Friday, April 24, 2009

FDR and the Case of the Captured Enemy Combatants

From World Net Daily
Opinion by Ellis Washington.

FDR and the Nazi saboteur case
"I only wish President Bush and now President Obama would have taken the approach FDR took in the Nazi saboteur case, Ex Parte Quirin (1942), where in the midst of World War II eight Nazi terrorists were captured on the coasts of New York and Florida. After a summary trial in July 1942, six were summarily executed one month later after the Supreme Court upheld the jurisdiction of a U.S. military tribunal. FDR, though a liberal socialist, was decisive in quickly and summarily punishing Nazi spies. Hitler did not try that stunt again".
Here, courtesy of The History Channel are the basic facts of the case.
In June 1942, eight German saboteurs were delivered to the east coast of the United States via U-boats, with the intent to attack, destroy and terrorise. But they were apprehended almost immediately, and six of the eight were executed... From their training to the aftermath of their botched mission... [these]trained saboteurs doomed themselves through mistrust, conflicting allegiances, and betrayal.

The first group of four saboteurs left by submarine in May 1942 from the German base at Lorient, France, and on May 28, the next group of four departed the same base. Each was destined to land at points on the Atlantic Coast of the United States familiar to the leader of that group. Four men, led by George John Dasch, age 39, landed on a beach near Long Island, New York on 13 June, 1942. Accompanying Dasch were Ernest Peter Burger, Heinrich Harm Heinck, and Richard Quirin. On 17 June, 1942, the other group landed at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The leader was Edward John Kerling, with Werner Thiel, Herman Otto Neubauer, and Herbert Hans Haupt. Both groups landed wearing complete or partial German uniforms to ensure treatment as prisoners of war rather than as spies if they were caught.

The Trial
The eight were tried before a Military Commission, appointed by President Roosevelt. They were all found guilty and sentenced to death. Appeals were made to President Roosevelt to commute the sentences of Dasch and Burger. As a result, Dasch received a 30-year sentence, while Burger received a life sentence. The remaining six were executed by electric chair on 8 August, 1942. The eight men had been born in Germany and each had lived in the United States for substantial periods. Burger had become a naturalised American in 1933. Haupt had entered the United States as a child, gaining citizenship when his father was naturalised in 1930. Dasch had joined the Germany army at the age of 14 and served about 11 months as a clerk during the conclusion of World War I. He had enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1927, and received an honourable discharge after a little more than a year of service. Quirin and Heinck had returned to Germany prior to the outbreak of World War II in Europe, and the six others subsequent to September 11, 1939, and before December 7, 1941, apparently feeling their first loyalty was to the country of their birth. In April, 1948, President Truman granted executive clemency to Dasch and Burger on condition of deportation. They were transported to the American Zone of Germany, where they were freed.
A note from Radarsite: If ours is a nation founded on laws, and if these laws are founded on precedents, I offer the above article to acknowledge an important precedent in American jurisprudence. The very first objection raised by our pacifist/liberal Dems will most likely be that this was in a different time, under different circumstances. Obviously, this took place in a different -- and some would say, more exemplary -- time in our nation's history. But were the circumstances really all that different? Or, as I suspect, is it America that is different? In both cases we were viciously attacked, without warning, on our own soil by a ruthless alien power determined to defeat us. If anything, today's enemy poses an even greater existential threat to our nation.
How then do we explain the startling contrast between our ambivalent reactions to the horrors of 9/11 and the almost immediate display of visceral anger in response to the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941; even though it could be argued that, though admittedly dishonorable and treacherous, the Japanese attacks were in fact a military attack against a military target, that actually resulted in less fatalities (2,403 compared to 2,986) than were incurred on 9/11—while virtually all of the 2,749 victims in New York City were innocent civilians. Where, we implore our leftist friends, is that righteous anger? What has happened to that steely resolve which we so courageously sustained throughout those terrible war years? How did we lose our way? And, most importantly, are we capable of regaining that 'steely resolve'? The travesty of the current trial of the captured Somali pirate in a NYC courtroom -- complete with ambitious defense attorneys, the impending release of enemy combatants from Gitmo, the Congressional investigations into allegations of torture of captured jihadis -- and a thousand more miserable examples answers the question, doesn't it?

Like it or not, we are at war, a war that our inexperienced and morally-conflicted new president and his leftist cabinet refuse to name or acknowledge.

But, today's Friday, and it's a beautiful day, and tomorrow's going to be even more beautiful. And I'm alive and breathing in the cool fresh air, and these days that's a major victory.
God bless America - rg


  1. They Captured Enemy Combatants were put on trial first. It was a fair trial in which they had legal representation and after a verdict of Guilty, they were executed.

    The Courts all upheld the verdicts, saying much about the legal system in the US.

    This is the precedent that Bush should have silenced many of his critics.

  2. It is sad and tragic to look back and see the steady neutering of America since World War Two.

    As a Veteran I can understand the desire to avoid war, but also as a Veteran I cannot understand the desire to embrace enemies over allies and allow our country to be overran by our enemies.

    It's as if everything I was taught growing up has been turned upside down.

  3. Roger, this article is a timely reminder that we need to 'shine a light' on the shadows that hide our enemies, which have been created by the term, 'War on Terror', for in that phrase lies the very problem that has tied the far left in knots so far, trying to come to terms with the notion of modern day terrorism.

    During WW11 we were fighting against nation states who prepared armed forces to combat the western world. And there was a perceptible delineation between the Axis powers and the Allies.

    There is no nation state today that we can point to and attack, and gone now, is the perception of just who the 'enemy' really is. Oh sure, we know that Al Quaeda and others are Islamic fundamentalists who wish for a world wide caliphate, but which country do we resort to attacking in order to defeat them? Afghanistan? Pakistan? Saudi Arabia etc.

    While we cannot adequately identify our enemies, and this is why Bin Laden went to Afghanistan and is still hiding out there, we cannot defeat them! He knows that the only way to defeat the west, is to tie us up in so many knots about how to tackle his ideology, that in the end, we may end up fighting amongst ourselves!

    That is the nature of the enemy which needs to be addressed. But how do you root out and eradicate an enemy who hides in so called friendly Islamic states without taking the whole 2 billion of them on?

  4. The current occupant of the White House sympathizes with our Islamic enemies. Whether he wants to inveigle them into "liking" him and thusly all of us or whether he feels a kinship with Islamics is not clear--but then, neither is anything about his actions, character, or background.

    One suspects the latter from his genuflecting before the Saudi king and his coddling of "enemy combatants"--Mohammedans on the warpath who want to kill us Americans.

    Obama lacks the leadership and determination of FDR to defend the country and to defeat those who attacked it.

    The strong suspicion that he is following a secret agenda to destroy the United States by turning the society on its head and then allowing our Islamic enemies to replace our Constitution with its own ideology nags at one.

    His economic measures are apparently succeeding to accomplish the first part of the secret agenda.

    Castrating our intelligence service and exposing their methods to our enemies is a step towards the second part.

    Can we allow him to succeed?

    It will be much more difficult to reverse a defeat of the United States by the Islamics than to stop this catastrophe before it occurs.

  5. Thank you all for your thoughtful, and thought-provoking comments. I've stated before that I think we have some of the most informed and intelligent readers on the web. The above comments prove my point.

  6. The brief, if not tepid, reaction of the country after 9/11 was surely a function of Bush's pedal-to-the-metal journey to the Islamic Cultural Center of D.C., if I have the name right, there to slobber over anyone and everything Muslim while granting a special pass to the Bin Laden family to git. It's a fair question to ask if family members were implicated in specific conduct (probably not. I'm guessing) but the two actions signaled a blunting of any kind of righteous anger toward two eminently reasonable groups: Muslims and the family of OBL.

    More to the point, after a gratifying take down of the Taliban we ended up, thanks to Bush, in a fractious national debate and military action re NBC weapons in Iraq. Worthy and holy in a certain way but so would a world campaign to deal with malaria. Having what to do, exactly, with the SAUDI connection to a specific incident of terror on U.S. soil and to Wahhabi psychopathy all over the world?

    Maxwell Taylor had it right about the uncertain trumpet. None of our leaders, not just GWB, is or has been certain of anything. Even Ronald the Magnificent blinked and went all wobbly with his "Morning in America" campaign. Hardly something to fire up the troops.

    If a citizen were to conclude there's no reason to get lathered up if his leaders refuse to act like the obvious danger is a danger, well, who can blame him entirely?

  7. To Col. B. Bunny --
    Although your indictments of President Bush et al are, in my view, somewhat one-sided, I admire your passion and clarity.

    Unfortunately, I agree with many of your major points. Although, for reasons I have enumerated elsewhere, I supported -- and still support the Iraq War. However, as you so succinctly point out, some of Bush's post-9/11 actions and statements could be described at best as inscrutable -- and at worst as a shameful example of 'giving aid and comfort to the enemy'.
    I think that I would probably disagree with you on quite a few things, but you do make sense and your points are well taken.
    Welcome to Radarsite.