forces attacks against hospitals, mosques, schools, and villages -- while illegally using those very installations from which to launch attacks of their own. They count on Western ignorance of Islamic law, which not only condones lying and deceit in time of war, but commands it. They can be fairly certain that most Westerners have never heard of taqiyya, the 'defensive' use of duplicity and dissimulation by Muslims that is enshrined in Shari'a (Islamic law).
'Lawfare' is the term for offensive use of democratic legal systems by those whose intent is to destroy democracy. When frivolous lawsuits are brought against those who speak against Islamic jihad in an attempt to close down criticism of Islam altogether, that is lawfare. When the Organization of Islamic Conference sponsors a resolution that urges criminalization of any free speech that criticizes Islam, that is intended lawfare. When a Western government puts its own citizen on trial for "hate speech" against Islam, as is happening right now in the Netherlands with the courageous and very popular Freedom Party leader, Geert Wilders, that is lawfare.
And when the U.S. military sends three of our most elite warrior-patriots, our Navy SEALs, to courts martial because an enemy savage, who has committed unspeakable atrocities against American citizens, whined about a bloody lip or being punched in the stomach, that is not just lawfare, that is a perversion of anything remotely approaching genuine justice.
It's not just that Western society has become overly litigious or enthralled to the lawyer class. We are losing sight of the distinction between civilized society and barbarism. We are forgetting who we are and who they are. Decades of progressive education and Middle East studies programs bought and paid for by Salafi-Wahhabi money have turned out generations of national leaders who can no longer distinguish, much less champion, the unique values of Western-style liberal, pluralist, tolerant democracy.
The agenda of post-modernist multiculturalism, to denigrate the heritage of Athens, Jerusalem, and Rome, is bearing fruit in the inability of Western elites to recognize and name good and evil. Political correctness, the cringing unwillingness to call Islamic jihad by its name, is corroding our military and debilitating our society as a whole. In the wake of the November 2009 armed assault at Ft. Hood, TX by Islamic jihadist Major Hasan Nidal, U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey Jr. publicly elevated "diversity in the military" as equivalent in value with maintenance of strong, cohesive armed forces free from the influence of Islamic jihad. With all due respect to the dead and injured at Ft. Hood, no, it is not.
Rule of law and our own democratic legal system are intended to draw a clear distinction between civilization and savagery. Those who trample and make a mockery of these laws, however cleverly, are not equivalent with those of us who cherish those laws and hold dear the system that makes them possible. Barbarians like Ahmed Hashim Abed aren't worth a single penny of taxpayer money -- much less the careers of three of our finest Navy SEALs.
Rule of law is not a suicide pact for Western civilization -- unless we allow it to be.
Ms. Lopez is the Vice President of the Intelligence Summit and a professor at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies.