THOMAS: No boundaries, big problem

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas

One of the consequences of abandoning a standard by which right and wrong can be judged is our increasing inability to mete out punishment that fits the crime. In fact, too often we weigh extenuating circumstances rather than guilty actions.

In the case of the Boston bombers, observers search for reasons why the attacks occurred. But the failure to view the attackers as anything other than simply guilty and judge them accordingly, is similar to the U.S. government's attitude toward the Middle East, which often sees Israel as the major impediment to peace. There is little expectation that Israel's enemies be held accountable, much less punished for terrorist acts, hateful rhetoric against Jews and their refusal to reciprocate Israel's peace offerings. The irrational reasoning goes that we must work to understand why they hate and kill, not hold them accountable for hating and killing. The Tsarnaev brothers are killers. They should be punished as killers.

The surviving bomber, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has been charged with using a "weapon of mass destruction." The U.S. government could have charged him with a lot more. Why didn't it? Does not charging Tsarnaev with more lessen the severity of what happened in Boston? The Obama administration could have and should have included treason among the charges and designated Tsarnaev as an enemy combatant in this "war on terror" we are supposed to be fighting, or were fighting, until the administration started softening the language under the false belief that not calling acts of terror acts of terror somehow transforms them into something less lethal.

This administration has been reluctant to try terrorists in military courts. Instead, in 2010, it attempted to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in the Manhattan federal courthouse, not Guantanamo. Faced with widespread opposition, the U.S. government quickly abandoned its plans. Tsarnaev, a naturalized U.S. citizen, and therefore entitled to all the rights of citizenship, will be tried in U.S. federal court. He should be tried by military tribunal.

Tsarnaev is a traitor to his adopted country. When he took the oath of citizenship last Sept. 11, of all dates, he swore allegiance to America. Whether he lied about his intentions at the time, or became "radicalized" since then, the acts he and his brother are alleged to have committed are treasonous. He is an enemy combatant.

Refusing to label Tsarnaev's actions for what they are -- traitorous -- does not change the nature of the act, or the intentions behind it. But that's what President Obama seems to be doing elsewhere.

Foxnews.com reported in 2010 that, according to counterterrorism officials, there was a proposal by the Obama administration to remove religious terms such as "Islamic extremism" from the National Security Strategy document, a radical shift in language from previous documents. That year, the Washington Times reported, the Department of Homeland Security's Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, "...does not use the words "Islam" or "Islamist" a single time.

How will erasing a few words from the National Security Strategy lead to Muslim nations making nice? The president's 2009 "outreach" speech in Cairo did nothing to change the dynamic between many Muslim nations and the West, and there appears little or no evidence that similar efforts have changed anything since.

Here is what the National Security Strategy document that previously outlined the Bush Doctrine of preventative war said: "The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the greatest ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century." Is this not true? If it is true, how will massaging the language reduce the likelihood of future terrorist acts? How will not fitting the punishment to the crime make us any safer?

Having removed many of the boundaries of right and wrong and forgetting what makes an American an American, we are finding it difficult now to redraw boundaries that will keep us safe at a time when we need it most.

Call terror by its rightful name. Judge Dzhokhar Tsarnaev by the crimes he has committed and let his punishment fit them.

Email nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas at tmseditors@tribune.com. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/calthomas.


kevin 11 months, 4 weeks ago

great story that Liberals will not want to read. Billions of our tax money thrown away on the FBI, CIA, and Obama's "group" and what do we get for the billions spent? Lies, and employees that fell down on their jobs. What is worse to me is the fact the administration is trying its best to divert the anger from those departments that he hand-picked a leader for. Just like Obama became the first president without any experience, so goes his hand-picked leaders. Even now we learned that these boy's mom WAS on the "watch list." For what, just to make a good showing as if they are doing their jobs? There is NO excuse for this lack of accountability by the Obama administration. Ask those families that either lost a loved-one or was affected in other ways how they fells about out highly-paid agencies screwed up once again. They will go to any length to make us feel safe, knowing they can't guarantee it.


Why_not 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Kevin rambling again trying to say something but not sure what.....


news2me 11 months, 4 weeks ago

You can continue to censor my posts and have them removed, but you might want to try and remove all of your links to kevin. You are more obssessed with kevin than are you are at showing respect for the victims in Boston or hatred at the Terrorists that killed innocent Americans. Shameful.


Why_not 11 months, 3 weeks ago

So you are judging me now? Interesting........ I saw more death and pain in my career than you will ever see in your lifetime, so don't judge me!!!


news2me 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Judgements of you are made by the comments you continuously make on this site. You should take responsibility and ownership of your words and make better choices about what you post. That is your problem, not mine or anyone else for that matter. Your past is meaningless to others here if you choose to constantly post hateful comments. Censor yourself!


Why_not 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Take need to your own words....if you even pay attention to what you post here. Go back and review your comment history then cast stones.


Haughton 11 months, 3 weeks ago

No Boundaries: President BHO has none. He has no moral compass. His raw ( joking? ) comments about not being the "strapping young Muslim socialist" he used to be is a glaring example. The timing was totally inappropriate.

The Huffington Post published a story in which the writer blatently left out (2 x) the word "Muslim" in BHO's speech:


Our President has no respect for the murder victims in Boston at the hands of young Muslim terrorists.


FordGalaxy 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a citizen of this country. Like it or not, he is entitled to the same legal practices you and I are entitled to. If we decide that he should be tried differently, simply because of his ethnicity, or background, or our conception of his motivation, then we are not properly executing justice. If he were tried by a military tribunal simply because he's a Muslim who attacked a public place, then what's to stop everyone from being tried by a military tribunal? The moment you become a citizen of the US, you become entitled to the legal protections afforded all citizens by the Constitution. You remember the Constitution, right? Handy little document that the last two administrations have trounced and flaunted. We can't suspend the Constitution fro some citizens and not for others.


Sign in to comment