Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Weighing outrage

From Reason Magazine, no bastion of wild-eyed radicalism. . . . . .

In a meadow near Windsor one fine day in 1215, King John, under pressure from disgruntled nobles, affixed his royal seal to the Magna Carta, clause 39 of which provided:
No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or outlawed or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go or send against him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.
The War on Terror is often framed as a clash between western champions of modernity and the medieval mindset of Salafis. Yet these days our own commitment to even medieval guarantees of due process often seems, at best, half-hearted.

At best. There's more, and it's a good synthesis of some of the key legal issues.

But: Not to diminish (now former-) Congressman Foley's actions (abuse? sexual harrassment? exploitation? what do we call it? and why are there no genuine social worker-type experts on abuse and abusers on TV discussing this?), but it is fascinating, if perhaps not surprising, to weigh the public and elite outrage and outcry over Foley against the (relative) quiescence about the virtual repeal of habeas and the continued extention of (unprecedented?) power to the Executive. Curious, no?

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