20 Apr 2008 It’s Not History, It’s HBO
From David Almasi:
The Washington Post‘s Al Kamen poked fun at the ACLU and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in his April 16 column:
The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers are heading an effort to provide legal representation for alleged terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The groups say they’ve gotten involved in defending the detainees charged under the 2006 Military Commissions Act to ensure that constitutional rights are respected.
They’ve named their efforts the “John Adams Project,” after the second president, who “defended the British soldiers charged with killing Americans in the Boston Massacre, and said that the case was ‘one of the best pieces of service I ever rendered my country.'”
Wait a minute. John Adams? Wasn’t he also the guy who signed the infamous Alien and Sedition Acts, which were intended to suppress opposition to an undeclared naval war with France and provided for fines and imprisonment for publication of “any false, scandalous and malicious writings against the government”? The law that led to imprisonment of a couple of dozen newspaper editors and the closing of their publications?
The mistake is understandable. When the John Adams Project was introduced on April 3, the John Adams miniseries on HBO had only progressed through Adam’s inauguration as vice president in 1789. He didn’t sign the Alien and Sedition Acts until 1798. That episode didn’t air until April 13 (full disclosure: I still need to watch that episode as well!).
write him at [email protected]. David Almasi is executive director of the National Center for Public Policy Research.