Does McConnel Think He Can Override Constitutional Protections?

I confess I have a bad habit of meandering from subject to subject because this is, after all is said and done, a place to express my opinions. I wrote this title before beginning the “column” this week because I want to make this short and pointed. Perhaps you could think of it as a Roman sword, the kind one is said to “fall on” when in shame and disrepute.

In this case it is Republican Minority Leader of the Senate who, unfortunately does not possess such an object, or surely, once he removed himself from the heat of the moment (provided in large part, no doubt, by the bright lights of the media cameras focused on his at the time). I would hope, at least, that he took the time to contemplate what he had done, but like a dog-of-war that he has become as a political animal, I doubt that he even noticed his grievous error.

The man stood in front of cameras on Capital Hill and said (I hope I am quoting him correctly, but I assure you the spirit is captured here even if not every comma and colon), “We usually give these fellows a lawyer and read them their rights, and that’s the end of it. I sure hope that isn’t what they are doing on the ship, right now, to that fellow from Benghazi.”

The situation at that point was that although he, Abu Khattala, had been interviewed several times by the media in Libya about any connection to the attack on the American consulate that killed Ambassador Steven in Benghazi, he had repeatedly denied any association with that particular group of terrorists, and had been living quite openly in Libya since the day of that tragic attack. However the elite troops of the US Delta Force “captured” him (against his will) and spirited him away to a waiting US ship off the coast of Libya in the Mediterranean Sea. So, essentially we “arrested” him without official permission or sanction, which legally speaking is called “kidnapping” (although we do it so often it falls into the general category of “rendition” a word we coined for the purpose) and took him across international borders to be held as a captive of the US Navy. No actual evidence has been shown (although a plan to prosecute him in the USA suggests that there is some hard evidence beyond circumstantial and “hearsay”, but if the “plan” was a criminal prosecution in the legal system of the USA, what authority was Senator McConnell evoking that should permit us to ignore the rights he had as a US prisoner (not an enemy combatant if we are going to have a criminal prosecution). As the Omaha World Herald (a Berkshire Hathawy company controled by none other than the relatively peaceful Oracle of Ohmaha) in it’s online version Omaha.comput it, “Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the U.S. should skip the legal niceties and focus on interrogation.”

Now is that any way for one of the leaders of the “free” world to speak or behave? I ask you.

Clearly, in my opinion, ignoring anyone’s constitutional rights is a violation of law, his citizenship notwithstanding. Isn’t that how it is supposed to work?

Stafford “Doc” Williamson


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