Saturday, September 17, 2005

How To Wake Up


In his continuing Washington Times series on the War on Terror, Tony Blankley says we need an old war spirit to fight this new war. The old war he refers to is World War II, in which we proudly fought a "total war":


American writer and social historian Studs Terkel memorably called World War II "the good war."

Terkel interviewed hundreds of GIs and their families many years after the war. They recalled that the struggle lifted them above their personal lives to fight on behalf of something they believed was greater than themselves.

World War II was good, despite the millions of deaths, the limitations on daily lives, the encroachment on peacetime liberties and the arduousness of wartime life. The war was good because the sacrifice was for a noble cause, for the perpetuation of America and the American way of life.

The struggle against Islamist terrorism is an equally good war -- and for the same reasons. We have just as great a responsibility to win our struggle against insurgent Islamist aggression as our parents and grandparents had to win World War II.

There is no other cause so urgent. If we do not pay with our sacrifices now, we (and our children) will pay in greater losses later. We must be prepared to be just as ruthless and rational as the "greatest generation" was in defeating fascism.

Just as their generals and admirals made no compromise to the imperative of total victory on the battlefield, so British and American political leaders, courts and popular opinion let the requirements for victory define the powers of their government on the home front.

Prior to America's entry into the war, Congress passed laws that, collectively, authorized President Franklin D. Roosevelt to instruct the FBI to investigate suspected subversive activity.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, the Smith Act of 1940 and the Voorhis Act of 1941 were the grounds for Roosevelt's wartime domestic surveillance of American citizens whose political activity might lead them to serve the interests of opposing nations.

Attorney General Robert Jackson described the targets and responsibility of the FBI's domestic intelligence activities as involving "steady surveillance over individuals and groups within the United States ... which [are] ready to give assistance or encouragement in any form to invading or opposing ideologies."

Roosevelt authorized the FBI to use wiretaps (without a warrant), surreptitious entries and "champering" (secretly intercepting and reading private mail without consent).

A total of 25,655 noncitizens living in the United States were interned or deported during the war years because of their ethnicity or nationality, rather than their words or conduct. They included 11,229 Japanese, 10,905 Germans, 3,278 Italians, 52 Hungarians, 25 Romanians, five Bulgarians and 161 other foreign nationals.

The Supreme Court later held, in Johnson v. Eisentrager (1950), that "executive power over enemy aliens, undelayed and unhampered by litigation, has been deemed, throughout our history, essential to wartime security." The high court added: "The resident enemy alien is constitutionally subject to summary arrest, internment and deportation whenever a 'declared war' exists." So the power to intern or deport comes into effect only when war has been declared.

Today, we are under attack not by a nation, but by groups of militant individuals who claim Islam as their faith. Yet for the first time in human history, the destructive power of terrorists can be as great as that of a traditional nation-state that has declared war. We need a mechanism to deal with this change.

During World War II, the country was faced with the prospect of large numbers of people -- again identifiable by ethnicity, not conduct -- who were real or potential enemies.

The logic of the Supreme Court's opinion is applicable to the situation we face today. The court held that people ethnically connected to the war-makers are more likely to support them than are others -- and our country at war has a right to protect itself from this presumed higher risk of danger.

This is true regardless of the personal innocence of particular individuals. The term we would use today is "ethnic profiling," and 200 years of American law and practice during wartime permits ethnic profiling for the common defense.

The war power "extends to every matter and activity so related to war as substantially to affect its conduct and progress," Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone wrote in the majority opinion.

Members of the Jehovah's Witnesses were prosecuted during World War II for refusing to let their children recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, a liberal, wrote the majority opinion in the case. He upheld the school expulsions and parental prosecutions for violating compulsory attendance laws.

Justice Frankfurter observed that "the mere possession of religious convictions which contradict the relevant concerns of a political society does not relieve the citizen from the discharge of political responsibilities."

This is particularly applicable to the situation we face today. Radical Islamists are demanding to be covered by Shariah -- laws compiled over a thousand years of Muslim jurisprudence, based on the Koran and its commentaries -- rather than by the laws of the United States, Britain, Germany or the other non-Muslim nations in which the radical Islamists live.

Although Justice Frankfurter is remembered as a great liberal, in the 1940s, liberalism still understood our country's history and government's role in unifying our nation.

"We are dealing with an interest inferior to none in the hierarchy of legal values," he wrote. "National unity is the basis of national security."

Today, schoolchildren, senators and elite journalists would giggle at the idea of applying Justice Frankfurter's lofty words to the defense of the modest little Pledge of Allegiance.

But back then, as now, we were a nation of newly arrived immigrants, threatened from abroad and bombarded with destructive ideologies.

Then, it was communism and fascism. Today, it is multiculturalism, political correctness and, among the Muslim population, radical Islam.


Good morning, America. It's time to get up and face the day.