On June 13, 1942, eight trained saboteurs paddled ashore on rafts from Nazi submarines in Florida and Long Island. Carrying fake IDs, explosives and $175,000 in cash, Hitler's agents had come on a mission: Blend into American society and blow up U.S. factories.
On Long Island, four were spotted. Two defected and betrayed their comrades. FDR ordered all eight to be tried by military tribunal. On August 8, six were executed in a D.C. jail, buried in unmarked graves. America was a deadly serious country in the summer of '42.
Few Americans protested, for the same would have happened to any American OSS agent caught behind German lines. Under the rules of war, soldiers out of uniform, engaged in spying or sabotage, are executed. In our own revolution, teenage patriot Nathan Hale was hanged for spying, as was Major Andre, the go-between for Benedict Arnold and Gen. Clinton. Andre's only plea, denied, was that he be shot as a soldier, not hanged as a spy.
If we are serious about this war on terrorism, Congress ought not only to declare war, but warn that any terrorist caught in the U.S. on a mission of massacre will go before a military tribunal and be put to death quickly and in secret, as were those German saboteurs.
If a Delta Force commando is captured in Afghanistan, he will not be provided with a lawyer. If a 17-year-old Afghan kid is found at bin Laden's cave when U.S. Special Forces arrive, he will not be read his Miranda rights. Why, then, should any alien terrorist, like that would-be bomber who entered the U.S. at Seattle before Y2K, enjoy any constitutional protection, simply because he made it here and his terrorist comrades in Afghanistan did not?
While this idea may seem shocking, it is how nations at war behave. Yet, some Americans speak as though nothing has changed. Only days after Sept. 11, this writer heard one U.S. statesman rattle off a list of nations we ought to bomb, then declare himself committed to "open borders."
Last summer, editorial editor Robert Bartley of The Wall Street Journal endorsed "open borders for not only goods and investment but people." Yet, the Journal that wants to abolish our Border Patrol and tear down our border posts also howls for strikes "aimed at terrorist camps in Syria, Sudan, Libya, and Algeria, and perhaps even in parts of Egypt."
Under this homeland security policy, we would have bombed Nazi Germany but kept the door open to Nazi immigration. After all, these husky fellows in crew cuts "are only coming to America to take jobs Americans don't want." This is not cognitive dissonance; post-Sept. 11, this is cognitive disorder.
Americans can no longer indulge such nonsense. Either we abandon the utopian globalism of open borders and "ally-ally-in-free" immigration or we lose the war on terrorism and our freedoms with it. To fight a terrorist network in 60 countries, we must seal our borders and get as serious about homeland security as were the Americans of '42.
Herewith, several suggestions Governor Ridge might ponder, if we are serious: An immediate moratorium on all immigration, which will also assist America's newly unemployed. Expand the Border Patrol to 20,000, which would still give us only three Border Patrol personnel for each mile of our 6,000 miles of borders with Canada and Mexico. Slash radically the number of visas we extend to states that harbor terrorists. Expedite the deportation of the eight-to-11 million illegal aliens, beginning with those from rogue nations. President Bush's amnesty proposal should be quietly interred.
Other ideas that may have seemed radical yesterday, may not today as we dig out the dead in lower Manhattan. One is to transfer the UN out of the U.S., and thus remove from the United States all diplomats of states that harbor terrorists, denying them diplomatic immunity and diplomatic pouches as they do their dirty business with their sleeper agents already inside the U.S.A.
This will cause howls. Yet, not only did the U.S. wrongly intern loyal Japanese-Americans in World War II, we rightly sent home all German and Italian diplomats and nationals – not because they were terrorists, but because we could not take the chance. As a result, hardly a factory was sabotaged or a citizen perished in the 48 states from enemy sabotage or assassination. During that worst war in history, Americans here at home were more secure than today. But now the enemy is inside our gates, and we must ferret him out.
Mr. Bartley was once quoted (inaccurately, he claims) as saying, "I believe the nation-state is finished." Well, if we follow Mr. Bartley's foolish counsel, America may be finished. Time to get serious.