Monday, November 16, 2009

Crime, terror, or insurrection?

In the wake of the Ft. Hood terrorist attack, what mindset do we have at the heart of the Department of Defense? Do they think they were the victim of a crime, a terror attack, or an insurrection?

Let's go to Webster:
Crime  [krahym]
1. an action or an instance of negligence that is deemed injurious to the public welfare or morals or to the interests of the state and that is legally prohibited.
2. criminal activity and those engaged in it: to fight crime.
3. the habitual or frequent commission of crimes: a life of crime.
4. any offense, serious wrongdoing, or sin.
5. a foolish, senseless, or shameful act: It's a crime to let that beautiful garden go to ruin.

Legal Dictionary
1 : conduct that is prohibited and has a specific punishment (as incarceration or fine) prescribed by public law —compare DELICT, TORT
2 : an offense against public law usually excluding a petty violation —see also FELONY, MISDEMEANOR
NOTE: Crimes in the common-law tradition were originally defined primarily by judicial decision. For the most part, common-law crimes are now codified. There is a general principle “nullum crimen sine lege,” that there can be no crime without a law. A crime generally consists of both conduct, known as the actus reus, and a concurrent state of mind, known as the mens rea.
3 : criminal activity

ter⋅ror⋅ism  [ter-uh-riz-uhm]
1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.
2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

Legal Dictionary
Function: noun
1 : the unlawful use or threat of violence esp. against the state or the public as a politically motivated means of attack or coercion
2 : violent and intimidating gang activity terrorism> —ter·ror·ist /-ist/ adj or noun —ter·ror·is·tic /"ter-&r-'is-tik/ adjective

in⋅sur⋅rec⋅tion  [in-suh-rek-shuhn]
an act or instance of rising in revolt, rebellion, or resistance against civil authority or an established government.

Legal Dictionary
Function: noun
: the act or an instance of revolting esp. violently against civil or political authority or against an established government; also : the crime of inciting or engaging in such revolt insurrection against the authority of the United States…shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than ten years —U.S. Code

insurgency, uprising, mutiny.
Now that we have defined out terms, ponder this from 17thLine;
Admin Officer: Effective immediately, reservists will no longer be issued weekend parking permits for the Pentagon. Those permits currently in use are now invalid.
Unit Member: Immediately? Like, how immediately? I just parked my car.
Admin Officer: You can move it when we’re done here. Just pray that it isn’t towed before you get back outside [ha ha].
Unit Member: Where are we supposed to park when we’re on duty?
Admin Officer: Well, there’s another DoD building about a mile up the road. If there’s a space there, you can park. Otherwise there is a parking garage at the mall across the interstate. I think it’s about $10 to park there all day on the weekends. And before you ask, no, you can’t submit that for reimbursement.
Unit Member: Why are they taking away the parking passes? It’s not like there’s a ton of people here on the weekends. (ed. – The Pentagon really is deserted on Saturdays and Sundays. Only a handful of 24×7 folks work there and the lots are empty).
Admin Officer: It’s a security issue. They can’t have a bunch of people parking here that they don’t trust. (ed. – Is now a good time to mention that every member of the unit had a clearance of Top Secret or higher?)
Unit Member: Security? Trust? I’m a commissioned officer in the United States Navy and I have a government issued security clearance, but I can’t be trusted to park within a mile of this building?
XO: Obviously a sensitive issue here, but we have a lot to cover this morning, so let’s move on. Readiness officer, who is on the lists for this weekend…
In a time of war, we have the core of the military that does not trust its commissioned field grade officer corps to park their car out of fear that one of them may attack The Pentagon.

I'm lot a legal scholar - but it sounds like someone feels that there is an insurrection - but wants to act like there is a crime wave.

Shame - because the enemy is fairly easy to define - if you have the moral and intellectual courage to admit where they may come from, and are willing to look in the right places to find them. A coward's response is to assume everyone has the potential to be a terrorist - call it the "...we give Grandma from Minnesota in a wheelchair the same treatment at the airport as a 25-yr old Yemani student..." school of counter-terrorism.

So in the middle of a terrorism-centric Long War, we respond like we have an insurrection on our hands - yet we have a "crime" mindset. We will to wait for something to take place before we can act. What a logic disconnect.

That is not a mindset for a mature organization.

Oh, what is Phib's take? Simple. We have native-born terrorists on our soil and in our military. The USA Major at Ft. Hood was not the only terrorist with a US passport and/or military ID waiting to go active. The thing is - the entire Reserve Force is not part of a terrorist organization - so why are we treating them like one?

An act of "smart security" - or an act of cowardice in the place of action?

What do we do? We assume that our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines are what they say they are unless evidence tells us otherwise .... but then again ... you have to act on the evidence you find, if you are looking for it.

There is the rub.

UPDATE: This action predates the Ft. Hood attack - back to 2006. That begs an even larger question ......

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