The Warren court pursued its radical agenda of judicial activism by creating an entire spectrum of "rights" based on spurious readings of the Constitution. Warren's technique was simple enough. He would take the actual Constitution and reinterpret the text to suit his political agenda. The actual ruling was not anything that the Framers had ever intended, and had nothing to do with the actual purpose the text was meant to serve. It was just a convenient hook to hang his ruling on.
Take Cruel and Unusual Punishment, which had been meant to ban all sorts of hideous executions and tortures that had been practiced in Europe. The Warren court used it to ban the denaturalization of a army deserter and to rule that imprisoning heroin addicts is illegal, because their addiction is a sickness, not a crime. This had nothing to do with the Eight Amendment of the United States Constitution which was meant to ban certain painful physical punishments, not to control whether junkies could be taken off the street or defectors could be deprived of citizenship. Instead it was used by the court to ban the death penalty for rape, to ban the death penalty for 17 year old murderers, and temporarily the idea of the death penalty itself.
The Miranda Warning that Beck insists is in the Constitution is based on a similarly spurious reading which made the leap to arguing that questioning a suspect without informing him of his rights, such as the aforementioned Ernesto Arturo Miranda, a serial rapist, was the equivalent of denying him those rights. The court's argument in Miranda was that being taken into custody is so intimidating that it is essentially a form of compulsory self-incrimination.
For Beck to argue that a failure to Mirandize "shreds the Constitution" would mean that he seriously believes that the Constitution had been shredded all along until 1966 when Earl Warren fixed it by adding the requirement of a Miranda Warning. This is a belief widely held on the liberal side of the aisle, but I don't think Beck believes that. He is simply following the widely held liberal indoctrination which treats the rulings made through Judicial Activism as equivalent to the actual text of the Constitution.
In his dissent Justice Harlan warned quite accurately that; "I believe the decision of the Court represents poor constitutional law and entails harmful consequences for the country at large. How serious these consequences may prove to be, only time can tell" and pointed out that this was not a ruling meant to prevent abuse, but to protect abusers; "The new rules are not designed to guard against police brutality or other unmistakably banned forms of coercion... Rather, the thrust of the new rules is to negate all pressures, to reinforce the nervous or ignorant suspect, and ultimately to discourage any confession at all."
And Harlan pointed out the risks of treating such a criminal rights agenda as Constitutional. "To incorporate this notion into the Constitution requires a strained reading of history and precedent and a disregard of the very pragmatic concerns that alone may on occasion justify such strains."
All this applies rather glaringly to terrorists, where the question goes well beyond mere criminal conviction. The bottom line is that we are at war. Not with a single serial rapist, but with a fanatical Islamic ideology that like Communism before it, demands world conquest.
Faisal Shahzad was naturalized barely a year ago. Does anyone seriously believe that before this time he did not hold whatever views impelled him to try and set off a car bomb in Times Square? Does being an enemy combatant who took US citizenship under false pretenses entitle him to full immunity?
The Bill of Rights was intended to preserve the rights of Americans, not of enemy combatants masquerading as something they are not. An Islamic terrorist has by definition taken a false oath, as he certainly does not bear "true faith and allegiance" to the United States. He had no intention of defending it against its enemies. He is one of its enemies.
During WW2, Nazi Germany sent a number of saboteurs into the United States, one of whom was a US Citizen. They were not given Miranda Warnings, obviously. They were not treated with kid gloves. They were tried by a military tribunal and executed less than two months after they arrived in the United States. Read that again. Less than 2 months. If you want to understand why we won WW2 and are losing the war now, consider the implications of what you just read.
And Miranda is one of the reasons why. Not so much Miranda itself, as the agenda behind it. The agenda that gives the murderer every form of defense and discretion, and provides none to his victims. The agenda that rewards evil, but punishes good.
The fact of the matter is that it was common practice to treat spies, saboteurs and pirates as unlawful combatants who were tried by military tribunals and executed at will, regardless of whether their disguise included US citizenship or not.
In the case of the WW2 saboteurs, Ex parte Quirin, the court stated that;
...entry upon our territory [317 U.S. 1, 37] in time of war by enemy belligerents, including those acting under the direction of the armed forces of the enemy, for the purpose of destroying property used or useful in prosecuting the war, is a hostile and war-like act. It subjects those who participate in it without uniform to the punishment prescribed by the law of war for unlawful belligerents. It is without significance that petitioners were not alleged to have borne conventional weapons or that their proposed hostile acts did not necessarily contemplate collision with the Armed Forces of the United States.
Paragraphs 351 and 352 of the Rules of Land Warfare, already referred to, plainly contemplate that the hostile acts and purposes for which unlawful belligerents may be punished are not limited to assaults on the Armed Forces of the United States. Modern warfare is directed at the destruction of enemy war supplies and the implements of their production and transportation quite as much as at the armed forces. Every consideration which makes the unlawful belligerent punishable is equally applicable whether his objective is the one or the other. The law of war cannot rightly treat those agents of enemy armies who enter our territory, armed with explosives intended for the destruction of war industries and supplies, as any the less belligerent enemies than are agent similarly entering for the purpose of destroying fortified places or our Armed Forces. By passing our boundaries for such purposes without uniform or other emblem signifying their belligerent status, or by discarding that means of identification after entry, such enemies become unlawful belligerents subject to trial and punishment.
Citizenship in the United States of an enemy belligerent does not relieve him from the consequences of a belligerency which is unlawful because in violation of the law of war.
The only remaining objection to treating Faisal Shahzad as an enemy combatant is that there is no "declared war" and thus there can be no enemy combatants. This is a basic fallacy that relies on the fact that we are not fighting individual nations, but rather an ideology. We have come as close as possible to declaring war, within that limitation. Islam is not an enemy state, just as Communism is not an enemy state. It is a war waged by followers of a global ideology who number in the hundreds of millions. The language of conventional wars fought by one nation against another cannot encompass this.
But those who would condemn the War on Terror as illegitimate because it is not against a named state, had better be prepared to argue that the Tripolitan War fought against Muslim pirates without a formal Declaration of War under Thomas Jefferson, their destruction supported by George Washington, was equally "Unconstitutional".
Jefferson's push for an international alliance and his eventual determination to go it alone, arguably made him the first Neoconservative. The likes of Ron Paul might castigate the Founders as "Unconstitutional" because they fought the Tripolitan War without a declaration of war, assaulted the sovereignty of the Pasha of Tripoli, and didn't read anyone their Miranda Rights, but I don't think anyone else in their right mind would. And the War on Terror has been more formally declared than the Tripolitan War.
There's something fundamentally wrong when people who should be conservatives instead start talking like ACLU lawyers. Start believing that Miranda is a Constitutional right, rather than a bit of judicial activism legerdemain. Start thinking that we should be fighting the War on Terror by following the model of the American Bar Association, rather than that of Washington, Jefferson, FDR and every wartime President between them.
The Constitution was never intended to serve as a suicide pact. It was never intended to protect enemies of the United States under the colors of the flag. Its Bill of Rights protected the rights of Americans, not the rights of its enemies. Our laws exist in order to safeguard the rights of Americans. When they are exploited to aid those who deprive Americans of their lives and liberties, then they have been undeniably perverted to play a role opposite to that of their original purpose. The work of the Warren Court is a comprehensive illustration of laws turned in on themselves. No country can have or maintain laws inimical to its survival for very long. And a country that protects its enemies will eventually fall by their sword.