John Podhoretz has a very good column today on Mukasey in which he recounts the incredible security measures required to keep Judge Mukasey safe from Islamist reprisals. An excerpt:
He was, in effect, an American Salman Rushdie.
Unlike Rushdie, Mukasey couldn’t go into hiding: He was a sitting federal judge. But he and his wife basically lived for years inside a security cocoon.
For a decade – 24/7/365 – they were surrounded by a platoon of U.S. marshals, who stood guard outside their home and went everywhere with the Mukaseys – to the grocery store, the movie house, the bookstore, dinner with friends . . .
At the Mukaseys’ Long Island beach house, a rotating team of nine marshals crowded the driveway at all times. I spent time in a house about 20 yards away, and no matter how many times I passed by (in a very recognizable green Volkswagen Beetle), the marshals were watchful, careful, making eye contact with me and paying close attention to the car.
Me: An important point JPod doesn’t mention but that needs to be kept in mind when people call for treating terrorists like ordinary criminals is that this sort of thing could be multiplied a thousandfold if we lugged every terrorist before a civilian criminal court. In all the debate about the legal and constitutional issues — and it’s a worthwhile debate to be sure — very few people address the simple logistics of how we would treat terrorism like just another crime which, by the way, it isn’t.