Jonah Goldberg

But for these men, it isn't an ideology. It isn't a war. It isn't a sacred cause.

The Guantanamo Five aren't gangsters, and they aren't criminals. Criminals usually kill people to get cash. Terrorists get money so they can kill people. Criminals do evil to get pleasure. Terrorists eschew worldly pleasure to do evil. Bank robbers may strap bombs to themselves, but they do it to terrorize tellers into handing over the money. Terrorists skip that part and go straight to blowing themselves up.

Al-Qaida isn't full of cartoonish nihilists like The Joker. They don't want to see the world burn; they want to see the world in a burka. But burning the world is preferable to not getting their way.

"We shall continue the Jihad no matter how long the way, until the last breath and the last beat of the pulse -- or until we see the Islamic state established," proclaimed Abdullah Azzam, one of the spiritual founders of al-Qaida.

No doubt Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul shares that sentiment. He was an inmate at Guantanamo until he was released to Afghanistan in 2007. Now he's overseeing Taliban operations against U.S. forces in southern Afghanistan, where violence is on the rise.

Though he didn't ask Louis Pepe's opinion, President Obama has concluded that the criminal justice system can handle terrorists just fine.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler is the chairman of the House Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee. The hole where the World Trade Center used to be is in his district. Yet he says that people like Mohammed Atta, who led the 9/11 attack, should be treated like any other criminals. Vice President Biden has offered exact percentages of Taliban members who can be negotiated with or bought off. Obama is closing Guantanamo Bay, and the White House is looking for prisons, including on American soil, to hold the Gitmo Five and others like them.

We'll see how that works out.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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