As authorities begin to question surviving Boston Marathon suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and piece together how he and his brother may have killed three and injured more than 170 during the historic race— a number of right-wingers are calling on President Obama to essentially resurrect George W. Bush’s much-maligned “war on terror.”
The president, meanwhile, has cautioned the nation not to rush to judgment. “When a tragedy like this happens, with public safety at risk and the stakes so high, it’s important we do this right,” Obama said after Tsarnaev, 19, had been taken into custody. “That’s why we take care not to rush to judgment—not about the motivations of these individuals, certainly not about entire groups of people.”
Not everyone is being so judicious. Here, a sampling of GOP over-reaction:
1. GOP Rep. Peter King: Put Muslims under surveillance
The New York lawmaker, who chairs the House subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, is urging authorities to beef up their surveillance of Muslims in the U.S. following Friday night’s arrest of Tsarnaev. Police must “realize that the threat is coming from the Muslim community and increase surveillance there,” he told the National Review. King also spearheaded controversial hearings on the radicalization of Muslim-Americans in 2011.
2. Former Rep. Joe Walsh: Profile “young Muslim men”
Similarly, the GOPer from Illinois said authorities should racially profile “young Muslim men” and even make it part of the immigration process. “We’re at war, and this country got a stark reminder last week again that we’re at war,” Walsh told msnbc’s Martin Bashir on Monday. “And not only should we take pause, when it comes to our immigration, we need to be in profiling who our enemy is in this war: young Muslim men.” He acknowledges there’s legislation that bans such profiling but added “these two guys weren’t just losers. They were part of radical Islam.”
3. Donald Trump: Let’s waterboard the Boston bombing suspect
The presidential flirt and billionaire business mogul took to Twitter to suggest using controversial torture techniques like waterboarding to get information out of Tsarnaev. “What do you think of waterboarding the Boston killer sometime prior to allowing our doctors to make him well? I suspect he may talk,” Trump wrote. He added, “Make the Boston killer talk before our doctors make him better. Once he is well, he will say, ‘speak to my lawyers.’ Since Trump’s rant, federal officials said that Tsarnaev is beginning to respond to questions from investigators in writing (He has a throat injury, which could be due to a suicide attempt or last week’s shootout with police).
4. Sen. Lindsey Graham: Don’t give Tsarnaev a real trial
The South Carolina senator, and several other Republicans this week, have been pushing for the White House to treat Tsarnaev as an enemy combatant, which would allow Tsarnaev to be held and questioned instead of immediately being tried in a criminal court. The White House said it would do no such thing, with critics including Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California saying it’s unconstitutional. Graham skewered the White House, calling the move “premature” and called for a congressional hearing to examine why the U.S. didn’t keep better tabs on Tsarnaev’s older brother, Tamerlan.
5. Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey: Call this attack what it is—jihad!
In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Mukasey writes that Obama is being too cautious, saying there’s a “cause for concern in the president’s reluctance, soon after the Boston bombing, even to use the ‘t’ word—terrorism—and in his vague musing on Friday about some unspecified agenda of the perpetrators, when by then there was no mystery: The agenda was Jihad.”
6. Red State: Terrorists are exploiting immigration loopholes!
Dana Loesch of the conservative website Red State suggests terrorists may be using American citizenship as a tactic to “thwart surveillance and investigation on the basis of their newfound civil liberties.” Loesch writes, “The 9/11 terror attacks began as an immigration problem. I’ve said this for years. Terrorists in our country on expired visas were stopped by police for traffic reasons before the attack. The Boston bombings, by looking at the suspects, was also an immigration problem.”
7. National Review: Obama should stop being a wimp!
The conservative publication, in an op-ed, says Obama has been “wildly inconsistent” on Islamist terrorism. “But at the same time, [Obama] remains a victim of, if we may borrow a phrase from Andrew C. McCarthy, willful blindness on the nature of Islamic supremacists. The attack on soldiers at Fort Hood remains risibly classified as an incidence of “workplace violence” rather than a sneak attack from the Islamic radical Nidal Hassan. When it comes to articulating a national understanding of the threat of Islamic radicalism and a national response to it, Barack Obama is a good deal less articulate than George W. Bush,” the op-ed says.