After decades of ignoring the fact that rights and responsibilities go together, it was perhaps inevitable that an under-educated and easily confused generation should include some who do not understand that the rights granted to captured troops by the Geneva Convention apply to those who have accepted the terms of the Geneva Convention. It does not apply to people who are not troops and who have blatantly violated the whole framework of that convention.
For more than two centuries there has been a tendency on the political left, here and overseas, to make wrong-doers look like victims rather than people who are victimizing others. So it was perhaps inevitable that some would extend this attitude from criminals to terrorists.
But it was not inevitable that most would carry things this far or that so many others would be taken in by the rhetoric of moral superiority -- or be oblivious to the implications of an international network of cut-throats bent on destroying us even at the cost of their own lives.
Think of those implications. During the last election, Osama bin Laden warned Americans that those places that voted for President Bush would be targeted for terrorist reprisals.
We could ignore him then. But will our children and grandchildren be able to ignore similar threats after the terrorists are given nuclear weapons by Iran or sold nuclear weapons by North Korea?
This is a chilling prospect under the best circumstances. It is madness to tie our hands in any way in trying to forestall or counter the catastrophic potential of international terrorism.