Andrew Sullivan of The Dish claimed Monday night the United States stopped being a free country under the Bush administration, citing the alleged military detention and torture of U.S. citizen Jose Padilla.
During a CNN panel discussion on the terrorist attack, Sullivan criticized what he saw as an overreaction to the Boston Marathon bombing. He noted that only three people were killed by the two explosive devices.
“I’m not minimizing it, but there are God knows how many people die every day of street violence in this country,” he said. “And I do think, frankly, obsessing about this particular incident kind of helps terror… I don’t think we should shut down an entire American city because two losers have a couple of pressure cooker bombs.”
Sullivan condemned the lockdown of Boston during the manhunt for the bombing suspects, claiming it was basically martial law.
Later, the discussion moved to Miranda rights. Many conservatives have criticized the FBI for reading the suspect his Miranda rights and others have called for him to be treated as an enemy combatant even though he is a U.S. citizen.
“He is an American citizen captured on American soil,” Sullivan remarked. “The comparison is American citizen Jose Padilla, who was seized by the Bush administration and tortured brutally for a year-and-a-half until he was incapable of even thinking straight. That’s the alternative. That’s what we lived under when we stopped being a democracy and a free country for a period of time under the last administration.”
“Is that really fair to say we stopped being a democracy and a free country?” CNN host Anderson Cooper asked.
“When a citizen is able to be seized by the government with no charges and tortured for months on end, that’s not a free country. He’s a citizen,” Sullivan replied.
(Sullivan’s comments start near the 9:00 mark.)