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The "al-Qaeda seven" aren't like John Adams

Defenders of the habeas lawyers representing al-Qaeda terrorists have invoked the iconic name of John Adams to justify their actions, claiming these lawyers are only doing the same thing Adams did when he defended British soldiers accused in the Boston Massacre. The analogy is clever, but wholly inaccurate.

For starters, Adams was a British subject at the time he took up their representation. The Declaration of Independence had not yet been signed, and there was no United States of America. The British soldiers were Adams’ fellow countrymen -- not foreign enemies of the state at war with his country.

Second, the British soldiers were accused of a crime. The constitution was not yet in place, but as I pointed out in my column this week, former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy explains that the great American tradition later enshrined in the Sixth Amendment “guarantees the accused -- that means somebody who has been indicted or otherwise charged with a crime -- a right to counsel. But that right only exists if you are accused, which means you are someone the government has brought into the civilian criminal justice system and lodged charges against.” Unless they have been charged before military commissions or civilian courts, the al-Qaeda terrorists held at Guantanamo do not have a right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment. They are not accused criminals. They are enemy combatants held in a war authorized by Congress.

In the 234 years since Adams and his compatriots fought for our independence, the United States has held millions of enemy combatants -- and not one had ever filed a successful habeas corpus petition until the habeas campaign on behalf of Guantanamo detainees began. Thanks to this campaign, Guantanamo detainees now enjoy unprecedented rights far beyond those afforded to lawful prisoners of war with full Geneva protections. Nothing in the Geneva Conventions provides POWs with the right to counsel, access to the courts to challenge their detention, or the opportunity to be released prior to the end of hostilities. Yet thanks to the habeas campaign, al-Qaeda terrorists who violate the laws of war now enjoy all these privileges.

The habeas lawyers are not doing what John Adams did -- representing accused criminals already in the judicial system. Rather, they have reached outside the judicial system and dragged the terrorists in. And with these actions they have done immense damage to our national security. Detainees freed from Guantanamo under pressure from the habeas campaign have gone back to the fight and killed American and allied forces. And according to Paul Rester, the director of the Joint Intelligence Group at Guantanamo Bay, their actions have decimated his ability to effectively question captured terrorists who remain for intelligence to protect the American people. Interrogators must be able to expose intelligence to terrorists during questioning. But with the growing presence of habeas lawyers, interrogators are constrained from doing so for fear this intelligence will get out. Captured al-Qaeda training manuals instruct terrorist to “take advantage of visits to communicate with brothers outside prison and exchange information that may be helpful to their work outside the prison” -- and a number of law firms have been sanctioned for helping terrorists in Guantanamo pass messages. To expose intelligence to terrorists under such circumstances would put the lives of American troops at risk. “I might as well put an intelligence computer in a cave in Waziristan,” Rester says.

And then there is the ACLU’s so-called “John Adams Project.” In 2009 it was revealed that the lawyers in this project had stalked individuals they believed were CIA interrogators, surreptitiously took their pictures, and showed them to al-Qaeda terrorists at Guantanamo Bay -- placing the identities – and, therefore, the lives -- of these covert operatives and their families at risk. Would John Adams be proud to have his name associated with such conduct?

Pro bono hours are a scarce commodity, and how lawyers choose to spend that time tells us a lot about them. When they devote their time to representing the indigent, the elderly, battered women or refugees, we do not hesitate to say that those choices tell us something about their values. The same is true if they choose to devote their time to freeing America’s terrorist enemies from lawful confinement under the laws of war. At least that is what the founder of the organization that is coordinating the habeas campaign on behalf of captured terrorists -- the Center for Constitutional Rights -- has said. The late William Kunstler was once asked by Andy McCarthy why he never represented clients on the right with whose views he disagreed. Kunstler replied: “They have a right to an attorney, but they don’t have a right to ME.”

Kunstler chose his clients based on his values. And so do the lawyers working with his organization to represent al-Qaeda terrorists. There is nothing wrong with raising questions about the virtue of those choices.

By Marc Thiessen  | March 11, 2010; 11:06 AM ET
Categories:  Thiessen  | Tags:  Marc Thiessen  
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Comments

Dear Post:
Please quit letting Mr. Thiessen continue to forward his particularly wrong point of view. If you would like a model on which to start questioning and refusing to allow this type of propaganda to continue please refer to John Stewart's handling of Mr. Thiessen on Monday's The Daily Show (March 8, 2010).
Respectfully.

Posted by: Gruvers | March 11, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Just wondering…

Did Obama and Holder extend job offers or political appointments to any of the attorneys who represented the Haditha Marines?

Posted by: Bjartur | March 11, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

If the previous occupants of the executive branch had done ANYTHING to push these trials over the last decade this would be a moot point. It was this failure to act- whether on the Military side or the Judicial side that created this issue.

What you and Liz's are doing is a disgrace to our judicial system and is wholly for political attack reasons.

Pathetic.

When will you and Liz take the same transparency stance on Dick's buddies from the energy summits ? Until you do- pathetic hypocrites.

Posted by: dcperspective | March 11, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Values ? The AQ 7 lawyers showed their values:

They preferred pro-bono work with enemy combatants.

They worked very hard to undermine American national security... extending historic new rights to foreign terrorists... and damaging the collection of new intelligence.

Now they may be making policy on national security in the Justice Dept.

Appalling stupidity ? No. A genuine demonstration of the priorities and warped values of the Left. Think Sean Penn's support for Dictator Chavez. The only foreign leader whoem Obama seems to actually like.

Americans have a right to know if the AQ 7 are foxes guarding the hen house.

I fear we know the answer.

Posted by: pvilso24 | March 11, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Another in a long line of folks who claim to love this country but appear to hate/ disregard the constitution.

Posted by: priceisright | March 11, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Values ? The AQ 7 lawyers showed their values:

They preferred pro-bono work with enemy combatants.

They worked very hard to undermine American national security... extending historic new rights to foreign terrorists... and damaging the collection of new intelligence.

Now they may be making policy on national security in the Justice Dept.

Appalling stupidity ? No. A genuine demonstration of the priorities and warped values of the Left. Think Sean Penn's support for Dictator Chavez. The only foreign leader whoem Obama seems to actually like.

Americans have a right to know if the AQ 7 are foxes guarding the hen house.

I fear we know the answer.

Posted by: pvilso24 | March 11, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

_______________________________

God you people just don't quit.

No wonder our country is hated around the world with opinions from idiots like yourself.

Fox guarding the henhouse -- HOW ABOUT IDIOTS LIKE YOU distorting the facts. YOU AND PEOPLE LIKE CHENEY think our country should be modeled after NORTH KOREA or IRAN where NO ONE is allowed to speak with legal counsel. WHERE you are guilty before being innocent. WHERE if you dislike or express an opinion other than what is popular you should also be thrown in jail.

If you hate our great justice system - get the f(*^& out of the country and go somewhere where they kill people and then ask questions COMRADE

Posted by: racerdoc | March 11, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Ya think William Kunstler would want to have his name associated with your publicity stunt ?

Posted by: dcperspective | March 11, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

God, what a foul human being. The Pope would be proud.

Posted by: brandonesque | March 11, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

4 central kernels from Thiessen -

1. Saying John Adams defended enemy is factually incorrect.

2. Several "enemy rights" lawyers groups have been sanctioned for passing on messages to and from enemy.

3. "Unless they have been charged before military commissions or civilian courts, the al-Qaeda terrorists held at Guantanamo do not have a right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment. They are not accused criminals. They are enemy combatants held in a war authorized by Congress."
(True in WWII. We had 400,000 German prisoners held w/o habeas unless they committed a crime during captivity or were formally charged with war crimes at war's end - and only about 1/10th of 1% of POWs were so charged. And we had Japanese held as enemy since 45 minutes after the Pearl Harbor attack started and subsequently - w/o habeas rights..)

4. Pro bono time is limited. Who chooses what "cause" says a lot about the lawyer. If you have a firm that does pro bono work for battered women, it is logical to assume they care about battered women.
And who a lawyer REGULARLY represents for pay may say a lot about that lawyer's preferences if the choice is elective and part of a long pattern. Such as drug dealer lawyers, mob lawyers, and enemy rights lawyers.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | March 11, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

this halfwit is a sure sign the wapo as we knew it has died.

Posted by: calif-joe | March 11, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

oh look, it's the torture pig legitimizing the entirely unamerican and disgraceful actions his puppetmasters.

Posted by: mycomment | March 11, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Dear Post:

Thank you for running Mr. Thiessen's columns. It's refreshing to see a so-called "liberal" paper run viewpoints that aren't popular with the so-called liberal intelligentsia.

Also, delicious to read posts from such knee-jerk progressive whackos as racerdoc, brandonesque and Gruvers, who moan about the perception of America around the world and so-called constitutional abuses and yet call for Thiessen's hide and would deny his right to express the freedom of speech they speciously claim to hold so dear.

And Gruvers ... which Daily Show were you watching, the one aired on the Bizzaro World? The interview I saw ended with Stewart graciously conceding that he and Thiessen were, after all, not nearly so far apart as they would appear to be on the surface. Want a model for how to express your liberal views and yet still look and sound like a rational human being? You could do a lot worse than John Stewart, who at least is willing to let people express their opinions, no matter how much they might differ from his own.


Posted by: jackryan5084 | March 11, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm disappointed that the Post is allowing Thiessen to use its pages to respond to the trouncing he received on the Daily Show the other night. The best point made that night, about finding a moral compass, still rings true with me. My moral compass is not determined by subjective interpretations of others' work, but rather what feels right in my gut. My gut says to treat people like I want to be treated. And I want my country to behave the same way. I we detain someone, charge them or let them go. If we charge them, give them representation to the best of our ability. If our judicial system is going to be an example for the world to follow, we should have nothing to fear from vigorous defenses. We have lots to fear from knuckleheads like Thiessen. Sheesh.

Posted by: lectricbass | March 11, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

As Ann Coulter pointed out, you don't see the Al Queda 7 volunteering to defend the killer of the abortionist George Tiller. Who they defend does tell alot about them.

Posted by: combat18 | March 11, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

""""The same is true if they choose to devote their time to freeing America’s terrorist enemies from lawful confinement under the laws of war.""""

Hmmm. I must have been absent the day the U.S. issued a formal declaration of war against al Qaeda....or against Iraq....or against Afghanistan.

But I guess simply saying the words, "We're at war" is good enough these days, right?

Posted by: privettricker1 | March 11, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Since the SCOTUS sided with these attorneys and granted judgments in their favor, I guess they are also enemies of the state? They should also recuse themselves of all terrorism cases?

I fear that many here including Thiessen who is foaming at the mouth, would like to see us win this "war" at the cost of turning into Saudi Arabia, complete with torture, indefinite detentions, spying on citizens and casual allegations of treason.
Unfortunately that would not be a "victory". Al Queda is not trying to occupy America. It is trying to defeat our values. It fears our judicial system of rights and inherent liberties. It disdains the prospect of religious freedom and freedom of thought and speech. When all these hard won rights are gone, they will win regardless of our military operations and a hundred Gitmos. What's more? They will win with the aid of our so called "patriots".

Please consider what you are fighting for. Then think about what we must preserve in order not to lose our nation's soul.

Posted by: ps-md | March 11, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

US law stipulates that any person detained by an official of the US, even on foreign soil, is protected by the rights contained in the Constitution of the United States of America. Even if you use the argument that non-combatants are not subject to the Geneva Convention, they still qualify as persons detained by officials of the US government, no matter where they are detained. That entitles them to a speedy trial and the right to a defense attorney, whether they are US citizens or not. What right does Theissen have to say the AQ 7, in defending their clients, are doing so out of sympathy for alleged terrorists over their sense of duty to uphold the rule of law? Theissen is yet another, Bush/Cheney era throwback to McCarthyism who believes he has the right to cherry pick how our laws should be applied in whatever manner he deems fit. The backbone of our system is the idea that laws should be applied equally to all, otherwise they cannot be applied fairly to any.

Posted by: grantmh | March 11, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Next thing you know, to balance out this fascist rant, the Washington Times will run Op Eds by actual members of Al Qaeda? I don't think so. Fair and balanced doesn't work that way. Fair and balanced means Right Wing propaganda dominates all media outlets these days.

Posted by: rjoff | March 11, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record, neither the ACLU or any of its programs is in dispute in this matter. None of the lawyers accused by the former Vice President's daughter of being al Qaeda sympathizers are alleged to have participated in the ACLU program Thiessen mentions here.

The impact of habeas petitions on interrogations at Guantanamo is an issue of questionable relevance as well. The remaining detainees held in Cuba had all been there for years in which interrogators had access to them unrestricted by legal counsel. Competent interrogators might have been expected to make effective use of that time; a complaint by one of them that habeas petitions are "decimating" his ability to interrogate detainees raises suspicions that his competence is less than the American people have a right to expect from someone with his responsibilities.

Finally, it should be pointed out that most of the Guantanamo detainees released from that facility were turned loose by the administration Thiessen served, not by the Obama administration. They were released pursuant to ad hoc, inconsistent procedures adopted because the Bush administration did not want them tried in civil court and could not reach internal agreement on a format for military tribunals. In practical terms, this was the "tough on terrorists" policy to which Thiessen wants us to return.

Lastly, it is notable that on this legal question all the lawyers appear to be on one side of the argument. On the other side are Thiessen, a former speechwriter who never had responsibility in this are of policy; William Kristol, a columnist likewise without responsibility of any kind; and the former Vice President's daughter, who is apparently acting now as his spokesperson -- two people who would not know what is right, plus one who does not care what is right.

It is worth asking which side best represents the Republican Party, scarcely a year after the last Republican President drove it into the ground.

Posted by: jbritt3 | March 11, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Keep digging that cesspit for yourself and the Bushington Post, Theissen.

The stink speaks for itself.

Posted by: solsticebelle | March 11, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

[ahem:] BEGGING THE QUESTION!!!

You can't frame the issue as "devoting time to freeing terrorists" when there was never a trial or military tribunal to determine guilt or innocence. (And of course, the assistance of pro bono counsel shouldn't matter if the government has proof that they are actually enemy combatants.)

And in response to combat18 and Ann Coulter's point: if Tiller's killer was indigent, then the court will appoint him counsel, so pro bono assistance from the lawyers in question is unnecessary. Detainees, however, are not afforded court-appointed counsel. It's an entirely false comparison.

Posted by: jaycane40oz | March 11, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget that Mr. Thiessen was Mr. Bush's speechwriter; He never challenged Mr. Bush and his 'mistakes'.

--------------------------------

The "American 7" were defending not just the "Al Kaydas", they were defending the American Justice System and the American Way of Life.

By defending these people, they were serving their country to guarantee that NO unjustly accused person is subject to punishment at OUR hands.

THEY are the true Patriots, not the weasels like Ms. Cheney that are Solely Partisan and Opportunist.

Posted by: vigor | March 11, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

"Also, delicious to read posts from such knee-jerk progressive whackos as racerdoc, brandonesque and Gruvers, who moan about the perception of America around the world and so-called constitutional abuses and yet call for Thiessen's hide and would deny his right to express the freedom of speech they speciously claim to hold so dear."
-------------------------------------------

hey jackryan5084 (oh a tom clancy fan, how adorable), no one here is trying to "deny his right to express the freedom of speech." You must know that. No one is saying he should be jailed, or brought to Guantanamo, for expressing these warped thoughts. You have a right to free speech, you don't have a right to broadcast your disgusting opinions in a major newspaper without any fact-checking. Sure, you can convince a fool like Fred Hiatt to let you write in the paper, but if thiessen was fired tomorrow, it would in no way be an assault on his right to free speech. C'mon.

Posted by: routh | March 11, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Marc dear, and you think waterboarding isn't torture, as well.

'pffffft'

Posted by: bmschumacher | March 11, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Marc, let me hand you a shovel so you can keep digging. Your tell-tale speech writing techniques have crept into the column. You left out a key modifier , SOME defenders of the attorneys cited the John Admas defense --- some -- not all. In true Bush quibble fashion you have found one item from along list of accusatory arguments and are attempting to quibble about the meaning of IT. As if that is a defense for the flawed argument you and Bimbette offered.

Look clown, get your facts straight. The detainees were not all AQ, in fact the overwhelming majority weren't AQ. So perhaps you and Bimbette can please drop that BS. Second, your main bone of contention is your belief that these lawyers have chosen to represent these detainess because they have shared common values with them (the AQ, Taliban, detainees). I'd like to see your eveidence. I doubt you have email conversations etc. that support that lie --- but I digress. That is the only reasonable way to interpet your rant. What you, Bimbette, McCarthy and the other idiots on the right are simply unable to grasp is a principled lawyer might feel that upholding THIS NATION's core values (values upheld and confirmed by the Federal and Supreme Courts) is the overriding concern, and when they are of the legal opinion that the executive branch of THIS government is breaking law and not upholding OUR values, they should be stopped.

Posted by: army164 | March 11, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Post, it's simply despicable to give this narrow-minded, torture-loving, right-wing apparatchik a platform to spout his paranoid nonsense. The human beings who have been rounded up and caged at Guantanamo are not terrorists, they're ACCUSED terrorists. There's an enormous difference. There have been many detainees released from Guantanamo, and while some of them have indeed "returned to the battlefield" (surely that has nothing to do with America capturing them, flying them across an ocean, and torturing them without allowing them any opportunity to show that they aren't terrorists), the vast majority of them have been innocent. They were locked away for years and tortured for NO reason.

There are likely many dangerous individuals still held at Guantanamo, but in order to prove that they're terrorists (beyond just an accused terrorist), the US has always required that you present evidence in a court, allow the accused to try to deny the charges brought against him, and let a judge or jury make a final ruling.

Squealing that "we're at war! things are different!" does not mean what it used to. There used to be "a battlefield," there used to be a defined theater of war. This war against al-Qaeda (not an "enemy state," a loose coalition of religious, murderous thugs spread across many countries) allows America to define "the battlefield" as the ENTIRE WORLD, even inside US territory. They can just round anyone up, for ANY reason, from ANYwhere, call them a terrorist at war with America, and then lock them away in a cage indefinitely. No access to counsel, no ability to prove their innocence, just a life lived in a cage featuring the occasional torture.

Posted by: routh | March 11, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

ATTORNEYS PROTECTING TERRORISTS' RIGHTS IS OKAY BY ME. I THINK THE ISSUE HERE IS ERIC HOLDER'S REFUSAL TO NAME NAMES. EVERYONE KNOWS THAT HE AND THE PRESIDENT HAVE A DIFFERENT MINDSET THAN DID BUSH #43 AND VP CHENEY ON ISLAMIC TERRORISM. WHAT OBAMA AND HOLDER ARE LEARNING FAST IS THAT MOST AMERICANS DON'T LIKE THE WAY THEY HAVE HANDLED THE DOJ ATTORNEYS, AND THE CIA AGENTS AND THE REFERRAL TO NY OF THE MAJOR TERRORISTS. SO NOW THEY TRY TO HIDE WHAT THEY ARE UP TO SO AMERICANS WON'T THROW THEM OUT OF OFFICE. BUT THE CAT IS OUT OF THE BAG. EITHER TREAT THEM AS TERRORISTS OR GET OUT OF TOWN. IT'S THAT SIMPLE.

Posted by: DANSHANTEAL1 | March 11, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

You know, if one uses Thiessen's arguments concerning associations, then one can only assume that the Washington Post is in concert with Thiessen's notions of guilt before proven innocent and that old canard, habeus corpus. If this is a cogent position, one wonders to what democratic purpose WAPO perceives it's charter to be. I, for one, am scared of this publication and wonder what happened to the 4th Estate in this country. It is anti-democratic and anti-western. It is more monarchist and tyrranical and is antithetical to our ideals. You can call it treason if you want....

Posted by: davidemck | March 11, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse


Hey, what can you say?

It's Thiessen, the grossly perverted ideological hack that can't seem to find a real job after his total failure as a speechwriter for one of the most infamous facist administrations in American history.

You expected intelligent logical analysis, from this useless wannabe?

..

Posted by: DEFJAX | March 11, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I watched you as you snidely compared these lawyers to mob lawyers and pedophile lawyers, and tried to infer that these lawyers were somehow tainted and traitorous.

...that's what makes you a despicable person.

you're no Christian.

Posted by: vigor | March 11, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Defenders of the habeas lawyers representing al-Qaeda terrorists have invoked the iconic name of John Adams to justify their actions, claiming these lawyers are only doing the same thing Adams did when he defended British soldiers accused in the Boston Massacre. The analogy is clever, but wholly inaccurate.
--------------------------- Ken Starr gets another one wrong?

Posted by: Emmetrope | March 11, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who refers to the Bush administration's use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" is either willfully ignorant of history, or is a pathetic coward who thinks that by using different words, you can simply wish away reality. We executed Japanese soldiers in WWII for waterboarding (aka torturing) our soldiers. We reverse-engineered our recent techniques from the USSR and Khmer Rouge, since in the Army's SERE manual, we exposed our soldiers to light versions of these tactics so that they'd be able to possibly withstand the torture if they were ever caught by an enemy who allowed TORTURE. Ronald Reagan, every conservative's Big Warm Daddy, signed a treaty banning torture in 1988 (included within that treaty is an express prohibition against ever justifying the torture with some national emergency or crisis situation). This columnist is a shameless, proud advocate of torture. Either that or he's engaging in a desperate, futile effort to prop up W's historic failure of an administration.

Terrorists aren't supermen, nor are accused terrorists. If they have done something wrong, killed or attempted to kill US soldiers, then prove it and lock them away forever. But you have to prove it first. You can't just keep them on an offshore island locked in a cage when you have NO ability to verify your claims that they should be there. Terrorists aren't supermen, I have enough respect for the American people that I don't think putting accused terrorists on trial will somehow "brainwash" our citizenry or lead to increased attacks. This country is, and always will be a target for al-Qaeda.

Post, if you want people to treat this paper with any respect, get this pro-torture, conservative sheep off your editorial pages. He has nothing of value or integrity to say.

Posted by: routh | March 11, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Bravo, Marc. You can't make things up as you go along and that is the way it should be.

The dissenters in the comments here are pretty funny, "Don't let Marc speak because I disagree with him"? Really? Don't like having your morning harshed by someone actually doing something rather than sitting on the sidelines chattering about how they would do this better or how they are morally superior. I hope Marc didn't cause anyone to spit out their soy latté.

It is also not surprising that people who oppose your viewpoint on this thread would also attack your First Amendment rights because they're "real" Americans I am sure they would argue.

It is to laugh at the spectator who yells at the players on the field.

Posted by: jcrue | March 11, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Lawyers defending the principal of a nation of laws and not of men? We never seem to learn from history - once you eliminate the ability of lawyers to represent and defend everyone, there is no barrier to tyranny.

Posted by: bandfriend | March 11, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

You really do sicken me Thiessen.

It is hard to imagine an American blatantly stating that there is any class of people who don't deserve to be represented in our judicial system. Time and time again detainees have been released because they were innocent and yet you continue to hold up the straw man argument that they are the "worst of the worst". Some may be but we should make every effort to figure out what that subset is rather than imprison hundreds of people without any charge just to avoid letting them have their day in court or publicly revealing the fact that there is no evidence for detaining some people in the first place.

Posted by: patientcynic | March 11, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

why is this guy in my paper again?? It is a TORTURE to read his hackery. Washington Post, why do you insist on TORTURING your readers like this??

Posted by: hohandy1 | March 11, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Didn't you make every one of these points on the Daily Show and then whine that you didn't get to talk?

Posted by: dabberc | March 11, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

God, what ever possessed the Post to give this CLOWN a soapbox. OMG. He's unbearable. He's an uninformed, uneducated political hack who doesn't know the first thing about the duties every lawyer owes to the adversarial system of justice. SOMEONE MAKE THIS NONSENSE STOP!!!

Posted by: mmclaughlin1 | March 11, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"It is also not surprising that people who oppose your viewpoint on this thread would also attack your First Amendment rights because they're "real" Americans I am sure they would argue."
--------------------------------------------

hey jcrue, I already corrected another joker about this, but here goes again. NO one here is trying to "deny his right to freedom of speech." You must know that. NO one is saying he should be jailed, or brought to Guantanamo, for expressing these warped thoughts. You have a right to free speech, you do NOT have "a right" to broadcast your disgusting opinions in a major newspaper without any fact-checking. Sure, you can convince a fool like Fred Hiatt to let you write in the paper, but if thiessen was fired tomorrow, it would in NO WAY be an assault on his right to free speech. C'mon.

Posted by: routh | March 11, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

As usual, Thiessen is playing fast and loose with the facts. The millions of enemy combatants we held in the past were soldiers in national armed forces - Germany, Japan, Vietnam, etc. That is why habeas corpus was denied for them.

The people in Gitmo are civilians who may (or may not) have committed terrorist acts. There was no Al Qaeda or Taliban army that they can be traced too - they all claim to be innocent sheep herders. Thiessen thinks he and the other neocons are smart to know which were terrorists and which were innocents.

Posted by: maggots | March 11, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. I must have been absent the day the U.S. issued a formal declaration of war against al Qaeda....or against Iraq....or against Afghanistan.
But I guess simply saying the words, "We're at war" is good enough these days, right?

Posted by: privettricker1

***************
Privateslicker1 has just gone back to the stupid Mantra of Lefties since Vietnam. "Since the UN CHarter outlaws Formal Declarations of War, the US cannot make anymore formal declarations of war, in addition to the Constitution allowing war only with states - ERGO!!! War is ILLEGAL!" And any war is therefore criminal and our only choice is to hold hands and sing Kumbayah!"

Congress decided - like many nations it can still fight enemy without the 19th Century relic of "Declaring War, And War most Glorious, Sirs!". The last nation to formally declare war in the "old language" banned by the UN was the Soviets in July 1945, right before the UN was started up.

Since then, we have called it "UN-approved Police Actions" or Congressional Authorization to Use Military Force. And in those Congressional Acts, the enemy who the military may be used against is carefully defined.

Congress declared AQ and the Aghan Taliban who shelter them enemy - not "misguided civilian criminals".

So much for the usual Lefty misinformation. And the public, despite the Age of Obama, the True One...is fed up with Leftist sophistry on National Security.
Polls show:

1. 92 % of Americans consider Al Qaeda enemy, albeit enemy that committed criminal acts - rather than common civilian criminals.

2. 73% support waterboarding an Islamoid if it is done to save lives from pending AQ plots.

3. 94% of Americans believe it is proper to call America's military losses inflicted by Islamoids as "wartime casualties".

4. By a slightly narrower margin, 59% to 32% with 9% undecided - that military trials of AQ at Gitmo on on a base in the US - are more proper than trying them in civilian courts stateside.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | March 11, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen, is a paid tool, and nothing more. He's another Republican that never served in the military, but sets themselves up to be an expert on military matters. Thiessen and Cheney are two ego driven liars.

Posted by: kburnett1 | March 11, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

The primary fallacy with the arguments presented is that we are not engaged in a declared war.

Remember, in accordance with the Constitution, only Congress may declare war, and Congress did not declare war against either Iraq or Afghanistan, all they did was pass a resolution allowing the President to take military action.

Which means, the actions in both Iraq and Afghanistan are not part of a declared war, and that means, legally, the people taken prisoner and being held by the US are not prisoners of war who are subject to any of the rights and protections of the Geneva Convention.

Which is why the Bush Administration came up with the clever lawyer's term "enemy combatant" to describe those we take prisoner. The intent being to protect American forces engaged in Presidentially ordered combat actions from being charged with kidnapping and other crimes by the international courts.

Where the problem arises with this approach is that the Bush Administration created a new class of prisoners whom, by using legal machinations like calling them enemy combatants rather than prisoners, and parking them outside the Continental US, they (the Bush Administration) claimed were outside all legal protections of US laws.

This was, and still is, a problem, because the US holds itself up to the world as the country which holds democracy and freedom from dictatorship and police state activities to be a right.

Deciding to take people prisoner in an undeclared war, and holding those people prisoner for years without any rights at all makes the US look like it is no better than the people and administrations it says it is fighting against.

In the end we in the US cannot have it both ways. Either we believe in and support the rights of people, even when we do not like those people, or we are no better than those we claim to be fighting against.

Yes, the people captured and being held need to be held accountable for their actions on the field of battle. However, since we chose to go after them without declaring war, then we are honor bound as the world leader in democracy to put them into the legal system.

Yes, that does present a security problem, but, we (the voting population) allowed our politicians and the previous administration to put us into this legal pickle. So, now we have to suck it up and show the world that we as a country are more about doing what is right because it is the right thing to do than we are about being clever at legal reversal of our own laws.

JEAtkinson, US Navy (ret)

Posted by: JEAtkinsonUSNavyret | March 11, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

grantmh - "US law stipulates that any person detained by an official of the US, even on foreign soil, is protected by the rights contained in the Constitution of the United States of America. Even if you use the argument that non-combatants are not subject to the Geneva Convention, they still qualify as persons detained by officials of the US government, no matter where they are detained. That entitles them to a speedy trial and the right to a defense attorney, whether they are US citizens or not."

Deranged liberal prattle.
What about the Constitutional Rights of the Islamoids that Obama is whacking with Hellfire missiles? What about the boy pirates he had SEALs blow the brains out of? Or was Miranidizing Abdulmutallab sort of an antonement for his disregard of the precious pirate civil liberies encapsulated in the US Constitution??

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | March 11, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I would have thought that Thiessen's evisceration by Jon Stewart would have caused him at least to take a few days to lay low and lick his wounds.

The best indicator of the invalidity of his position is that the arguments in favor or against giving these people representation should stand on their own. Indeed the SCOTUS has already ruled against him and Cheney and Kristol.

So their arguments have been wrapped up in smear of the personal motives of the lawyers involved.

If they had any valid points why would they need to spice it up with ad hominem arguments? In fact that's all the argument that they're making.

It looks like their target audience are the ones who think Beck and Limbaugh are thinkers.

Posted by: bpiper | March 11, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"They are enemy combatants held in a war authorized by Congress."


Really? I must have missed the declaration of war. Can you tell me when and where this happened?

Posted by: turkerm | March 11, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Attention American lawyers. Do NOT under any circumstances defend an accused terrorist. if you do, Thiessen, Cheney, et al will work to expose you as working for terrorists and effectively end your career.

Attention law enforcement, if you do not want to be bound by habeus corpus, then simply do not charge your detainees with a crime. If you arrest someone but don't charge them, you can keep them as long as you want.

Thiessen points out that these people are not criminals, the are POWs. And I'm sure Theissen and Cheney have every intention of treating them as such, by simply releasing them as soon as we win the war.

Or alternatively, he doesn't understand why anyone would want to apply the rule of law here. Notice that he's not saying the supreme court was wrong. So presumably he acknowledges that U.S. law exists as it is determined by the Hamden decision. He's merely arguing that nobody should do anything to enforce U.S. law in these cases.

Posted by: leftcoaster | March 11, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm disappointed that the Post is allowing Thiessen to use its pages to respond to the trouncing he received on the Daily Show the other night. The best point made that night, about finding a moral compass, still rings true with me. My moral compass is not determined by subjective interpretations of others' work, but rather what feels right in my gut. My gut says to treat people like I want to be treated. And I want my country to behave the same way. I we detain someone, charge them or let them go. If we charge them, give them representation to the best of our ability. If our judicial system is going to be an example for the world to follow, we should have nothing to fear from vigorous defenses. We have lots to fear from knuckleheads like Thiessen. Sheesh.

Posted by: lectricbass | March 11, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

*************************
I agree. Jon Steward was great.

Posted by: gregorysherard | March 11, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Cheney, Cheney, Cheney. Blah, blah, blah.

Posted by: rlbj | March 11, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I am pretty sure that Thiessen is a statist at heart. I hope deep down he realizes how wrong he is.

Posted by: brandonesque | March 11, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Is there a former speechwriter for the Worst President In History, George Bush, who Fred Hiatt WON'T hire?

Thiessen has already proven himself to be a ridiculous man, a liar, and a cheap hack.

He fits right in with the Bushington Post crew.

Posted by: losthorizon10 | March 11, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who compares opportunistic liberal American lawyers trying to defend foreign terrorists to John Adams's defense of his fellow British subjects needs to pick up a history book and actually read it.

And, I would suggest to @Gruvers that he take a remedial history course at a local high school before offering talking points from Comedy Central.

Posted by: TomPaine76 | March 11, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

and Thiessen is no Ted Sorenson, or William Safire, or Pat Buchanan, or a Peggy Noonan, or even a David Frum.

Posted by: pKrishna43 | March 11, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

All word play and no principles.

It was embarrassing to watch on The Daily Show, it is embarrassing to read in the Washington Post.

This guy was an advisor to G W Bush. God help us!

If the people that were detained were Enemy Combatants and the war is not yet over, why did the previous administration let so many go? I guess that some of them must not have been Enemy Combatants. So legally representing individuals who were picked up from all corners of the globe (remember, he redefines the theatre of this particular war as the globe, so many of the people that he refers to as Enemy Combatants were not part of any direct conflict that we would consider a war) is not part of our constitution? Strange, imagine if this was the policy of another country and it happened to American citizens, I would hope that we would see how illogical the argument would be then!

Reminds me of how we put japanese to death for torturing US military and one of the defined methods of torture was waterboarding.

You reap what you sow.

in a war without end?

Posted by: Selims | March 11, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

jcrue:

Don't like having your morning harshed by someone actually doing something rather than sitting on the sidelines chattering about how they would do this better or how they are morally superior....It is to laugh at the spectator who yells at the players on the field.

------

Funny you say this. I personally spent 22 years of my life serving my country from a vantage point that was not as a speechwriter for a Texas National Guard Deserter. And, I did so so that people like you, Thiessen, Coulter, and the like may spout fascist, ill-informed rhetoric under the protection of the First Ammendment (while you also howl and complain about anyone else who does not agree with you doing the same thing).

What is more, I would serve another 22 years protecting your right to be the way you are even though I do not agree with your viewpoints, because somebody has to be willing to defend our rights or else we will lose them (like we have under the Patriot Act).

The fact is though, if you will check your facts, Mr. Thiessen and most members of the Bush Administration never did much more in their lives than advocate for rich people and stay out of the military and combat zones (except when it was politically expedient for them to work their electorates).

In fact, there are more Democrats than Republicans in Congress who have chosen to give more than lip service to the idea of actually serving their country by doing time in the military.

So, go back and get some facts before taling about those of us who have done more than hide behind desks.

JEAtkinson, US Navy(ret)

Posted by: JEAtkinsonUSNavyret | March 11, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Want to know where this crud is coming from? Check out his wiki.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Thiessen

Posted by: sr31 | March 11, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

It's funny, but Adams' fellow citizens didn't buy Thiessen's tortured logic about the British soldiers. They brutally denounced Adams for his actions (just like Thiessen).

To the Americans, the soldiers were part of an occupying army in Boston. Also, these soldiers enjoyed representation in Parliament, which Americans were denied. In legal practice, American colonists were not equal citizens to the people who were born in Great Britain.

Posted by: maggots | March 11, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, ChrisFord1, the fact that you are unaware that the word state in the context of foreign relations refers to a sovereign state, a.k.a. another country sheds light on the profundity of your comment... and that is ignoring the fact that Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution makes no reference to states when discussing Congress's power to declare war.

More to the point, however, the problem that people have with the "war" on terror is that it is that the executive power is claiming that it has open-ended power to do whatever it wants for however long it wants without any manner of review. A war against a tangible enemy, such as Al Quaeda, could be brought to a conclusion using something like a reasonable person standard (presumably what you were attempting with your polling data). Also, a war against Al Quaeda would only cover executive branch actions against Al Quaeda... it would not be open-ended. However, in fighting a "war" against terrorism, the executive branch is effectively declaring an unchecked carte blanche.

I fail to see, and no one has yet made an effective case for, how unchecked executive power (over what is a fundamentally judicial matter) is consistent with America's Constitution, history, or values (particularly the conservative linchpin of a small, limited government). It is true that the founders wanted an energetic government with the ability to address emergencies, but is the "conservative" claim that founders thought that an emergency could be declared in perpetuity without any recourse for review.

This is what the lawyers were trying to address by defending the perhaps-someday-to-be-accused-and-found-guilty-or-confirmed-through-some-reasonably-due-process-as-continued-enemy AQ7. To try to paint people who oppose Kafkaesque institutions as being pro-Al-Quaeda, is beyond disingenuous; it is grossly reprehensible; and, unfortunately, it is becoming all to American.

Posted by: orgbluspider | March 11, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Only a liberal could have sufficient brain lock to go on this page and cite Comedy Central as support for giving foreign terrorists - you know, thugs who target civilians such as women and children - full Constitutional rights, but are adamant that Thiessen shouldn't have an opportunity to speak.

Then, they combine this absurdity with the usual paranoid "Bush Cheney Bush Cheney" rants and blather even after a year under the Obamessiah.

totally worthless.

Posted by: TomPaine76 | March 11, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

vigor - "The "American 7" were defending not just the "Al Kaydas", they were defending the American Justice System and the American Way of Life."

Interesting argument. Since the Constitution & SCOTUS affirmation has held that Americans have many rights outside the Justice system, are Islamoid enemy entitled to a little "pro bono" help from non-lawyers in those areas, just as they are accorded all sorts of lawyers rushing to aid them in "precious enemy rights to defend their actions in the legal system".

As a "pro bono" non-lawyer, can I help enemy to further enjoy their 1st Amendment Rights by helping Islamoids set up a recruiting network?

Or would that be wrong and giving aid and comfort to enemy?

As SCOTUS has ruled the right to keep and bear arms under the 2nd an individual right, and the Left says all Constitutional rights are obligated for the US Gov't to honor in every corner of the planet....could I donate some nice rifles or my time in teaching and training AQ killers to use them more effectively?

Or would that be wrong?

How about as a non-lawyer, I work "pro bono" to better secure stored IEDs against being detected by searches that are not based on probable cause in Iraq or Afghanistan and lack a warrant issued by a civilian judge somewhere in the States.

Would I be a Left-wing hero for helping protect precious 4th Amendment rights - or not?

Couldn't John Walker Lindh and Adam Gadahn be considered "pro bono" heroes, taking up safeguarding the American Way of Life as writer 'vigor' asserts? After all, these men, by assisting or encouraging enemy to protect their right against their lives being taken except under Constitutional Amendment by trial by jury - are by the standards we are told make the Al Qaeda lawyers admirable - make the "so-called" traitors Gadahn and Lindh admirable.

Even by killing American soldiers. Lindh and Walker were just giving Al Qaeda a better defense of their rights. True American heroes, by Leftist thinking.

And what of sympathetic Islamoids giving money to radical Islamoids - to help their free speech rights and snuff videos and recruiting and other Islamoid 1st Amendment-protected activities?
How can you say an enemy has a Right to the 5th, but not the 1st or 2nd Amendment?


Posted by: ChrisFord1 | March 11, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

ChrisFord1:

You fail to support your claims with any verifiable sources for your information.

Which is telling, because all the PEW and other polls I have personally looked at do not support your rant.

I am also left chuckling at your feeble attempt to fact pick about the UN and our (the US's) not being able to declare war.

All I can say is that you need to go back and learn how to do citations and come up with scholarly, verifiable information. That is because what you have stated about the US not being able to declare war is total hogwash.

The fact is that Deserter Bush asked for authorization to do what he did because he and the rest of the Republican party openly acknowledged that there was no way to declare war against an organization (Al Qeada), and there were not enough votes under their control to declare war against eitehr Iraq or Afghanistan.

The point being, the Bush administration tried to get Congress to declare war, and discovered they could not muster the votes to make it happen before they initiated the request for a vote.

JEAtkinson, US Navy(ret)

Posted by: JEAtkinsonUSNavyret | March 11, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

If the Post insists on publishing material from a dooshbag like Thiessen, it's time for the Post to give me a big refund.

Posted by: angelos_peter | March 11, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Theissen should know about terrorists. I understand that his grandfather was lawfully killed because he was carrying out a terrorist attack on the lawful government of Warsaw.

Posted by: williamwertman | March 11, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Why not end this controversy ?

If the AQ 7 are doing honorable work... Why not reveal their new roles ? If they are NOT working terrorist detainee policy.. or national security issues.. why not say so ?

Isn't transparency what President Obama wanted ?

No one is asking for the lawyers to be disbarred or investigated (as the New York Times wanted for Bush's lawyers).

Americans just want to know... Are the foxes guarding the hen house ?

Posted by: pvilso24 | March 11, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

ChrisFord1, you are one dumb phuque. Citizens who are under criminal prosecution may be denied the right to bear arms. Ex-felons are denied the right to own firearms. As far as the First Amendment goes, I guess you have never heard of the clear and present danger doctrine.

Why don't you and Thiessen go off and tickle each other?

Posted by: angelos_peter | March 11, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Good to know that they're just POWs that we will let go when the war is over. The war will end someday, right?

Posted by: Alsatian1 | March 11, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I would have expected Thiessen to have crawled away into a dark corner to hide by now. Instead, this national embarassment is still out there trumpeting his hate-speech. Shame!

Posted by: gposner | March 11, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Deranged liberal prattle.
What about the Constitutional Rights of the Islamoids that Obama is whacking with Hellfire missiles? What about the boy pirates he had SEALs blow the brains out of? Or was Miranidizing Abdulmutallab sort of an antonement for his disregard of the precious pirate civil liberies encapsulated in the US Constitution??

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | March 11, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

########################################

Your analogy is moronic. We did not randomly blast the Somali pirates - in each case, we attempted to detain these pirates without violence through verbal warnings or warning shots.

If Abdulmutallab had tried to shoot people at the airport, the police would have shot him just as dead as the pirates. There is NOTHING in the constitution that protects criminals who resist arrest.

Posted by: maggots | March 11, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

The difference between the Left and Right on Justice Dept lawyers:

The Left (including the New York Times) wanted President Bush's lawyers investigated and disbarred for their defense of American lives and national security.

The Left pushed hard for ALL documents and information to be made public - regardless of the cost to national security.

Now the Left wants NO investigations, no disbarment, nothing revealed, lets move on.

The Right only wants to KNOW what President Obama's AQ 7 pro-terrorist lawyers are doing in the Justice Dept ?

Is says alot about the priorities and focus of the two media.

Which one makes us safer ? I think I know the answer.

Posted by: pvilso24 | March 11, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

TomPaineintheButt76, Marc Thiessen can flap his pie hole all he wants...and so can you. And I can cancel my subscription to the Post.
Dooshbag.

Posted by: angelos_peter | March 11, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

The difference between the Left and Right on Justice Dept lawyers:

The Left (including the New York Times) wanted President Bush's lawyers investigated and disbarred for their defense of American lives and national security.

The Left pushed hard for ALL documents and information to be made public - regardless of the cost to national security.

Now the Left wants NO investigations, no disbarment, nothing revealed, lets move on.

The Right only wants to KNOW what President Obama's AQ 7 pro-terrorist lawyers are doing in the Justice Dept ?

Is says alot about the priorities and focus of the two media.

Which one makes us safer ? I think I know the answer.


####################################

What total lies and distortions. The Bush lawyers wrote scurrilous opinions that promoted torture and the abridgement of our civil rights - they weren't saving anybody's lives or making us safer.

On the other hand, the Obama attorneys have done absolutely nothing that was illegal, immoral, or unethical. You are simply trying to start another witch hunt.

Posted by: maggots | March 11, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

"The reign of Mr. Adams has been one continued tempest of malignant passions. As president, he has never opened his lips, or lifted his pen without threatening and scolding; the grand object of his administration has been to exasperate the rage of contending parties, to calumniate and destroy every man who differs from his opinions."

The law guaranteed Mr. Callender's right to counsel. Score one for the scolds.

Posted by: Candidus | March 11, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

George Orwell would recognize the rhetorical sleight-of-hand Mr. Thiessen & Co. continue to play here. Heck, he might even admire the chutzpah it takes to say that the hundreds of foreigners detained at Gitmo for years without any access to a lawyer didn't deserve legal representation because--wait for it!--they weren't covered by habeas corpus.

But he leaves out the inconvenient fact that the Supreme Court said they WERE ALL entitled to counsel. So his argument that there was anything unethical about lawyers volunteering to represent them in court is completely full of holes.

Much like his head and heart...

Posted by: DCSteve1 | March 11, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Boy, the layer of scum is really building up at the Post.

Posted by: bigbrother1 | March 11, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen writes: "Guantanamo detainees now enjoy unprecedented rights far beyond those afforded to lawful prisoners of war with full Geneva protections. Nothing in the Geneva Conventions provides POWs with the right to counsel, access to the courts to challenge their detention, or the opportunity to be released prior to the end of hostilities."

This argument might be more pursuasive if Thiessen and his neocon cohorts were also arguing that we should be treating these detainees as POWs. Instead, they have siezed upon the somewhat novel legal classification of "enemy combatant" - the legal implications of which have hardly, if ever, been addressed by the courts - and would now question the loyalties of any lawyer who undertakes such clarification through the representation of such an individual.

One of the most fundamental flaws in his logic is the supposition that these lawyers defended terrorists (enemy combatants, or whatever else one might choose to call them). In fact, the people they defended were ACCUSED terrorists. If someone who is not our enemy is being detained, our national interests are in no way advanced through his detention. However, Thiessen would preclude this determination from ever being made by denying even innocent detainees the benefit of counsel.

The lawyers who have represented detainees were loyal to our Constitution and our system of government, which is more than I can say for either Thiessen or Cheney.

Posted by: neilmckenna | March 11, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

It is hard to believe that the founding fathers would not be disgusted by the distortions of their views and actions represented in Thiessen's writing.

The founding fathers believed in the principles of justice that out country is based on. Thiessen looks for excuses to get around these same principles.

Most sadly he does not even believe the principles that he gives. Here he pretends that what he thinks is important is whether the people involved were citizens or whether they are already in the criminal justice system.

But that does not stop him from casting aspersions on lawyers who defend accused pedophiles despite the fact that their clients are citizens who are in the criminal justice system. That is, if he needs to pretend a principle is important to limit someone's civil rights he is willing to do so. If he needs to ignore that principle to limit someone's civil rights, he will do that too.

It is very strange trying to comprehend the arguments of someone like Thiessen who simply does not accept the basic principles that our system of justice is based on.

Posted by: beckerl | March 11, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Once again the Washington Post disgraces its pages and insults its readers with the vile, despicable Marc Thiessen. And as usual, his childish arguments fall apart with only a minute of thought.

In the Adams example, he is saying that persons who are accused of crimes should have more rights (to counsel) than those who are not accused of crimes. Under his line of reasoning, you can be held indefinitely just as long as no charges are lodged against you. I have a hard time believing that is what the Founders had in mind for our system of justice. Evidence to the contrary is provided by Alexander Hamilton, who noted that arbitrary imprisonment has been “in all ages, the favorite and most formidable instrument of tyranny.” It is the reason that the right to challenge your imprisonment through the writ of habeas corpus is provided in the Constitution.

Second, Thiessen fails to note that it was the Bush administration that continually invented new classifications for prisoners in its effort to avoid having their imprisonment reviewed. POWs, lawful combatants, illegal combatants…any of these ring a bell Thiessen? Then he proceeds to conflate those held at Gitmo with al Qaeda terrorists. While some may have been terrorists, the vast majority were simply released by the Bush administration with no charges filed. The record is replete with stories of innocent Afghan and Iraqi citizens being rendered to Gitmo, mistreated, abused, tortured and then released with no charges placed against them, no compensation for their pain and suffering and not even an apology. Is it any wonder that Thiessen and his henchmen fought every effort to clarify the status of these detainees? Could it be afraid that their slipshod, amateurish and arbitrary imprisonments would be revealed?

But perhaps the most revealing of Thiessen’s lies is his rigidly ideological insistence that individuals held at Gitmo are not entitled to have their cases reviewed. This wasn’t just the work of the “al Qaeda7,” as he childishly insists upon calling them, it was also the ruling of the “al Qaeda9,” the Supreme Court of the United States.

Just as he contends lawyers choose their clients based upon their values (the rule of law being foremost in my personal opinion), so has Thiessen chosen his ideological bunkmates. He has thrown in with the tyrants, the torturers, the despots and those who believe they are either above the law or a law unto themselves. The Washington Post should be ashamed to give this monster a voice.

Posted by: tja6789 | March 11, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

You can't claim that the Al Qaeda suspects are enemy combatants and not subject to US justice system and then at the same time deny them rights under the Geneva Conventions....either they have Geneva rights, meaning we cannot use harsh interrogation, humiliate them, deny them access to the Red Cross, etc., or they have to be granted an opportunity to refute the charges against them...the DoD estimated that most of the Guantanamo detainees were innocent people swept up in mass arrests and detentions and hundreds were finally released, some did go back to fight...if there was a process, then maybe these individuals wouldn't have been released....

I fail to understand why the Post and media feel the need to grant nutjobs like Theissen a venue to argue the most nonsensical anti American drivvel, as if it were being fair and balanced. Its almost as if they'd provide a venue for someone to argue that the moon is made of cheese as if that were a valid counter-point to the scientific community's agreement that it is made of rocks and minerals....thinking about tuning out for a while, seriously what happened to journalism?

Posted by: Nishinga | March 11, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Theissen's argument- that once someone is accused of being an "enemy combatant" they have no legal rights- is a fairly dangerous one. Several of these people were picked up after being denounced, in some cases, reportedly, a reward was paid.

As much as Comedy Central is entertainment rather than hard news, it was amusing seeing Theissen sputter on The Daily Show that he was not given enough time to preemptively present his ideas. No doubt Stewart cut him off, but it is ironic seeing a man demand to be heard arguing that others have no right to be heard.

Posted by: irishjazz | March 11, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

The mob lawyer gets immense renumeration and power from rushing to find mobsters he can defend or help in other ways. But does so understanding that much of the community holds him in contempt and while sitting in a Penthouse sipping champagne with showgirls sent to cater to his every need - knows that he has a snowballs chance in hell of becoming an officer of the local Bar or getting in to a dinner at the local Italian-American club.

A stigma comes with the territory.

Enemy lover lawyers have to accept the same. And no matter how foamy-mouthed the Left gets in shock! and outrage! that some lawyer advocating for the enemy will have an odor, a stigma affixed to them by people well past Cheney - there it is!

An Al Qaeda lawyer is lionized and amply rewarded by "his crowd". Almost guaranteed tenure at a liberal university. A partnership at a progressive Jewish law firm dedicated to tearing down a "racist, unjust, Christmas-loving America". Private jet rides with Sean Penn or a Saudi Prince. A 50,000 grant from George Soros to enable 1st class accomodations while the lawyer fights for terrorist rights. A fast track into the high power corriders of Government as a liberal Democrat appointee. Not being just invited to Hollywood tux and tie soirees like mob lawyers once went to the most exclusive Vegas and Manhattan get-togethers - but being the Guest of Honor. The hamdan pro bono lawyer, Neal Katyahn, even goes past that, with George Clooney and Matt Damon working to make a movie about his heroic effort to get Hamdan, Binnies driver, the same rights as US citizens.

But outside the hard Left, and progressive Jewish legal community and other arms and Fronts of the Left - are the Al Qaeda lawyers similarly lauded in broader America? Or considered under a real stigma like mob lawyers properly were outcast in? My guess is the latter.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | March 11, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who compares opportunistic liberal American lawyers trying to defend foreign terrorists to John Adams's defense of his fellow British subjects needs to pick up a history book and actually read it.

Posted by: TomPaine76

---------------

Please forward your comments to the Dean of Pepperdine Law School, as he is making just that comparison.

Posted by: leftcoaster | March 11, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

As Ann Coulter pointed out, you don't see the Al Queda 7 volunteering to defend the killer of the abortionist George Tiller. Who they defend does tell alot about them.
Posted by: combat18
______________________________

Just like it says about those who quote Ann Coulter

Posted by: stikyfingas | March 11, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Where did Post find this hammerhead? There is no upside to representing Guantanamo detainess. Any inference that they become heroes to the left is BS.

It's been determined by a SCOTUS dominated by conservatives that the detainees are entitled to legal representation. If Thiessen has a problem with that, then it's with the SCOTUS and not the lawyers involved. Instead he takes the favorite path of right-wing dirt-bags like just like him by ascribing dishonorable motives to the people he doesn't agree with and by trying to establish guilt by association.

If Thiessen thinks those guys are POW's, then he must see an end to the conflict under which they were captured and, when that occurs, release of those prisoners without further ado. That's how POW are handled. If that's not what Thiessen thinks, then he should shut his pie-hole regarding any comparison to POWs.

Posted by: st50taw | March 11, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

The errors in fact and logic made by Thiessen in this piece are only exceeded by the McCarthyism that it embraces. Please, Washington Post, there are more credible voices out there for the conservative cause. This guy is a hack for the right, and not a very good one at that. Please raise your standards!!!

Posted by: lloydamy | March 11, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Were the court appointed lawyers representing the Nazis during the Nuremberg Trials also guilty by association? Should these lawyers also have been prosecuted as well? Where do you draw the line Mr. Thiassen? You're argument is based on a false premise. It is the basis for every kangaroo court in every two-bit dictatorship in the world.
You cannot be truly an American and support Liz Cheney's absurd witchhunt.

Posted by: logcabin1836 | March 11, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

At long last Washington Post, have you no decency left? Sad that the only reason I now come to this site is to continue to protest the hiring of this torture supporter.

Posted by: caphilldcne | March 11, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen..you ass..John Adams was the equivalent of a british noble from the height of their empire..coddled,spoiled and overeducated to the hilt...of course we don't have that in modern times....i bet you they could out debate his ignorant dogmatic sorry ass any day though.

Posted by: kiler616 | March 11, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I believe it was Monroe who said " when a government takes away civil liberties, it is done under the guise of facing a threat from outside the country". Then there is the ever popular, "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel". Hitler and Mussolini operated in the same way as these folks. Create an imagined threat and react to it by imprisoning the enemies of the regime. Thiessen and his ilk are disgusting. Is this what our founding fathers had in mind? Denying the most basic right, that of representation in court?

Posted by: chopin224 | March 11, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

If I ever see this piece of s_it Thiessen on the street I will beat the living crap out of him. I encourage everyone and anyone to do the same. Then this pig will change his tune.

Posted by: strictly_liberal | March 11, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

And you sir are an idiot.

If you go read history, probably for the FIRST TIME, you'll note that Mr. Adams DEFENDED people accused of a crime in the US to the best of his ability. Not run and hide under Dick Cheeeney's skirt tales.

LIKE YOU!!!

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | March 11, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Just wondering…

Did Obama and Holder extend job offers or political appointments to any of the attorneys who represented the Haditha Marines?


Posted by: Bjartur
______________________

Just wondering. Did George W. Bush?

Posted by: arancia12 | March 11, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

were any of the lawyers hired by holder part of the aclu's john adams project? if they were holder and all of the rest need removede from their jobs.

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | March 11, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

strictley liberal, the coutry expects you and the rest of the libs to act like that. east l.a. huh? oh well , whatever it takes.

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | March 11, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm not listening to a guy who worked for Jesse Helms, then W.

There are too many lies and half truth and ideological arguments to argue the piece on it's merits.

Cause the author doesn't have any.

Posted by: kreator6996 | March 11, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Marc you are an idiot.

Posted by: Henry_of_BrowardCounty | March 11, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

The more I think of it the more I have to conclude that something is very, very wrong with Marc Thiessen. I suspect some very grave physical, sexual and/or emotional damage was done to him at a young age. Now instead of dealing with that trauma, he takes some kind of poisonous satisfaction in playing the part of the "leper." He seems to have a deep need to be hated by the world so that his self-hatred is confirmed and amplified.

I can find no other explanation for his utterly loathsome and irrational opinions.

But if I was working in the same office as him (or if I was in his family) I would want to be very careful. This is the type that builds up to a dramatic and messy finish. I will not be surprised at all if his story ends in a gruesome multiple-murder-suicide.

Posted by: bigbrother1 | March 11, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

This Thiessen guy's a jerk, isn't he?

Posted by: therapidone | March 11, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations, Fred Hiatt! Every time people are certain you can't possibly bring the Post any lower, you manage to prove them wrong.

Posted by: routh | March 11, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Each of the comments above has a blue "Report Abuse" key. I wish the entire Washington Post had such a key because I would pound it as hard as I could each time this Bush apologist Mark Thiessen put his keys on a keyboard.

What difference does it make if Massachusetts was a British colony or that John Adams and the soldiers he defended were British subjects at the time of the Boston Massacre? The Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus were in effect and had the British soldiers not been promptly brought to trial, I am certain that Adams would have demanded their release.

Posted by: jsj20002 | March 11, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen is a disgrace, and so is Hiatt for hiring him. Get rid of both.

Posted by: bobskis | March 11, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Each of the comments above has a blue "Report Abuse" key. I wish the entire Washington Post had such a key because I would pound it as hard as I could each time this Bush apologist Mark Thiessen put his keys on a keyboard.

What difference does it make if Massachusetts was a British colony or that John Adams and the soldiers he defended were British subjects at the time of the Boston Massacre? The Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus were in effect and had the British soldiers not been promptly brought to trial, I am certain that Adams would have demanded their release.

Posted by: jsj20002 | March 11, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Dear Washington Post:

Mr. Thiessen is a serial dis/mis-informer with a clearly malicious ideological tilt which goes beyond the pale of responsible journalism or mainstream publication editorial bounds. His brand of garbage editorial-disinformation is what one expects to see on the website run by the Fox organization which tries to pawn-off this detritus as legitimate news and editorial comment.

Your paper has the sole responsibility for the quality and accuracy of it's content, whether it be news reporting, editorial comment, or wire-service content. If you do not know how to exercise your responsibility to your readers, I suggest you hire a competent managing editor to take control. You should also refer to how Mr. John Stewart handled Mr. Thiessen on the March 9 "The Daily Show". In that case, Mr. Theissen was repeatedly stopped in his tracks when he tried to present mis-information as fact.

Daily Show URL: http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/tue-march-9-2010-marc-thiessen.

Posted by: JBGJRESQ | March 11, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

hey jackryan5084 (oh a tom clancy fan, how adorable), no one here is trying to "deny his right to express the freedom of speech." You must know that. No one is saying he should be jailed, or brought to Guantanamo, for expressing these warped thoughts. You have a right to free speech, you don't have a right to broadcast your disgusting opinions in a major newspaper without any fact-checking. (routh)

#######################################

Actually, you DO have that right. It’s enshrined in a little something knowledgeable people like to call the First Amendment. And before spouting any more liberal claptrap about protecting the rights of poor, oppressed terrorists and defending their bleeding-heart lefty supporters in the DOJ, you might want to glace through it – there’s some good stuff in there. Thiessen has the same right to hold – and disseminate – his opinions as the Post has to reprint them. He’s not hurting anyone – unless you or one of your lobe-challenged friends in the chattering class pops a blood vessel while reading him. It’s the same right that lets dolts such as yourself bore us all to tears.

Viva la Constitution! Viva the Post! Viva Thiessen! And Viva John Stewart!

Posted by: jackryan5084 | March 11, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Dude...you're an idiot.

And apparently Fred Hiatt's an idiot too.


Posted by: wkristol | March 11, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

It's nice to know that the Washington Post endorses calling members of the Justice Department "the al-Qaeda Seven."

How f&cking classy is that.

Posted by: wkristol | March 11, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me who gets the feeling that this Thiessen is just five kinds of evil incarnate? His WP op-ed is a smoking stack of sulfur . . . I'm jussst sayin'.

Posted by: silverfish1 | March 11, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

They are not accused criminals. They are enemy combatants held in a war authorized by Congress.

-


This is ambiguous in a way that appears to me to be deliberately deceptive. I interpret this as an endorsement of the Cheney/Addington/Yoo doctrine of presidential power. Under this doctrine, the president has complete discretion to designate anyone he wishes an enemy combatant, including American citizens. That person can be held indefinitely without being charged with any crime. Habeas corpus can be ignored. The derogatory reference to the "habeas campaign" appears to be acknowledgment of his attachment to the Cheney/Addington/ Yoo doctrine which effectively abrogates the right to habeas corpus guaranteed in the Constitution. The Constitution allows it to be suspended only by congress, not at the whim of the president. This author might consider the dissent of A. Scalia in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld which condemns the "Cheney" doctrine and provides a far stronger argument for the indispensability of habeas corpus for any democracy than this disingenuous author does for dismissing it. Habeas corpus had been established in Britain before the American revolution. Of course, John Adams knew this. It appears that this writer does not.

The Cheney/Addington/Yoo doctrine is explained in the memos written by Yoo at the OLC.

See:http://query.nytimes.com/search/sitesearch?query=John+Yoo&srchst=cse

Posted by: twm1 | March 11, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

@jackryan: What? Seriously, what?? The 1st Amendment gives you the right to broadcast your opinions from a newspaper as a paid columnist, you say? This is completely asinine. Also, neither of has "a right" to post comments here. The Post can choose to take any of them down for any reason (pursuant to their self-imposed rules).

Again, NO ONE is talking about jailing or sanctioning thiessen for his ramblings. He has every right to speak those views in public, to tell people about them, to think them, etc. without being punished or restricted by the government. However, NOWHERE in the 1st Amendment does it say ANYTHING about having an inherent right to express completely false, irresponsible viewpoints and not expect to get fired from a theoretically reputable source of journalism.

If the Post chooses to fire thiessen because he's a plain disgrace and a torture enthusiast, they will IN NO WAY be violating his right to free speech. They will be terminating his employment, they won't be sending him to jail, or threatening him with any legal punishment. NONE of his constitutional rights are at stake here.

I dare you to respond, young jackryan.

Posted by: routh | March 11, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Like packing heat in Independence Hall and ending up with the bullets and the other guy ending up with the gun. Of course there is no evidence, just a couple of guys talking about threats and security. That road goes on forever Troopers.

Posted by: tossnokia | March 11, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

After the thorough whipping Stewart gave this craven whiner, I would not have he'd have the temerity to continue this drivel.

Posted by: Threepac | March 11, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Torture-king Thiessen is from the Liz Cheney school of BS shoveling. Do you really want this national embarrassment to represent WaPo?

Posted by: revbookburn | March 11, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

I look forward to Thiessen writing HIS book full of garbage soon. My guess is millions of the same old folks will buy it. Sigh.

Posted by: steveboyington | March 11, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Let the Washington Post know what you think about WaPo hiring the wretched, half-witted Thiessen. (Did you see him on the Daily Show with John Stewart? Thiessen's an arrogant, drooling idiot.)

Media Matters for America has an on-line petition you can sign. Find it here:

http://mediamatters.org/action/wapotorture/?source=uthiessenb

Posted by: WhatHeSaid | March 11, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Torture loving parasite and warmongering chickenhawk Thiesssen enthusiastically appeases "freedom hating terrorists" when he supports shredding our Constitution.

Good job there Thiessen, AKA bin Laden lackey.

Posted by: kingcranky | March 11, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Piece of filth. Just the type too many admire. You know who I'll go to for how I should think about this guy? Ted Olson. Olson thinks this guy is overboard and foolish.

Posted by: steveboyington | March 11, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Marc, you don't get it do you? In a democracy, a government official is not able to designate someone as a villain without an independent review. You say, "The British soldiers were Adams’ fellow countrymen -- not foreign enemies of the state at war with his country." Well, how do you prove the folks at Guantanamo are 'foreign enemies of the state'? By allowing them access to the courts. 'Habeas Corpus' is simply a method to determine that detention is not illegal. I'll put it to you simply, Marc, do you believe in rule of law or not?

Posted by: feralrom | March 11, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

As with most of what is written here, the claim that "In the 234 years since Adams and his compatriots fought for our independence, the United States has held millions of enemy combatants -- and not one had ever filed a successful habeas corpus petition until the habeas campaign on behalf of Guantanamo detainees began." is utter BS.

During the War of 1812, in the case of United States v. Thomas Williams. Chief Justice Marshall ordered the release of an alien enemy, Thomas Williams, on a writ of habeas corpus. Williams had been held under the Alien Enemies Act, which is the only one of the Alien and Sedition Acts that has never been repealed. Thus, it is quite clear that enemy aliens during a time of declared war do have the right of habeas corpus.

This whole article is a terrible distortion of eight centuries of British and American jurisprudence. It is a disgrace that it is published here.

Posted by: Brons | March 11, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

What Thiessen writes here is sickening. Sickening not just in the way that it makes me want to turn away in disgust, but, worse, sickening to society:

Thiessen portrays all people detained in Guantanamo as terrorists, likens them to soldiers captured on the battlefield. With this fallacy he justifies his thesis, for who could possibly seek to support enemy soldiers or terrorists?

That is the same demagogic tool used against jews in the third reich or against capitalists in communist russia: They were portrayed as greedy and evil enemies of the people. Who could possibly stand up for such people?

The facts speak a different language, though: In many cases it was found that Guantanamo detainees were wrongfully accused, that they were not terrorists, not out to destroy us all. They were innocent. Portraying them as terrorists set out to destroy the US is wicked and wrong. Using such portrayal almost stealthily to argue against their rights transport this wickedness, this wrongness, into society and sickens it with fallacy.

The only thing Thiessen is correct about is that habeas corpus was not developed for enemy soldiers. But it was developed precisely for anyone picked off the street and put to jail. That is what has been done to these detainees and that is why the habeas corpus must apply to them. Any lawyer making sure of that is a lawyer defending the US constitution, the US itself, from enemies more dangerous and powerful than terrorists.

Posted by: Salomo | March 11, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

The case of Thomas Williams may be worth discussing but it does not quite go to refute Mr. Thiessen's point. As is well known Mr. Williams was not held as an enemy combatant but as an enemy alien under the Alien Enemies Act. Had he been held as an enemy combatant surely Mr. Thiessen would have taken note of the fact.

Posted by: Candidus | March 11, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

If you want to know what sophistry is, take a careful look at this column.

Here we are in Twenty First Century America debating the legality of torture vs. the efficacy of torture, when it has long been known that torture is neither efficacious nor legal. Now we're being asked to believe that lawyers who act to support the rule of law are somehow terrorist sympathizers. What's the point?

To distract us and keep us from hog-tying Daddy Cheney and shipping him off to the Hague. Liz is nothing if not a dutiful daughter.

Posted by: fzdybel | March 11, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

While John Adams did not have the U.S. Constitution nor the Geneva conventions, the point of the "Al Quaeda 7" and the climate they are dealing with in trying to resolve guilt or innocence is still the same: the populace obviously hates those accused, and wants swift justice, but when does reason prevail, despite the passions?

I don't condone ... See Moreterrorists acts, but if our country whether by creed or rhetoric purports itself as a just society, I believe that those accused should be proven guilty. Otherwise, other nations may not wish to observe the Geneva convention and our diplomatic and service personnel are endangered to be subject totally to the foreign governments and jurisdictions (whether friendly or unfriendly) abroad. The U.S. cannot expect to deal with foreigners the way they see fit, but if the tables were turned, we'd demand Geneva protections or rally with every legitimate and threatening stance for 'justice' for our people abroad, i.e. the Iran hostage situation ring a bell?

If we cannot even figure out HOW to deal with terrorists in this country while being a just nation, then we are in a sad state of affairs!

Posted by: forbesgayton | March 11, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

I thought we were done with Bushies and their "expert" opinions.

Posted by: danw1 | March 11, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Dear Post,

Whatever you had in mind by running the un-American rantings of Thiessen, it isn't working. Please make it stop!

Posted by: DeadCenter | March 11, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Theissen was crying on Jon Stewart's show the other night that Jon was being rude. NO........................ Jon was making sense aqnd calling out the hypocritical idiots like Theissen for what they are. TREASONOUS TRAITORS!

Posted by: hughsie48 | March 11, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen really is the most disgusting, sick and un-American freak running his mouth at the post today. He is absolutist power run amok. I'm all for killing terrorists on the battlefield, but when it comes to our own societal values, selling our freedom for his version of security will strip our country of both. His 'values' will come back to haunt America when they are used against us.

Posted by: DPoniatowski | March 11, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

the author asks:

" Would John Adams be proud to have his name associated with such conduct?"

______

i ask:

would Jesus Christ be proud to be associated with the torture of suspects by those calling themselves Patriot Christians?


Posted by: forestbloggod | March 11, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

It's great to see Theissen putting his Vassar BA degree in Women's Studies to work rendering interpretations of American Constitutional law.

I didn't realize that Constitutional Law was part of the Vassar curriculum.

Posted by: JPRS | March 11, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

"For starters, Adams was a British subject at the time he took up their representation."

Yes. He was a British subject. So were Washington and Jefferson and many of the other founders of the country. What a stupid opening argument.

Thiessen again argues (well, he admits to again copying another writer's argument) that the detainees are not technically "accused" and therefore don't qualify for any legal protection. This is another example of conservatives twisting words around to justify their systematic dismantling of the rights granted by the Constitution. The fact that the detainees are held indefinitely without charges is a de facto accusation of a crime.

The United States democracy continues to walk down a dangerous path towards failure if the rights granted by the Constitution continue to be further restricted to some rather than given to everybody as the Founders envisioned.

Posted by: jeendee | March 11, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Here's a quote on the John Adams Project website from William Webster, who was DFBI under Reagan and DCI under Bush Senior:

"I support the ACLU's ... efforts to provide competent legal representation to those detainees at Guantánamo Bay who will be brought before the military commission. This is in the highest tradition of American values. "

What more need one say?

Posted by: i_go_pogo | March 11, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

ChrisFord1,
These lawyers have been lauded by such notable liberals as Kenneth Starr, Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasy, among other of the terrorist sympathizer set. You really ought to check your facts. Almost every lawyer of note, including some of the most conservative members of the bar, have defended, if not praised, these lawyers. A whole bunch of former Bush administration lawyers signed a letter attacking Keep America Safe for their ad.

Posted by: DM_Inf | March 11, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Theissen you are beneath contempt. Your petulant whining over Jon Stewart's far-too-fair interview with you, where you actually spoke longer than him tells us all we need to know about what a pathetic child you are. Boo hoo, someone asked tough questions and challenged your sophistry. No fair!

Posted by: Scientician | March 11, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

The fact that Messr. Thiessen calls anyone being detained at Gitmo a terrorist. Presumably, anyone arrested is guilty of the crime and so we can save the trouble and expense of trials.

His twisted terminology reveals his hollow values. The Post should 86 him.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 11, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Well, with revelation that Att. Gen. Holder did not inform the Senate he authored amicus briefs, we now must start that process of asking these questions about President Obama: what did he know, and when did he know it. With control of the House swinging back to Republicans, we may have to impeach holder to get the answers from Obama. Terrible events when the Attorney General deceives Congress.

Posted by: JohnnyGee | March 11, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

This is just a difference of opinion, Repubs seem to think that they elect a King who is the ultimate arbiter on what is legal and what isn't, while the Dems think that they elect a President, who shall be subject to the laws of the land.
BTW, Mr Thiessen, if a foreign government were to grab you and hold you in a prison for years with no charge ever being formally brought, would that be OK by you? Fool.

Posted by: rkerg | March 11, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Marc, tell us the truth. You're a member of the Cheney family, correct? How else to explain someone who distorts the truth to try to hide his own sins, misdeeds, and stupidity? Please, stop taking up space in an otherwise useful editorial section of this newspaper. Please, go across town to the Washington Times, where your kind of drivel is normal fare. You might even get an invite from Glenn Beck!

Posted by: philasportsphan | March 11, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: ChrisFord1... some totally wingnut rant.

Fascism is alive and well in certain segments of this country as evidenced by the posts of the likes of ChrisFord1. "Islamoids"? Really you trog? Crawl back under your rock.

Posted by: Observer001 | March 11, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

This guy is just nuts. According to him, so long as the government, in its infinite wisdom, keeps people locked up without charges of any kind and without any opportunity to test whether they are, in fact, guilty of being terrorists or anything else, lawyers should be criticized and castigated for agreeing to represent them. As we know many of these people aren't terrorists at all. they were in the wrong place at the wrong time and some of them were sold for ransom. Thiessen seems to think that even if the governmental system is completely illegal and unconstitutional it is our patriotic duty to ignore all that. Being proven right by the Supreme Court becomes an act of treason. He's wrong in so many ways it's difficult even to address his position in a short note.

Posted by: ejs2 | March 11, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Try this out for size , from "A Man for All Seasons"

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060665/quotes

Posted by: Rozinante2 | March 11, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Dear Washington Post:

Please fire Marc Thiessen. It's extremely disturbing to think that you've replaced far better columnists with someone so patently extremist and McCarthyistic. Does the Washington Post implicitly support modern McCarthyism? Are you itching for show trials to get the enemies of Dick & Liz Cheney? Really. Why on earth did you pick this sorry excuse for a writer to put on your editorial page? At one time, even though I no longer live in DC, I subscribed to the National Edition just because I missed the insightfulness of your Op Eds. No more, obviously. How low the Post has sunk. I'm very glad I'm no longer a subscriber in any way.

Posted by: Slownomad | March 11, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Why does the post keep giving these fringe right wing pundits a platform. Thiessan is even to the right of the contemporary republican party, an impressive feat of ideological maximalism. Editorial board stop ruining this paper!

Posted by: arunpill | March 11, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

As a devout Republican and Christian, I say thank you Fred Hiatt for giving this brilliant young man a forum to promote the resurrection of the late, lamented Bush/Cheney presidency's Holy Christian Crusade against the forces of international islam which are aligned to destroy America from within and without. It is just like the left wing, fuzzy-minded one-worlders to blather on and on about nonsense like "constitutional rights" and the "rule of law" when our God-given way of life is being threatened. The Constitution was never intended to give rights to these evil-doers. Our bought-and-paid-for Supreme Court Justices have clearly held that its protections extend only to "real Americans" and Corporations.

Posted by: senatorblbo | March 11, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Torture boy should go hang his head in shame and never darken these pages again. He is a disgrace to the United States of America and the brave men and women who fought to give us this nation. This simpering coward shouldn't be given space to defend war criminals.

Posted by: jjhare | March 11, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to see this declaration of war that you write of. Please post it. Without it, you can't have military tribunals.

Posted by: rcvinson64 | March 11, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Marc Thiessen is hell bent on having his way- make anyone designated (by whom?) a terrorist an "enemy combatant" to be held with no recourse, review, or human rights. He fears not because he thinks that because right now they're all foreign nationals not citizens like him. He forgets his ancestors fought people who held those same views- in the Warsaw Uprising. Wermacht and SS didn't view partisans as legal combatants either, they viewed them as Mr Thiessen views Jihadists- as subhuman. The fact Mr. Theissen doesn't propose killing them outright shouldn't be confused with compassion- he still believes in torturing them for information he "knows" they have.

He show worry if those in power equate Columnist with Terrorist, because it's his butt in Gitmo next. That's where his sophistry leads.

Worse, his twisted logic leads to a world where our GIs and civilians may be subject to the same treatment during a war or perhaps in absence of an actual war.

Actual Terrorists do not deserve the anything like the honor of being a POW, as tough as the actual experience is even when POWs are treated humanely. Terrorism is a criminal act, and in times of war, a war crime. The actor MUST be properly accused, the act MUST be proven, and if proven the actor MUST then be punished.
Anything less makes ANYONE subject to arbitrary punishment.

As for his attempt to expose and pillory pro bono lawyers using the argument "guitl by association", does doing PAID work for a cynical lobbying firm (Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly) that has brutal, corrupt dictators for clients make you a brutal corrupt dictator?

Posted by: ihuman | March 11, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Considering Mr. Thiessen doesn't apparently support a speedy trial or other due process rights such as being formally accused, it is highly problematic for him to suggest that person cannot have the right to counsel, because they haven't been formally accused yet. Basically he's saying that these people are entitled to no rights whatsoever, making him more like the Taliban or Al-Qaeda than any of these lawyers.

He seems like the type that would be much more comfortable with the sharia law system, given his apprehensions about people's rights.

I can just see him now, throwing acid on some young woman's face in Baluchistan or Kabul. What? She wasn't ever formally accused? Who needs it.

Posted by: adastraperapathy | March 12, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Of course a torture lover doesn't want anybody involved whose knowledge of the law could protect suspects -- suspects, mind you -- from abuse. Such has ever been the case with authoritarian regimes and their supporters.

By endorsing Mr. Thiessen, the Post is endorsing his efforts to turn the United States towards authoritarianism.

And digging its own -- by now well-deserved -- grave.

Posted by: sembtex | March 12, 2010 2:17 AM | Report abuse

To summarise a bit of this issue:

- There are rules governing the treatment of Prisoners-of-War, under the Geneva Convention.

- The United States signed the Geneva Convention and demands Geneva Convention treatment for its captured servicemen.

- Upon invading Afghanistan, the Bush Administration wanted to interrogate Taliban prisoners-of-war using methods that violated the Geneva Convention. Many of these methods (eg. water-boarding, sleep deprivation) are classified as torture under international protocols.

- The Administration refused to declare captured Taliban soldiers Prisoners-of-War, even though many were fighting in uniform for the legal government of Afghanistan. These prisoners-of-war were instead called 'Enemy Combatants' and thus kept beyond the protection of the Geneva Convention. The Administration then felt legally covered to authorise the TORTURE of those prisoners-of-war.

- Further, under the Geneva Convention, prisoners-of-war must be released upon the cessation of hostilities. But the Gitmo prisoners are not covered by the Geneva Convention. And because the Administration never officially declared war on the Taliban or Al Queda, there can be no official cessation of hostilities. So those prisoners can be kept forever, without trial.

- Our policy with the Gitmo detainees is outside the 'rules of war' Mr Thiessen claims to be protecting. Currently we are violating the Geneva Convention and our own Habeus Corpus. Which explains the protests of this policy from across the legal profession, most notably by military JAG attorneys. Presumably the JAGs are, like Mr Thiessen, interested in protecting the United States.

Posted by: JohninReno | March 12, 2010 6:17 AM | Report abuse

What's funny is seeing the supporters of these attorneys act as if they are noble white knight heroes, when defending captured terrorists is totally uncontroversial in their political world. These attorneys did not do anything heroic - they did what was expected and approved of by other liberals. Taking on a truly unpopular client would be, in their world, defending an abortion clinic bomber or KKK member. Which is why they never do it.

Posted by: zippyspeed | March 12, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Disgusting. Amoral. Unamerican.

Posted by: Bonford1 | March 12, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

You are a horrible, terrible man Marc Thiessen. My father & my uncle fought in WW II to make us safe from the fascists who used torture. Yet here you sit at that increasingly irrelevent Washington Post, never having served a day in your life in the military, but having served as a speechwriter and you say torture is good.

Have you never read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? You are going to hell.

Posted by: kindness1 | March 12, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"God you people just don't quit.

No wonder our country is hated around the world with opinions from idiots like yourself.

Fox guarding the henhouse -- HOW ABOUT IDIOTS LIKE YOU distorting the facts. YOU AND PEOPLE LIKE CHENEY think our country should be modeled after NORTH KOREA or IRAN where NO ONE is allowed to speak with legal counsel. WHERE you are guilty before being innocent. WHERE if you dislike or express an opinion other than what is popular you should also be thrown in jail.

If you hate our great justice system - get the f(*^& out of the country and go somewhere where they kill people and then ask questions COMRADE"---------------------------------------Where the hell do you come from Azzclown? Calling someone Comrade because he doesn't want to give terrorists our constitutional rights is absurd. I traveled the world and people don't hate us like you say. I suggest you get the F2ck out this country--BTW--the people that kill others and ask questions later are the ones the article is about.

Posted by: buffe43 | March 12, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

What to make of the American defense team for Japanese General Homma?

Or did they approve of the Bataan Death March?

Posted by: harryeporter | March 12, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

JEAtkinsonUSNavyret....

Thanks, Squidly.

Appreciate the rides into combat you provided me and my Marines.

Sorry I don't a give a flip what you think about my point of view nor those I support.

Posted by: jcrue | March 12, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

You have a right to free speech, you do NOT have "a right" to broadcast your disgusting opinions in a major newspaper without any fact-checking.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

routh

ha, you do have the right and it happens all the time. or is the first time you've read a major newspaper?

Posted by: jcrue | March 12, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Marc, you are a pathetic ignorant clown. Stop digging. Jose Padilla and John Walker Lindh were American citizens. Get a clue before you continue to make a bigger fool of yourself.

Posted by: billybobtweed | March 12, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness, we finally get a voice of reason from the Washington Post's usually liberal rants!!

Posted by: Sherri04 | March 12, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

(routh) “You have a right to free speech, you don't have a right to broadcast your disgusting opinions in a major newspaper without any fact-checking.”

And again later:

“NOWHERE in the 1st Amendment does it say ANYTHING about having an inherent right to express completely false, irresponsible viewpoints and not expect to get fired from a theoretically reputable source of journalism.

“If the Post chooses to fire thiessen because he's a plain disgrace and a torture enthusiast, they will IN NO WAY be violating his right to free speech. They will be terminating his employment, they won't be sending him to jail, or threatening him with any legal punishment. NONE of his constitutional rights are at stake here.

“I dare you to respond, young jackryan.”

I love a good dare, especially from a frothing-at-the-mouth liberal dingaling.

Let’s try this again, and I’ll use the smallest words I can in hopes that you’ll grok.

I never said The Post doesn’t have the right to fire Thiessen. Far as I know, they can fire anyone they want (but of course, they’ll probably get sued for doing so because, after all, it’s HURTFUL to fire someone, and EVERYONE has a right not to be fired. Ask any liberal. Or communist. Wait ... I repeat myself.)

What I said was that Thiessen has a right to his opinion, and The Post has a right to publish it – HOWEVER error-filled you and your Comintern pals find it to be.

You’re the impaired beanbag who implied I said a columnist has a RIGHT to be printed. And I also didn’t say YOU have a right to fill this thread with your drivel. You also have a right to your opinion, as insipid as it is. The Post has a right to let other folks see it, as dumb as THAT might be.

And I, and anyone else with half a brain, have a right to call you an idiot … and no fact checking is necessary for THAT, either.

Posted by: jackryan5084 | March 12, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives have already proven their ability to call names. They have not, however, proven their ability to defend the Constitution of the United States of America, nor speak in the best interest of our troops overseas who suffer because of the actions and words of men like Mr. Thiessen.

Posted by: adastraperapathy | March 12, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Thiessen: I am a retired 20-year active duty Marine Corps officer (and former enlisted Marine) who pulled two tours of infantry combat duty in VN. During my last 10 years of active duty I was school trained and practiced as a fullly-licensed and highly-skilled Interrogator all over world (Okinawa, Japan, Korea, the Middle East/Med area)... I can say without any hesitation or doubt, "torture does not work as an intelligence gathering method, period."

However, it works just fine as it is intended: To inflict pain and agony.

You are flat out wrong about water boarding. It is torture and it is illegal, unlawful, and a war crimes and has been for decades. It has nothing to do with SERE training - I used to instruct in the "R(esist)" part ... I know what I'm talking about.

It is a myth for you and/or anyone else to keep saying "... torture has kept us safe..." we are safe, sir, due to the sacrifices of our fine men and women who serve all over the world, not because of torture or "enhanced" (so such thing, BTW) interrogation methods. The vast, vast majority of them would agree with me.

Danny M. Francis (1st Lt. USMC (Ret.)) Watertown, NY

My page on this topic is here http://www.halfwaypundit.blogspot.com

Stop by and re-educate yourself.

BTW: I have a book out, too, but it's not about torture. It's about a tour of duty in combat. Check it out here, if you find the time here http://www.scribd.com/doc/15603504/LAST-RIDE-HOME-A-Memoir-of-the-Vietnam-War

Posted by: eyepublius | March 13, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

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