As many may know, Newt Gingrich was on the Daily Show the other day. In that appearance, he declared that the Christmas bomber (also known as the undie-bomber or Abdulmutallab) should not have been Mirandized, and should have been swept up by special forces and spirited away to a military prison to let people (presumably less effective than the FBI, since they’re amazing at this stuff) interrogate him. When asked why the undie-bomber was different than Richard Reid, the shoe bomber (who was also Mirandized and such, but by G.W. Bush), Gingrich declared that it’s because Reid is an American citizen. Obviously, this was wrong; Reid is a British citizen, meaning that there was effectively no difference between these two. Newt admitted his error in a tweet the next day:
On daily show was wrong re: ShoeBomber citizenship, was thinking of Padilla. Treating terrorists like criminals wrong no matter who is Pres.
As we all know, Reagan is the highest authority to all modern Republicans (even though they all seem to play ball from the Nixon book). Also as I hope we all know, terrorism was, if anything, a more serious problem during the Reagan administration than it is today. I remember when I was very young, it seemed like a plane was hijacked near-weekly. Not to mention Beirut and a myriad of other land attacks. And so, I refer Mr. Gingrich to the Reagan administration counter-terrorism policy:
Another important measure we have developed in our overall strategy is applying the rule of law to terrorists. Terrorists are criminals. They commit criminal actions like murder, kidnapping, and arson, and countries have laws to punish criminals. So a major element of our strategy has been to delegitimize terrorists, to get society to see them for what they are — criminals — and to use democracy’s most potent tool, the rule of law against them.
I really don’t know what I could add to this. It’s exactly right. When you deal with terrorists as they want to be dealt with—as soldiers engaged in a war, specifically, a Holy War—you empower them, and make anything that happens to them part of their martyrdom. It makes for a powerful recruiting tool. Join the war against the Great Satan! They say they’re at war with us already; fight back! Gain glory, and be a martyr! It’s a tool we shouldn’t be giving them. You know what’s not glorious? Being marched into a courtroom in an orange jumpsuit like any other murderer, and being publicly treated as nothing more than a common criminal, and then being sent away to a prison to spend the rest of your life in solitary confinement. Even Reagan agrees.
In short, stop playing fucking politics with terrorism.