Patriotism put on trial


* By Sabin Willett The Boston Globe *

Last week in Washington, right-wingers rallied to a demand by Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley for the names of Justice Department attorneys who used to be with law firms representing Guantanamo detainees. Elizabeth Cheney’s Keep America Safe group released on YouTube a video denouncing the “Department of Jihad.’’ Breathless announcers at Fox TV began publishing the names.

The right has long asserted that the Obama administration is coddling detainees. Now they had an explanation. Lawyers were the enemy within.

Government prosecutors are not the first enemy lawyers to be discovered by vigilant right-wingers. A few years ago, a public outcry from the right urged corporate America to fire people — like me — who had volunteered to represent Guantanamo detainees. Back then we were the enemy, and the right coined a new term — “lawfare’’ — to describe what we were doing.

So last week’s news was confusing. The much-maligned Justice Department lawyers are working against lawyers like me, Senator Grassley. If they are your enemy, they sure conceal it well. To listen to them, you’d think they were tireless advocates for the government. Every time we file a brief, they oppose it. Make an argument, they rebut it.

Read more at The Boston Globe

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