On Humanity

Ralph Peters in the New York Post writes:

WE made one great mistake regarding Guantanamo: No terrorist should have made it that far. All but a handful of those grotesquely romanticized prisoners should have been killed on the battlefield.

The few kept alive for their intelligence value should have been interrogated secretly, then executed.

Terrorists don’t have legal rights or human rights. By committing or abetting acts of terror against the innocent, they place themselves outside of humanity’s borders. They must be hunted as man-killing animals.

I would say that the reverse is true. It is precisely because we show mercy to prisoners and dispense justice fairly that the concept of humanity means anything.  That is why not torturing people means so much. And why we should call extra-legal execution of a prisoner without a fair trial what it is: murder. This outcome might be unpalatable: it is offensive that prisoners can enjoy all life, even in prison, while their victims molder in the ground. But it is none the less important because laws are designed precisely to ensure that punishment is meted justly. Because shooting first and asking questions later is a good way to kill a whole lot of innocent people.

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