Sunday, January 03, 2010

I Want to Debate George Will

I'm tired of George Will saying things on This Week and not being effectively challenged on them. Today, George Will said of the underwear bomber, "As Senator Leiberman said, this man should be treated as an enemy combatant, not lawyered up under miranda rights that interferes with interrogating him." Why?

First off, do they not think he'd be convicted in a federal court? His own father reported him to a foreign government for being an extremist. He was caught in the act with the entire aircraft as witnesses. A bomb was found in his underwear! The phrase "liar liar pants on fire" actually applies!

"not lawyered up", does Will not think accused should have lawyers? Should they just have to defend themselves or should they not be allowed to that either? Don't enemy combatants in military tribunals get lawyers?

"under miranda rights", is Will still fighting this conservative fight? Miranda rights were created in 1966 in Miranda v. Arizona the Warren court established that defendants be read their rights before being interrogated to protect their Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. Conservatives went nuts about people getting off on technicalities and said the ruling would increase crime. As a result of the Supreme Court ruling, Ernesto Miranda was retried and was convicted with existing evidence and sentenced to 20-30 years . It can be done. And I'm pretty sure that enemy combatants have the right to remain silent. Conservatives are also still mad at Rehnquist about this. In 2000's Dickerson v. United States, the Supreme Court upheld Miranda Rights, only Scalia and Thomas voted against them.

"interferes with interrogating him", does reading him his rights before interrogating him really interfere? Is it such a high burden? If he chooses not to speak wouldn't he do that even before miranda rights or without a lawyer? Does Will just want to torture him?


Richard said...

After reading your answers to his remarks, I would also like to see you debate George Will.

One of the problems with pundits and talk radio hosts is that they control their platform. Thus they can hang up on you or not invite you to their form to debate. One of the good things about the modern web is that you just debated him here and I read it. Everyone has a platform now.

I especially will now go look at the history of the Miranda rights. I didn't know that the original case was retried and the person was still convicted. I think that makes it a more powerful statement.

I still wish this we were in a "stop the criminals that try to hurt people", or some better name instead of the "War on Terror". The naming frames the discussion. I don't think we need a war to arrest someone who tries to blow up a plane or murder people. I believe we have adequate laws in place to cover such acts.

Howard said...

I know O'Reilly controls his own show. I'm always hopeful that in a panel discussion on This Week someone will challenge him more. Typically he speaks first and then someone else will say something different, but then they go onto a new topic so he never rebuts.

I fear the War on Terror has been as effective as the War on Drugs. There are some difficult legal questions involved, particularly when the suspect is not a us citizen, is captured on foreign soil (not necessarily his native country), and is committing a crime in a plane on an international flight not having yet arrived in the US. A few years ago I saw an article (and blogged it) saying that perhaps piracy laws (yes real pirates of the sea, not of movies or video games) were most applicable since there was some international agreement on them already.