- The Washington Times - Friday, June 12, 2009

RIGHTS FOR TERRORISTS

“Think back to the days after September 11, 2001, and imagine how pretty much anyone would have reacted to the suggestion that terrorists captured overseas should be ‘arrested’ and read their ‘rights.’ Those days, obviously, are long gone,” John Hinderaker writes at www.powerlineblog.com, reacting to news that the Obama administration has ordered that terrorists captured in Afghanistan be read their Miranda rights.

“You may wonder what on earth the point is. Evidently, the idea is that we may want to prosecute these terrorists someday in American courts. If you have wondered, like me, why we are talking about criminal prosecutions in the U.S. when a terrorist tries to blow up American soldiers in Afghanistan, it turns out that Congress has passed anti-terrorism statutes that purport to reach overseas, so that someone who commits a terrorist act against an American soldier can, indeed, be brought back to the U.S. and prosecuted,” Mr. Hinderaker said.

“Of course, if the terrorists are under the jurisdiction of American courts with criminal prosecution as the aim, their rights do not stop with Miranda warnings. On the contrary: among other things, they are entitled to the assistance of counsel. So I suppose we should start shipping planeloads of criminal defense lawyers to Afghanistan to make sure that the terrorists’ ‘rights’ are fully protected.

“But why would we even consider criminal prosecution for captured terrorists? In what war have we ever brought enemy combatants — legitimate ones, let alone terrorists — back to America to be criminally prosecuted? None, obviously.

“All of this is emblematic of the Obama administration’s return to a law enforcement model for fighting terrorism — the same model that failed so spectacularly in the years leading up to September 11. The best we can all do, for now, is hope that history does not repeat itself.”

OBAMA BEACH

” ‘Obama Beach.’ That phrase was a slip of the tongue by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, speaking last Saturday in Normandy, alongside President Barack Obama and other leaders gathered in honor of the 65th anniversary of World War II’s D-Day landing on the coast of France. Brown was referring to Omaha Beach, as he then made clear,” Claudia Rosett writes at www.forbes .com.

“Why Brown slipped, we can only guess. Maybe he was rattled by political fire back home, or starstruck by Obama’s presence, or linguistically derailed by thoughts of that U.K.-incompatible DVD set of American classic movies, which Obama bestowed upon him in March,” she said.

“But whatever the cause, I think that Brown, in his slip, was on to something — though I would not exactly describe it as a tribute to Obama. In this world of virtual landscapes, America is living right now in a state of mind that we might very well call Obama Beach.

“It is, in its way, a pleasant place, distanced from a great many unsettling realities and fanned by the heady promise that through ‘hope’ and ‘change’ we are all heading for some ‘hour for which we were born.’ Whatever hour Obama might have in mind, this variation on modern destiny doesn’t align all that well with the values that Americans, British and Canadians died for in 1944 on the Normandy coast.”

PAY AS YOU GO

“On Tuesday, President Obama urged Congress to restore a pay-as-you-go rule to new federal spending and tax cuts,” Mark Salter writes at AmericaSpeakon.org.

“According to the president, the policy would require that new spending or tax cuts be paid for with spending cuts elsewhere or new revenue. In his remarks, the president observed: ‘Paying for what you spend is basic common sense. Perhaps that’s why, here in Washington, it has been so elusive.’

“Of course, nowhere is that common sense more elusive these days than among the enterprising government managers of the American economy, the Obama administration’s economic policy team. A heady boldness is not only the chief characteristic of the president’s policy proposals, but it characterizes the way he communicates them as well. In his daily repetition of, ‘Don’t blame me, I’m stuck with cleaning up the last guy’s mess,’ consistency matters much less than audacity,” said Mr. Salter, former chief of staff to Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.

“Why, of course, we’ll pour hundreds of billions into the banking business, the insurance business and the automobile business. And take another $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion to enact his promise to change fundamentally the way health care is provided in this country. And send Congress a $3.5 trillion budget, more than a third of it paid for with borrowed money. And spend $800 billion to stimulate the economy, much of it after the economy has recovered and on projects of suspect merit. And sign a bloated omnibus appropriations bill with a price tag of more than $400 billion. And assail recalcitrant hedge fund managers who selfishly balk, on behalf of their investors, many of which happen to be the pension plans of middle-class Americans, at the loss of their legal status as secured creditors to Chrysler, making it more difficult for other challenged industries to find creditors in the future other than the American taxpayer. And reduce the tax burden for 95 percent of Americans and squeeze the other 5 percent, the greedy rich who only paid 50 percent of all income tax revenue before he took office. But, by God, Congress better start exercising a little fiscal discipline around here or this country is going to be in a hell of fix.”

WHAT A DEAL

“Months of moral grandstanding and intense diplomacy are finally yielding dividends: President Obama has convinced Palau, a Pacific archipelago and long-standing U.S. ally, to resettle a small group of the least dangerous Guantanamo detainees. All it took was $200 million in foreign aid to a country with 20,000 residents and a GDP of about $164 million,” the Wall Street Journal said Thursday in an editorial.

“Headed to Palau are the Uighurs, ethnic Chinese Muslims who were picked up in 2002 near Tora Bora. …

“Palau deserves credit for its ‘humanitarian gesture,’ as Palau President Johnson Toribiong called it, though the $200 million in aid probably helped. That works out to $11.7 million for each detainee - or about $10,000 for every Palau citizen. At the going per capita rate, it would only cost $615 billion to move Gitmo to France. No doubt the French would still have to think about it.”

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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