Lucky you, you get a double-dip today. The flavor is largely the same, though, since both have to do with the vile ways America is treating suspected terrorists. Full coverage after the jump.The first piece is by Glenn Greenwald and it uses the Obama administration’s foot-dragging on restoring constitutional order to our system of handling suspected terrorists to set up a larger point about moderate, establishment Democrats using threats about winning elections to silent dissent within the Democratic Party. The first two paragraphs:
Even in the context of America’s wretched civil liberties abuses over the last decade, the case of Mohamed Hassan Odaini stands out. He was 17 years old in 2001 when his father sent him from Yemen to study at a religious university in Raiwand, Pakistan, and when a campus house in which he was staying there was raided by Pakistani authorities in early 2002, he was turned over to the U.S. and shipped to Guantanamo, where he has remained without charges for the last eight years (he’s now 26). A federal court this month granted his habeas petition for release, finding that the evidence “overwhelmingly supports Odaini’s contention that he is unlawfully detained.” Worse, the court described the multiple times over the years — beginning in 2002 and occurring as recently as 2009 — when the U.S. Government itself concluded that Odaini was guilty of nothing, was mistakenly detained, and should be released (see here for the court’s description of that history).
Despite that, the Obama administration has refused to release him for the past 16 months, and fought vehemently in this habeas proceeding to keep him imprisoned. As the court put it, the Obama DOJ argued “vehemently” that there was evidence that Odaini was part of Al Qaeda. In fact, the Obama administration knew this was false. This Washington Post article this weekend quotes an “administration official” as saying: “The bottom line is: We don’t have anything on this kid.” But after Obama decreed in January that no Yemeni detainees would be released — even completely innocent ones, and even though the Yemeni government wants their innocent prisoners returned — Obama DOJ lawyers basically lied to the court by claiming there was substantial evidence to prove that Odaini was part of Al Qaeda even though they know that is false. In other words, the Obama administration is knowingly imprisoning a completely innocent human being who has been kept in a cage in an island prison, thousands of miles from his home, for the last 8 years, since he’s 18 years old, despite having done absolutely nothing wrong.
If you aren’t angrily spitting blood after reading that, you don’t have a heart. They admit they are detaining an innocent man! An innocent man who has been detained since he was an innocent boy! How do these principle-free Washington types go about their daily lives knowing the evil for which they are responsible? How can they even butter a piece of bread knowing that they are keeping a man prisoner for no good reason? If you can do that to another human being and not just not feel like your body is being eaten away by guilt from the inside but actually believe you are doing good, you are a sick, heartless person infinitely more dangerous to the moral development of the children of this nation than any gay marriage bill could ever be even in the craziest evangelical nightmare.
Where Greenwald wants the argument to go:
So the homogeneous Party loyalists who cheered for Bush’s invasion of Iraq, who spend their time privately railing together against those misguided liberal critics, have all magically come forward in unison, with the same script, to decree that The Left’s discontent with the President is so terribly shrill, unrealistic, unfair, and unSerious. The same trite pundits who reflexively ingest and advocate whatever the political establishment spits out are announcing that criticisms of the President are so unfair. Jon Chait, Jon Bernstein, Jon Alter, Lanny Davis, Peter Connolly, Ross Douthat and friends know what good Progressives must do — with their track record, who could possibly disagree? — and that’s be grateful for the President we have and to refrain from all this chattering, irrational, purist negativity. Meanwhile, the administration does one thing after the next along the lines of what it’s doing to Mohamed Hassan Odaini, rendering these You-Leftists-are-so-UnSerious sermons no more impressive or worthwhile than when the same unfailingly wrong establishment spokespeople, driven by exactly the same mentality, were spouting them back in 2003.
The second piece is a get-your-barf-bags-ready glib discussion of denying basic rights and freedoms to human beings in a liberal democracy written by National Review’s Andy McCarthy.
Most of McCarthy’s piece is boring, but then it really “takes off” at the end:
And here’s the kicker: It’s all about tactics. Most of the information Shahzad will demand won’t really help his case at all. He will demand it because he knows the government will not want to disclose it. If the government refuses to turn it over, that could induce the trial judge to start striking parts of the government’s case, as happened in the Zacarias Moussaoui circus in federal court a few years back. DOJ resistance could create appellate issues that would put a conviction in jeopardy. It could create severe tension between the prosecutors and the trial judge that could hurt the government’s case in various other ways (again, see Moussaoui’s trial).
None of this had to happen. Shahzad could have been held as an enemy combatant and interrogated without counsel. In al-Marri’s case, and in the case of Jose Padilla, the government detained enemy combatants for years before turning them over to the criminal-justice system for trial. The statute of limitations on bombing attempts gives the government plenty of leeway to delay charging a defendant for years if there are good reasons for delay — and war is a better reason than any.
When you detain a war criminal without counsel, he is more apt to tell you much of what he knows. Those statements probably won’t be admissible at trial, but they may not be necessary to secure a conviction; in any event, it’s more important to the war effort to get the intelligence. By contrast, when you bring a war criminal into the civilian criminal-justice system while the war is ongoing, you empower him — with lawyers, with investigators, with discovery rights, with subpoena power, and with the complex dynamics of plea negotiations.
Rife with lawyers who spent the last several years volunteering their services to terrorists and deriding the Bush/Cheney law-of-war approach to counterterrorism, the Obama administration chose to empower Faisal Shahzad. Top officials at the White House, the Justice Department, the intelligence community, and the military evidently convinced themselves that doing so would be cost-free. They may soon learn the hard way that it is not.
Hmm, maybe lawyers were lining up to oppose the “Bush/Cheney law-of-war approach to counterterrorism” because it was an unconstitutional violation of civil liberties we’ve been fighting to keep safe since the Magna Carta. Just look at the Jose Padilla case McCarthy holds up as a symbol of good work. Yes, Padilla didn’t get fair legal counsel and he was relentlessly interrogated and tortured to the point of likely insanity. Is that what it’s come to? Becoming what we hate? Holding suspects indefinitely–without charges, without lawyers–and breaking down their will until we get phony confessions that just tell us what we wanted to hear?
Andy McCarthy should be ashamed, but not as ashamed as National Review should be for running anti-human rights, unconstitutional slop like that.