Tuesday, December 11, 2001
Well, thanks to the New York Post's John Podhoretz for clearing something up. Last week, when I saw and heard the quotes from Attorney General John Ashcroft's appearance before the Senate Judiciary Comittee, I thought that he'd gone too far. The video clips and the printed quotes showed that the attorney general basically told the committee that anyone who doesn't agree with how the war on terrorism is being run is anti-American and pro-terrorist.
It fits into the stereotype that the media has had of John Ashcroft ever since he was nominated to the position of attorney general. Ashcroft was that religious nut (John, couldn't you've found something other than Crisco? Why not just keep it quiet?) who wouldn't enforce the law if it was in conflict with his beliefs.
So far, there have been no reports of Ashcroft selectively enforcing the law. In fact, when it comes to use of FBI records on gun purchases, it appears that Democrats were complaining that he wasn't breaking the law. You can check out the story at CBS news, but pay careful attention to this passage:
Mindy Tucker, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said the FBI request to use gun records was considered and rejected after Justice officials studied case law.
"It was decided that it would have been improper use of the records," Tucker said.
To put it more succinctly: It's against the law to do that.
Getting back to Ashcroft's statement.
We need honest, reasoned debate; not fearmongering. To those who pit Americans against immigrants, and citizens against non-citizens; to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty; my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists - for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil.
There's the whole paragraph. Does it really seem so out there? Honesty. Reasoned debate. Don't divide people.
What Ashcroft was trying to tell the Senators (and thick-headed pundits), was not to play politics.
The charges of shreding the Constitution (by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.) are dishonest at best.
The truth is that Democrats just wanted an opportunity to bash Ashcroft. Who's in charge of the rules for these military tribunals that they're so concerned about? Ashcroft? Nope, that would be the president and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Democrats aren't stupid. They know Ashcroft has nothing to do with it. They just think he makes a better target. The beltway press will allow you to bash Ashcroft all you want. But I don't think the senators would do nearly as well with Rumsfeld.