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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, June 01, 2004

 
Sacred Cows

I have finally come around to the administration's way of thinking on this unlawful combatant thing. Here we have an American who was trained to blow up apartment buildings and maybe set off dirty bombs, but the only way we could get the information that he was trained to blow up apartment buildings and maybe set off dirty bombs was by denying him his right to counsel and holding him until he confessed to those potential crimes --- which means we can't use that "confession" in court. We simply could not take even the smallest chance that an apartment or dirty bomber might not tell all by allowing him due process. Surely, everyone can understand that.

That whole fifth amerndment thing was only put there because back in the olden days we had kings who would falsely imprison people for political reasons. Needless to say, that could never happen now. Great americans like John Ashcroft and Dick Cheney would never take advantage of the American people's fears by saying that they have captured a dangerous terrorist soldier who was trying to kill them unless it were true. And they do not make mistakes about things like that. They are good people. There is no reason to fear the misuse of government power against its citizens so let's take that off the table right now.

All of which makes me wonder how much better off we'd be if we didn't have to deal with those inconvenient legal rights and due process to begin with? I know that potentially blowing up an apartment building is a heinous act of terrorism, but suppose we arrested a member of a criminal gang who was planning to blow up the very same apartment building for the insurance money? That would just be considered plain old murder so we'd have to let the guy speak to a lawyer and face a judge. But, the result would be exactly the same. A bunch of innocent people would potentially be dead and we would not have been able to stop this heinous mass murderer because our stupid constitution forced the government to allow him due process. Not to mention that we couldn't have sufficiently leaned on him to extract a confession in the first place! I'm hard pressed to see how the families of the victims would see the distinction between a normal old "crime" and terrorism.

Why should any potential murderer or informant be allowed to use this excuse of "due process" simply because he hasn't been to Afghanistan? Why should innocent people ever be put at risk?

If there's one thing the Jose Padilla case is teaching us is that it's long past time we started calling all criminal suspects what they really are --- unlawful combatants. All criminals disrupt our way of life and hurt innocent people for their own gain. Is that not the very definition of terrorism?

The founders obviously just didn't comprehend what problems they would cause when they wrote the bill of rights. Of course, they didn't have crime and terrorism in those days to deal with, so they couldn't have known how restrictive their naive little document was going to be on future generations. I'm just glad we finally have a government that's willing to show some moxie for once and ignore these outdated sacred cows in our constitution. I would imagine they'd have the founders deep respect for doing so.






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