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Here We Go(P) Again…Why do Republicans Instantly Politicize Terrorism?

By / 5.5.2010

Fifty-three hours — that is how long it took our law enforcement agencies to apprehend Faisal Shahzad, the main suspect in Saturday’s attempted Times Square bombing. The only thing faster has been Republican efforts to once again politicize a failed attack. Just like they did after the apprehension of the failed Christmas Day bomber, Republican leaders wasted no time yesterday trying to spin up mass hysteria by reminding us that we need to be living in a heightened state of perpetual fear, that Constitutional rights are meaningless, and that, oh yes, this is all Democrats’ fault.

Take Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA). At a speech he gave yesterday at the Heritage Foundation, the House minority whip made it abundantly clear that he believes the entire country should be living in a permanent state of nationwide panic:

[Yet] with each close encounter, my fear is that the country goes on heightened alert only as long as the media tend to cover it. All too often that means hours and days rather than permanently.

Does he not realize there are hundreds of thousands of American service members at war right now and have been for going on nine years? Cantor went on to say:

Many of the same critics who groused about how we failed to connect the dots prior to 9-11 are today repeating the same pattern. As a result, America is at risk of slipping into the type of false sense of security which prevailed before that September morning.

Rudy Giuliani could not have said it better — noun, verb, 9-11.

Equally disappointing was the predictable line of attack dragged out by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Peter King (R-NY). The two pounced on the administration and the Department of Justice for reading Shahzad his Miranda rights after he was taken into custody — even though the suspect was interrogated (and apparently sang like a bird) before those rights were read. McCain said it would be a “serious mistake” to read the suspect his Miranda rights, while King was quoted as saying, “I know he’s an American citizen, but still.”

Republicans are blatantly suggesting that we ignore what our Constitution requires and our Supreme Court has mandated. They proudly embrace the argument that this suspected criminal — who is, whether you like it or not, an American citizen accused of committing crimes on American soil — has no protection under American laws. This is a very slippery slope.

Even Glenn Beck (yes, Glenn Beck!) disagrees with this, stating yesterday that this is no time to “shred the Constitution.”

This “strategy” of fear-mongering coupled with the casual application of due process and the rule of law is pathetic, predictable and dangerous. Republicans continue to insist that every act or attempted act of terrorism on American soil must be met with a militarized response straight from an episode of “24.” They ignore, at our peril, the long and successful track record our criminal justice system has in convicting these terrorists.

I fundamentally believe that there is only one way the terrorists “win,” and that is when we ourselves destroy the very ideals that are the foundation upon which our nation stands. Republicans seem to have no issue tearing down those pillars by themselves.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/republicanconference/ / CC BY-NC 2.0