Letters to the Editor 12/30 Part 3

January 02, 2002

Letters to the Editor 12/30 Part 3

'Friendly war' no way to end terrorism

By Sid Huguenin

Some new and unexpected tactics have been evolving in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. After years of a repressive regime in which thousands of men and women were put to death for no good reason, the Taliban are being let off the hook when they surrender to the anti-Taliban fighters.

It seems absurd to me that when the going gets tough and you might actually get killed, you can just lay down your weapon, explain you were "just kidding" and then walk away with impunity!

These acts of kindness on the battlefield are not uncommon when the combatants are wearing the insignia or uniform of the nation they represent and follow the rules of warfare as laid out by the Geneva Convention.

Even we have such historical precedent as when our own Civil War was ending. The men who represent the Taliban, however, wear no such insignia or uniform other than the occasional black turban. They target civilians and adhere to no laws nor do they recognize the Geneva Convention. They call for cease-fires in order for their leaders to skulk away in the night.


Bin Laden himself has attempted to flee Tora Bora under a white flag, leaving his 19-year-old son behind to cover him and endure the wrath of the American B-52s. After all, what's a father for?

If Bin Laden and his ilk really believe that to be martyred guarantees admission to heaven accompanied by 72 virgins, why do they run? During World War II, the Japanese twisted the concept of Bushido (Samurai code of honor) in much the same way that these terrorists have twisted the teachings of the Quran.

The primary difference is that the Japanese actually sought death in waves of Kamikaze and Banzai attacks. When faced with capture they would kill themselves and they didn't even get the virgins! What's wrong with their modern-day counterparts in Afghanistan?

In past wars you were deemed a saboteur or a spy if you showed up in your opponent's back yard wearing civilian clothes.

The standard operating procedure for dealing with such persons was to bring them before the commanding general of the theater of operations where thenwere questioned and they either locked up or summarily executed.

Ah, for the old days once again! In the newer, friendlier version of war we feed, clothe, protect and pamper them for the rest of their lives in a comfortable prison with television and recreation privileges. Our prison conditions are usually a step up from their present standard of living.

Now Congress wants to second-guess how prisoners of war are treated and wants oversight of the military tribunals. Why do they care more about terrorists than our own U.S. servicemen?

The U.S. military is subject to a different set of laws as listed in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

The UCMJ gives the commanding general authority to convene courts martial, which can mete out both life in prison and death sentences. Congress tends to avoid interfering in military justice matters so why now insist on protecting the rights of spies, saboteurs and terrorists?

I hate to nit-pick but isn't it about time to get serious about ending terrorism? Our allies need to stop allowing the enemy to escape regardless of how apologetic they are.

The only choice they should have is to surrender and maybe die in prison or die violently now.

Sid Huguenin is a former USMC Major and a graduate of the Counter Terrorism Course at the JFK Special Operations School, Ft. Bragg, N.C.

Without the skills vo-tech pupils get, most of us couldn't handle daily life

To the editor:

How has my life been touched by vocational-technical education today? Each morning I get out of my bed, which is in my house. The house was designed and built with vocational knowledge. Not only is it constructed with vocational knowledge, but with many diverse vocational fields.

My house sits on a foundation that was formed by masonry vocational knowledge. Boy, those lights sure are bright this early in the morning. As I am taking my shower, I never have a second thought as to where the water is going as long as it isn't dripping from the kitchen ceiling. If it is dripping, I will need to call a vocationally trained repairperson to fix the leak. I guess a minimum of a $65 service call isn't that expensive anyhow.

Now that the temperatures are dropping to below-freezing levels at night, I sure am glad that the heating system is working properly. There are even vocational programs in which a student will learn elements of many construction fields. I go to the garage to get in a $20,000 computer on wheels. It won't start. I sure hope that vocationally trained technician who is charging $55 per hour knows what he/she is doing because I don't want this repair job to turn into a weeklong endeavor. When I get the bill, I hope I don't need to enlist the help of a technically trained medic to help me recover from the shock.

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