A Good Idea

Lawyers Catch Up:

Today's Arts & Letters Daily has a piece entitled "The Dread Pirate Bin Laden." It argues that law, and particularly international law, should treat terrorism as a crime analagous to piracy. Existing law on pirates and piracy is the most useful model for analyzing terrorism.

Great idea. I wrote about it about a year ago in my manifest for a new "Jacksonian Party."

In foreign policy: we should recognize that international terrorist organizations actually are subject to an existing international law: the law of the sea. Precisely like the roving bands of brigands and pirates of the 1600s and 1700s, they are organized against civilization, travel through multiple jurisdictions and through lawless areas alike. They are not combatants of any state, and are protected therefore by neither the Geneva Conventions nor the rules of war. Like pirates, they are subject to summary execution by the officers of any nation that comes into control of them; or by interrogation and some more merciful response, if we prefer and at our discretion. This brutality on the part of civilized men is justified for the exact reason it was justified of old: the threat these bands pose to the transportation infrastructure is a dagger at the heart of civilization. We cannot maintain our cities, our populations, our ability to combat disease or famine, or our relative freedom from total war over resources, without the massive but fragile transportation capacity we have developed.

This is not idle or of small importance. A small increase in transport costs kills at the margins--for example, aid to Africa is reduced as it is more expensive to transport, but resources are fixed. A large increase threatens civilization itself. Our cities do not contain enough food to feed the populace for more than about three days. That is no problem; more food is coming. But if the ability to transport that food is severely harmed--starvation, and in many regions of the world, disease. A serious disruption could unleash a resource war by nations that see mass starvation if they don't capture food, oil, and other needful things. Such a disruption is possible if these terror groups continue their infiltration of the West, and come into possession of WMD.

For that reason, the reform of terror-sponsor states is paramount. So is the reform of failed states that are not necessarily terror-sponsors, but where terrorists are able to travel freely due to bribes of local officials or through outright lawlessness. So long as we can do so while maintaining an all-volunteer force, the United States ought to feel free to act on these places one by one. This has the practical matter, for a Jacksonian party, of bringing liberty and strength to the poor and unfree abroad exactly as we wish to do at home.
Nice to see the lawyers coming around. Next, the politicians -- and we may yet get our Jacksonian Party.


Another Beauty:

On the heels of yesterday's wonderful story about New London charging the Kelo plantiffs five years' back-rent, we have this story from Texas:

A decorated Marine enrolling in college was shocked to learn his Texas driver's license, car registration and bank records weren't enough to get the lower resident tuition rates.

Carl Basham said officials at Austin Community College recently told him that he lost his Texas resident's status because of the years he spent out of state on two tours of duty in Iraq.

Not having the in-state designation would mean paying around $2600 a semester in tuition, instead of about $500.
Oh, yeah. You're a citizen of Iraq now, Carl. (Apparently those people charging us with imperialism were righter than they knew!)

Kim du Toit kindly provides some useful phone numbers:
Director of Admissions & Records
Linda Kluck
(512) 223-7503; Fax (512) 223-7765

Governor of Texas
Rick Perry
Citizen's Assistance Hotline: (800) 843-5789
[for Texas callers]
Citizen's Opinion Hotline: (800) 252-9600
[for Texas callers]
Citizen's Assistance and Opinion Hotline: (512) 463-1782
[for Austin, Texas and out-of-state callers]
Office of the Governor Main Switchboard: (512) 463-2000
[office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CST]
Citizen's Assistance Telecommunications Device
If you are using a telecommunication device for the deaf (TDD), call 711 to reach Relay Texas
Office of the Governor Fax: (512) 463-1849
Mailing Address
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428

Delivery Address
Office of the Governor
State Insurance Building
1100 San Jacinto
Austin, Texas 78701
Might want to give them a little call today.



Kim du Toit notes that absolutely everything the British police claimed was true about the Brazilian they shot dead, was in fact not true at all. Video records work both ways. I defended them before the fact, even -- one has to shoot suspected suicide bombers in a way that will neutralize their central nervous system. It's nothing personal -- it's a gamble, where you bet the moral responsibility you don't want to have for killing an innocent against the moral responsibility you don't want to have for not stopping a guilty man from killing a hundred innocents.

All the same, the cops here seem to have given us an entirely false picture of their experience. They must answer for that, as much as for the shooting itself. If you are trusted with the power of the law, you must answer honestly when challenged.

UPDATE: Reader and blogger Karrde says that he thinks this was an application of the "Garbage In, Garbage Out" principle.

I join Greyhawk in celebrating Mrs. InstaPundit's graduation from cardiac rehab classes. Good luck, ma'am.


Yes, I Know...

...that the Senate of the United States of America recently apologized for its history on lynching, and I know that lynching has normally been a horrible thing in American history. But can't we all agree that there are exceptions?

Kelo:Adding Insult to Injury

The City of New London is now claiming that the affected homeowners (those who fought the taking of their property in court) were living on city land for the duration of the lawsuit (which started in 2000) and owe back rent.
Surely we can make just this one exception, to a generally accepted rule?

1900 meets 2005

“All we can decide is whether we shall meet them in a way that will redound to the national credit, or whether we shall make of our dealings with these new problems a dark and shameful page in our history. To refuse to deal with them at all merely amounts to dealing with them badly. We have a given problem to solve. If we undertake the solution, there is, of course, always danger that we may not solve it aright; but to refuse to undertake the solution simply renders it certain that we cannot possibly solve it aright. The timid man, the lazy man, the man who distrusts his country, the over-civilized man, who has lost the great fighting, masterful virtues, the ignorant man, and the man of dull mind, whose soul is incapable of feeling the mighty lift that thrills "stern men with empires in their brains"—all these, of course, shrink from seeing the nation undertake its new duties;” - The Strenuous Life by Theodore Roosevelt.

The entire essay is worthy of the time spent reading it. It’s poignant because the essence addresses the same problem we are dealing with now; do we pull out immediately from Iraq, or do we stay and finish the job right?

To hear the ranting of the left, a great number of which have gathered a scant 200 miles away from me in Crawford, we should pull out immediately and adopt an isolationist mentality, at best, or become the hand that feeds the world, at worst. I simply find that attitude unacceptable. Our responsibility is to America, over all else. If another sovereign state is a threat to us, then we should remove the threat; by whatever means prudent and available. If one American life is taken, we should inflect pain and suffering on a level as to make taking American lives no longer worth the effort.

We need more men with ‘empires in their brains’.


National Airborne Day:

Who knew that there was a "National Airborne Day"? Well, the fellows in the maroon berets, I guess -- never have gotten the whole "beret" thing, but whatever.

Doubtless, the lads deserve it. I join Marine Sgt. B in his toast:

May your chutes always deploy correctly, may your PLFs be flawless, and may your fights be short, decisive, and victorious.

Airborne! All the Way!
Gentlemen: I raise a Guinness.


Reader Notes:

JarHeadDad has had a particulary interesting accident, the details of which I won't go into. They aren't mine to share. But send him your get-well wishes, and keep him in your thoughts.

Sovay passed that longhaired German Shepherd dog right on to me, and he's sleeping on the floor of my office. His name is Finn, after the Irish hero Finn mac Cumhail. Sovay participates in a regional dog rescue charity. Every time I see her, she's got a different dog -- or two, or three.

I don't normally take in strays, because the ones I take in have a way of never leaving. Still, the girl needed some help, so after they still hadn't found a place for this beast by ten at night, I agreed to take him for a couple of days.

Good dog, really. Slept right on the floor by my bed all night, didn't even chew up my moccasins. He's smart, but a stray who is not used to being with people, so he doesn't know to listen for commands. Once I convinced him that he needed to be listening to me, he almost instantly learned to heel and is learning to sit. I think he'll make someone a good pet.

Anyway, there are some notes about a couple of your fellow readers, good people who could use a kind thought and word. Also, if any of you are in the D.C. region, and want a decent dog -- this one or another one, they've got plenty -- you might pipe up in the comments as well. I'm sure Sovay will be happy to talk to any interested parties.

UPDATE: Another reader note -- I see from her blog that Lornkanaga has suffered a devastating loss due to a plane crash. Grim's Hall offers its deepest condolences.


Operation Valor IT:

I'm going to be traveling today, so I won't be around to post. However, I gather that there will be some interesting posts up about Op. Valor IT. You can read some background on it here, and find out how to help here, or go directly to the donation page.

This idea apparently got its start -- I gather from the emails -- with MilBlogger Chuck Ziegenfuss ("TCOverride"). His own injuries in Iraq prompted him to think of how to help other injured servicemen, and his status as a blogger gave him the means to reach out to all of us.

The Donovan reports on his "coalition building" efforts. Apparently he's even trying Daily Kos, although I hope no one is moved by the particular terms of his challenge.

Those of you on the Left who read this site are made of better stuff, I know from talking to you each and all. I understand that you share the outrage at seeing our young men wounded, and that you also want to help. Like me, you've probably been angry at seeing how our government's military health care system doesn't take care of everything it should. If you've been angry about their plight, you can help them out here. Soldiers' Angels, which is doing the lifting on this, has a proven track record and an excellent reputation among MilBloggers. I have faith in them.

So, it's up to you from here. Do what you will.


Cindy Sheehan:

I'm always late to chime in on social issues. For one thing, I spend so much of my time reading foreign newspapers, I rarely read domestic ones -- I have used up all my energy for newspaper reading. So I only find out about things when they begin to appear on blogs (which may be before or after the newspapers get them).

For another thing, I always tend to assume that the latest social uproar will simply vanish. I assumed the Schiavo thing would cease to be of interest long before it was. The absence of television from Grim's Hall probably contributes to this -- I never know when something has gone into a 24/7 cycle. I can only judge a story based on its merits, and the merits of these stories are often rather thin.

I knew of Sheehan a week or two ago -- I'm not sure which -- because Sovay mentioned it to me in a telephone call. I made a note of it because it seemed important to her, but I didn't follow up.

Well, we've gotten to the point that it is obviously a social phenomenon now. Winds of Change has a roundup. I suppose I'll chip in, too.

Cindy Sheehan is a grieving mother. I sympathize entirely with the motivation. I cannot imagine what the loss of my son would do to me; I would be grateful to the world, I think, if it refused to judge any action I took for at least a year or two afterwards. And so, applying the Golden Rule, I shall refuse to judge her.

I hope she finds the peace she needs. I have no use for those who are using her to further their ends -- nor those who are so heartless as to speak ill of her, in the depth of her pain.

Yes, I know she was a radical before the war began. That means nothing. She is a Gold Star mother, and so she is due a full measure of kindness from us. May she find her peace. May those who are trying to use her get what they deserve. As for those who have sneered at her character -- no one asks you to approve of her, or what she thinks, or how she feels. All I ask is that you let her rage, and pass on, without judgment. That, at least, is only what we should want for ourselves if, under an evil star, we should find ourselves brought to her fate.


Weekend Reading:

I haven't had much time to write this weekend, but I do have a few notes from some other sites that may interest you.

Feddie at Southern Appeal has put up that post he promised, asking for reader comments on the 4th Amendment issues around the NY Subway searches.

Cassandra had a good post about a new fatwa, which in turn gave rise to this post at The Fourth Rail.

I also wrote this at The Fourth Rail, examining some issues raised by Yon and Wretchard.