Sunday, May 14, 2006

What A Candidate Should Sound Like

Coleen Rowley, the now-retired FBI agent who testified before Congress about her memos (largely ignored) to her superiors before 9/11, is now a candidate for Congress in Minnesota. She penned an op-ed piece for the Minneapolis Star Tribune which shows the proper way for Democratic candidates to handle the security issue in the upcoming elections.

The notion that "9/11 changed everything" and that this new "war on terror" requires a radical departure from established criminal justice principles has been percolating for some time behind closed doors within the administration.

...Despite some egregious mistakes, official bungling, prosecutorial improprieties, and legal irregularities -- e.g., Moussaoui not being allowed to call all witnesses, namely certain Al-Qaida operatives held under U.S. control, to testify in his favor -- the case proved our regular adversarial-jury trial system works.

...The mistakes that occurred in the Moussaoui case, however, do not support the proposition that we cannot use our criminal courts and their procedural and constitutional rights to combat terrorism. Instead, the Moussaoui trial proves we can.

This is a huge issue, because if you fall into thinking that we cannot combat terrorism using our criminal justice system and all the rights and protections it affords, you open the door to all the extraconstitutional -- or more bluntly, illegal -- methods currently in vogue: the use of renditions, black sites and torture; lack of due process; and warrantless NSA monitoring on American soil. Enormous problems loom once we decide it's OK as a blanket measure to go around the constitutional rules and down this slippery slope.

...As one senator observed during the torture debate, "It's not about who they are. It's about who we are as Americans."

We are a nation of laws. We value transparency, accountability and, above all, justice. U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema, who presided over the Moussaoui trial, recently said, "Justice is not necessarily what the outcome is but how it was achieved."

Everything, despite what some contend, has not in fact changed since 9/11, and it would be tragic to compromise our ideals during these historic times.
[Emphasis added]

Just so, Ms. Rowley.

Thank you for spelling out exactly what the citizens of this country need to remember, and thank you for providing a model for Democratic candidates, both incumbent and challengers, to use when explaining just where this nation has gone wrong.

If you agree, mosey on over to Ms. Rowley's campaign web site and show your appreciation with a contribution.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are her chances of being elected? Sounds solid to me.

Wouldn't it be nice to hear her on the Sunday morning shows instead of the usual Dems?

Damn, she gets it. She was on the front lines and knows what went wrong pre-9/11.

(Also, love you panda comment)

11:37 AM  

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