Thunderpig’s Mirror

Nathan Hale Died for a Dumb Nation

Posted by Thunder Pig on January 21, 2007

John Armor has posted another good one at Free Republic, so get thee hence.

A taste:

A Google News search for terrorist, rules and trials turned up 353 articles on the regulations just established for the trials of terrorists by military tribunals. The leading articles were by the New York Times and the BBC. Interestingly, none of them mentioned Nathan Hale.

The articles get in a high dudgeon because terrorists can be tried “based on hearsay,” and might be “executed.” Most importantly, all of these writers and editors act as if this were a brand-new phenomenon. Apparently both history education and books are in short supply in the mainstream media.

Let’s review.

Nathan Hale was hanged by the British in 1776 as a spy. On his first assignment he revealed his mission to a lady who was a British spy. He made a memorable statement just before his execution, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country,”

Compare that with the execution of Major John Andre by the Americans in 1980. Andre was captured behind American lines in civilian clothes. Hidden in his boot was the plan for the betrayal of the garrison at West Point by General Benedict Arnold. Arnold got word of Andre’s capture, and fled to the British lines. Andre was convicted as an “illegal combatant,” and hanged.

What relevance do these two trials and execution have to do with the events of this week? They are foursquare examples of the conduct of such trials. They happened under the Law of War, centuries old at the time of the American Revolution and still appling today.

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