The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled on Monday that Ali Saleh Kalah al-Marri — an alien al Qaeda operative from Qatar, sent to the United States the day before 9/11 to conduct follow-up attacks and explore the potential for electronic disruptions of our reeling nation’s financial system — may not lawfully be detained as an enemy combatant in the war on terror.
According to the court, we have two options: Release al-Marri and thus enable him to rejoin the jihad; or try him in the civilian criminal-justice system, where he’d be entitled to — and able to share with his confederates — the fruits of discovery from U.S. intelligence files detailing the enemy’s capabilities and plans.
The United States is not at war with the uniformed army of a sovereign nation like Germany or Japan. But we are still at war — with a transnational terror network, whose jihadist operatives are often, but not always, abetted by enemy nations.
I could not agree more with this analysis. While terrorists foreign and domestic are actively planning to launch attacks on the United States at home and abroad, we are stuck in legal battles over the legalities of how an alleged, or often admitted al Qaeda operative should be prosecuted.
Civil Liberties groups, such as the ACLU, have lead the charge in these matters. Although I do not doubt their sincere beliefs, or their desire to protect American freedoms, they have simply gone too far.
This can be seen in any number of cases, most recently the ACLU brief filed on behalf of terrorists seized by the CIA. If one steps back and thinks about this, one can only marvel at the dumb luck the terrorists must feel; witnessing an American group of lawyers prosecute the American government and American companies for helping defend us from terror. For these reasons I wrote Allah Laughs At Us.
Allah may be laughing, but I cringe.