Senator Paul has it wrong on how detention works.
Earlier this week, Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) responded to my column from last weekend, which criticized (a) his endorsement of enhanced constitutional protections for alien enemy combatants (the practical effect of his call for a return to pre-9/11 counterterrorism), and (b) his proposals to bar the government from subjecting to indefinite military detention al-Qaeda operatives who happen to be American citizens. Senator Paul’s rejoinder described my first claim as a misleading “strawman,” then rehashed his arguments on behalf of American citizens who join our enemies’ war against us. I’ve already addressed the “strawman” complaint. In this column, I undertake to refute Senator Paul’s arguments against law-of-war detention for American enemy combatants.