let's all swap spit with leviathanGovernment officials, lacking the gift divine perfection, make mistakes. They misidentify, misconstrue, and generally trip over the limits of their knowledge, as any of us would if we were in their positions. And so, for example, the German car salesman Khaled al-Masri was kidnapped by government agents and subjected to extraordinary rendition because his name sounded like the name of another person who was suspected of terrorist activity. Catherine Stevens, the wife of former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, was repeatedly hassled at airports because her nickname was "Cat." And Daniel Brown, a uniformed U.S. Marine flying home on leave from Iraq, was held at an airport as a suspected terrorist after T.S.A. screeners found gunpowder residue on his, yes, combat boots.
When Janet Reno was the attorney general, conservatives understood that government could fuck up. People on the political right expressed deep and generally appropriate concern about the handling of the Ruby Ridge standoff, the storming of the Branch Davidian compound, and the armed and aggressive removal of Elian Gonzalez to Cuba.
With Janet Reno long gone, and Arabs and Muslims in the government's crosshairs, Sarah Palin spews bullshit about Barack Obama wanting to "read terrorists their rights." Gone is the idea that suspects are suspects; suddenly, the people who occupy the party and ideology of limited government -- notionally, people, notionally -- want the government to have unlimited power against anyone that government feels vaguely to be a little terroristy.
All of this is familiar to anyone who's been awake for the last eight years. But the poison remains in the body politic, and it contaminates us all. And so we get this stunningly dumb headline from some stupid fuck at the Associated Press:
"Issue of terrorists' rights to test Obama's pledge."
Amazing how much specious bullshit can be packed into eight short words.
We can dispense with due process altogether -- Gitmo residents, the AP finds you guilty as charged. Sentencing to be determined by the next dimwitted headline.