August 14, 2002

JONATHAN TURLEY, who can hardly be dismissed as a shill for the Democrats, issues a warning about the Hamdi case and Attorney General Ashcroft’s reported plans for the future.

As I said earlier, there’s a good reason for a firewall between the treatment of Americans and of noncitizens. Locking up noncitizens can’t pervert the political process. But once you lock up citizens without due process, the temptation to target political enemies — and, even if you don’t give in to that temptation, the suspicion or fear that you plan to do so — is deeply corrupting.

It’s possible that Turley’s fears are overdrawn — reports of “prison camps” being prepared for American dissidents have been a staple paranoid fantasy since the 1960s — but reassurance on this front doesn’t seem to be forthcoming, and the government’s rather broad claims in the Hamdi case certainly don’t provide any.

UPDATE: TAPPED has more on this.

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