Against All 'Enemies'

I am a veteran, a proud conservative, and in complete agreement with Nat Hentoff's analysis in his article "Is Bush the Law?" [Liberty Beat, May 12-18]. We shouldn't be surprised at the recent sadistic developments in the Iraqi prison when our leaders believe that they have the power to abolish basic constitutional liberties by simply declaring that someone is an "enemy combatant."

It would be helpful if you could connect the dots between Judge Napolitano's fear that anyone could be declared an enemy combatant and the kind of treatment one could receive at the hands of the government as a detainee versus as a P.O.W. or criminal suspect.

The question to be asked is, "Can we, as Americans who have different religious and political beliefs, trust any administration that could snatch anyone off the streets or out of their home and subject them to despicable acts, with the idea that the public should trust them to do the right thing?" Conservatives despised both Clintons for their abuse of political enemies (real or imagined) by the Justice Department. The same standard should be applied to President Bush.

Sean R. McSherry
Chester, New York

Milligan Stew

Nat Hentoff's Liberty Beat consistently raises important questions and issues. None is more important than the issue of the unlimited power of the president that is being challenged by the Hamdi and Padilla cases.

I would be astounded if the Supreme Court were to rule in favor of the administration and against Ex Parte Milligan, but I fear it is a possibility. Perhaps the court's decision should be made by answering the question in the context of a logical extreme: Is there anything under the current law that would prevent Bush from declaring John Kerry an "enemy combatant" and incarcerating him for the duration of the election year?

Robert Lewis
Culpeper, Virginia

Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em

Once again, as many times in the past, Mr. Hentoff hits the nail square on the head. His sense of clear, nonpartisan, and insightful journalism is a tremendous plus to your paper, and proves too that The Village Voice is in a shrinking group of publications that carries those same positive attributes. Thanks for Nat Hentoff!

J.C. Canevari
Poughkeepsie, New York

Nat Hentoff replies: Sean McSherry is exactly right. That is why the Supreme Court's decision in June on Bush's removal of all rights from two American citizens as "enemy combatants" and the Supreme Court's decisions about prisoners at Guantánamo will determine whether we still have a living Constitution. As for Robert Lewis's question, John Kerry is safe—even the president's counsel, Alberto Gonzales, won't go that far. But I hope the president does not nominate him to the Supreme Court.


Congratulations to staff writer Kareem Fahim, who received the Best Reporting (Non-Daily Newspaper) award from the Deadline Club, the New York City chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He was recognized for his series of articles written from Iraq in 2003: "Last Bus to Baghdad," "On the Trail of the Missing," and "Playing with Soldiers." The other two finalists in the category were the Voice's Alisa Solomon and Sydney H. Schanberg.


A quote was incorrectly attributed to Keith Appell in Wayne Barrett's "The Sex Scandal That Put Bush in the White House" (May 19-25). It should have been attributed to K.B. Forbes, who was the spokesperson for the Buchanan campaign in 2000.

Due to an editing error, Rick Perlstein's "The Jesus Landing Pad" (May 19-25) refers to the rebuilding of David's temple in Israel.It should have been the rebuilding of Solomon's temple.

In Samantha Hunt's "Sexual Healing" (VLS, May 19-25), the name of the author of the novel After was misspelled. She is Claire Tristram.

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