About aid to the enemy

Former President Carter is unhappy that his efforts to provide ‘humanitarian’ aid to defined Foreign Terrorist Organizations has been found to be illegal by the SCOTUS. A. McCarthy describes the latest ruling and its implications.

For a dozen years, leftist organizations styling themselves as proponents of international humanitarian law have campaigned to undermine the laws prohibiting material support to terrorism. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court finally swept aside this challenge, forcefully upholding one of our nation’s most crucial counterterrorism tools.

The dissenting jurists appeared to be “unwilling to entertain the prospect that training and advising a designated [FTO] might benefit that organization in a way that facilitates its terrorist activities. In the dissent’s world, such training is all to the good.” This is an ideologically based hope that the bad guy will cease being bad if we can only communicate with him properly, that he is inherently a good man if we can only help him remove his burdens and misperceptions that make him evil.

This gets into the recidivism problem. Strategy page notes how terrorists are using the ‘system’ based on this idea that they are really good guys who only need a chance. “One of the most frustrating problems with the war on terror is the tendency of captured Islamic terrorists to escape, or be freed from prison.” And they use their new freedom to pick right up where they left off.

The ruling in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project expresses the reality that criminals, terrorists, and their ilk generally are not swayed by good intent. Any aid you give them only means that they can move their attention and money elsewhere, like in making another bomb.

There is a caveat. The ruling is not absolute but limited. As McCarthy describes it, the Court has not abdicated its responsibility to interpret the Constitution. Independent advocacy for a terrorist organization was not at issue nor was the matter of association. A narrow, purposeful form of assistance to defined foreign terrorist organizations was the topic as issue. That is perhaps responsible jurisprudence.

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