Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's A Shame We Don't Hang Traitors Anymore

There seems to be a disease spreading in this country lately. It is an ugly affliction that has Americans taking up arms against their fellow Americans. The most common cause of this disease lately has been Jihadism, a holy war on infidels by Muslims, but there is no shortage of other causes seeking to use violence to overthrow the government of the United States.

In the latest incident, last Tuesday they indicted a 46 year old, blond haired, blue eyed, American woman living quietly in the suburbs of Philadelphia on charges of using the internet to contact and recruit militants and plot suicide attacks and the murder of a Swedish cartoonist who had drawn a cartoon with a derogatory image of Mohamed. The network she had created included 4 men and 3 women already under arrest in Ireland and a number of militant Jihadists in Europe and around the world. On her website, this women had actually been calling herself "Jihad Jane". This incident was particularly upsetting because it underminded our idea of what a "terrorist" was. Suddenly the bad guy was not a young man of Middle Eastern appearance. Now is was the lady up the street!

In the last year we have seen half a dozen incidents of attacks being either attempted or actually carried out by American citizens against American citizens. You might be tempted to ask why now? What is going on now that has brought out all this home-grown hatred. Well, it is nothing new. We have always had people that turned against the country and our way of life. The only difference is that these days we have forgotten to use the word "traitor". Our Justice Department has forgotten there are laws on the books against "treason" -laws calling for the stiffest penalties. We now try to understand and rehabilitate these people - 50 years ago we just hanged them.

The Army Major that shot all those innocent people in Fort Hood is being held on multiple counts of murder. That is fine, those charges are certainly appropriate but he should also be charged with "treason". Wearing the uniform of his country, he took arms against his own countrymen. If that is not treason, I don't know what is.

During World War II we regularly hanged spies, saboteurs (the WWII term for terrorists) and traitors. When did that stop? The people guilty of these crimes are the most dangerous and insidious imaginable. They come from among us and their very existence makes us paranoid and fills us with both rage and shame. Failing to treat them as what they are, traitors, does not lessen the terrible fact of their existence. One invaluable weapon to combat them is the one our Justice Department has apparently laid down - the fair and judicial application of the law against treason and the execution of the harshest possible sentence upon conviction.

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