Skip to comments.Nathan Hale Died for a Dumb Nation
Posted on 01/20/2007 12:39:19 PM PST by Congressman Billybob
A Google News search for terrorist, rules and trials turned up 353 articles on the regulations just established for the trials of terrorists by military tribunals. The leading articles were by the New York Times and the BBC. Interestingly, none of them mentioned Nathan Hale.
The articles get in a high dudgeon because terrorists can be tried based on hearsay, and might be executed. Most importantly, all of these writers and editors act as if this were a brand-new phenomenon. Apparently both history education and books are in short supply in the mainstream media.
Nathan Hale was hanged by the British in 1776 as a spy. On his first assignment he revealed his mission to a lady who was a British spy. He made a memorable statement just before his execution, I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country,
Compare that with the execution of Major John Andre by the Americans in 1980. Andre was captured behind American lines in civilian clothes. Hidden in his boot was the plan for the betrayal of the garrison at West Point by General Benedict Arnold. Arnold got word of Andres capture, and fled to the British lines. Andre was convicted as an illegal combatant, and hanged.
What relevance do these two trials and execution have to do with the events of this week? They are foursquare examples of the conduct of such trials. They happened under the Law of War, centuries old at the time of the American Revolution and still appling today.
Under the Law of War, which has been carried forward under all four of the Geneva Conventions, and its predecessors, soldiers captured in uniform were held for the duration and then released when the war ended. However, spies and illegal combatants received different treatment. Illegal combatants were fighters who wore no uniforms, were not in units subject to military discipline, and hid among the civilian population.
Such individuals could be executed on the spot. However, at best they received drum head trials. These were the predecessors of the military tribunals which have been used on occasion in every major war the US has ever fought.
For instance, when General Washington tried Major Andre, the hearing took place at Washingtons headquarters, hearsay evidence was received, and after a short hearing, Andre was sentenced to death with no appeal.
Should anyone think this ancient history has no application today, consider what the US did, and the Supreme Court ruled, in 1942. Eight German saboteurs entered the US from two submarines, with money and plans to plant bombs in various US locations. They were tried by a military tribunal. All were found guilty, and two were sentenced to death. (Two argued, unsuccessfully, that as US citizens they were not subject to such tribunals.)
In the Quirin case, the unanimous Court found this constitutional. Congress incorporated the Law of War into the military code of the US in 1789. And try as it might, the current Supreme Court could not abandon the Quirin case in its recent decisions.
Were US citizens, or at least its reporters who are the eyes and ears of the public, had sufficient education in our military history, this weeks stories would have been quite different. It seems that Nathan Hale died for a nation that is (becoming) rather dumb.
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About the Author: John Armor is a lawyer specializing in constitutional law, who may again be a candidate for Congress in the 11th District of North Carolina. John_Armor@aya.yale.edu
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John / Billybob
"Compare that with the execution of Major John Andre by the Americans in 1980."
Oops...we aren't all so dumb. I don't think Maj. Andre was executed in 1980....might want to change that! :)
But if it happened in 1980 didn't Jimmy Carter consider pardoning him first?
"Journalists" don't have much more than a high school education on the subject of History, even then it's a combined class called "Social Studies",and it's only worth one credit.
Even if they knew these things, and probably some of them do, they would ignore them as it does not advance their desired action line.
Absolutely. In fact some "Journalists" have even said as much.
Even if they did take a history class, facts should never be allowed to get in the way of their mission to promote the leftist agenda.
Only if he was spying against us, if he was spying for us, he would have let him stay in jail for a year or so.....
Don't you remember how appalled we were when Jimmy Carter petitioned President Reagan to spare Major John Andre's life?
Whoa - two hunnert years on Death Row? Andre must have had a heckuva lawyer.
I have been trying to tell folks that were bitching about our treament of captured terrorists for years now that these jerks were lucky we didn't do with them what we had the right to do, a bullet in the back of the head at the side of the road where they were captured. This article makes it clear that IN ACCORDANCE WITH GENEVA CONVENTIONS people found under arms, on a battlefield, not in uniform or part of an organized military with a clear chain of command and authorized by a responsible government can be summarily executed where captured.
Rather continues to become even dumber, might be the proper parlance, don't you think?
My tag line, from that antiwar song of the sixties becomes even more and more prophetic, IMO.
America ... Where are you now?">
And most importantly, Where are you going?
The slide continues, headlong into oblivion!
The only reason this won't be news to most freepers is because of the yeoman work you've done here dissemination this information.
Thanks to all for the correction. I've already notified everyone on my mailing list, especially my four editors, to correct my typo. Thanks to all.
(p.s. you do great work)