Monday, May 10, 2004

Safire Makes Some Sense
The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Rumsfeld Should Stay: "Because today's column will generate apoplectic e-mail, a word about contrarian opinion: Shortly after 9/11, with the nation gripped by fear and fury, the Bush White House issued a sweeping and popular order to crack down on suspected terrorists. The liberal establishment largely fell cravenly mute. A few lonely civil libertarians spoke out. When I used the word 'dictatorial,' conservatives, both neo- and paleo-, derided my condemnation as 'hysterical.'
One Bush cabinet member paid attention. Rumsfeld appointed a bipartisan panel of attorneys to re-examine that draconian edict. As a result, basic protections for the accused Qaeda combatants were included in the proposed military tribunals.
Perhaps because of those protections, the tribunals never got off the ground. (The Supreme Court will soon, I hope, provide similar legal rights to suspected terrorists who are U.S. citizens.) But in the panic of the winter of 2001, Rumsfeld was one of the few in power concerned about prisoners' rights. Some now demanding his scalp then supported the repressive Patriot Act.
The United States shows the world its values by investigating and prosecuting wrongdoers high and low. It is not in our political value system to scapegoat a good man for the depraved acts of others. Nor does it make strategic sense to remove a war leader in the vain hope of appeasing critics of the war."

Do us both a favor and read the whole thing.

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