Saturday, April 15, 2006


So, we are familiar with the concept of preventive war or preemptive strikes, where we attack someone so that they can't attack us, such as the invasion of Iraq. The premise is that they will hurt us in some way in the future, so we need to ensure that they can't.

Why is it we can attack another nation and kill thousands of people in the name of preventive maintenance but we can't arrest someone who we believe is going to commit a crime (say murder or a bank robbery)? Why do we generally have to catch them in the act (or soon after), have a trial and then convict them? Does an individual in the United States have more rights than a sovereign nation in the eyes of the authorities?

Perhaps we should start arresting people and holding them in prison until they admit that they were intending to commit the crime for which we arrested them. Then we can charge them, convict them, and send them to jail. It would cut down on actual harm caused, because the crime will never have been committed. People won't have been murdered, houses not broken into, banks not robbed. Insurance money would be saved.

And think of ease of conviction. We don't have to prove that the crime happened and that this individual committed it, because there was no crime! All we have to show is that the person intended the crime to occur, and that can be anything as simple as a passing thought. Court costs would be tremendously minimized, saving more money. We could streamline the system.

One small problem is with the field of illegal immigration, since the criminals then aren't typically in the country before they become illegal immigrants. This means that we'd have to be able to enter other countries where the illegal immigrants live and arrest them before they think of entering illegally. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court seems to think that the writ of habeas corpus applies to everyone, not just good old fashioned americans, so they'd have to be given court time, but I think the convictions would be pretty easy, especially if the Republicans get their way and illegal immigration does become a felony. All the proof we'd need is that they'd rather be in America, and since America is the land of the free and better than every other country, who wouldn't want to be here instead of where they currently are? Bam! Guilty. No more illegal immigration.

Of course, then again, sometimes, perhaps people consider breaking a law and then change their mind before they actually go through with it. It doesn't seem quite fair to hold them responsible for passing thoughts, or for NOT breaking the law. Perhaps the current system is ok.

Maybe preemptive strikes against countries with whom we're not at war aren't right, either?

5 comments:! said...

Wait, wasn't this the premise of a movie?

And are you saying that we should just arrest all the brown people worldwide to prevent crime and immigration? Racist.


Steve said...

No, silly woman!

I am saying we should arrest ALL people worldwide to prevent illegal immigration. Totally different.

Weary Hag said...

Hm. Sounds like a plan, except where would we put them all under arrest? Wait. I understand Wyoming has a lot of land. We could have Ty Pennington put up simple shacks out in Wyoming and surround the properties with razor wire.
Think of the possibilities ... the show could be called "Extreme Prison Makeover" ... or "Extreme Political Buffoonery" or something along those lines.


Bookworm said...

Perhaps some of it has to do with the scale of harm. A bank robbery is bad, but a nuclear strike against a country is apocalyptic. The first you hope won't happen, but will deal with if it does happen. The second, I think, you can't let happen if you know there is a credible threat that it will happen. Iran is making increasingly credible threats.

Steve said...

As justice Souter said recently, "The writ is the writ." You don't have two standards for foreign and domestic individuals, and it doesn't make sense that you would have two standards for domestic individuals and foreign nations. Of all the countries in the world, we're the only one that's used nuclear weapons, so arguably, doesn't that make us more likely to use them in the future?

Iran has stated that they don't intend to use their enriched uranium to make weapons, and of the two national's leaders, their leader's statements haven't been shown to be false or misleading to us over the last three years.

Additionally, I'm more willing to believe that Ahmadenijad is aware of the concept of mutually assured destruction, that any nuclear strike by them will result in the devastation of his entire country, and I think his statements, if pressed, will be similar to Kruschev circa 1961.

Iran has not attacked us. Attacking them so that they don't attack someone else, who they haven't attacked, is wrong, no matter how much they say they want to attack. Until it happens, it hasn't happened.