Thomas Sowell

Whatever the legal status of captured terrorists under our current laws, Congress has the authority to make new laws, in order to make it unmistakably clear that Osama bin Laden et al are wartime enemies, not peacetime criminals. These terrorists have themselves openly declared war on us, even if the countries which harbor and abet them have not formally done so.

Can Congress spare time from rehashing the past to legislate for the future? We might hope so, but this is an election year, after all. The votes of mush heads who want to give "rights" to those who are organized internationally for the express purpose of murdering us are still votes -- a fact which politicians are unlikely to ignore in an election year.

But perhaps those of us who are optimists can hope that sanity will return after the November elections and that laws will be passed then to make it unmistakably clear that enemy combatants are to be treated as enemy combatants, not American citizens. Those who join enemy armies should automatically lose their citizenship and the rights that go with it.

We don't want to leave enough ambiguity in existing laws to allow liberal judges who strain to find reasons to turn criminals loose to do the same with members of international terrorist organizations.

Thank heaven American Taliban John Walker Lindh was not tried in the 9th Circuit. By now he might be not only walking the streets of America scot-free but also suing the government and making nightly appearances on the talk-show circuit.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate