Tuesday, September 07, 2010


Here's John Hinderaker at Power Line, in response to General David Petraeus's assertion that the Koran-burning scheduled for 9/11 at a Florida church is a danger to U.S. troops:

Of course, the First Amendment only prohibits the establishment of a religion by government. Which is where we came in--there is a fundamental difference between my telling Terry Jones, senior minister at the Dove World Outreach Center, that a mass Koran-burning is a bad idea, and General Petraeus saying the same thing. Especially when Petraeus, probably the most respected person in the federal government, warns that the likely effect is to endanger our troops.

Petraeus is a military commander. We have a civilian government in the United States. That means that Petraeus has no governmental authority whatsoever over U.S. civilians. Does Hinderaker literally not understand this?

Well, Hinderaker is part of a movement that has a rather malleable view of how our government is supposed to function -- or, at least, used to have such a view until, oh, roughly January 20 of last year. Waterboarding, extraordinary rendition, a prison that both is and isn't on U.S. soil, the unitary-executive theory, stovepiping, signing statements as tools of legislative nullification, the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore -- all of it was jake, as far as the right was concerned, for years and years. Our system of government was whatever Hinderaker's party said it was, and he had no problem with that. So no wonder he's confused -- it's not merely that a onetime hero of the right has, in the view of rightists, gone over to the dark side, it's that he's abusing a power he doesn't actually have but rightists wish he had, or used to, and probably thought he did have, and could have had if Cheney and Bush had decided to grant it to him.

If he had been granted authority over U.S. civilians in the prelapsarian Bush era, in defiance of the Constitution, that would have been just fine with the Hinderakers of the world. In fact, it would have fulfullied many a right-winger's dream of being an auxiliary military force for Bushism -- but without, of course, the unpleasant fighting-and-dying part.


(Via Memeorandum.)

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