In response to the worst terrorist attack in the history of the world right here on U.S. soil, Attorney General John Ashcroft has detained fewer than a thousand Middle Eastern immigrants. Ashcroft faces a far more difficult task than FDR did: Pearl Harbor was launched by the imperial government of Japan, not by Japanese-Americans living in California. The 9-11 Muslim terrorists, by contrast, were not only in the United States but, until the attack, had broken hardly any laws at all (aside from a few immigration laws, which liberals don't care about anyway). And yet, Ashcroft's modest, carefully tailored policies have prevented another attack for almost two years since Sept. 11, 2001. No internment camps, no mass arrests. And no more massive terrorist attacks.Naturally, therefore, the Democrats have focused like a laser beam on the perfidy of John Ashcroft. Rep. Dick Gephardt recently said, "In my first five seconds as president, I would fire John Ashcroft as attorney general." (In his first four seconds, he would establish the AFL-CIO wing of the White House.)
Sen. John Kerry has vowed: "When I am president of the United States, there will be no John Ashcroft trampling on the Bill of Rights." (Experts are still trying to figure out why Kerry didn't mention his service in Vietnam during that last statement.) Let me be the first to predict that when John Kerry is president, pigs will fly.
Sen. John Edwards said that "we must not allow people like John Ashcroft to take away our rights and our freedoms." Apparently, we must, however, allow Janet Reno to run over our rights and our freedoms with a tank.
As usual, the Democrats have come up with a lot of bloody adjectives, but are a little short in the way of particulars as to how Ashcroft is trampling on anyone's rights. Their case-in-chief seems to be Tarek Albasti. Albasti's story has now run in more than 70 overwrought news stories. His tale of torment led a New York Times report on terrorism suspects whose lives have been uprooted and was the featured story on a PBS special this week about the civil-liberties crisis sweeping America.