Monday, January 4, 2010

Paige on (due) process: a rebuttal

Posted By on Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 1:41 PM

It's rare that Sean Paige and I would agree on something, but after reading his latest meandering Web musing, I'm forced to concur: Civil liberties promised to other human beings should be forgotten because we feel like it.

Paige's complaint centers around the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old failed airplane bomber. John Brennan, President Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser, was quoted on Meet the Press as saying, "A lot of people...understand what they're facing, and their lawyers recognize that there is advantage to talking to us in terms of plea agreements, [and] we're going to pursue that."

It seems perfectly rational that this would upset a liberty-lover like Sean Paige. Plea bargain? Lawyer? Trial by jury? What is this, Matlock? Sir, this is the U.S.A.: the United States of Ass-kicking.

But what's to be done?

Paige details a theory espoused by the ever-anonymous "those-who-think" [citation needed]: Abdulmutallab "should be treated just like any other terror war detainee." Of course, that could mean anything, but Paige clarifies: "...He should be shipped straight off to Cuba, with no chance to lawyer-up and no Get Out of Gitmo Free card..."

Ain't that just the truth?

Some of the freedom-haters in this country might say that the Gitmo experiment has had mixed results, namely that as soon as some detainees are released from our warm embrace, they promptly go home and join the resistance (aka become "senior officials in the al-Qaeda organization in Yemen").

For rebuttal, I turn to Paige. If you think the prison at Guantanamo Bay is bad, just listen to the worse evil Abdulmutallab faces: "...Constitutional protections...[being] given a lawyer...a jury trial..." The list goes on.

Frankly, I'm disgusted that we would even consider such a heinous act of systematic law enforcement. Where's the simulated drowning, the hanging by the ankles, the bright light of 24-hour sleep-deprived freedom?

All I can say, is thank you Sean Paige, for looking out for other people. I rest easier at night knowing that you — my City Councilman — understand fundamental civil protections, the Constitution and the treaty born from the Geneva Convention and at the same time have a clear-headed understanding of the big picture, of cause and effect, and mistreatment equaling violent resentment.

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