Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bloggerly Overreach

Radley Balko, writing at Cato@Liberty, applauds Pejman Yousefzadeh's piece at TCS Daily, "Legal Overkill." Balko highlights the phrase “mistakes of lawyerly overreach," as if Yousefzadeh were supportive of Balko's rather hysterical fear that the Fourth Reich is upon us. All Yousefzadeh does is point out that

[t]hese efforts at overreach are being made in order to enhance the power of the Executive Branch, power that Bush Administration lawyers -- not without reason -- believe has been circumscribed over recent decades. But in making untenable claims in favor of the broadening of executive power, the Bush Administration lawyers are not only setting themselves up for failure regarding the specific claims involved, they are also setting up the Executive Branch to have its power circumscribed anew; exactly the opposite approach that is intended.

Yousefzadeh's counsel is a matter of tactical disagreement, not strategic dissent. He homes in on the treatment of enemy combatants, concluding that

[i]f the Administration relied on the traditional laws of war as . . . codified by the Geneva Conventions it could have achieved its purpose of writing a legal justification for treating Taliban combatants -- and for that matter, irregular Iraqi insurgents -- differently from traditional POWs.

Nor should Balko and his ilk take comfort in Yousefzadeh's bottom line:

There are a great many good-faith reasons to fear that the power of the Executive Branch has been unnecessarily diluted in recent years. But as a result of the Bush Administration's overreach, those who seek to expand the powers of the Presidency may inadvertently end up helping to dilute it.

Well, Balko et al. might take comfort in the possibility of ham-stringing the commander-in-chief, given their apparent aversion to the actual defense of liberty. It is that defense, and not their puerile posturing, which enables them to indulge their suicidal devotion to the non-agression principle.

Other related posts:
Libertarian Nay-Saying on Foreign and Defense Policy
Libertarian Nay-Saying on Foreign and Defense Policy, Updated
Libertarians and the Common Defense
Libertarianism and Preemptive War: Part I
Libertarianism and Preemptive War: Part II