Not that it was ever in doubt but the Contract with America 2.0: This Time We Really Mean It is chock full o’ teh stupid. Adam Serwer examines just a portion (you have to take the thing in small doses lest you gouge both your eyeballs out and eat ‘em out of spite):
• Keep Terrorists Out of America: We will prevent the government from importing terrorists onto American soil. We will hold President Obama and his administration responsible for any Guantanamo Bay detainees they release who return to fight against our troops or who have become involved in any terrorist plots or activities.
Interesting idea. First off, there are already 359 convicted terrorists on American soil, 240 of which the government says have ties to international terrorism. That’s more than the number of accused terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison, which currently number at 174. Are the GOP going to deport all the ones who are currently here? Guantanamo is also a huge money hole. It costs 16 million dollars a year to maintain the detention camp in Cuba, 650,000 dollars a year per prisoner. By contrast, it takes 27,251 dollars a year to house a federal prisoner in the United States. Fiscally responsible!
• Demand an Overarching Detention Policy: Foreign terrorists do not have the same rights as American citizens, nor do they have more rights than U.S. military personnel. We will work to ensure foreign terrorists, such as the 9/11 conspirators, are tried in military, not civilian, court. We will oppose all efforts to force our military, intelligence, and law enforcement personnel operating overseas to extend “Miranda Rights” to foreign terrorists.
The GOP, in their reverence for due process, seems to have forgotten the whole “innocent until proven guilty” part of how trials work. They’re not terrorists unless they are proved to be terrorists in a court of law. There have been hundreds of civilian terrorism convictions in civilian court since 9/11, the vast majority of which were secured by the Bush administration. There have been four military commissions convictions in the past decade, and they are currently facing legal challenges that may put past and future convictions in doubt. What Republicans are promising here isn’t just a departure from the prior administration, it would ensure that fewer terrorists are brought to justice.
Moreover, this document gives the impression that military personnel are tried in “military commissions.” They’re not, they’re tried in courts-martial. Military commissions were invented out of whole cloth to give the government an edge in terrorism cases. Whomever wrote this document either doesn’t know the difference, or is lying, neither of which should inspire much confidence.
Finally, law enforcement doesn’t “extend” Miranda rights to foreign terrorists. Anyone, regardless of citizenship, already has Miranda rights if they are apprehended on American soil, unless the public safety exception is invoked. Moreover, when the administration began offering to work with Republicans on legislation to “modify” Miranda, Republicans balked because they know this complaint is nonsense and they just want to be able to attack law enforcement for upholding the law whenever a terrorist suspect is arrested.
No, you see, it’s a return to the principles of our founding fathers, small government, reverence for the Constitution, blargh, blargh, blargh.
How could it not be? Tea Partiers wear tri-corner hats. QED motherfucker.