I absolutely want terror suspects Mirandized. And not to protect THEM, either. If they did it, I could care less about them. It's about me, and you, and the rest of America. To me, those legal strictures exist to protect the society in multiple ways:
1) It is critical that, under stress, the legal system not break down. Passions run high--war time is a perfect opportunity for power grabs. Start by revoking rights to suspects, and you can end by taking them from everyone.
2) It is critical that the right people be detained, prosecuted, and convicted. Our legal system takes the inevitability of human error into account. Especially error when the "Others" don't look quite like us. History suggests that torture chambers are easy to fill with people who "look" like the public expects the enemy to "look." If they are innocent, this not only allows the actual guilty parties to escape, but alienates the very community we need to cooperate with us in providing information about radicals.
3) Police and military are high-alpha, territorial, high-testosterone types. I love them, and am honored to count many such high-alphas among my friends and teachers. The potential downside of their protective instinct is that they are more comfortable with violence--and more prone to consider it a tool. People who complain about male violence are usually perfectly happy to call those same males to protect them. The capacity to protect and the capacity to harm are two sides of the same coin. We want to protect these very specialized individuals from the ugly side of their own instincts. When there is a class of "others" it becomes very very easy for human beings to justify violence, and that can be horribly corruptive in an already dangerous situation. I would not put the souls of our warriors at risk because the citizens they protect demand blood.
4) Having been a member of a less-valued class, I am very aware that violence has been used to coerce confession in America (and everywhere else.) And also aware that those who suggest rights should be limited are more likely to wish to limit mine, as well. I cannot side with those people--I am too aware of what they say about people like me, when I'm out of the room.
If I give authorities the right to grab suspects and treat them badly, I give them permission to do that to me, or my family. I will not do that.
5) I see no evidence that physical coercion produces a higher quality of intel than other forms. And much suggestion to the contrary. When we remove legal strictures, the human drive for revenge finds it easy to burble to the top. We can never, ever forget that the natural state of mankind seems to include stripping the flesh from those who frighten us. This very urge can compromise our attempts at security by poisoning the information stream, jailing or killing the wrong people, and creating enemies where we might have had allies.
In general, then, the granting of rights to enemy combatants is NOT about protecting the enemy. It is about protecting the very fabric of society itself. When we throw those protections aside, the terrorists win. Fear shuts down the forebrain, leaving the desire for revenge and the thirst for blood...as well as a grasping for power as the weak roll over and expose their bellies: "protect me!"
Nanny state, indeed.
##I saw "Clash of the Titans" on Sunday. It wasn't bad. It also wasn't the 3D version, which I understand blew chunks. Now, "Titans" was never my favorite Ray Harryhausen film anyway. It was decent, but I had the sense that he was growing uncertain of his ability to maintain a level of quality, and chose to quit while he was ahead. The most beautiful thing in the film--the Pegasus--was actually done by Jim Danforth. At any rate, the level of acting was as high as the original, the effects were "better" but less artful (there is something about the creakiness of Harryhausen's work that is endearing. He was simply an absolute master, arguably the greatest FX man in the history of cinema.) Overall forgettable. The fact that you can put a team of technicians to work to create fabulous images doesn't make it worth doing. Really, nothing to see here. A "C"