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November 22, 2005



You're clearly crazy. Sully is never wrong because he's a victim of the media! All thinking conservatives quote Daily Kos for their info!

Bush lover!

Man, that was exhausting.

Andrew K

You might like AS, but he is actually asking a legitimate constitutional question.

I think it’s perfectly legit, necessary even, to ask whether the government has a case or not, if it took them 3 years - YEARS! - to indict him. That’s flatly, on its face, unconstitutional. You know, that little part about a speedy trial?

Maybe Padilla is guilty as hell and very dangerous. Personally, I think he is. But no matter - he is a citizen and the constitution guarantees him a speedy trial. That didn't happen.

The basic point is this: governments are corrupt. ours is currently using a never-ending wartime situation to justify little encroachments on our civil liberties.

It's rather conservative of AS, I think, to hold the government's feet to the constitutional fire over this. If somebody doesn't, your grandchildren and mine will live in a police state in the name of "public safety" (if the Republicans stay in power) or "protecting the children" (if it is Democrats)

Andrew K

grr... you might NOT like AS, meant to say.

The Malcontent

So why did it take two years for Scooter Libby to be indicted, even though Bob Woodward just undercut the hell out of the indictment? Was that "speedy"? (Granted, Libby unlike Padilla -- wasn't being detained, but then again, Libby is not a terrorist, either. Me, I kinda like my dirty bombers not walking the streets. Call me crazy.)

I don't see how it is "conservative" to lambaste essentially every step the Bush Administration has taken against terrorism since the time President Bush (stupidly) decided to support the Federal Marriage Amendment.


Andrew is a great loss. We once had a very visible gay conservative in the blog and media worlds. Watching him implode into hysterical moralism has been painful. He may be right or wrong on this or that issue, but as a unique voice in our political and cultural discussions, he is gone, hardly distinguishable from the din on the left.

The Malcontent

Well put, EssEm. My critiques of Andrew are not borne of hatred or partisanship (as Michael Demmons bizarrely and arrogantly alleges), but out of genuine and deep-felt disillusionment.


Josh is so right on (above). It's not about hugging Jose. Rather, it's about following, and protecting, the Constitution, even for the worst among us.

Or did I miss something, and maybe you are arguing against the Constitution?

Also - when you have a few minutes - why not compare the indictment to the previous proclamations of Jose's misdeeds? Under the sacred "Rule of Law", how does it all stack up?

Downtown Lad

Libby hasn't been in jail for the last three years. Do you honestly not see the difference between having an investigation for two years while the person walks free and someone being jailed for three years without being charged?

Imagine Clinton had been President when this happened. I doubt you'd be so silent while our Constitution was being torn to shreds.

Since when did the right to a speedy trial come to be considered a left-wing issue????

The Malcontent

Why does everyone always assume that I would hold Clinton to a different standard than Bush? I was critical of perjery then as now; I praised Clinton's standing up to murder and despotry (in the Balkans) as I do now (in Iraq and Afghanistan).

I have never once given this President a pass on any issue merely because of who he is or the "R" after his name.

Am I happy Jose Padilla has been locked up for three years? You're damn right I am.

Downtown Lad

Why are you happy that he was locked up for three years WITHOUT BEING CHARGED????

If he's guilty, then charge him. And convict him. Heck - fry him if he's found guilty. Use a military court for all I care. But I have a major problem with U.S. citizens being held in prison without any charges being brought. That's a violation of our Constitution. Bush is not above the law.

Notice - how the original reason for his being held (dirty bomb) is not even something they are going to try him on? Aren't you the least bit curious why????

Queer Conservative

Hear, here EssEm.

Andrew Sullivan was a very big part of my own "coming out" as a gay conservative, and I was very sad the day I decided to remove him from my blogroll. But I knew it would happen the day he endorsed John Kerry, from that point on he became more and more shrill on every subject. Once he took up torture (right or wrong) as his only topic, I knew it was over.

As for Jose Padilla, having him locked up is good, whether charged or not. Certain risks cannot be taken, and giving terrorists the benefit of the doubt is one of them. They are a different class of criminal, and one our Constitution didn't foresee.


I agree that he should've been held, but I can't seem to reconcile the fact that it was done so without charging him with anything. He's obviously a bad guy that was up to no good. Why would the administration risk having his detention being questioned by waiting three years to indict?

Just not something I understand.

Downtown Lad

I think Queer Conservative and Malcontent have convinced me to change my mind. We don't need a "Constitution" or "rights". The only important thing is to fight terrorism, even if those we lock up don't turn out to be terrorists at all. We need to be safe from terror. And only his holiness George Bush is able to keep us safe.

Innocent until proven guilty? The right to a speedy trial? Phooey. Only LIBERALS believe in rights and our Constitution.

In fact - I think if somebody starts talking about "rights" and "freedom" and the "constitution", we should just lock them up and throw away the key. Because they're obviously terrorists. Now that my friend would be real justice.


DL - Are you in possession of some evidence that Padilla is not a terrorist? I agree that he should've been charged years ago, but let's not start towing the liberal line that the Bush administration is just randomly imprisoning innocent people.

Downtown Lad

Chad - I am of the opinion that you are innocent until proven guilty. I think that Padilla is almost most certainly a terrorist. Because I don't really want to think that our government is lying to us.

But if the evidence is so overwhelming that he is guilty, then why did it take three years to indict him? And why are they not indicting him on any charges relating to the dirty bomb (the reason they've been holding him the last three years).

When you refuse to indict someone, it has to go through any rational person's mind that maybe there really wasn't that much evidence there in the first place. Which means one of two things:

1) Padilla is innocent
2) The Bush administration is so incompetent, that it can't bring an indictment against somebody who is so obviously a terrorist.

I vote for #2.


Well, what does the government do with a terrorist? It's a tricky, tricky issue, and one I cannot be so black and white on. I apologize for being incapable of either fellating Bush at every opportunity or peppering all my writing with Bushitler. I prefer some sort of middle ground.

We're in the middle of a war (note to Left: No, really, it's true). When you're fighting a war, it's custom to hold enemy combatants until the war is over. What's at issue is the president's ability to declare who is and is not an enemy combatant. There is a concern - one I completely understand - that there is no clear benchmark for the end of the war. WWII was easy. When we captured combatants, we held them until the formal surrenders of Germany and Japan. We had that marker for the official end of the war.

We don't have that now. Who's to say this won't go on for another ten, fifteen, twenty years? That is a definite concern.

The nature of this war complicates matters even further. We're not fighting specific nation states, but an ideology of militant Islam. Anyone can be an enemy, including U.S. citizens. With Padilla, it's not like we found a German spy snooping about. We found an American citizen with plans to detonate a dirty bomb in an American city. Obviously he is a soldier with the enemy.

What do we do with him? The FBI can't just go up the street and investigate his potential crimes. No, they have to sit there and meticulously trace his movements, track down every person he's talked to within a certain timeframe, try to put all these pieces together of possible terror networks and cells, pieces that can span dozens of countries. These things can take extraordinary amounts of time. Can we even give people like this a speedy trial? Is it physically possible? And if not, do we simply release them?

This is a very, very complicated issue, and I'm so relieved others can see it in such stark black and white terms. Perhaps it's a wild, wild coincidence, but those terms always seem dictated by their personal feelings for the president.

What a strange quirk of politics, eh?

Downtown Lad

He tried to plant a dirty bomb? Care to provide one piece of evidence to support that claim? Even the Bush administration isn't even arguing that point anymore. That's not what he was indicted on.

The only reason you think he tried to plant a dirty bomb is because the Bush administration claimed that three years ago. But it doesn't concern you one iota that they haven't presented one piece of evidence to support that?

I'd be interested in seeing it. And the fact that they can't provide it, makes me think they are either incompetent or just making this stuff up.

Is Padilla more dangerous than O.J. Simpson? I doubt it.

Queer Conservative

DTL, here's your one piece of evidence: A senior al Qaeda official Abu Zubaydah fingered Padilla for his involvement in a dirty- bomb plot. That's good enough for me.

Padilla hasn't exactly lived an exemplary life either. At 20 he brandished a gun in a fit of road rage, and he was convicted of battery against a jail guard while he was locked up.

He converted to Islam (after having found Jesus - guess the big J. wasn't violent enough for him) and traveled to Egypt to supposedly teach english. Even though Muhammed Javed, the man who helped convert him to Islam said "I was baffled, thinking, You yourself don't speak proper English." Padilla certainly doesn't strike me as the professorial type.

As Debra Saunders said in an article about Padilla: "On the one hand, after two years, the government should be able to present a case to the courts and grant Padilla a chance to defend himself."

"On the other hand, authorities argue that only the certainty of severe punishment will push Padilla to trade information for a reduction in his sentence. They also don't want to risk bringing Abu Zubaydah into a courtroom."

You can read the article here

If I have to choose between trusting my government and believing Padilla's protestations of innocence - the government wins. Inter Arma Silent Leges. Harsh? Yes. Dangerous? Yes. Necessary? Unfortunately, yes.

Downtown Lad

Wrong. I'll presume that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Including Padilla. I might strongly suspect that he's guilty, but until there is a conviction he is innocent in the eyes of the law.

If you don't believe that - maybe you should move to France - where you are guilty until proven innocent.

And if Padilla really is such a bad guy, then I'm twice as pissed at Bush for not having this guy prosecuted and convicted by now. As I said - I suspect this is a case of extreme incompetence on the part of the Bush administration.

I respect our Constitution. As does the Supreme Court (including Scalia). Which is why Bush was paranoid of this case going before the Supreme Court.

Queer Conservative

Oh, I can presume his innocence. I could sit on the jury and judge him fairly. I just think he's not the type you can let roam free while waiting to try him. You can't take that chance.


Robbie - I see what you're saying. And I agree with you that this whole issue is a lot more gray than the extremes in both parties would like us to believe.

An enemy combatant however, I think is fairly easy to pigeon-hole. If someone is looking to maim, kill, or otherwise inflict harm on American citizens or her interests overseas, then bam! Combatant.

What bothers me is that I kinda' agree with DL on the issue of charing him. They picked Padilla up for some reason. They were watching him for some reason. And it wasn't 'cause he was caught using real butter in his famous oatmeal raisin cookie recipe instead of Smart Balance. He was up to no good.

So... why no charge for three years?

Downtown Lad

Well if you read the New York Times, you'd understand why they can't charge him. All the evidence that was gathered against Padilla was gained via torture.

Like I said - sheer incompetence on the Bush administration part.

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