Tuesday, May 11, 2010


For months, right-wingers have been slamming the Obama administration for reading terrorism suspects their Miranda rights ... so now the administration talks about modifying the policy in a rightward direction, and a New York Post editorial responding by questioning that decision from a civil liberties perspective?


... President George W. Bush was savaged by Obama's liberal allies for supposedly "shredding the Constitution" in the War on Terror, but he never called into question the 44-year-old Supreme Court decision that formalized an American's "right to remain silent" while in police custody.

(Just imagine if he had!)

... But is chipping away at Miranda the proper response? Hard to say.

It's an incredibly fraught subject: While one could make the case that the original Miranda decision gave defendants more rights than the Constitution requires, it's a fixture of the US legal system.

Given the nature of all governments to gather power toward themselves, that's not necessarily a bad thing....

Is there no pleasing these people?

Answer: of course there's no pleasing these people. That's what no one in the Obama administration seems to understand -- you can't placate them, you can't mollify them, you can't get them to stop fighting you. Everything you do you're going to have to do over their loud, braying objections, and in spite of their relentless obstructionism. So stop trying to meet them partway.


Ultimately, the editorial doesn't take a stand on Miranda. The conclusion of the editorial -- and also the point of a Ralph Peters op-ed elsewhere in the paper -- is that the administration is, at long last, taking terrorism seriously. Oh, but there's no praise for that, either -- to the Post, it's a sign that the administration has let things get completely out of hand and is now terrified. The editorial says:

...something really must have frightened them.

And that spooks us, too.

And Peters elaborates:

... First, the administration has plainly realized that the terror danger is much higher than it believed one week ago.

Second, it means that Shahzad really has been talking -- almost certainly tipping us that there are more America-bound terror trainees out there (or already here) and letting us fit together important pieces of the intelligence puzzle.

Third, the White House obviously fears more terror attacks sooner rather than later....

To be fair, the administration probably doesn't want to give us more details because of intelligence concerns (and embarrassment that it's been asleep at the wheel). It also doesn't want to generate panic. Or drive down the stock market yet again....

Since Inauguration Day, reality denial has been an integral part of this administration's culture. But reality's a persistent intruder. For reasons we don't yet know in detail, the failed Times Square bombing appears to have brought the White House at least part way to its senses.

Some revelation about the terrorist threat has shocked the president. It's about time.

I love that "To be fair," don't you? How could we paraphrase that? To be fair, I should also mention another way the administration of the Kenyan Marxist hippie "Kumbaya" singer is putting us at risk of mass annihilation.

You can't win with these folks. So don't try.

No comments: