Saturday, March 6, 2010

Scared, Americans race to be like China

To no informed observer's surprise, Obama is now said to be reconsidering his decision to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in a civilian court in New York City.

In a marked turn-around since the Bush era, Republicans now favor military commissions for all terror suspects.  And it's small wonder that Republicans find increasing public support for this position.  Neither the Obama Administration nor Congressional Democrats have bothered to passionately defend the use of civilian courts.  Quite the opposite.  Whatever the issue, the Obama Administration prides itself on dishing up "compromises" that look like Republicanism Lite.   As a consequence, the only political leaders in America who argue on behalf of values are Republicans.  Gradually, the public sours on the Democrats suspecting that the party and its leaders have no strong convictions.  

One passage in a NY Times article on the anticipated Obama flip-flop is particularly troubling:
On Thursday, Senators John McCain, Republican of Arizona, and Joe Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, unveiled legislation that would require the government to put all “enemy belligerents” — including terrorism suspects arrested in the United States, without an exception for United States citizens — in military custody for interrogation. 
What other countries have laws like this?   North Korea, certainly. Probably China and Myanmar.  Maybe Iran.

Maybe the solution is to return the Republicans to power so that the Democrats will once again find the courage resist -- rather than enable -- the wholesale abrogation of civil rights in the name of "national security".

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