Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"9/10 Mindset" vs. "1984"

The McCain campaign is pouncing on Barack Obama for a "9/10 mindset" in his approach to the treatment of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.

In a conference call with reporters, they trotted out former CIA chief James Woolsey and others to charge that Obama’s is, to resurrect an old GOP Cold War word, "soft" on terrorism.

“If a law enforcement approach were accurate," a McCain policy adviser said, "then you wouldn’t have had Sept. 11."

They were inspired by Obama's approval of the Supreme Court decision that detainees have the right to seek habeas corpus relief.

"(W)e have destroyed our credibility when it comes to rule of law all around the world, and given a huge boost to terrorist recruitment in countries that say, ‘Look, this is how the United States treats Muslims,'" Obama said. “We could have done the exact same thing, but done it in a way that was consistent with our laws.”

Obama's camp will no doubt respond, but conservative columnist has already done that for them in today's Washington Post by parsing McCain's response that it was "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country":

"Does it rank with Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), which concocted a constitutional right, unmentioned in the document, to own slaves and held that black people have no rights that white people are bound to respect? With Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which affirmed the constitutionality of legally enforced racial segregation? With Korematsu v. United States (1944), which affirmed the wartime right to sweep American citizens of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps?

"Did McCain's extravagant condemnation of the court's habeas ruling result from his reading the 126 pages of opinions and dissents? More likely, some clever ignoramus convinced him that this decision could make the Supreme Court--meaning, which candidate would select the best judicial nominees--a campaign issue."

Will, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning Reagan supporter, may just be out of step with the new conservative thinking. He may just not realize that a "9/10 mindset" is more dangerous these days than going back to the totalitarian mindset of George Orwell's novel, "1984."

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