Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Miranda Goes Abroad/Will L. Wilkerson Apologize to Cheney?

Author of the Miranda Warnings, supra.

Reports in the press have suggested that the FBI is reading some battlefield prisoners in Afghanistan "their" Miranda warnings. Indeed, a member of Congress, himself a former FBI Special Agent, after returning from that country, confirms exactly that, according to this story on Fox News. Moreover, some news outlets confirm that the FBI is, in fact, reading Miranda warnings to at least some detainees there.


Back in April Lawrence Wilkerson bristled at Dick Cheney's suggestion that the Obama administration would read Miranda warnings to terrorists, and even claimed that Cheney was knowingly "stoking" 10 million "half-baked nuts" who listen to Rush Limbaugh. Here is what Wilkerson said on the subject:

"As for the fear-mongering: 'When we get people who are more interested in reading the rights to an Al Qaeda (sic) terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry,' Cheney said. Who in the Obama administration has insisted on reading any al-Qa’ida terrorist his rights? More to the point, who in that administration is not interested in protecting the United States—a clear implication of Cheney’s remarks. But far worse is the unmistakable stoking of the 20 million listeners of Rush Limbaugh, half of whom we could label, judiciously, as half-baked nuts. Such remarks as those of the former vice president’s are like waving a red flag in front of an incensed bull. And Cheney of course knows that.

Cheney went on to say in his McLean interview that 'Protecting the country’s security is a tough, mean, dirty, nasty business. These are evil people and we are not going to win this fight by turning the other cheek.' I have to agree but the other way around. Cheney and his like are the evil people and we certainly are not going to prevail in the struggle with radical religion if we listen to people such as he. [sic]"

Lest you think I am making this up, here is a link to Wilkerson's screed:

Now that it seems clear that the FBI is reading Miranda rights to some unlawful combatants overseas --- a practice with even less justification than reading warnings to detainees at, say, Gitmo (which the Supreme Court has held is American soil) --- I wonder if Wilkerson will apologize to Vice President Cheney, not to mention the 10 million listeners of Rush Limbaugh who, in my experience, are regular Americans from many walks of life, who like a little entertainment with their politics or vice versa. Finally, does Wilkerson really believe that claims, like VP Cheney's, that a President has made us less safe are somehow inappropriate? What, then about Wilkerson's statement that Cheney is "evil" or statements by then-candidate Obama, 2004 candidate John Kerry, etc. that Bush policies had made us less safe ?? Were they (and Wilkerson) also "stoking" anger and hatred among, say, the tiny sliver of Americans glued to the Keith Olberman show each night ?


By the way, the photo at the outset of this post is of Chief Justice Earl Warren, who authored the Miranda opinion, which, by the way, was 5-4.