Monday, February 26, 2007

The European model is not always what liberals hope it to be

There has always been a strain of American thought that glorified the Old World: Liberal supreme court justices have used foreign laws as the basis for their decisions and Democrats have on occasion praised the European model for fighting terror as a law enforcement issue. However, as Bret Stephens points out, the French model for "law enforcement" includes powers for the government that Democrats would oppose even when fighting a war:
Warrantless wiretaps? Not a problem under French law, as long as the Interior Ministry approves. Court-issued search warrants based on probable cause? Not needed to conduct a search. Hearsay evidence? Admissible in court. Habeas corpus? Suspects can be held and questioned by authorities for up to 96 hours without judicial supervision or the notification of third parties. Profiling? French officials commonly boast of having a "spy in every mosque." A wall of separation between intelligence and law enforcement agencies? France's domestic and foreign intelligence bureaus work hand-in-glove. Bail? Authorities can detain suspects in "investigative" detentions for up to a year. [France's investigative minister] Mr. Bruguiere once held 138 suspects on terrorism-related charges. The courts eventually cleared 51 of the suspects--some of whom had spent four years in preventive detention--at their 1998 trial.

FLASHBACK: As an earlier example of Democrats sympathizing with Europeans when they shouldn't, consider a New York Times editorial from February 26, 1916 accused the some Democrats of siding with Germany against Pres. Wilson during the lead up to World War I:

By their Constitution, the American people created the Congress as a branch of the Government of the United States, not as an instrument to serve the purposes of Germany.

Yet, among the abhorrent forces now at work in Congress to obstruct the President in his policies, to prevent the expression of the country's will, and to bring dishonor upon the nation, that alien influence is too conspicuous for concealment.

It is a monstrous anomaly, a hideous solecism, that the American Congress should be the field of a contest in which a foreign government can display such power, or any power at all, over our national decisions.

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