December 19, 2003


Telling It Right (PAUL KRUGMAN, 12/19/03, NY Times)

[T]he war came at a heavy cost, even before the fighting began: to prepare for the Iraq campaign, the administration diverted resources away from Afghanistan before the job was done, giving Al Qaeda a chance to get away and the Taliban a chance to regroup. [...]

To top it all off, the ongoing disorder in Iraq is a clear and present danger to our own national security. A large part of the U.S. military's combat strength is tied down in occupation duties, leaving us ill prepared for crises elsewhere. Meanwhile, overstretch is undermining the readiness of the military as a whole. [...]

While the world celebrated the capture of Saddam, a federal appeals court ruled that Jose Padilla must be released from military custody. Mr. Padilla is a U.S. citizen, arrested on American soil, who has been held for 18 months without charges as an "enemy combatant." The ruling was a stark reminder that the Bush administration, which talks so much about promoting democracy abroad, doesn't seem very concerned about following democratic rules at home.

One can't help noticing that while the critics of the administration are fond of saying that it isn't doing enough to fight al Qaeda, they seem overjoyed that al Qaeda has won a round in our Court's that could make it harder to fight them.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 19, 2003 11:01 AM

And their glee with this decision may be short lived. Eugene Volokh predicts the case will go to the Supreme Court and be overturned there.

Posted by: jd watson at December 19, 2003 11:07 AM

If not to the U.S. Supreme Court, perhaps an en banc of the 9th Circuit?

Posted by: pchuck at December 19, 2003 11:16 AM

"Following democratic rules at home"? If we actually had "democratic rules," Padilla would've been executed long ago.

Posted by: Random Lawyer at December 19, 2003 11:25 AM

While "arguing" with a hack like Krugman is dignifying his nonsense with what would be construed a response, should one point out that among those who believe that Osama bin Laden is alive, the most common believe is that he did so by (a) fleeing Afghannistan between 9/11 and the end of 2001 (before or during Tora Bora incursion) and (b) by going to Pakistan or Iran. Clearly, the timing would have been well before any Iraq mobilization could have cannibalized resources, and the sanctuary one that Krugman would have no doubt find inviolable under international law.

Just like the Halliburtion overcharges on gasoline (read B. York in NRO Online today): The Left's anti-war view is not about serious dissent, it is about throwing "stuff" in the air and hope it sticks for at least a news cycle. It has no intellectual or moral consistency.

Posted by: MG at December 19, 2003 11:37 AM

...and the reason we may have a shortage in our armed forces? Bill Clinton.

Posted by: Bartman at December 19, 2003 12:44 PM

If this decision is wrong (one clue is how little
law was actually used) they will not have a chance
to be told I told you so. They along with much of
DownTown Manhattan, will go the way of Hiroshima,

Posted by: narciso at December 19, 2003 9:43 PM

There were two different decisions and I do mean different. The Second Circuit in New York held that the President did not have either inherent or statutory authority to hold a citizen arrested in the US in military detention. I think that they are wrong, because the President did have statutory authority, but I don't think that they're crazy. Notice that they did not say that the Constitution forbids such a detention, just that Congress has to approve it, but hasn't. I have no problem putting the onus on Congress to act, especially because one of the reasons for judicial supremacy has been Congress' willingness to abdicate its responsibilities.

The other decision was from the Ninth Circuit, holding that noncitizens arrested in a war zone have the right to a lawyer. It's nuts and will be slapped down.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 20, 2003 9:38 AM

First, the US economy was gonna tank.
Then, the Patriot Act was going to turn the US into Nazi Germany.
After that, Iraq was gonna be a quagmire.
Now, Bush is being warned what will happen if he doesn't give terrorists their lawful civil rights.

I'd say that's progress.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at December 20, 2003 7:50 PM