|One bombing suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing has been killed by police. Another was captured late yesterday. Now, by all accounts these men came to this country over a decade ago and were naturalized United States citizens.
Despite that, Republicans began calling for the youngest, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to be held without being read his Miranda rights, and without the chance to be represented by a lawyer:
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, captured Friday night outside Boston after a tense daylong manhunt, should be questioned for intelligence purposes and not read his Miranda rights.
"It is clear the events we have seen over the past few days in Boston were an attempt to kill American citizens and terrorize a major American city," McCain and Graham said late Friday in a joint statement. "The accused perpetrators of these acts were not common criminals attempting to profit from a criminal enterprise, but terrorist trying to injure, maim, and kill innocent Americans."
"Under the Law of War we can hold this suspect as a potential enemy combatant not entitled to Miranda warnings or the appointment of counsel," McCain and Graham said. "Our goal at this critical juncture should be to gather intelligence and protect our nation from further attacks."
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Of course, these comments have no root in common sense and were simply an attempt to politicize this tragedy and resume the costly and failed "War on Terror" embarked upon by the last also failed administration:
The comments from two of Capitol Hill's most powerful voices on intelligence matters signal that the Boston attack is sure to re-ignite the contentious debate over how the Obama administration conducts the war on terrorism.
The hawks argue that the war on terror makes America part of the battlefield and say that terrorists should not be given more incentive to implement attacks on U.S. soil with due process protections, rather than overseas.
Not only is this a cheap way to try and score political points and validate the failed strategy of a "War on Terror" every American should see this for what it is. An attack on the Constitution and the American due process of law.
The ACLU is already raising that concern. Tsarnaev has thus far not been read his Miranda rights due to the public safety exception established by the Supreme Court which gives authorities 48 hours to do so. However, as the ACLU points out this exception is not open-ended and should be used sparingly and temporarily. American citizens, whether naturalized or not do have rights under the Constitution and Bill of Rights:
"Every criminal defendant is entitled to be read Miranda rights," Romero said in a statement. "The public safety exception should be read narrowly. It applies only when there is a continued threat to public safety and is not an open-ended exception to the Miranda rule."
"Every criminal defendant has a right to be brought before a judge and to have access to counsel. We must not waver from our tried-and-true justice system, even in the most difficult of times," Romero said.
"Denial of rights is un-American and will only make it harder to obtain fair convictions.
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Once again, with emotions and passions aside Graham and McCain, who were quickly joined by Peter King are flat wrong about this. Not only is it a cheap attempt to score political points on a senseless tragedy but it also would set a dangerous precedent.
First, all Americans are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law no matter how heinous their crimes may be. Just think if you, or someone you loved was accused of an horrific crime such as this and were actually innocent. Would it be right to deny them due process of law, an appearance before a judge and legal council? I think not.
Second, how can we pick and choose which acts are "terrorism" and which are not? With the huge debate we have had the last several months on the Second Amendment rights of Americans how can we say it is more an act of "terrorism" to set off bombs and kill Americans than it is for someone to walk into a school or public gathering with several automatic weapons and blast away killing numerous Americans in their wake?
Did we hear after any school shootings or mass murders with guns on American soil how the American citizens who perpetuated those crimes were part of the "War on Terror" and should not be given their Miranda rights or allowed access to legal council, or brought before a judge to be arraigned? Did we know any more with them than we do with Tsarnaev that other people, perhaps overseas were not involved in planning and executing those shootings?
Again I ask all Americans, is this really the precedent we should be setting for all Americans who are accused of horrific crimes? Is murder not murder regardless of what weapon and means is used?
Luckily in Massachusetts, a sane state they seem to be preparing for Tsarnaev to receive the representation that is due all Americans accused of a crime:
Miriam Conrad, public defender for Massachusetts, told the Associated Press that there are "serious issues regarding possible interrogation." The news service reported that federal public defender's office in Massachusetts will represent Tsarnaev once he is charged.
It is definitely a shame that some Republicans who constantly preach "Constitutional rights" seem to think they can cherry-pick what parts of the Constitution they like for what situation. It is also shameless that Republicans like Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Peter King will resort to anything to somehow validate the failed "War on Terror" they were instrumental in leading us into and are attempting to revive this failure once again.
I for one hope Americans are much more wise and much less shameful than these political opportunists.