I am writing in response to the letters written by Scott Britz and Tom Skor (Letters to the Editor May 11) in the Express.
Both of these correspondents hailed the brave actions of the coalition forces in Afghanistan and held them up as something that we should all be proud of. In my opinion they are correct in this point of view.
Our service people are a credit to our country and our belief in freedom. What made me write this letter is that they then used these tremendous actions as a justification for reducing our regard for the rule of law and the emphasis we, as a society, place on due process.
This is a despicable betrayal of the actions of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Our service personnel are fighting because we value fairness, freedom and have the abhorrence of the likes of bin Laden and their totalitarian beliefs.
Your correspondents supports their arguments using the out of hand murder of innocents and the behaviour of dictators, yet then go on to suggest that we should become more like those our troops are fighting against.
After WW2 the Allies tries mass-murderers for crimes against humanity in a judicial environment, arrived at verdicts and sentenced accordingly.
Even the fledging state of Israel tried Adolph Eichmann in a court of law when the easiest and possibly most understandable thing to do would have been to have shot him out of hand.
Why was this done? It was done because civilized societies value fairness and laws, where as the terrorist and fanatic doesn’t. The ICC is still dealing with mass murderers to this day because of this principle.
Every time we chose to short change those ideals and mechanisms that the terrorists hate in order to speed things us, we lose a little bit of what makes us so much better than them.
One of the reasons bin Laden and his ilk hate the west is because we believe everybody should have a chance to defend themselves against their accusers. We should not be the subject to the arbitrary and summary decisions of those in power or those who possess the biggest guns. Our rights, as enshrined in the law, are not to be given away lightly and should never be described as being there to satisfy a “few bleeding hearts”. They have been won over millennia by people who have sacrificed all to ensure that we would live in a fairer world.
bin Laden was killed in a military operation and the facts about what happened are far from clear.
Asking if he could have been abducted and brought to trial a la Eichmann is a fair question, but notice must also be taken of the fact that the operations was conducted during a state of conflict with the attendant risks to life that come with that. The SEALs might have had no alternative and I respect their bravery and decision making given my knowledge (or lack of it) on the issue.
Unlike Britz and Skor, I don’t think that asking about their actions is wrong and I don’t think defending it by advocating we become more like our enemies is a path we should travel down.