PHILADELPHIA, Miss. -- On the 41st anniversary of the murders that came to define their state as an outpost of racial hate, Mississippi jurors yesterday convicted former Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen of manslaughter in the 1964 deaths of three civil rights workers.
At least Killen didn't get away with his crime forever. Better late than never...
And some lessons for President Bush's "Global War on Terror." Namely, the KKK and the Islamist terrorist groups share similar community ties, social patterns of connection, and even the belief that their organizations were doing good. Most interesting in this regard was the testimony on Killen's behalf that the KKK was a charitable group that did many good works. We've heard the same sorts of things about Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood and other racist, supremacist, and violent terrorist outfits. Fear of the Klan protected Killen for two generations. Only when the Klan had been sufficiently weakened could he be convicted. This was not accomplished by working to bring the Klan within the system--it was achieved by crushing the Klan and making membership a shameful secret rather than a badge of pride.
In this regard, pictures of President Bush holding hands with the Islamist Saudi monarch a few months ago were the equivalent of Lyndon Johnson hugging a grand Kleagle in 1964. It's not the way to go.
The war on terror will be won the same way the war against the Klan was, through zero tolerance for terrorists and their apologists. There is no other way.