Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ragnar's Wednesday Round-up

Here are a few interesting news/opinion tidbits to chew on:

The ACLU is formally representing military deserter Ehren Watada:

1st Lt. Ehren Watada’s Stryker brigade is scheduled to make its first deployment to Iraq this month. His refusal to accompany these troops puts him at risk of court-martial and years of prison time.“I feel that we have been lied to and betrayed by this administration,” Watada said Tuesday in a telephone interview from Fort Lewis. “It is the duty, the obligation of every soldier, and specifically the officers, to evaluate the legality, the truth behind every order — including the order to go to war.”

In making his decision, Watada has reached out to peace groups, including clergy, students, some veterans opposed to Iraq and others. Some war critics are raising money for his legal defense as they seek to galvanize broader opposition to Bush administration policy in Iraq.

(Inconvenient fact: Watada joined the Army after the U.S. started the "illegal" war in Iraq.)

Down under, The Australian investigates the Psyche of a Terrorist :

Horrifying images of torn and broken bodies and infrastructure caused by a terrorist attack serve as a recruiting tool for would-be terrorists. Public reaction and fear generated by events such as the plot to blow up a series of trans-Atlantic passenger jets flying from London to the US act as an enticement for the next wave of potential suicide bombers.

"It is the prospect of success that really makes a terrorist tick," says terrorism consultant and psychologist Robert Heath. "Success, from the terrorist perspective, is almost always guaranteed due to disruption and inconveniencing the target population."

Heath, a psychologist and international risk consultant turned academic who spoke this week at a briefing on the science of terrorism, warns that the bigger the public reaction, the more worthwhile to terrorists by making their own death seem more valuable.

The associate professor from the University of South Australia says it is this thirst for power and desire to make an impact that drives terrorists.

Heath also argues that the psychological profile of terrorists is similar to that of serial killers. "They both have a drive for power over other people who cannot see them," he says."But it is a covert use of power."

The Toronto Sun is sick of all the political correctness surrounding terrorism:

For her part, [Canadian MP Peggy] Nash said "it's just not helpful to label [Hezbollah] a terrorist organization," noting many Lebanese consider Hezbollah resistance fighters and providers of charity.

It's naive nonsense like this that leads to tolerance of terrorists in our midst -- witness the Hezbollah flags at recent rallies.

Don't these MPs get it? There can be no negotiation with groups that support and fund violence through their so-called charitable and political work (including the recently banned Tamil Tigers, the focus of yesterday's arrest of three Canadians on terror charges) -- much less those that seek to wipe a democratic state and an entire people off the map.

Canada's long-overdue decisions to criminalize groups like Hezbollah, Hamas and the Tamil Tigers sent a powerful statement that allies us with other democracies and necessarily crosses all party lines and bears no equivocation.

There can be no appeasing or negotiating with terrorists. Suggesting anything less is not "helpful."

Amen to that.