Tuesday, October 16, 2007

NRO, still wanking

I got this through OliverWillis

Treason -- It's Kind of a Big Deal [Mark Hemingway]

Over at the NYT today, Michael Moss outs a jihadi in North Carolina named Samir Khan who was anonymously operating an Al Qaeda sympathetic blog:

His neatly organized site also includes a file called “United States of Losers,” which showcased a recent news broadcast about a firefight in Afghanistan with this added commentary from Mr. Khan: “You can even see an American soldier hiding during the ambush like a baby!! AllahuAkbar! AllahuAkbar!”

But here was the kicker for me:

While there is nothing to suggest that Mr. Khan is operating in concert with militant leaders, or breaking any laws, he is part of a growing constellation of apparently independent media operators who are broadcasting the message of Al Qaeda and other groups, a message that is increasingly devised, translated and aimed for a Western audience. [emphasis added]

He hasn't broken any laws? Wha? Huh? Here's what they had to say at the Jawa Report:

Uh, not true, and Samir is guilty of other things. Let's start with his public crime: Treason. He openly supports the enemies of the United States in a time of war.

US Constitution Article III, section 3: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.

Last I checked, that crime is punishable by death. I mean, I just ran into Treason the other day at the grocery store and he was all like "I don't mean to brag, but I'm kind of a big deal."

Now I'm not suggesting journalists have to become compliant during a time of war. But it would sure help if they at least knew what treason is when they are proverbially slapped across the face with a mackerel by it.

Okay here's the deal... While I don't want to sound like I agree with people that support pro-Al Qaida communiques, I have to admit that I strongly agree with free speech. I think you should be able to say and broadcast whatever you want, provided that any outright deception is either outwardly labeled as such or later apologized for. That being said, you can discern from this why I get so pissed about folks like Limbaugh, and not someone like Samir Khan. But this article by NRO is just outright wrong. Accusing someone of treason during a time of war? Wouldn't we have to be at war first? I mean of course the President claims this is all about the war on terror, but as we've talked about before, the war on terror is just like the war on drugs. You can't call someone treasonous for smoking crack, and you can't call them treasonous for supporting the political actions of a group outside of the United States, regardless of what that group condones. As Oliver notes, had we declared war on Al Qaida, something that probably should've happened post 9/11, then this would be fairly justified. But just because the President considers someone an enemy don't really make it so. At least that's the way things will continue to be provided Congress stops turning tail and giving the President the full authority and control that he keeps subtly and not so subtly asking for.

So is Khan wrong? Maybe. Is he guilty of treason? Not by any means. Treason is working with our enemies. Enemies are opponents in war. Until Congress decides that war will be declared, treason is not on the table.

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