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Where Rote Libertarianism Leads

It leads to failure  -- failure to gather and follow critical intelligence.

That is one important point made by today's editorial in the WSJ.  The editorial notes that the FBI was onto Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev last year, when he returned from Chechnya, a hotbed of radical Islam.  It had been warned about Tamerlan by a foreign intelligence service (presumably Russia), and interviewed him, but then walked away, even "though media reports now say that within a month of returning...he was posting jihadist videos on websites."

The editorial continues:

The Boston bombing...ought to chasten Senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee and other libertarians who keep insisting that the U.S. homeland is not part of the terror battlefield.

"It's different overseas than it will be here. It's different in the battlefield than it will be here," Mr. Paul told Fox News earlier this year. "Which gets precisely to the argument I have with some other Republicans who say, well, 'the battlefield is everywhere, there is no limitation....'" 

Boylston Street sure looked like a battlefield on Monday, and so did Watertown on Thursday night. The artificial distinction is Mr. Paul's focus on geography. The vital distinction for public safety is between common criminals, who deserve due process protections, and enemy combatants at war with the U.S., wherever they are.


Sens. Paul and Lee are wise, in my view, to be leery generally of President Obama's limitless blob of a government and, in particular, of his increasingly reckless and politicized Justice Department.  But they are wrong, and dangerously so, about what is Constitutionally legitimate and needed to defend ourselves from terrorist-sponsored mass murder.  

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