Posted by Thomas Nephew on November 29th, 2001
For a sequence of good posts on this topic, you might start with this Talking Points Memo by Joshua Micah Marshall. I’m still up in the air on this one (so currently my own poll responses are: tribunal-no, lawyer eavesdrop-no, 5000 interviews-yes). Marshall actually lays out some of the pro arguments so well that you’re surprised to learn he’s against them, at least as implemented by the Bush order. As I’ve written earlier, the prospect of a Bin Laden trial is not at all attractive to me, and I engage in some ranting that ends with the simplest alternative of just bombing him.
“Having fully considered the magnitude of the potential deaths, injuries, and property destruction that would result from potential acts of terrorism against the United States, and the probability that such acts will occur, I have determined that an extraordinary emergency exists for national defense purposes, that this emergency constitutes an urgent and compelling government interest, and that issuance of this order is necessary to meet the emergency.”
His take is “Civil Rights? Maybe later.” I like Jeff, and I assume the “maybe” was a slip. I’ve felt like “later,” too, but with the nagging and clinching objection: when exactly? When is the emergency — no ironic quotes, yet — over? I support hunting Al Qaeda to the ends of the earth, for as long as it takes. But I would think at some point before that’s over, the emergency would be as well. The only limitations in the order that I see, skimming it, are that it applies to non U.S. citizens (2a). The rest basically suggests that this will be a new standing order applicable not just to Al Qaeda members, but to anyone conspiring to commit acts injurious to the U.S.
(edits: 11:05pm; 12/4: link to earlier post)