American Elephants

When It’s a Hard Question, Whose Advice Matters? by The Elephant's Child


Michael Ramirez, as usual, gets it right. To whom do you listen? Who do you trust? Who is the best qualified? When do you change your mind and why?


So What Do We Do With a Terrorist? by The Elephant's Child
February 1, 2010, 1:33 pm
Filed under: Islam, Law, Military, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

The problem of treating a terrorist as a common criminal to be tried in open federal court is poorly understood, and confusing.

Andy McCarthy, author of Willful Blindness — an account of the trial of the first World Trade Center bombing in which he was a prosecutor, highly recommends this article by General Mike Hayden, former CIA Director, in Sunday’s Washington Post.  General Hayden gets a lot into a short essay.

Health Care Reform Is Not The Only Important Issue! by The Elephant's Child

Scott Brown’s top strategist, Eric Fernstrom, said that from their own internal polling, “the more potent issue here in Massachusetts was terrorism and the treatment of enemy combatants.”

It’s clear that on a national basis, people were angry about health care reform and Democrats back-room, secret-meeting attempts to push it through.  But in Massachusetts, national security resonated with voters.  (Probably even more so after Martha Coakley announced that there were no more Taliban or al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and we really should bring our troops home).

There have been a number of Democrats recently pointing out that, as more people die from other causes like traffic accidents, we are putting way too much emphasis on terrorism.  An odd theme for — so far — five Democrats to “spontaneously” write about.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day Detroit bomber, told agents when he was apprehended that there were 25 more just like him in Yemen, waiting to attack us.  Then the agents gave him his Miranda rights and he stopped talking.

Scott Brown’s best line resonated:

Let me say this, with respect, for those who want to harm us.  I believe that our constitution and laws exist to protect this nation — they do not grant rights and privileges to enemies in wartime.  In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them, not lawyers to defend them.

Bill Burck said today in the Corner:

A few weeks ago, Dana Perino and I expressed doubt that the White House had given any serious thought to treating Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as an enemy combatant who could be interrogated without access to a lawyer, without Miranda warnings, and without the right to remain silent.

We were skeptical because of the rapid turnaround of less than 24 hours between Abdulmutallab’s arrest and the Justice Department’s announcement that he would be treated like a common criminal — with all the rights of a U.S. Citizen — provided far too little time to assess his potential value as a source of intelligence about future attacks.

In congressional hearings today, Dennis Blair, director of national intelligence, and Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center confirmed that they were never even consulted about the decision. Nor was FBI Director Mueller consulted. The agents on the ground decided — without input from their superiors — to treat Abdulmutallab as a criminal.

In other words, there is no established protocol to handle these things, even so soon after the Fort Hood Massacre.

That’s what the American people are worried about.  And that’s why Scott Brown’s words resonated with the people of Massachusetts.  He gets it.  The Obama administration doesn’t seem to.

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