Over the weekend, Sen. Susan Collins released a five-minute video in which she sounded as though she were possessed by the angriest, most unhinged version of Dick Cheney. Collins recklessly accused the Obama administration of putting us all in serious danger by failing to wage War against the Terrorists. Most of what she said was just standard right-wing boilerplate, but there was one claim in particular that deserves serious attention, as it has become one of the most pervasive myths in our political discourse: namely, that the U.S. Constitution protects only American citizens, and not any dreaded foreigners. Focusing on the DOJ's decision to charge the alleged attempted Christmas Day bomber with crimes, Mirandize him and provide him with counsel, Collins railed: "Once afforded the protection our Constitution guarantees American citizens, this foreign terrorist 'lawyered up' and stopped talking" (h/t). This notion that the protections of the Bill of Rights specifically and the Constitution generally apply only to the Government's treatment of American citizens is blatantly, undeniably false -- for multiple reasons -- yet this myth is growing, as a result of being centrally featured in "War on Terror" propaganda.
But this right-wing demagoguery (coming from both Republicans and some Democrats) has nothing to do with those debates. For one thing, the accused Christmas Day bomber was captured and is being held inside the U.S. (right-wing fear-mongerers have long argued that we should not bring GITMO detainees to the U.S. because, once inside the U.S., they would then enjoy full Constitutional protections). But more important, the standard rhetorical formulation being used -- "extending rights to foreign Terrorists which the Constitution reserves for U.S. citizens" -- suggests that Constitutional rights are for American citizens only. That is blatantly false, and anyone making that claim -- as Susan Collins and so many others have -- is either extremely ignorant or extremely dishonest.
I'm down wit dishonest and worse when it comes to Repug fearmongering and trampling on rights. Go read.