Quotes of the day

“It simply makes no sense to treat an al Qaeda-trained operative willing to die in the course of massacring hundreds of people as a common criminal. Reports indicate that Abdulmutallab stated there were many more like him in Yemen but that he stopped talking once he was read his Miranda rights. President Obama’s advisers lamely claim Abdulmutallab might be willing to agree to a plea bargain – pretty doubtful you can cut a deal with a suicide bomber. John Brennan, the President’s top counterterrorism adviser, bizarrely claimed ‘there are no downsides or upsides’ to treating terrorists as enemy combatants. That is absurd. There is a very serious downside to treating them as criminals: terrorists invoke their ‘right’ to remain silent and stop talking. Terrorists don’t tell us where they were trained, what they were trained in, who they were trained by, and who they were trained with. Giving foreign-born, foreign-trained terrorists the right to remain silent does nothing to keep Americans safe from terrorist threats. It only gives our enemies access to courtrooms where they can publicly grandstand, and to defense attorneys who can manipulate the legal process to gain access to classified information.

“President Obama was right to change his policy and decide to send no more detainees to Yemen where they can be free to rejoin their war on America. Now he must back off his reckless plan to close Guantanamo, begin treating terrorists as wartime enemies not suspects alleged to have committed crimes, and recognize that the real nature of the terrorist threat requires a commander-in-chief, not a constitutional law professor.”

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“There’s a gruesome anomaly here, to be sure: the United States government will blow you to smithereens and consider it a good day’s work if you’re a Qaeda member dreaming of jihadist glory while residing somewhere outside the United States, but will pay for your lawyer if you get caught in the act within our borders. But this anomaly didn’t arise with the Obama administration. It is built into our dual role as a liberal democracy and as a legitimately aggrieved superpower…

“Members of Al Qaeda are not the only ones affected by this double standard. The most repulsive and obviously guilty child molester — or drug kingpin who may also have information that the government could use — gets American justice, while an innocent child killed accidentally in our pursuit of terrorists gets no justice at all. (This second part of the equation doesn’t seem to bother the Cheneys and the Gingriches.) Any place you draw the line, it will be possible to come up with what lawyers call ‘a parade of horribles.’ Any line you draw can be made to seem absurd, because it is absurd. But the line must be drawn somewhere…

“American justice is not a ‘get out of jail free’ card. Obviously guilty murderers rarely escape punishment here. We have nothing to be ashamed of, little to fear and much to be proud of in choosing to err on the side of treating captured foreign terrorists as we would treat any upstanding American who tried to blow up an airplane full of people.”