It’s Not the American Way ( “To repeat, I have no evidence to dispute what the feds say about Padilla. But this is the same government that missed repeated warnings that something like the horrors of Sept. 11 was on the way, that was damned sure Iraq was loaded with weapons of mass destruction, that recently detained a Portland, Ore., lawyer on terrorism-related charges because it got the fingerprints wrong, that yelled espionage and treason about a military chaplain later charged with nothing more than having an extramarital affair, that . . . well, you get the picture. There’s a reason so many men have walked off death row. Government is not infallible and this government, in particular, is hardly an exception.

I was nearby when the twin towers went down. Hardly a day goes by that I do not think about it. I fear terrorists — in that they have succeeded. But I also fear a government that takes it upon itself to deprive a citizen — any citizen — of his basic rights. That holds for Timothy McVeigh (also a terrorist, no?) or a common street criminal and even an alleged al Qaeda associate like Jose Padilla. It’s not just his rights that have been suspended. It’s our own. “


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