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McCain, Obama and the Rights of Terrorists

The question of whether Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain have the best handle on how to deal with the rights of terrorism suspects is obviously a huge issue in the presidential campaign. As Anne E. Kornblut and Karen DeYoung wrote, yesterday "each side" accused "the other of embracing a policy that would put the country at risk of more attacks in the future."

They wrote that "McCain advisers criticized Obama as 'naive' and 'delusional' in his approach to the handling of terrorism suspects after he expressed support for last week's Supreme Court decision granting detainees the right to seek habeas corpus hearings. Obama fired back, saying the Republicans who had led failed efforts to capture Osama bin Laden lacked the standing to criticize him on the issue."

Our Readers Who Comment are of two minds on the subject. Both minds express their concerns mostly in negatives about the candidate they oppose instead of positives about the one they favor. McCain is regarded as simply an extension of detested Bush Administration policies that have not worked and that have undermined the Constitution. Obama is portrayed as an inexperienced, untrustworthy neophyte who does not understand the realities of the terrorist threat.

There are exceptions to these portrayals, of course, but I suspect we'll hear more negatives than positives about both between now and November.

We'll start with associate20, who provided an unusual compliment to the MSM in saying, "Thanks for writing a balanced, well-researched article that enables voters to make an informed decision in this debate... Americans have a real decision before them. Do we continue the approach we've tried over the last 7 years? Or, do we shift gears and try something different?"

afellow1 wrote, "Good Lord, what... are the Dems doing to this country? A man with a Muslim background and terrorist friends and Al Quaida and Hammas endorsing him?
A twenty year association with a minister and Black Theologian church that preaches hate America,Jews and Whites?..."

But nodebris asked, "If you truly believe that Obama is some kind of wild-eyed jihadi, then aren't you appalled by the irony that it takes a jihadi to remind Americans of the rights and responsibilities that are spelled out in crystal clarity in our Constitution?..."

motorfriend said, "Before exploring the fine points of combatting terrorism, McCain owes the American people an apology for what he and his party have done to this once proud country. War criminals, liars, frauds, traitors . . . words cannot begin to capture the magnitude of their crimes."

dsrobins predicted that "...John McCain will lose the election in November. McCain, like Bush, wants to keep Americans terrified about what might happen next..."

But hazwalnut wrote, "Senator Obama should stay out of the fight over terrorism and war...he has no experience or credibility on the subject and his opinions are all over the place. The more he speaks about it, the more we know he has no knowledge about the subjects..."

kogejoe said, "It's funny how McCain is trying to project his own party's problem on his opponent. How does he even have the gumption of accusing Obama of a "9/10 mindset" when 9/11 happened on BUSH'S WATCH?... There are now more terrorists in Iraq than before we attacked them. Talked about "failed policy." "

FromJakarta wrote, "Obama's idea will be proven to be more effective. Al Qaedah-type of terrorism is based on the belief of the rightousness of its cause and the idea of American "evil". Hence its continous support among people who find US foreign policy -- militeristic, arrogant, unilateralistic, and unfair... Today, no imperial ambition is possible and military means are costly as well as counterproductive."

carolm62 said, "...When we infuriate the world by acting like evil tyrants, as when we deny a prisoner the basic right to answer to the charges leveled against him, why should we be surprised if people seek revenge? McCain is fostering terrorism, not defeating it."

mark43 said, "...My biggest worries of an Obama rule, is the fact that he stuck with Rev Wright (and his anti US and anti-White views) for so long, and let's face it, only cut ties to win votes...At least McCain is open and we all know where we stand with him..."

rcc_2000 wrote, "...Yeah, we've heard the GOP "tough on terror" talk before and all it has brought us is a more unstable, dangerous world. Fact is the GOP has been the terrorists best friend and advocate. I guess the GOP and McCain do not think they have screwed us up enough."

My favorite exchange of the day is between Honest_Abe and sweetlandoliberty.
1. Honest_Abe: "How does one know a terrorist is a terrorist unless there is a presentation of evidence in a court?"

2. sweetlandoliberty: "You know when they fly planes into the World Trade Center and kill thousands of innocent people."

3. Honest_Abe: "Well those guys are all dead. How about a living captured supposed terrorist? Who said this person was a terrorist in the first place? What evidence is there? Maybe the evidence was planted on an innocent person. That's why a court is needed."

waterbirds, referring to the famous l964 television ad the Lyndon Johnson campaign used so effectively, said, "...Want to bet the "mushroom cloud" ad will be back very soon? That's all McCain has to offer - more of the same... and we all know how well that is working,"

potencianojennifer, offered that "...mccain is right: terrorists are an entirely different of animals; they do not deserve the kid's glove approach. but obama is right. since they too have rights... that the american justice system must observe... but obama must be warned never to go soft, nor try to... talk unconditionally w/ terrorists, for fear of being liquidated himself by these brutes..."

Last word goes to dentalwellness, who wrote, "...Let's have real debate and stop name-calling, no one has monopoly on patriotism, we all love our dearest country, USA. I thought those two candidates promised to elevate this year's presidential politics, let them step up to the play."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  June 18, 2008; 9:48 AM ET
Categories:  McCain , Obama , Terrorism  
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