Change in Miranda needed to fight war on terrorism
The May 16 editorial criticizing the Obama administration for considering expanding the public-safety exception to Miranda is bewildering.
It is also perplexing that the Obama administration views terrorist acts as ordinary criminal offenses. But for the next three to seven years, we have to play the cards dealt.
Given those conditions, President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder should be commended. You say they are eroding our basic rights in the name of public safety due to intense criticism from the right. Nonsense.
Never miss a local story.
Obama has not conceded any issue to the right. Left-leaning former Clinton acolyte John Podesta, who now heads up a progressive think tank, and The Washington Post are receptive to giving interviewers more latitude. Using the right as a bogeyman is tiresome.
You are upset because an hour passed before the attempted Christmas Day bomber was Mirandized and the failed Times Square bomber did not hear his rights for several hours. You ask how far to take this exception?
The answer is simple: Until investigators reasonably believe the threat to the public has passed and until investigators reasonably believe all useful intelligence has been obtained. Times Square accomplices are still being picked up in Pakistan.
The pressure and the life-or-death consequences on the interviewers are enormous and you want the interviewers to be on a stopwatch.
In the meantime you are clicking away at your keyboard pontificating that when we diminish our rights, we diminish America's soul. Rubbish.
The May 16 editorial expressed fear that the Obama administration's designs on expanding the public-safety exception to the Miranda warning will "diminish our rights."
This is about national security, not the Bill of Rights or Arizona.
In 1984 (New York v. Quarles), Supreme Court Justice Rehnquist wrote, "The need for answers to questions in a situation posing a threat to the public safety outweighs the need for the prophylactic rule protecting the Fifth Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination."
In 2000, the court ruled that Congress could not repeal Miranda.
Classifying terrorists as common domestic criminals, instead of enemy combatants, grants them inappropriately expanded rights. The solution is to classify terrorists as enemy combatants and try them by military tribunal. Further expansion of the exception would then be unnecessary and pointless.
Attorney General Eric Holder is playing politics, attempting to harden this administration's soft stance on terrorism. A better way to appear tougher is to be tougher.
Our position in the world is so diminished that it is no longer viewed as advantageous to side with the U.S. In response, Washington turns political rhetoric and concern about Mexico's citizens above ours. Is this the "hope and change"?
The editorial surprisingly didn't blame Bush, but did mention Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck in the same breath as bigotry, Jim Crow, the Klan and internment camps.
The editorial concludes, "When we diminish our rights, we diminish America's soul." We diminish our soul when concern is greater for the enemy's rights than our citizenry's.
No excuse for lying
Henry Allen, in his comments "special to The Washington Post," in the May 23 paper was barking up the wrong tree in his defense of Connecticut Attorney General and Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal.
The issue was not his right to exercise deferments during the Vietnam War. The issue was his claim that he "served in Vietnam." Had he said "while I served in the Marines during the Vietnam War," there would have been no issue. He was in the Marines — stateside. Claiming to be "in country" got him in hot water.
He said he misspoke. But he's running for office, and military service during these times is seen as important, which it is, but giving an erroneous impression is wrong — period. He was not "in country" and should not ever give that impression, as I am sure he knows.
If his conscience is bothering him, as Allen contends — and I think that is probably the case — then that is good. But that doesn't excuse lying and exaggeration.
Memorial Day lesson
A quiet and contemplative walk though a cemetery on Memorial Day can be a somber and sobering experience for anyone.
Amid the graves lovingly decorated with both real and artificial flowers, there are small American flags waving in the warm breeze of May. Those flags mark the final resting place of those brave and courageous men and women who served their country honorably and admirably through a period of military service.
Some began their service voluntarily. Others responded unhesitatingly when a call came in a time of special crisis. All of them, putting selfish desire behind them and leaving friends and family, did what they understood to be their duty.
Some of them returned to their homes to resume a normal life among friends and family. Others were limited by the wounds they had received. Many made the supreme sacrifice and never lived to be reunited with friends and family.
On Memorial Day, all of them are remembered and honored. It is a reminder, for every patriotic American citizen, that the price for the freedoms we enjoy — and sometimes take for granted — is dear, indeed.
Send more troops
We all know of the war going on in Afghanistan, but I think the reality of how bad the situation is has been lost in today's propaganda. My brother is Cpl. Justin Cornett of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines Division. He went into the Marines right out of high school and is only 20 years old. He has done a tour in Iraq and is now in Afghanistan.
We don't get to hear from him often, but the times we have it has been devastating news. In the two months he has been there, the things he has seen and done will change him forever. He has watched many of his fellow Marines get killed and has held them when their legs, arms or both have been blown off by IEDs.
Just this month, 16 Marines have been killed. In the last conversation I had with my brother, he told me to somehow get word out that they need more troops. I have sent messages to White House officials. Now I am asking others to send a message to www.whitehouse.gov/CONTACT/
Please ask that they send more troops. These terrorists are a danger to us and their own people.