Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Should we waterboard the Christian militia terrorists?

Or, as rule-of-law wimps might call them, accused terrorists?
In an indictment against the nine unsealed on Monday, the Justice Department said they were part of a group of apocalyptic Christian militants who were plotting to kill law enforcement officers in hopes of inciting an antigovernment uprising, the latest in a recent surge in right-wing militia activity.

The court filing said the group, which called itself the Hutaree, planned to kill an unidentified law enforcement officer and then bomb the funeral caravan using improvised explosive devices based on designs used against American troops by insurgents in Iraq.
Rod Dreher at BeliefNet answers:
Not really. I don't believe in torture. Still, I wonder how people who do believe in waterboarding terrorism suspects to make 'em tell what they know would feel about applying that technique to the nine members of the fanatical Christian militia arrested in Michigan on terrorism charges. Here's a promotional video the Christian militia produced. Looks a lot like Islamic terrorist recruitment videos:


[JW: Similar to many of them--though not as gory as the jihadist videos that feature actual killings, including beheadings. I do know, however, that this "Hutaree" group has made other videos a lot creepier than this one.]
This bunch doesn't look like it could fly airplanes into towers. They look like they could drive a K car through the door of a Kwikee Mart. Still, glad they're in jail tonight.
Same here.

I had never heard of this particular group, but in addition to the NYTimes article quoted above, here is some information from the Christian Science Monitor:
According to the group’s website Hutaree.com, Hutaree means “Christian Warrior.” The website announces: “The Hutaree will one day see its enemy and meet him on the battlefield if so God wills it.”

Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks militia groups nationwide, said Monday she was aware of two Hutaree chapters: one in Utah and one in Michigan. She noted Hutaree has more than 350 friends on its Myspace page, dozens of which are other other militias, and she said David Stone was planning to attend a summit in Kentucky with other militias next month.

“Hutaree is not an isolated crew,” she noted.[....]

The Hutaree website claims the group was “preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive.”
They do seem to be a manageable threat. On the other hand, back in 1995 another apparent weirdo with personal and ideological links to the "militia" movement, Timothy McVeigh, carried out the most murderous and destructive terrorist attack on US soil before 2001. So maybe torturing these guys a little, to get some information about other possible plots, might be a sensible precaution?

--Jeff Weintraub

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