Your New Year's Fisking

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on January 2, 2008

I was going to tear into this insane New York Times editorial, but thankfully discovered John Hinderaker over at Powerline had already done it for me.

Titled "Looking At America," the editorial focuses on the Bush administration's efforts to prevent terrorist attacks over the last six years. Some would look at that record and see success: no significant attacks on American soil after September 11, most of al Qaeda's leadership killed or captured, no more safe havens for terrorists, tens of millions of people liberated in Afghanistan and Iraq. But not the editors of the Times: they see only the negative, and react with "horror."

I really do encourage you to read the whole thing. The Times' editorialists have demonstrated that they live in a sort of bizzarro world where the civil liberties of all Americans have been curtailed because terrorist mastermind Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded for less than a minute. Last I checked, neither Paul Krugman, nor any of his Times cohorts, has been shpped off to Guantanamo Bay for their "brave" denunciations of the Bush administration's anti-terror policies.

The Times editorial does present some questions for Democrat candidates that will probably not be asked by a press corps too preoccupied with the horse race reporting to dive into actual policy issues:

  • Do terrorists captured on foreign battlefields deserve public trials in American criminal courts?
  • What should be the standard of proof in such trials? Taking into account that the accused were captured in the middle of a foreign war and not on the streets of an American city?
  • Do terrorists, and their civilian lawyers (you are going to provide civilian lawyers, aren't you?) get access to any classified intelligence that the U.S. government may have that is related to the accused's case?
  • Do you support or oppose monitoring of electronic communications coming into or out of the United States (international communications) without warrants? If you oppose such measures, do you think that the U.S. customs service should be similarly required to obtain a warrant before searching people or their belongings coming through border checkpoints?
  • In the so-called ticking time bomb scenario, what measures would you allow, and which would you rule out, in an effort to get a known terrorist to talk?

These are issues that the Republican presidential field has fleshed out in numerous debates and some rather rigorous questioning. The Democrats, on the other hand, have spoken mainly in platitudes and haven't been challenged by a skeptical press corps into really following those statements to their policy conclusions.


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January 2008



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