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I Never Thought I Would Read This

A Dutch court has refused to extradite a terrorist suspect to the United States, finding that his fundamental right to due process could not be guaranteed by the U. S. Government:

Last month, the court sought guarantees from U.S. prosecutors that the detainee would be afforded those basic rights if he were extradited. In Wednesday's ruling, it rejected a U.S. submission that "the United States views such a request as unwarranted and unnecessary."

The judge feared that U.S. authorities would use interrogation techniques forbidden by international law. That means torture, dear reader. There was a time not long ago when the worst thing our government could say about our enemies was that they routinely used torture. Were we merely projecting our own dark side onto the latest "rogue" state? It's beginning to look that way.

Before January 20, 2001, I could not have, in my wildest dreams, imagined that this would ever happen here. Have we descended so far that a court in a modern, democratic country would conclude that a defendant could not get basic rights guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution?

Now that terrorists--as defined by our government--can be denied essential Constitutional rights, what other groups will be seen by the ruling party as so odious or dangerous that they should be denied basic rights on the grounds of expediency? Think about Richard Nixon's "Enemies List." Think about another even grimmer enemies list compiled at the end of another long-lived and powerful republic:

Actus Quartus

Enter Antony, Octauius, and Lepidus.

Ant. These many then shall die, their names are prickt

Octa. Your Brother too must dye: consent you Lepidus?

Lep. I do consent

Octa. Pricke him downe Antony

Lep. Vpon condition Publius shall not liue,
Who is your Sisters sonne, Marke Antony

Ant. He shall not liue; looke, with a spot I dam him.
But Lepidus, go you to Caesars house:
Fetch the Will hither, and we shall determine
How to cut off some charge in Legacies

--Julius Caesar, IV,i

The ability of the average American to believe that our government will not abuse its powers seems to be limitless. Only people totally ignorant of history could be so gullible.

Thanks to Brian Leiter for the reference.

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