Friday, January 20, 2006

Ex Parte Milligan, Ex Parte Milligan, Ex Parte Milligan

     So, I decided to start reading the Attorney General's document in defense of the NSA wiretapping.  RawStory made it available here.

     1) Bring up 9/11, early and often.  By my count, Alberto Gonzales mentions September 11th thirty-seven times.  It's laughable and sad.

     2) Ex Parte Milligan (syllabus, decision) is about an Indiana man (actually a Copperhead) who was never in the military or on a field of battle, but was tried and sentenced to death, by a military tribunal.  I think the conclusions relevant here can be found throughout this critically important case.

     A principle found in there is that, on the field of battle, there can be no justice.  But if the courts are in operation, that civil justice is available, Constitutional Rights, like Habeas Corpus, must be obeyed by the government.

     A Bushie might cling to the words "the public safety is assured" (about the 8th para of the opinion above) but the whole principle of the War on Terror is that it can never end.  There can be no direct frontal assault on America, no brigades raised against our tanks, no squadron of bombers to seek our soft underbelly.  Terrorism is the only tactic remaining.  Terrorism struck America, from Puerto Ricans, for 75 years from the date of our grabbing that Island from the Spanish (ostensibly to "liberate" the Cubans).  As many have pointed out before me, terrorism is a tactic.  As Peter Beinart has pointed out, terror can not capitulate, does not know if it has won, and won't care if it loses.  In realistic terms, one's chances (currently) of dying of a car accident is far higher than dying by terrorism.

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