Why can't I muster much sympathy for the terrorists held behind bars in Guantanamo Bay?
Well, let me count the ways:
• Because they're not very sympathetic fellows. They seek to destroy our civilization and remain willing to "sacrifice" their own lives to take totally innocent American lives for some sickly conceived "higher" calling.
• Because they're not "prisoners of war" at all, but wretched terrorists. "Prisoners of war" fight in a war, i.e. they're part of an army with discipline, uniforms, rules of conduct (such as, not to specifically target women, children, the elderly, and noncombatants), and command structure. Terrorists lack all such attributes, and thus should lack any rights bestowed to those with such attributes by the applicable Geneva accords.
• Because the main objective of their incarceration is not removal from the battlefield, but extraction of information. Making their place of incarceration like Club Med would not be conducive to get these guys talking on what they know about 9/11 and whatever future 9/11s they have in the works.
• Because we've learned, the hard way, that even prisoners from Afghanistan can cause American deaths. Indeed, the first American killed in the war against terrorism, Johnny "Mike" Spann, was killed in a prison uprising after their arrests. Spann's family members would probably be happy to describe the danger posed by these guys in prison.
• Because they're not treated too shabbily, after all. They're being given proper food and probably the best medical care in their lives.
Given these factors, you have to wonder why a U.S. district court judge, Howard Matz of Los Angeles, decided to hold hearings "to consider a petition from civil rights advocates demanding that the U.S. government bring terrorism suspects" held at Guantanamo Bay "before a court and define the charges against them."
According to court records, the petition filed "alleges that the detainees are being held in violation of the U.S. Constitution and the Geneva Convention. It requests that U.S. authorities produce the prisoners in a U.S. court, explain the reasons for their decision and accord them due-process guarantees."
Given that none of them is an American citizen (like John Walker), why must they receive "due process guarantees" of the very Constitution they seek to destroy? It seems a bit over-zealous of some human rights advocates.
You'd think such advocates would have enough to do in the corner of the world these prisoners came from. After all, not one single Arab country practices freedom or has a functioning legitimate democracy. None respects basic human rights, and some — like Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia — are among the most brutal, repressive nations on earth.
Equally worrisome is the dismal record of Islamic states on human rights. I serve on the board of Freedom House, which evaluates countries around the world on political and civil liberties.
Its worldwide survey of human rights released last December found that non-Islamic states are four times as likely to respect human rights as Islamic states. Indeed, only Bangladesh and Mali have functioning democracies, and neither counts as a major world player. Indonesia has been lunging toward democracy, but it remains such a mess that it's impossible to take much satisfaction from their experience.
To my mind, human rights groups can do a lot more good by redirecting their concerns away from these vile folks in the Guantanamo Bay prison. For I can muster no sympathy for them at all.
Kenneth Adelman is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News, was assistant to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld from 1975 to 1977 and, under President Ronald Reagan, U.N. ambassador and arms-control director. Mr. Adelman is now co-host of TechCentralStation.com.