William Kristol

Liz Cheney, Bill Kristol, And The Shameful NeoCon Attack On America’s Legal System

The latest controversy of the day among many on the right, led principally by Liz Cheney and William Kristol, involves attacking Justice Department lawyers who represented alleged members of al Qaeda or the Taliban detained at Guantanmo Bay.

As Kristol puts it:

[L]awyers now at the DOJ worked on the historic Boumediene case. That case established the Gitmo detainees’ right to challenge their detention in habeas corpus hearings. In effect, the habeas proceedings have taken sensitive national security and detention questions out of the hands of experienced military and intelligence personnel, and put them into the hands of federal judges with no counterterrorism training or expertise. That lack of experience shows. For example, in one recent decision a federal judge compared al Qaeda’s secure safe houses (where training, plotting and other nefarious activities occur) to “youth hostels.” The habeas decisions are filled with errors of omission, fact, and logic.

Still other lawyers did work on behalf of these well known terrorists: Jose Padilla (an al Qaeda operative dispatched by senior al Qaeda terrorists to launch attacks inside America in 2002), John Walker Lindh (the American Taliban), and Saleh al Marri (who 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed sent to America on September 10, 2001 in anticipation of committing future attacks).

Now, we don’t know what assignments these lawyers have taken on inside government. But we do know that they openly opposed the American government for years, on behalf of al Qaeda terrorists, and their objections frequently went beyond rational, principled criticisms of detainee policy.

Not One of Us - The Fall of Neoconservatism

Some months prior to Rand Paul’s primary victory in Kentucky, a familiar pair of politicians came together in support of his opponent Trey Grayson. Late endorsements by the President of 9/11, Rudy Guiliani and Dick Cheney were trotted out in an attempt to make a dent in a double digit lead that Dr. Paul had held for some months. Cesar Conda also got into the act, writing an article for the National Review the day of Cheney’s endorsement announcement. He also convened an emergency conference call and sent out a panicky email to neoconservative pundits.

These efforts had no effect whatsoever. Rand Paul not only won the primary against Grayson, but crushed his Democrat opponent in the general election.

That the effort failed is a matter of record. However, you may or may not have noticed how little this failure, achieved with the help of the two most prominent elected neoconservatives of the last decade not named Bush, has been analyzed,  much less discussed..

One of the more interesting facts about Conda’s email  was its list of recipients. A desperate cry for help, the list of neoconservative writers was a who’s who list of PNAC advisors.

Politico reported:

Republican Lawyers Criticize Cheney/Kristol Smear Campaign

Several prominent Republican lawyers are speaking up against the efforts by Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol to smear attorneys who previously represented Guantanamo detainees:

A group that includes leading conservative lawyers and policy experts, former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and several senior officials of the last Bush administration is denouncing as “shameful” Republican attacks on lawyers who came to the Obama Justice Department after representing suspected terrorists.

Senate Republicans have demanded details of the lawyers’ past work and Liz Cheney’s group “Keep America Safe” has questioned their “values.” A drumbeat of Republican criticism forced the Justice Department reluctantly to identify seven of them last week. But the harshness of the criticism – Keep America Safe labeled a group of them the “Al Qaeda Seven” — has provoked a backlash from across the legal establishment.

“We consider these attacks both unjust to the individuals in question and destructive of any attempt to build lasting mechanisms for counterterrorism adjudications,” wrote the 19 lawyers whose names were attached to the statement as of early Monday.

The statement cited John Adams’s defense of British soldiers charged in the Boston Massacre to argue that “zealous representation of unpopular clients” is an important American tradition.

The attacks on the lawyers “undermine the Justice system more broadly,” they wrote, by “delegitimizing” any system in which accused terrorists have lawyers, whether civilian courts of military tribunals.

The letter’s signers include some of the top officials of a Bush Justice Department that wrestled at length with the legal questions surrounding terrorist detentions.

(…)

New York Times - Put a Real Conservative on Your Op-Ed page

Neo-conservative and Iraq war architect William Kristol has had a regular spot as a columnist in the New York Times op-ed page for a few months now. Announced in late 2007, it got alot of people on the Left angry. His latest column, “Will Russia Get Away With It?” suggests that he would like the US to put its resources into putting Russia in its place.

Each time I see Kristol’s name in the Times, I have to wonder why he’s there. If the New York Times noticed that it was becoming the journal of choice for Moveon.org members, then they could picked from numerous conservatives with ideas that are based on destruction. Here’s a short list:

Patrick J. Buchanan - MSNBC has made him a regular commentator, so Buchanan knows how to work in left-wing environments. Buchanan already writes regular columns, so it wouldn’t be hard. They could just republish those.


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