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interesting omissions

Reader comment on item: The End of Treason

Submitted by John Philips (Japan), Sep 1, 2006 at 20:56

Robert E. Lee, Timothy McVeigh. Whoever outed Valerie Plame.

The U.S. Constitution not only created a highly restrictive definition of "treason" but it also originally gave the president the power to pardon traitors, on the grounds that such pardons would best be given in the heat of battle, to get rebels to come back to American allegiance quickly.

Robert E. Lee suffered little for levying war against the United States. Some are still angry about this, while others feel it was necessary to get his troops to surrender and reswear allegiance to the United States. However, abuse of the pardon power for treason by Andrew Johnson got it modified by the 14th Amendment.

Tim McVeigh paid the ultimate price, and was little mourned for his attack against the United States. Americans are certainly still outraged by such crimes, and his omission from this article is most surprising. Does Dr. Pipes not think McVeigh a traitor, whatever he was actually charged with?

Whoever outed Valerie Plame is certainly guilty of acting immorally, and placing partisan interests above those of their country. While I don't think them guilty of treason, there are plenty of Americans who do, and I share their outrage at his actions. Apparently Dr. Pipes does not. Or does he?


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Daniel Pipes replies:

These strike me as criminal acts, not treasonous ones, but it's a topic open to debate.

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