April 22, 2013
A row has broken out over whether the Obama Administration is violating the legal due process of Boston terror suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev by not reading him his Miranda rights before questioning. The more relevant question for the safety of the U.S. homeland is why the Administration has declined to designate him as a terrorist enemy combatant.
Lest one thinks that the WSJ is claiming this is an exceptional situation, think again:
The Boston bombing also ought to chasten Senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee and other libertarians who keep insisting that the U.S. homeland is not part of the terror battlefield.
“It’s different overseas than it will be here. It’s different in the battlefield than it will be here,” Mr. Paul told Fox News earlier this year. “Which gets precisely to the argument I have with some other Republicans who say, well, ‘the battlefield is everywhere, there is no limitation.’ President Obama says this. Some members of my party say the battle has no geographic limitations and the laws of war apply. It’s important to know that the law of war that they’re talking about means no due process.”
Boylston Street sure looked like a battlefield on Monday, and so did Watertown on Thursday night. The artificial distinction is Mr. Paul’s focus on geography. The vital distinction for public safety is between common criminals, who deserve due process protections, and enemy combatants at war with the U.S., wherever they are.
We need to understand what these people are saying. Federal law must assume that every inch of continental U.S. soil is a battlefield in which the rules of battle apply and that due process of law goes out the window. A permanent battlefield is not a place where people can enjoy any freedoms at all except for those temporary refuges that come about when government lifts an order for a short time.
As for anything like a free economy, forget it. A nation under permanent martial law — and that is what the WSJ really is advocating — is a nation of drones serving a governmental master.