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Jose Padilla: New Leftist Hero On Ice

Jose Padilla

The left is in full meltdown today over Jose Padilla's conviction, pouring all their energy and passion into defending an al-Qaeda operative now convicted of planning to murder our fellow citizens with a dirty bomb. It is saddening and pathetic enough that they can only seem to get worked up about excusing al-Qaeda members rather than fighting them. What makes it more doleful is that their hand-wringing over Padilla is based on misperceptions and misinformation fed to them by partisans more interested in skewering President Bush than at arriving at the truth.

Here is the false leftist narrative on the Padilla case: President Bush is using his unitary executive powers to arrest American citizens and hold them indefinitely without charges, legal counsel, or regard for any constitutional rights. A typical apoplectic leftist response is this, from the Democratic Underground: "imprisoned without charge for 3.5 years, physically and/or psychologically tortured 'til he's half-insane, and what do we do? Convict him anyway. Now he'll face the needle." This Kos diarist warns: "everything points to a coming police state and woe unto all dissenters, both here and everywhere."

Well, first of all, Padilla is facing life imprisonment, not the death penalty. As for being imprisoned for 3.5 years without charges, it isn't as if he and his battalion of lawyers were not busy during that time: Padilla had a hearing on his petition for a writ of habeus corpus, had questions over the writ heard before the Supreme Court, and had a second appeal before the Fourth Circuit. The wheels of justice turn slowly, but that is true for everybody, not just al-Qaeda dirty bomb makers.

As for the claims of torture, these came from a forensic psychologist hired by Padilla's legal team. Enough said.

As for the overwrought fears of the Kos diarist, it is not true that the Padilla case means "woe unto all dissenters." Only those 'dissenters' who also happen to be al-Qaeda operatives need worry about being classified as enemy combatants. It was Congress that passed legislation allowing this kind of detention for American citizens, not some Executive Order from President Bush. The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) allows for military commissions to target nations, organizations or persons whom the President "determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the September 11, 2001 attacks, or harbored such organizations or persons." The DUmmies and Kos Kultists might be surprised to learn that clownsuit-wearing hippies on stilts leading International A.N.S.W.E.R. protests are exempt. Padilla, being an al-Qaeda alum however, fits into that category quite nicely, and was held as an enemy combatant, not as a criminal suspect. Only when he was handed over to the Department of Justice for indictment did the time begin to toll for speedy trial requirements.

Of course, facts don't matter when there is a narrative to be propounded.

Posted by Ken McCracken · 16 August 2007 04:22 PM


"Of course, facts don't matter when there is a narrative to be propounded."

ITEM: "pouring all their energy and passion into defending an al-Qaeda operative"

The government didn't charge Mr. Padilla with being an "al-Qaeda operative." Is this one of those facts that don't matter?

ITEM: "convicted of planning to murder our fellow citizens with a dirty bomb"

That's not what he was convicted of. In fact, if you didn't have your head so far up where the sun don't shine, you might be aware that the government SPECIFICALLY never mentioned anything about the fabricated dirty bomb charge in the case. NOTHING. Not a word. But this is one of those facts that don't matter.

I'm happy to see folks on the right so excited about the incredible abuse of government power that has occurred in the Padilla case.

I hope you have the same enthusiasm when Hillary is President and starts using these powers to round all of you up for a long vacation in Cuba.

Posted by: Edward Murray at August 16, 2007 05:50 PM

I didn't say he was charged with being an al-Qaeda operative. It is pretty clear that he was, however.

There was nothing 'fabricated' about the dirty bomb plot. You are right actually that this was not the center of the case, and in fact he was not charged with attempted terrorism on U.S. soil. I overstated the case there.

But you massively overstate your case by saying this is an 'incredible abuse of government power.'

You are simply wrong about that, and the Supreme Court, the Fourth Circuit and today's conviction show conclusively that you are wrong. So, who is the one here who isn't paying attention to facts?

Posted by: Ken McCacken at August 16, 2007 06:01 PM

Careful there, Edward. Your inner Stalin is showing:

"I hope you have the same enthusiasm when Hillary is President and starts using these powers to round all of you up for a long vacation in Cuba."

Yeah, like Bush is even thinking about having non-terrorists rounded up. How come you're free? You got the double-secret cloaking kind of tin foil? Or is it that the vast majority of people who elected Bush wouldn't stand for that and defend your right to make a complete ass of yourself?

Thanks for the warning about Hillary(and you, for that matter) though.

Posted by: Dave E. at August 16, 2007 08:31 PM

If Hillary gets to be president, vacations in Cuba might become a reality, and I'm not talking about Guantanamo. Someone as left has she is would have no trouble ending the embargo. This is because for the left, the horrible conditions in Cuba are solely the result of the embargo (which some lefties even mischaracterize as a "blockade"), and not of Castro's policies.

During her husband's presidency, I became convinced that Bill has never had any moral problems with communism. Since Hillary is to the left of bill, I don't think she has any, either.

Posted by: Bigfoot at August 17, 2007 07:54 AM

Much of the demonizing of Bush occurs because people need to feel big about themselves that they are standing up to a Really Big, Very Mean, Fascist Person. It is just too humiliating to think of oneself as being so worked up by a legitimate legal argument about how Mr. Padilla should be dealt with, with good arguments on both sides. It is much more congenial to think of oneself as an heroic figure, standing athwart the road to perdition while a sinister figure bent on tyranny tries to take over the country. Yawn.

I issue a challenge, Edward. I contend that the anger and fear directed toward Bush and the neocons preceded 99% of the information and 100% of their actions. All these crises are post hoc rationalizations. The real issue is that there is a tribal opposition to GWB because you want your tribe to rule, and he comes from a different tribe.

That is not to say that there are not legitimate arguments that can be made against the President's ideas and actions. There are many worthy discussions which could be had. But you are not eligible, as you are unable. Cold, hard, reality, jacko: your anger - you, Edward, not all progressives in general (though you others might do a bit of self-examination as well) - is not founded on the noble republic-saving ideas you would like to believe. I am uncertain what is provoking your anger, as there are a few common possibilities, but what you fancy is simply not so, as evidenced by your comments.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at August 17, 2007 09:34 AM

"During her husband's presidency, I became convinced that Bill has never had any moral problems with communism. Since Hillary is to the left of bill, I don't think she has any, either."

I think you could expand beyond to include their amorality on numerous issues. I think a peek into the consciousness of these two individuals would reveal a proclivity to making political decisions based upon enhancing their political status.

These two individuals have a documented past that would have taken any other presidential candidate into total obscurity. If is with the help of the MSM's love affair with these two that they remain on the scene like a bad dose of the clap you just can't cure.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at August 17, 2007 11:26 AM

Yes, Eneils, and which is worse? I think Hillary has sympathy with leftish ideals, but has more sympathy with being elected. The worry in 1996 was that Bill Clinton would move far to the left, as he was not facing another election. Didn't happen. He spent his second term looking to keep his poll numbers above water and to create some kind of legacy. All people start in politics with plans of what they want to accomplish. But the constant adjusting of yourself and selling of yourself can make election the end instead of the means.

Four years of drift may have been worse than four years of left-leaning political manuevering, because in a republic, there are counterweights to political leanings, but few counterweights to drift and fecklessness.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at August 17, 2007 03:22 PM


You know, you hit upon something there, because Bill Clinton kept declaring that he was relevant in the middle to the latter years of the second term of his presidency. Remember that period, he seemed not to be driven by a personal integity, or political philosophy, but rather by polls to keep people to like him.
Which you have pointed out:
"there are counterweights to political leanings, but few counterweights to drift and fecklessness."

There's a problem here, as in Europe, it seems, where the citizenry expects everything from birth to the death from an ever-expanding government reacting to people's desires as witnessed in the polls. Do you think we will ever see the kind of Churchillian leadership that benefits not only individuals but mankind.

There's many questions here about self-governance, and I am not intelligent enough to come to any conclusions. I guess that is why the Greeks and ancient civilizations recognized the great philosophers. Too bad, these days, most people more about "American Idol" than they know about the US Constitution.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at August 17, 2007 04:22 PM

I was reading an article about how the Greeks and ancient civilizations treated their great Philosophers.

Chauffeured Limousines.
Posh Offices.
Unlimited, over-paid staff
Unlimited Expense Accounts
Free Health Care
Guaranteed positions for life
Guaranteed budget increases every year.
No objective accountability
Government subsidized Retirement

Hold it...Wait a minute... this is an article about current lifestyles for bureaucrats in Washington... Get back to you later.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at August 17, 2007 05:39 PM