As I watched the events in Boston last week, I felt pretty certain that we would catch the perpetrators, they would be radical muslims and that the Justice Department should label them enemy combatants, stick them in Gitmo, interrogate the heck out of them and let them sit there until the are given a military tribunal.
As it turned out, I was right about the Muslim radical aspect of the case. I did not stop to consider the fact that this would be an American citizen (albeit naturalized), and I certainly did not stop to consider the constitutional ramifications of suspending Habeus Corpus.
This raises a very convoluted series of questions and thoughts for me. In principal I agree that as a matter of national security, we need to determine if there is any further threat, if there are others, who is financing the operation and much more. I think the public safety exception to suspending the reading of the Bomber’s Miranda Rights is ok so long as the questioning surrounds information needed to determine the things i listed previously.
That said, where do we draw the line on Enemy Combatants and Military Tribunals? If the Government can change the classification and therefore the rights of this Bomber, then what is to stop them from doing it to others? Me? You?
It is easy to say that it would never happen to you or I but there are many jews that said the same thing about Nazi Germany. If it happened once it can happen again and there is no guarantee against a tyrannical government running amok.
I would much rather err on the side of black and white constitutionality even if it means that this idiot does not get what he completely deserves and we don’t get EVERYTHING we can out of him. Many of these Constitutional issues that we are wrestling with can take us down the slippery slope from which there is no climbing back.