Tuesday, March 27, 2007


It is legal because I wish it
--King Louis XIV

When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal
--President Richard Nixon

I had a flashback to Ranger training last night while sitting on the patio of a restaurant.

Smoking is prohibited in restaurants in Florida, and the deck faces a berm where the smokers go to damage their lungs. A young lady tried to go straight up the hillock, at which point she fell right her backside.

In the mountaineering component of Ranger training, one learns to contour a hill to reach the top (or bottom.) The easiest and best route is not a straight line.

So, too, it is with the U.S.'s quasi-legal approach to terrorism, which seeks to address the supposed threat with a ramrod approach, cutting out all of the legal niceties along the way to incarceration. The administration policy would rather have the U.S. fall on its ass than take the longer, safer, time-tried route. The Padilla case is a fine example.

The straight-up-the-hill approach seems easy. Snatch, grab, torture, isolate. But the long way is mandated by the Constitution. Crime warrant, investigation, suspects, charges, trials. That way leads to an America that no longer seems to exist, nor does anyone seem to care about its passing.

As a result we've fallen on our collective ass.


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