Too much power for the military


Kentuckians can be proud of Sen. Rand Paul for splitting with his party on allowing the military to indefinitely imprison without trial U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism.

Paul was one of only two Republicans — the other was Mark Kirk of Illinois — who opposed an amendment to a military authorization bill that would give civilian policing and judicial powers to the military. This is the same kind of military power that has sparked brave protests against Mideast despots.

The provision is aimed at increasing the role of the U.S. armed forces in imprisoning suspected members of al-Qaida and related groups. But the change could undermine successes in combating terrorism on U.S. soil by marginalizing the FBI and other domestic police agencies that have gained counterterrorism expertise since the 9/11 attacks.

The provision is opposed by the current national security team and some counterterrorism officials of the Bush administration. But an attempt to turn it back by Sen. Mark Udall, D-Utah, was defeated 60 to 38.

If the amendment passes both houses, President Barack Obama should follow through on his threat to veto it.

Because, as Paul said, "Should we err today and remove some of the most important checks on state power in the name of fighting terrorism, well, then the terrorists have won."