Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A Very Good Point

Adam Serwer has a very good point, amplifies by Obsidian Wings. We should all be grateful to Umar Farouk Abdulmatallab's father for approaching the US embassy to mention his son's alarming radicalism. Would he have done that if he had believed it would lead to his son being tortured, then locked away forever without a trial in a very ill-famed prison?

Another important question is, why aren't Democrats shouting this to the skies. Yes, I know, it is hard to call for sanity when the opposing party is denouncing sanity as unpatriotic. Torturing the Other and locking him away forever as far away as possible has a lot of appeal and recognizing the Other as human is hard, especially when one of Them just tried to kill a lot of Us. But it is time for the Obama Administration to grow the part of itself that Abdulmutallab damaged and make the attempt. The only way you will ever relieve the pressure to hurt more Muslims it to convince people that Muslims are human, too. And what better way to show it than to point out that the senior Abdulmutallab, himself a Muslim, was willing to tip off the US against his own son.

Read the torture memos over. Don't ask if it's torture. Ask if it's something a father would willingly expose his son to. And remind people, this father was willing to tip off a foreign country against his own son only because he was convinced of our justice and humanity. Anything that undermines that reputation is going to undermine the flow of tips.

Emphasize the importance of such tips. They have served us well up till now. Worried parents and the CAIR tipped of the FBI when five American Mustlims went to Pakistan to join the jihad. In Saudi Arabia today 60-70% of all information about al-Qaida suspects now comes from relatives, friends and neighbors, rather than security agencies or surveillance. Obama, Administration spokesmen, and leading Democrats should be hammering on this theme over and over again. Not all Muslims are our enemies. They have provided us with countless useful tips. To keep the tips coming, we must be seen to be fair and humane. Interviews with the senior Abdulmutallab and some of the parents who turned in their sons would help.

[And while we're at it, if Obama really wants to close GTMO, he should be revealing the stories of people wrongly held their who have gotten on with their lives after release. Of course, that would just emphasize more the crimes of his predecessor and heighten partisan attacks . . .].

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