“As long as they’re dangerous, I hope they all die in jail if they’re going to go back and kill Americans. It won’t bother me one bit if 39 of them die in prison. That’s a better outcome than letting them go. And if it costs $500 million to keep them in jail, keep them in jail. Because they’re going to go back to the fight. Look at the fricken Afghan government that’s made up of former detainees at Gitmo. This whole thing by the left about this war ain’t working.”
Senator Lindsey Graham in a meltdown at the confirmation hearing for SCOTUS nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, before walking out in a tizzy.
Hmmm. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that high ranking elected officials from both political parties appear to have little regard for core Constitutional principles? I’m going out on a limb here by stating that it’s a bad thing.
In fact, it is terrible.
Graham, an alleged conservative, proudly went on record as supporting “pre-crime” punitive measures (Watch “Minority Report” for a fair assessment of how that works) along with a pure “ends justifies the means” endorsement, spiced up by some “if it saves just one life” false logic.The prisoners at Gitmo have never been tried, and contrary to Graham’s rant, the United States cannot say it is “at war.” In this nation, uniquely on the earth, even unquestionable bad and dangerous people have absolute rights. The fact that so many human beings remain incarcerated in Cuba without the benefit of a trial is a national disgrace of long-standing. Obama took tiny baby steps to attempt to break the gridlock, then backed down as his feckless Attorney General traded one unconstitutional approach for another, promising, to assuage the worries of people like Graham, that we would make sure that those tried as terrorists wouldn’t be acquitted.
The number of deadly (to democracy) slippery slopes Senator Graham is polishing with his reckless and ethics alarms shattering rhetoric is horrifying. If we can lock up suspected terrorists indefinitely for what they might do, we can lock up likely murderers, or rapists, or child molesters, or racists, or Republicans. The ideals expressed in the Bill of Rights are not easy ones to live up to, and doing so requires courage as well as integrity.
And faith. In 1769, British jurist William Blackstone wrote that “the law holds that it is better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent [person be convicted].” An 1895 U.S. Supreme Court case rephased Blackstone as, “it is better to let the crime of a guilty person go unpunished than to condemn the innocent.” This doctrine, also endorsed by Ben Franklin, can be traced to Roman law, and was embraced by the other Founders as well.
You either believe in the core ethical principles of democracy, or you don’t: the moment of truth arrives when staying the course carries risk. That a conservative in the Senate would advocate the abandonment of individual rights for “the greater good” is, or ought to be, terrifying.