Thursday, March 3, 2005

The Forces of Hate; At Home and Abroad

To flourish, a functioning liberal democratic society requires three basic building blocks; Individual rights, a functioning monetary system, and the rule of law to ensure the stability of the first two. Lose any one of these building blocks and its darn near impossible to maintain a modern state and culture.

For this reason, the safety of members of the judiciary has always been sacrosanct in U.S. society. Looking back at our battles with a succession of criminal enterprises over the past century and this principle, with few exceptions, can be scene as the rule by which we lived. Police and criminals may have battled it out in the streets, but once the arrest was made the fight moved to the courtroom and the rule of law took over. Witnesses were deposed, evidence examined and a jury or judge ruled on the fate of the accused. Assassinations of prosecutors or judges was rare for the simple reason that the criminal element knew this would be a losing proposition for their businesses.

On Monday night, this changed in Chicago as the elements of hate attacked. Chicago judge Joan Lefkow's husband and 89 year old mother were found murdered in the basement of their home, and early speculation is that the hit was ordered by a white supremacist previously convicted of ordering the judge's murder. Whether or not this turns out to be the case, the basic truth remains. This murder, as foul a deed as one can imagine, is more than just another murder. It is an attack on our system and why of life, an attempt to intimidate and destabilize the rule of law.

In Baghdad, a similar operation that resulted in the murder of two judicial members of Saddam's tribunal was carried out on Wednesday. As with the Chicago hit, nobody has yet been arrested, but I'm pretty sure we can guess who is at the heart of this crime.

While murder is awful in any form, it is especially heinous in these instances because it is a crime designed to strike at the fundamental building blocks of society. In Chicago, the hit on Judge Lefkow's family was a clear attempt to intimidate the judiciary of a stable country. In Baghdad, the murder of the tribunal judges was a clear attempt to scuttle the courageous efforts of the Iraqi people to form the world's newest democracy which as events in Lebanon and Egypt demonstrated this week is lighting the torch of liberty in the Middle East.

While Baghdad must deal with daily bombings, this attack requires special attention since it represents the old hand of Saddam reaching out one last time attempting to strangle the will of Iraq's people. With each day, however, evidence continues to grow that Iraqis have learned that the monster is no more, and the Iraqi system becomes just a bit more stable

There is a lesson for the U.S. here as well. Over the past decade we were slow to recognize the enemy from beyond. We denied that we were at war, until that day in September when he attacked our homeland. The forces of hate exist in many forms, and whether the Chicago hit was from white supremacists, drug dealers or some other criminal element, there can be no doubt that the murder of Judge Lekow's family members on Monday was an attack from within. Domestic terrorism in its purest form.

Acts such as these cannot be allowed to stand. Common sense tells us where to look for the enemy, and of course the authorities must stay within the rule of law to find the perpetrators and crush them. Both attacks demonstrate that with freedom comes responsibility to stay ever vigilant in the defense against foreign and domestic foes and remove the threat that they pose to our liberty, our freedom, and our way of life in a liberal democratic society.

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