Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Still Searching for a Strategy

Adam Liptak wrote in an opinion piece which pretends to be "News Analysis" in NYT Four years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the government has yet to settle on a consistent strategy for holding and punishing people it says are terrorists.

Actually they settled on a strategy right away. Bleeding heart liberals like the NYT have not liked that strategy (apparently the NYT has not seen the big hole in the ground where two big buildings used to be, prior to 9/11), so they have been pressing the government to be nicer to people who want to kill us.
Its efforts remain a work in progress, notable for false starts and a reluctance to have the executive branch's broadest claims tested in the courts. Last year, three Supreme Court decisions turned back the administration's boldest positions. Government lawyers do not seem eager to give the justices a vehicle for elaboration, at least not one that involves Jose Padilla, an American citizen captured on American soil.
Or perhaps they don't want to have to expose in open court the sources and methods by which they learn the terrorists plans.
Mr. Padilla's lawyers filed an appeal in the Supreme Court last month, asking a fundamental question: "Does the president have the power to seize American citizens in civilian settings on American soil and subject them to indefinite military detention without criminal charge or trial?" The administration says there is no need to answer that question just now. President Bush, in a directive signed on Sunday and made public yesterday, ordered the Defense Department, which had been holding Mr. Padilla as an "enemy combatant," to transfer him to the Justice Department "for the purpose of criminal proceedings against him." That move, the administration says, renders Mr. Padilla's appeal to the Supreme Court moot.
The Supreme Court has already accepted one case this month concerning the scope of the president's power to fight terror. That one involves whether he has the authority to try detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for terrorist offenses before military commissions there.
New York still has a lot of tall buildings. Does the NYT want some of the detainees at Guantánamo Bay to fly some planes into them as well? Would the editors at the NYT be willing to be on those planes?
The administration had vigorously urged the court not to hear the case.

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