“Who will want to save them?” i.e. “Who wants to capture any alive?”
Mumbai: Doctors Shocked At Hostages Torture reports that the Islamic supremacist perpetrators of the Mumbai massacre tortured many of their hostages before murdering them. The article also says, however, that the Indians may have used what Kumbaya-singing Westerners might call “excessive violence” on the terrorists. The Islamic supremacists’ faces were “beyond recognition” and “One of the terrorists was shot through either eye.”
In other words, the terrorists got exactly what they deserved, and what the United States and Israel ought to give the perpetrators of 9/11 and Ma’alot respectively on a routine basis. The French use the term “pour encourager les autres”–literally “to encourage the others,” but more generally “as an example to others.” We stated more than 25 years ago that first aid for wounded terrorists should be limited to the cost of a single pistol cartridge.
Terrorists feel free to detonate nail bombs in synagogues and pizza parlors, orchestrate the 9/11 atrocity, cut off people’s heads, torture hostages, gun down children at Ma’alot, and shoot pregnant women in their bellies because they know that the Kumbaya-singing West will usually give them at most time in a relatively comfortable jail (e.g. Guantanamo, where prisoners gain weight and have access to first-class medical care), with an excellent chance of very early release. As an example, Israel released numerous terrorists in exchange for the bodies of Israeli soldiers, and at least one individual who was freed from Guantanamo resumed operations with a terrorist group.
The convicted terrorist who got life without parole at an American maximum security prison, and the Bali bombers who were recently executed by Indonesia, were four very unlucky exceptions to the general rule that terrorism carries no price tag. Piracy is meanwhile on the upswing because pirates are no longer hanged from the nearest yardarm as was once legal and customary.
The methods of the Roman Empire and Vlad Dracula were very effective in discouraging banditry and terrorism, but they would admittedly not pass muster under the U.S. Constitution. On the other hand, there is no question that most terrorists would be deterred by the prospect of being treated as horrifically than their victims. They should be treated as completely outside civilized law, and with no protections under the Hague or Geneva Convention (which apply to uniformed combatants who conduct their operations in accordance with the laws of war). It is said that General Pershing executed Islamic supremacist terrorists with bullets that had been lubricated with pig fat. This is something for hostage rescue teams to consider in the future; in retrospect, the Indians could have rubbed their bullets with pig fat before using them on the terrorists.
Punishment (or retaliation) that does not serve at least one of the following three functions is useless sadism: (1) correction of the perpetrator’s behavior, (2) prevention of future crimes by the perpetrator, and (3) deterrence of like-minded individuals. The actions of the Indian commandos fulfilled objectives (2) and (3) perfectly. The dead terrorists will never harm another innocent person, and other prospective terrorists will be deterred.
Meanwhile, India has given us a real-world alternative to the line, “What Would Jack Baeur Do?”: “Unko bachana kaun chahega?”