the important and the not-so-important, horribly conflated.

the ethics of those foiled “terrorist plots”

In politics on August 20, 2009 at 7:58 pm


Last week’s “This American Life,” exploring the trial of Hemant Lekhani, a septuagenarian “terrorist” who was strung along by a U.S. informant into buying a (fake, and provided by the State Department) stinger missile, stirred up feelings that I last experienced when several young men were arrested in may for a similar “terrorist plot.” Before I completely expend my air quote quota, here are those thoughts:

1) entrapment has a very clear definition. as does torture. and terror. these definitions are not blurred by emotions—they are blurred by the exploitation of emotions for political gain.

2) we are not safer because these men are in jail. if anything, they have demonstrated to enemies of america the importance of a. not getting caught, and b. using unconventional tactics. these cases make future FBI/CIA investigations more difficult.

3) if you claim that, “after 9/11, we had to take drastic measures [read: ignore civil liberties, the geneva conventions, etc] to maintain the safety of the american public,”  any and all political gains you chalked up during that period should also be ignored… b/c, you know, it wasn’t about you… it was about saving our “country,” right?  That means you, Chris Christie—public prosecutor in the Lakhani trial and current gubernatorial candidate for Jersey.

4) criminal justice / jail reform needs to happen. soon. or stuff like this will continue.


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