Presidential Power in Wartime
Former Attorney General (2007-09) in the Bush Administration, Michael Mukasey, spoke in Washington on September 15, to deconstruct the claims of the Obama Administration, review the origins of Islamism, and emphasize that full respect for the Constitution does not preclude vigorous antiterrorism efforts by the United States.
Mukasey noted that Guantanamo remains open; intensive interrogations, which he determines to be perfectly legal, are now conducted on U.S. naval vessels abroad; and military commissions remain the venue for prosecuting terrorists. Of those released from Guantanamo, twenty percent (identified as recaptured or killed) returned to terrorist activity.
The second element of the speech reviewed the origins of the Islamist movement, noting for the grim amusement of readers that one of its key Egyptian progenitors was radicalized in Greeley, Colorado, after receiving a traveling fellowship in 1948. That Islamist decided that Americans were “numb to faith in art, faith in religion, and faith in spiritual values altogether,” and that Muslims must regard “the white man, whether European or American . . . [as] our first enemy.” Mukasey stated that we have been at war with Islamism ever since the 1990s with enemies more able to project violent death against us, culminating in 9/11. Consequently, he is skeptical about democracy emerging from the Arab Spring movements.