Archive for Friday, January 29, 2010

Terrorists don’t deserve U.S. rights

January 29, 2010


— The real scandal surrounding the failed Christmas Day airline bombing was not the fact that a terrorist got on a plane — that can happen to any administration, as it surely did to the Bush administration — but what happened afterward when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was captured and came under the full control of the U.S. government.

After 50 minutes of questioning him, the Obama administration chose, reflexively and mindlessly, to give the chatty terrorist the right to remain silent. Which he immediately did, undoubtedly denying us crucial information about al-Qaida in Yemen, which had trained, armed and dispatched him.

We have since learned that the decision to Mirandize Abdulmutallab had been made without the knowledge of or consultation with (1) the secretary of defense, (2) the secretary of homeland security, (3) the director of the FBI, (4) the director of the National Counterterrorism Center or (5) the director of national intelligence (DNI).

The Justice Department acted not just unilaterally but unaccountably. Obama’s own DNI said that Abdulmutallab should have been interrogated by the HIG, the administration’s new High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group.

Perhaps you hadn’t heard the term. Well, in the very first week of his presidency, Obama abolished by executive order the Bush-Cheney interrogation procedures and pledged to study a substitute mechanism. In August, the administration announced the establishment of the HIG, housed in the FBI but overseen by the National Security Council.

Where was it during the Abdulmutallab case? Not available, admitted National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, because it had only been conceived for use abroad. Had not one person in this vast administration of highly nuanced sophisticates considered the possibility of a terror attack on American soil?

It gets worse. Blair later had to explain that the HIG was not deployed because it does not yet exist. After a year! I suppose this administration was so busy deploying scores of the country’s best lawyerly minds on finding the most rapid way to release Gitmo miscreants that it could not be bothered to establish a single operational HIG team to interrogate at-large miscreants with actionable intelligence that might save American lives.

Travesties of this magnitude are not lost on the American people. One of the reasons Scott Brown won in Massachusetts was his focus on the Mirandizing of Abdulmutallab.

Of course, this case is just a reflection of a larger problem: an administration that insists on treating Islamist terrorism as a law-enforcement issue. Which is why the Justice Department’s other egregious terror decision, granting Khalid Sheik Mohammed a civilian trial in New York, is now the subject of a letter from six senators — three Republicans, two Democrats and Joe Lieberman — asking Attorney General Eric Holder to reverse the decision.

Lieberman and Sen. Susan Collins had written an earlier letter asking for Abdulmutallab to be turned over to the military for renewed interrogation. The problem is, it’s hard to see how that decision gets reversed. Once you’ve read a man Miranda rights, what do you say? We are idiots? On second thought ...

Hence the agitation over the KSM trial. This one can be reversed and it’s a good surrogate for this administration’s insistence upon criminalizing — and therefore trivializing — a war on terror that has now struck three times in one year within the United States, twice with effect (the Arkansas killer and the Fort Hood shooter) and once with a shockingly near miss (Abdulmutallab).

On the KSM civilian trial, sentiment is widespread that it is quite insane to spend $200 million a year to give the killer of 3,000 innocents the largest propaganda platform on earth, while at the same time granting civilian rights of cross-examination and discovery that risk betraying U.S. intelligence sources and methods.

Accordingly, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Frank Wolf have gone beyond appeals to the administration and are planning to introduce a bill to block funding for the trial. It’s an important measure. It makes flesh an otherwise abstract issue — should terrorists be treated as enemy combatants or criminal defendants? The vote will force members of Congress to declare themselves. There will be no hiding from the question.

Congress may not be able to roll back the Abdulmutallab travesty. But there will be future Abdulmutallabs. By cutting off funding for the KSM trial, Congress can send Obama a clear message: The Constitution is neither a safety net for illegal enemy combatants nor a suicide pact for us.

— Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.


geekin_topekan 7 years, 11 months ago

When a cockroach enters your kitchen you can smash it and feel the instant gratification of the victory. Maybe or maybe not.

There are millions of other cockroaches and your single act of brutality, though it may keep your wife happy for now, does nothing to stop the hoard from growing and spreading.

The best defense and plan for long term peace from the hoard is to stop the bad habits that attract the cockroaches in the first place. Not only will they no longer be a threat to your serenity, you can enjoy your clean kitchen everyday and see just where your habits allowed the cockroach horde into your world.

Sure, the occasional roach will return, but it will be a rogue and smashing will be affective, the hoard will be in a far away kitchen thriving on that owner's bad habits.

50YearResident 7 years, 11 months ago

If a rat enters your house you immediately put out a trap to dispatch him, you don't wait for him to attract a mate and raise a family! Lets start with the dispatching before we are over-run with little rats.

geekin_topekan 7 years, 11 months ago

"Stimulus, Bent Jihad, and Posercare live unprecedented" ++++ And how well is your idea working?

geekin_topekan 7 years, 11 months ago

50 year, too little too late. You should have been around when they wrote the Constitution. Only white male Christians...

oh, wait...

ivalueamerica 7 years, 11 months ago

It is amazing, something the rabid right and the terrorist have in common, they have no regard for the US laws and Constitution.

anon1958 7 years, 11 months ago

ivalueamerica (Anonymous) says…

It is amazing, something the rabid right and the terrorist have in common, they have no regard for the US laws and Constitution.

The reason for this is because they do not understand the constitution. The constitution after all was a byproduct of the enlightenment written by highly intelligent and courageous men. Small wonder that the far right does not "get it".

Richard Heckler 7 years, 11 months ago

What exactly is the USA government doing abroad that upsets those who live abroad?

US drones killing innocent bystanders?

US Gov't occupation of Iraq,Afghanistan,Pakistan and maybe Iran? Killing not only their people but our military people as well.

Let's stop using sooo much oil. It's not worth war!

Or this: *

Certainly not this:

Rex Russell 7 years, 11 months ago

OK Barry. I get it. Stimulus-Poser-Darwin-PAD....... Over and over and over and over and over and over and over...... Jeez,

jonas_opines 7 years, 11 months ago

OMG! Two democratic senators?!!?! Well hell, if there are Democrats behind it then we must support it partisanly and blindly!!

I think you think everybody thinks like you think.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 11 months ago

I am happy that Krauthammer is in a position to judge what human does and does not deserve rights.

jonas_opines 7 years, 11 months ago

You know who else likes Pizza?! Terrorists!!

BorderRuffian 7 years, 11 months ago

Wouldn't ya know it - the first comment out of the starting gate makes a typical bleedin' heart, leftist Demolib statement blaming the terrorist attacks on the US:

"The best defense and plan for long term peace from the hoard is to stop the bad habits that attract the cockroaches in the first place. Not only will they no longer be a threat to your serenity, you can enjoy your clean kitchen everyday and see just where your habits allowed the cockroach horde into your world."

We aren't the bad guys. The terrorists are! They are the ones who bombed the Twin Trade Towers and killed over 3,000 persons. They are the ones sneaking on our planes with bombs in their shoes and cocoa-colas and panties. (And in the latter cases, failing entirely because of their own ineptitude)

Why should WE change our ways and ideals just because terrorists THEY hate us? We have more human rights - women and children here in THIS country are honored, respected, and cherished. People who commit crimes are put on public trial and judged according to real evidence and equal laws. Schools are allowed to teach the truth, instead of some highly biased propaganda. When is the last time we shot missiles into neighborhoods to gas out groups who disagreed with governmental agendas?

NO! We should NOT have to change our habits to better suit terrorists. Instead, if they hate us so much, I say simply withdraw. Withdraw not our soldiers but our foreign aid. Perhaps if we stopped sending billions of dollars to line the pockets of the corrupt politicians of foreign countries and perhaps if our "negotiations" with nasty little wanna-be's like Akmadinijad and that puffed up little dictator in N. Korea didn't include "ransom" payments to keep them mollified, then perhaps they'd begin to see things as they truly are.

BAH on those who think we ought to change our habits to keep terrorists happy!

Satirical 7 years, 11 months ago

Miranda rights are NOT human rights.

Prosecuting terrorist using the military JAG, as opposed to civilian criminal prosecution, IS NOT denying human rights.

The U.S. Constitution does NOT grant rights to all humans.

BorderRuffian 7 years, 11 months ago

LIberty_One says, "Well, by that definition we are the bad guys because we've killed far more innocent civilians with our bombs. "

Hey - they opened the can.

Sometimes I have to wonder about the attitudes of so many of our people. Someone commits a terrorist attack on our country, and despite the fact THEY openly go out and become idealistic heroes of their culture by deliberately killing non-combatants in market places, train stations, etc., so many Demolibs seem to think we should respond by gently interviewing witnesses (over there), accumulating unassailable forensic evidences, and putting alleged suspects on trial complete with ACLU lawyers BEFORE we respond militarily.

Warfare is warfare. They started it. At this point, I DON'T CARE if some in third-world countries don't like us because we believe (or don't believe) the way they prefer, or if some of these third-world terrorists have whipped themselves up into some sort of frenzy based on rationalizations. This is the US of A. Maybe we have our own problems, but we can handle them here through our own systems. We don't need some little-minded terrorist to teach us how wrong we are.

But again, they are the ones who opened up the can. And it is getting all over them. Maybe the terrorists and their supporters should have thought about the possible repercussions (including the unfortunate deaths of non-combatants) BEFORE they stole our airplanes, kidnapped our citizens, and drove them into the Twin Towers, killing thousands of innocents. OUR FAULT? Tell that to the families of the victims of the Twin Towers. What they did was MURDER!

jaywalker 7 years, 11 months ago

"The power to take away someone's life, liberty or property without due process of law is not one of them."

While this is true, Liberty, wouldn't the accused be granted that due process in military court?

Satirical 7 years, 11 months ago

Liberty_One… “It, along with the Declaration of Independence, recognizes that humans have these rights already and that they aren't granted by governments.”

I disagree that the U.S. Constitution explicitly recognizes natural rights.

“The power to take away someone's life, liberty or property without due process of law is not one of them.” - Liberty_One

First, do we need due process of law to kill someone on the battlefield? If so, what is that due process? Is it the same due process that you and I receive?

Second, who is the “someone” which the U.S. Constitution protects? Does it protect citizens and non-citizens exactly alike?

Third, is due process being denied when terrorist go through a military tribunal, or not given Miranda rights? What is “due process” in this context?

Fourth, is “due process” a human right? If so, who/what has a duty to protect and ensure every human has this right?

These are the questions you fail to ask.

MyName 7 years, 11 months ago

This is the most worthless smear piece I've ever read. The administration didn't "make the decision" to give the Undie-bomber his rights. They are forced to because it's the law, and no one is above the law.

It's the exact same treatment the shoe bomber got, but somehow, because the guy doesn't have an "R" after his name, it automatically makes it the wrong decision. Where was the BS fascist smear piece when they were putting the cuffs on Richard Reid?

And can anyone tell me the number of people in the 8 years the "war on terror" has been going on that have actually been convicted in a "military tribunal"? Three. That's how much faith even the Bush administration had in this system.

barlowtl 7 years, 11 months ago

To those who would dispatch a "terrorist" without trial. What is the criteria for guilt, threatening a sitting president in wartime? Attempting to disrupt a US Senator's phone lines? Outing a CIA agent in wartime? The list goes on, and with no safeguards, who knows, my name or yours could be on it. We all hate lawyers till we need one

Mandie Eutsler 7 years, 11 months ago

what a bunch of hypocrites. Bush treated terrorists the exact same way post-911. Get off it. Posercaredarwinblessyouallidiots

Alexander Neighbors 7 years, 11 months ago

we must stand by the constitution, it doesn't matter who you are if your in this country we must follow the law of the land

kugrad 7 years, 11 months ago

I thought we considered our constitutional rights to be logical extensions of the inalienable rights of all people. I know the "article" primarily discusses legal rights; but isn't trial by jury and that sort of thing part of the social contract that is considered to be dependant on neither natural nor legal rights?

At any rate, the author is an extremist and not persuasive.

Satirical 7 years, 11 months ago

Liberty_One “You know there are rules of war and that a soldier can't kill someone who surrenders etc.”

So you think a captured foreign soldier’s due process right are exactly the same as an American citizen who is arrest for a criminal offense?

“Already answered. Yick Wo v. Hopkins” - Liberty_One

Not relevant. The Chinese immigrants were residents. Which are afforded rights more similar to citizens under the Constitution. Again, these terrorists are non-resident aliens.

“Already answered. Miranda v. Arizona” - Liberty_One

The Miranda ruling does not say these right must be given to non-resident aliens.

“As far as military tribunals, they generally do not provide justice according to due process requirements.” - Liberty_One

Says who? You? Are you really saying that all military justice isn’t due process?

“Life, liberty and property are human rights” - Liberty_One

The term “human right” has no meaning. An unrecognized right isn’t a right. In order for a human right to exist, all governments and individuals must recognize it (which means action or inaction). Since that is not the case, the term "human rights" is solely a normative phrase. “People” (as defined by the U.S. Constitution) have Constitutional rights, which are the only legitimate rights to discuss.

Satirical 7 years, 11 months ago

Kugrad… “I know the “article” primarily discusses legal rights; but isn't trial by jury and that sort of thing part of the social contract that is considered to be dependant on neither natural nor legal rights?”

Just to be clear…your argument is that the right to a jury trial isn’t derived from the law or nature, but from a social contract?

If that were true, then wouldn’t we have to define “society” which would likely not include the entire earth’s population. Also, doesn’t a contract require a two-way agreement. Finally, when someone commits a terrorist act, isn’t that person violating any contractual obligation?

kugrad 7 years, 11 months ago

Satirical, no, that's not really my argument. I'm saying that we have historically considered the right to a trial (with or without a jury, but I used that as an example) to be neither a natural right nor a legal right, but a blend of the two; which implies that we think it is a basic right under any government (whether they grant it or not).

As to your response, I'm not sure why the entire earth's population could not be considered part of a global society (with the exception of tribes living in remote areas with no contact with nor awareness of the rest of the world - there are very few people like this). The whole concepts of human rights, women rights and so on rests on the idea that we belive some rights extend to everyone regardless of which society they are a member of. I don't feel that a terrorist suddenly forgoes all their natural rights, their legal rights, nor any rights that blend these two. I have no sympathy for them, but I don't want our country to position itself on the slippery slope of defining some people as having no rights.

have a nice weekend.

MyName 7 years, 11 months ago


"Any argument the shoe bomber and Christmas Day bomber matters are analogous is farcical."

Why? They were doing the exact same thing on a plane, only one was wearing the bomb on his shoes and the other had it strapped in his undies. Where is the "farcical" part where we all laugh about how "silly" it is that I can't tell the difference between one situation and another.

And you seem to have forgotten the part where the FBI interrogated the guy before they read him his rights and put him into the judicial system. And you also haven't answered my point about how they didn't "unilaterally" make a decision, they were doing things according to the law.

And I'm not making a claim about the legality of the military commisions (or lack thereof). I'm simply stating the fact that Bush has used them only 3 times and the majority of the terror suspects who were put to trial, did so though the court system (including the shoe bomber).

So again, arresting the shoe bomber, the undie bomber, and dozens of other terrorists and putting them through the justice system seems to only be a bad thing for national security if the guy with a "D" after his name is in charge of it.

MyName 7 years, 11 months ago

So wait, the Mayor of NYC is saying "hey, maybe we should have the trial somewhere else," the administration actually listens to him, and you have a problem with this, why?

To reiterate a quote from the article "As long as the trial happens in Federal court, with proper due-process protections, the actual venue doesn't matter very much".

TomShewmon: Unrepentant failure at trolling

fallingwhilereading 7 years, 11 months ago

If a terrorist is entering the United States posing as a civilian he can be treated as a spy. The Geneva convention explains the rules of war, and the United States is signatory to the Geneva convention. There are explicit rules we agreed to fallow when The United States signed the agreement. How can we hold our selves higher than the other side if we won't fallow our own laws.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 11 months ago

Tom, why do you hate the US Constitution so much?

That is another thing you have in common with the Taliban.

storm 7 years, 11 months ago

Since most terrorists are already here in the U.S.A., I say revoke their rights. As examples, this would include the KKK, operation rescue, Timothy McVeigh and Roeder.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 11 months ago


Your comments are pro-liar, your actions indicate as much.

Bruce Liddel 7 years, 11 months ago

Charles Krauthammer: “Terrorists don’t deserve U.S. rights.”

OK. I will go along with that, quite literally, but what about accused terrorists? Do accused terrorists deserve U.S. rights? Should we just deem any and all suspected terrorists as guilty, and let God sort them out with no trial? Are you a terrorist? Should we exterminate you now, and only ask questions later?

Your honor, I respectfully ask that candidate Charles Krauthammer and some of these other commentators be excused from jury duty for cause.

I think it is rather odd that so many Americans scream about health care being a right, when these same people want to deny any constitutional protections against tyranny whenever the allegations happen to involve terrorism. Tyranny is tyranny, no matter what the excuse.

leedavid 7 years, 11 months ago

When I look at the constitution I see:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America...."

That says "we" and "to ourselves"....I don't see citizens of other countries have the same protections and rights in that statement. Do you?

ivalueamerica 7 years, 11 months ago

well, leedavid,

you are not very well informed.

No, we are not required to give all non-residents the privelages of living in the USA, but we are required to give them rights, as interpreted by over 220 years by the Supreme court.

Again, I feel anyone that wants to spit on and tear the corners of what I consider one of the greatest political documents in the world is a traitor.

leedavid 7 years, 11 months ago

Ivalueamerica: No I am not well informed, but fortunately, more so than you. Non citizens are not granted the same protections and rights as citizens by the Constitution. That is just plan fact. Why do non citizens want to become citizens then?

MyName 7 years, 11 months ago

I did read what you wrote, then I pointed out exactly how it was wrong. Who cares whether there was an NCTC or an ODNI or anything else back when Reid was arrested. The fact is we are treating the undie bomber the same was that the shoe bomber was treated because that's the only way we can treat them. And your "point" about a "unilateral decision" is a complete canard. There is not a decision making process for this, the guy is a criminal, we have to follow the law and treat him like one. To do otherwise is illegal. Now we did have the FBI question him before and after we put him in the justice system, but there isn't another option besides doing what we did the way have done it.

So again, explain exactly how two criminals engaging in exactly the same type of activity should be treated differently just because one President is a Republican and the other a Democrat. And then explain how it's so "obvious" that we should all laugh at anyone who doesn't see it.

And for the military commissions: you're now claiming that Bush didn't rely on them because the courts decided they were unfair/illegal, but that Obama should be using them now? And you think my position on this is an amusing farce!

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