O’Reilly: “I Don’t Care About The Constitution”

Conservative commentators continue their war on the Constitution this week with increasingly shrill rhetoric of how our laws and civil liberties are endangering us. Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly, however, achieved a remarkable low by declaring “I don’t care about the Constitution” on air in a discussion of Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to try five detainees in New York.

I am always struck by anti-American rhetoric that comes from such figures. The Constitution is the very thing that defines who we are as a nation. It is the thing that we have sacrificed lives and treasure to protect. Yet, people like O’Reilly have little reluctance in trashing it. I am less surprised by Karl Rove, who has shown little personal commitment to the rule of law and barely escaped an indictment in the Plame matter. Rove declared that giving a fair trial to terror suspects is a “long-standing plot” by “left-wing lawyers who do not love America.” America, it seems, is something other than our values and founding documents. It is, I suppose, Fox News.

I have no delusion about O’Reilly, but I am still struck by the dismissive contempt shown this common article of faith between citizens, the Constitution. While we have considerable political, religious, and cultural differences, that document is something of a covenant of faith between us as citizens. One cannot love this country without loving that document. What is less is land and “lifestyle.” O’Reilly’s statement is every bit as offensive as those of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whom I also denounced. Yet, it was met with acclaim rather than condemnation from conservative viewers.

75 thoughts on “O’Reilly: “I Don’t Care About The Constitution””

  1. Elaine:

    My wife watches him and I laugh most of the time over the ridiculous things he says. He is, if nothing else, full of himself or sh . . . if you prefer. I guess if someone acts like he knows what he is doing, most will believe him.

  2. Elaine:

    you are wrong about that, he is the impetus behind all political actions taken by any elected official.

  3. “I don’t care about the Constitution”.

    You’d think that would be the end of his career, right there, at that moment, never to be seen again….

  4. “prove their [guilt] beyond ANY reasonable doubt.”

    Man, it’s been a loooooong day.

  5. Byron,

    The difference is two-fold.

    First, the declaration of war. KSM is not an officially a state agent although I personally have little doubt he takes his orders from Riyadh.

    Second, we were already at war with Germany when they dropped saboteurs on our soil via U-boat and sneaked by Coast Guard passing as fishermen. The President ordered a military tribunal, but not because of the favorable law. It was for secrecy. He desperately wanted to hide that Nazis could penetrate our defense nets. The propriety of this was taken all the way to the S.Ct. and Ex Parte Quirin is not exactly the Courts finest hour, was regarded by later “an unhappy precedent” by Justice Frankfurter. What we would be doing with a military tribunal and KSM would be EXACTLY the same mistake FDR made.

    As to your direct questions:

    Q: And what if KSM actually goes free what then?
    A: Not a chance if the evidence isn’t irrevocably corrupted by Bush using torture. IF he is found not guilty, Obama has already signaled he’s willing to violate the rights of some and detain them indefinitely no matter what a court says. One of the reasons he needs to be held to task.

    Q: {W]hy try him in the first place?
    A: To illustrate that the values the terrorist hate work in an open and fair manner and to prove their doubt beyond ANY reasonable doubt.

    Q:All that is going to do is make us look Machiavellian and full of sh . . . Does this just come down to semantics and a non-declaration of war?
    A: Yes. And you can thank Bush and the Neocons for creating this untenable position so they could make some money for themselves and their Saudi business partners (the reason Cheney should be swinging from a rope). But it doesn’t make us look as Machiavellian as if we held secret trials.

    As to the future?

    Because of the actions of the Bush Administration there is no certainty about anything involving how we conduct wars or how we treat captives or how our captives will be treated. He violated damn near every rule of war created to prevent abuses by other all signatory nations when he started torturing and indefinite detention in violation of not just treaties but our Constitution. He made sure every soldier in our Armed Forces are in much more personal peril than they have probably ever been in when it comes to risking torture themselves. But as for terrorists, unless a state is stupid enough to admit directly backing them? The GC does not apply. They are not soldiers so we don’t have to treat them as such. We can box them up and ship them back stateside for trial. As long as they are Mirandized before they are processed, it’s like booking any other murderer. And that’s what we should have been doing all along.

  6. BobEsq:

    then why did we not declare war? It seems like then we would not have all this foolishness.

    But again my question, can you declare war on a non-state actor? As President could I declare war on the Taliban and Al Qaeda and would it be constitutional?

    If you classify it as a police action then why are we using the military? Does Posse Comitatus apply to foreign countries in police actions?

    If so then is this whole f. . . mess unconstitutional?

    I am starting to think that some lawyers were working overtime to figure out a way to make all this happen and they were not thinking very hard about legal ramifications.

    We always seem to step on our collective d . . . when we don’t declare war. It ought to be a matter of law that if you aren’t willing to declare war stay out the Bush’s.

  7. Buddha:

    what about German saboteurs during WWII? Did they get a civilian trial? What is the difference? Is it that we did not declare war?

    And what if KSM actually goes free what then? I heard someone say that they have plenty to hold him on so that possibility is out of the question.

    But if that is the case, why try him in the first place? All that is going to do is make us look Machiavellian and full of sh . . . Does this just come down to semantics and a non-declaration of war?

    What about the future, how is this going to effect battlefield situations? Read them their rights? If the Taliban are not enemy combatants is the military Constitutionally able to read them their rights? What is that going to do to our ability to question them on the battlefield for strategic information? Wont that unnecessarily put our troops at risk?

    Lots of questions that I don’t know the answers to.

    ???????????????

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