How bad are things when former Rep. Jane Harman is sounding like the voice of reason when it comes to our treatment of terrorism suspects? From this week's Fox News Sunday, she and Bloody Bill Kristol sparred over whether the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing should be treated as an enemy combatant or read his rights and tried in civilian court.
I'm not sure what good Kristol thinks it's going to do to try to interrogate someone who apparently has been shot in the throat and can't communicate right now if they wanted to, but the right does seem to love stomping all over our Constitutional rights (unless it's guns, of course) at every given opportunity.
Steve Benen made some of the same points as Harman during her back and forth with Kristol in a post he wrote yesterday which described what a dangerous game these Republicans are playing: The legal process ahead for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev:
The broader question -- I'm reluctant to call it a "debate" since the path seems so obvious -- is what happens after that. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have some thoughts on the matter.
Two powerful GOP senators are calling on the Obama administration to treat the captured suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings as an "enemy combatant" and deny him counsel even though he is reportedly an American citizen. [...]
Regardless his citizenship status, McCain and Graham say Dzhokhar Tsarnaev gave up his rights to a criminal trial when he allegedly participated in the bombings.
"Under the Law of War we can hold this suspect as a potential enemy combatant not entitled to Miranda warnings or the appointment of counsel," McCain and Graham said.
McCain and Graham are playing a dangerous game here. In case anyone's forgotten, we're talking about an American citizen, captured on American soil, accused of committing a crime in America. These Republican senators are arguing, in effect, that none of this matters anymore.
The same week in which Senate Republicans insisted that the Second Amendment is sacrosanct, McCain and Graham are arguing that the Fourth Amendment is a nicety that the nation must no longer take seriously.
By all accounts, the Obama administration is prepared to ignore the senators' suggestion. [...]
That's encouraging. Even for those on the right who are indifferent to civil liberties, the fact remains that civilian trials for terrorist suspects have proven to be an effective method of trying, convicting, and sentencing criminals, including accused terrorists. Military commissions, meanwhile, have proven to be an ineffective method.
When it comes to national security, foreign policy, and counter-terrorism, McCain and Graham have a track record of being remarkably wrong with incredible consistency. The more the Obama administration ignores their advice, the better.
Double that for Bill Kristol. And note to Chris Wallace in regard to the clip above, please quit calling the United States "the homeland." It's creeping me out.
Transcript via Fox below the fold.
Continue reading »