Not the Change We Need: Part III in a Continuing Series

From Jonathan Turley:

Graham then asked “If our intelligence agencies should capture someone in the Philippines that is suspected of financing Al Qaeda worldwide, would you consider that person part of the battlefield?” “Do you agree with that?”

Kagan replied, “I do” and the marriage with the Bush policies was complete. So much for change. Both Holder and Kagan have now taken such a vow with Senators in order to secure their confirmations. The message appears to be a uniquely English approach to government. We will continue policies and laws that can do great harm to civil liberties, but we will use them in a beneficent way. Your “change” is not that we will get rid of the policies. Your change is that you get us. This “trust us we’re the government” approach to civil liberties was precisely what Madison and other framers rejected. To have a well-respected academic voice such views is a terrible disappointment for civil libertarians, who are being offered a meaningful commission as a type of air kiss toward war crimes.

I do trust Barack Obama more than I trusted George Bush. This is not a particularly high standard. But I don’t want to have to trust my leaders not to infringe on the Constitution. Civil liberties are supposed to be a firewall against tyranny, regardless of leader. It saddens me that the President and his appointees apparently do not realize this, or more dangerously, do not care.

As an aside, I find it a historical irony that the United States appears to be conceptualizing something similar to the dar al-Harb, or house of war. The question, though, is if legal residents in the United States can be detained at will, as in the case of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, then where is the counterpart, the dar as-Salam?