A welcome manifesto for conservative civil libertarians from a former Republican congressman:
The problem here is that those who are whining the loudest, whether it’s a nutcase Senator or a callous talk show ratings-chaser, are, at bottom, people who apparently don’t really buy into America. They claim to be patriotic – that is, to love their country – but they seem not to really understand what, exactly, America is, or what it stands for, or what “to be American” really means. America is not 50 chunks of land, lakes, fly fishermen and football teams; it’s an idea, a concept, a commitment to, well, “truth, justice, and the American way.” And that’s why we have courts, not show trials and not summary judgments. It’s not because we love terrorists, it’s because we hate them and we are going to subject them to the thing they most fear–justice, democracy, the rules of a free society.
Those who insist that we set the rules aside claim to speak for “conservatives.” What utter nonsense. I serve on the board of directors of The Constitution Project. That organization recently released a paper called “Beyond Guantanamo: A Bipartisan Declaration”, which called for accused terrorists to be tried in federal courts – our American courts – not in so-called “military tribunals.” A lefty declaration? Among the 130 men and women who signed – diplomats, judges, prosecutors, military intelligence officers – were high-level officials from both the Nixon and Reagan administrations (including Ronald Reagan’s FBI director, high-profile leaders of national conservative organizations, former outspoken conservative leaders in Congress). The fact is, there is nothing “conservative”, nor “patriotic” about this blatant rejection of the American system of government and justice, this sneering distrust of the courts, the lawyers, the judges, the juries of rank-and-file Americans. To dismiss the system the Founders created and embrace the model favored by Joseph Stalin and the Taliban is not to love America but to loathe it. Those who do so, believe a lot of things, but believing in America isn’t one of them.
Read the whole thing.