You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Obama And Domestic Terrorism

Republican Pete Hoekstra admits that, by any reasonable definition, the extremist who flew a plane into an IRS building, a cop-killer who believed President Obama wanted to take his guns, and others of the like are "domestic terrorists." Conor Freidersdorf, who is being driven mad by Andrew McCarthy's refusal to acknowledge that not everybody detained as a terrorist is in fact a terrorist, puts a finer point on the importance of this distinction:

Imagine that President Obama actually treated the Michigan suspects in this fashion — that he removed them entirely from the United States criminal justice system, shipped them to Guantanamo Bay, rammed their heads against walls, water boarded them dozens of times each day, placed them in stress positions, stripped them naked to humiliate them, etc. And that this continued for months. What if he detained them for years, never charging them with a crime, or offering any evidence of their guilt save his word and a folder full of documents classified top secret that no one else was allowed to see. If the President of the United States had that power, you might say, he could seize any innocent person on earth, accuse him of being a terrorist, and imprison him for life, or at least until the end of his tenure. He could seize Andy McCarthy himself, and what procedural argument could the man make?

Of course, most conservatives would regard this scenario as so remote as to not be worth considering. But one of the few people in public life who might consider such a scenario plausible would be, ironically enough, McCarthy himself, who in addition to favoring limitless government power over anybody suspected of terrorism by the government, also harbors wild fantasies about Obama's radicalism. If Obama truly is a Maoist hiding deep, secret connections to Islam, then wouldn't it be best to deny him the power to detain and torture Americans indefinitely? It's an odd paradox that those conservatives most fearful of Obama's anti-democratic intentions are most insistent on giving him limitless powers.