Thursday, July 28, 2005

Republican Judge Stands Up for America - Bad Day for Bush and Ressam - Two People who Seek to Destroy the American Way

In sentencing Ahmed Ressam, the millenium bomber, Reagan-appointed Judge John Coughenor voiced his thoughts (.pdf file) about how the case was handled:
The message I would hope to convey in today's sentencing is twofold:

First, that we have the resolve in this country to deal with the subject of terrorism and people who engage in it should be prepared to sacrifice a major portion of their life in confinement.

Secondly, though, I would like to convey the message that our system works. We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, or detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant, or deny him the right to counsel, or invoke any proceedings beyond those guaranteed by or contrary to the United States Constitution.

I would suggest that the message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart. We can deal with the threats to our national security without denying the accused fundamental constitutional protections.

Despite the fact that Mr. Ressam is not an American citizen and despite the fact that he entered this country intent upon killing American citizens, he received an effective, vigorous defense, and the opportunity to have his guilt or innocence determined by a jury of 12 ordinary citizens.

Most importantly, all of this occurred in the sunlight of a public trial. There were no secret proceedings, no indefinite detention, no denial of counsel.

The tragedy of September 11th shook our sense of security and made us realize that we, too, are vulnerable to acts of terrorism.

Unfortunately, some believe that this threat renders our Constitution obsolete. This is a Constitution for which men and women have died and continue to die and which has made us a model among nations. If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won.

It is my sworn duty, and as long as there is breath in my body I'll perform it, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. We will be in recess.
John McKay, the Bush-appointed US Attorney (and, oddly enough, an old acquaintance of mine from younger days, and one of the most sincerely and radically conservative people I have ever met), "said he agreed with the judge's comments that U.S. courts are equipped to handle terrorism cases."

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised that McKay would agree. He's conservative, intelligent and someone who is proud of his country. I suspect most who consider themselves conservative would agree with what that judge wrote.

Don't let the very vocal reactionaries fool you into thinking that the majority of conservatives are knuckle dragging, unthinking, unfeeling loonies who want to watch what you do in your bedroom so they can outlaw it. That is no more accurate than making the assumption that all liberals are soft-headed, free spending, amoral, touchy-feely, spineless wimps.

RM

7/28/2005 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've met a few decent conservatives, RM, but why do they continue to be marginalized by the vocal reactionaries? More than a few of the reasonable ones have been more or less been drummed out of power. When is this silent majority going to arise and take back their party?

f

7/28/2005 8:54 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

RM - I wasn't surprised John would agree, either, but I thought it worthy of pointing out because of his clear conservatism. This Bush administration alienates virtually all thinking people, from either side.

While I enjoy bashing idiot conservatives, please don't think that I believe all conservatives fit that stereotype. Rick Santorum has as much to do with John McKay as I do. (yuk - I just compared myself with Santorum - I think I need to go shower.)

7/29/2005 12:01 AM  
Anonymous Les said...

An excellent and well spoken defense of our constitution and system. I presume that neither Coughenor nor McKay will be assigned anything further to do with the War on Terror...er, the Struggle With Inapt Descriptors...uh, the, uh, the War on Environmentalists...no, Extremists, yeah. Or whatever.

8/02/2005 3:27 PM  

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