It was recently confirmed that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing investigation, has been presented with criminal charges for his actions.
Predictably, this has made many people on the American right wing very unhappy indeed.
Fox News had devoted hours of coverage post-capture to whether or not Tsarnaev should be read his miranda rights, and the talking heads are not pleased with this turn of events, which will see the suspect given access to legal advice and representation if he chooses to avail himself of it.
The ever-opportunistic Lindsey Graham has been vigorously agitating for Tsarnaev to be treated as an enemy combatant, despite being a United States citizen detained on US soil.
And Donald Trump – whom Republicans actually toyed with the idea of making their presidential nominee in 2012 – took to Twitter in high outrage, and was already dusting off his waterboard in order to torture the suspect before the criminal charges were filed.
All of these things happened, and were easily predictable, because the Republicans are the ones with the strong national security credentials, right? They are the ones that make the tough decisions required to keep us safe.
No. All of these things happened because the Republicans who espouse these views are cowards.
Cowards, cowards, cowards.
Of course, this form of cowardice has to masquerade as macho strength and firmness, but cowardice is what it is, and cowardice is what I will call it today.
There is no evidence as yet that the evil plot to kill and maim innocent civilians as they watched and ran in the Boston Marathon was part of a wider international conspiracy. It may be the case that the suspects acted under foreign direction, or received their radicalisation or training from abroad, but no evidence of this has yet been presented.
Neither is there any credible intelligence that these attacks were the first action of a broader wave of related strikes on the US mainland. Yes, there followed some suspicious mail packages in the following days, as happened after 9/11, but these are not thought to be related.
Nor does anyone yet know the motivations for the attack (not that this should matter – as with capriciously invented “hate crimes”, we should be punishing the act, not the motivation), whether it be jihadist in nature, domestic grievances or the alienation and evil act of specific individuals acting alone.
None of this is known.
And yet the Republican party – this group of people who routinely and unabashedly wrap themselves in the American flag and proclaim themselves the only real “patriots” and defenders of the constitution, would happily, eagerly, throw away some of the most fundamental rights granted to US citizens under the constitution.
It is absolutely astonishing that no one calls out the GOP for the rank hypocrisy which has emanated from the mouths of some of their members in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings.
That the same party who proclaimed “I Stand With Rand” when Senator Rand Paul mounted his laudable filibuster to register his objection to the idea of aerial drone strikes being used to kill US citizens on US soil denied those very same principles and agitated for the government to strip those same citizens of the right to a civilian trial.
These are the people, remember, who like to pump up their base with talk of second amendment remedies – because if you can’t beat Obama at the ballot box, the answer, of course, is to strap on your guns, rise up and overthrow his democratic mandate by force.
This is the party that says “you can pry my rifle from my cold dead hands” whenever anyone questions the modern applicability of, or limits to, the Second Amendment.
These are the people who take the fight to the enemy, who pre-emptively launch wars in order to “fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here”.
In other words, those on the neo-conservative right in America like to play the hard man, and strut around as though there were a very large, impressive appendage between their legs whenever they talk about foreign policy or national security. Right up until the moment that something happens to spook them close to their own back yard.
But when the nation suffers an attack such as that which took place last Monday in Boston, all of the tough talk disappears and these Republican armchair warriors rush to shelter behind the legs of the Big Government that they love to trash at all other times, and they urge that erstwhile-“tyrannical” government to use the full weight of its vast might, plus an added heap of unconstitutionally appropriated power, to hurt the Bad People and make them go away. Even if the Bad People are US citizens. It’s pathetic.
Weak, weak, weak.
Andrew Sullivan says it best today on his blog, and I quote in full:
The first US citizen, Jose Padilla, was captured on US soil, detained without formal charges, accused of plotting a dirty bomb, and then brutally tortured until he was a human wreck. Eventually, the dirty bomb charges were dropped in the legal process. And there was a serious question about whether, after such brutal torture and isolation, he had been psychologically brutalized by his own government to the point of insanity.
Tsarnaev, in contrast, was formally charged this morning, will be tried in a civilian court, go through due process, and face a weight of evidence against him.
This is why we elected Obama. To bring America back. To defend this country without betraying its core principles.