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Taylor’s Knockout Punch on Miranda Idiocy


The Obama administration’s claim that criticism of its handling of Abdulmutallab is pure partisanship takes another big hit today. Stuart Taylor — formerly of the New York Times and currently with the National Journal, neither of which is particularly noted for its right-wing zealotry — delivers a knockout punch in his column today. And Taylor himself is far from a Republican partisan. Here are some excerpts, but the whole thing is very much worth reading.

Reasonable people disagree about how much coercion interrogators should use to extract potentially lifesaving information from terrorists. (None at all, President Obama unwisely ordered soon after taking office.)

But no reasonable person could doubt that starting out with “you have the right to remain silent” is not the way to save lives.

Yet this is essentially the policy into which the Obama administration has locked itself by insisting that it did the right thing when it read Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be Christmas Day bomber, his Miranda rights after only 50 minutes of questioning and a hospital visit. . . .

This is not to deny that bypassing Miranda would leave unresolved how much evidence about a suspect should be required to justify incommunicado detention and interrogation; how harshly he should be interrogated; and for how long.

Those are hard questions. The easy one is whether Obama’s policy of Mirandizing terrorist suspects can be squared with Obama’s exhortation in his State of the Union address: “Let’s try common sense.” It cannot be.


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