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Jewish World Review July 17, 2003/ 17 Tamuz, 5763

Ann Coulter

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Taking liberties | After Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt rounded up more than 100,000 Japanese residents and citizens and threw them in internment camps. Indeed, both liberal deities of the 20th century, FDR and Earl Warren, supported the internment of Japanese-Americans. In the '20s, responding to the bombing of eight government officials' homes, a Democrat-appointed attorney general arrested about 6,000 people. The raids were conducted by A. Mitchell Palmer, appointed by still-revered Democrat segregationist Woodrow Wilson, who won the 1916 election based on lies about intelligence and war plans.

In response to the worst terrorist attack in the history of the world right here on U.S. soil, Attorney General John Ashcroft has detained fewer than a thousand Middle Eastern immigrants. Ashcroft faces a far more difficult task than FDR did: Pearl Harbor was launched by the imperial government of Japan, not by Japanese-Americans living in California. The 9/11 Muslim terrorists, by contrast, were not only in the United States but, until the attack, had broken hardly any laws at all (aside from a few immigration laws, which liberals don't care about anyway). And yet, Ashcroft's modest, carefully tailored policies have prevented another attack for almost two years since Sept. 11, 2001. No internment camps, no mass arrests. And no more massive terrorist attacks.

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Naturally, therefore, the Democrats have focused like a laser beam on the perfidy of John Ashcroft. Rep. Dick Gephardt recently said, "In my first five seconds as president, I would fire John Ashcroft as attorney general." (In his first four seconds, he would establish the AFL-CIO wing of the White House.)

Sen. John Kerry has vowed: "When I am president of the United States, there will be no John Ashcroft trampling on the Bill of Rights." (Experts are still trying to figure out why Kerry didn't mention his service in Vietnam during that last statement.) Let me be the first to predict that when John Kerry is president, pigs will fly.

Sen. John Edwards said that "we must not allow people like John Ashcroft to take away our rights and our freedoms." Apparently, we must, however, allow Janet Reno to run over our rights and our freedoms with a tank.

As usual, the Democrats have come up with a lot of bloody adjectives, but are a little short in the way of particulars as to how Ashcroft is trampling on anyone's rights. Their case-in-chief seems to be Tarek Albasti. Albasti's story has now run in more than 70 overwrought news stories. His tale of torment led a New York Times report on terrorism suspects whose lives have been uprooted and was the featured story on a PBS special this week about the civil liberties crisis sweeping America.

Tarek Albasti is an Egyptian immigrant who married an American woman, brought seven of his Egyptian friends to America and was enrolled in flight school when America was hit on 9/11. Based on a tip from the ex-wife of one of the men that they were plotting a suicide mission, the eight Egyptian immigrants were held for one week in October 2001 -- one week. The men were questioned and released. Since then, the government has issued copious apologies to the men and has expunged their records.

What are liberals claiming law enforcement was supposed to do with information like that? We're sorry for any Arabs whose dearest dream was to go into crop dusting, but this really isn't a good time. (Perhaps we could have a five-day waiting period for Muslims who apply to U.S. flight schools for a background check.)

Albasti told PBS -- that's right, PBS, the television network owned, operated and funded by the very same federal government Albasti now claims is oppressing him -- that during his one-week confinement he was worried he would be hanged without anyone ever knowing what happened to him. For that remark alone, he should be deported. Is that what he thinks of America? But at least detained Arabs -- and more to the point, their lawyers -- have a monetary incentive to make absurd claims of persecution. What is the Democrats' excuse?

Based on the wails from our stellar crop of Democratic presidential candidates, you would think every Muslim in the country is cowering in fear of a pogrom-oriented attorney general. Meanwhile, the left's principal evidence of a civil rights crisis in America consists of a one-week detention of eight Egyptian immigrants -- one in flight school, no less -- after the ex-wife of one of the men tipped off the FBI to a possible terrorist plot in the making.

Apparently, a lot of the false tips to law enforcement are coming from ex-wives. (Maybe Muslim men should have thought of that before introducing the burka.) Esshassah Fouad, a Moroccan student, was detained in Texas after his former wife accused him of being a terrorist. She is now serving a one-year prison sentence for making a false charge.

But some day, small children will be reading somber historical accounts about the dark night of fascism under John Ashcroft. (Thanks to Ashcroft, at least they'll be reading them in English, rather than Arabic.) If liberals applied half as much energy to some business endeavor as they do to creating the Big Lie, they would all be multimillionaires.

What are we to make of people who promote the idea that America is in the grip of a civil liberties emergency based on 100 hazy stories of scowls and bumps and one-week detentions? Manifestly, there is no civil liberties crisis in this country. Consequently, people who claim there is must have a different goal in mind. What else can you say of such people but that they are traitors?

JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of, most recently, "Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism." (Sales help fund JWR.)

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