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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2006
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EDITORIAL

New ‘vital tool’ against terrorism undermines law

President Bush's signing of legislation this week that revamps how terror suspects are to be treated recalls a memorable line from Ronald Reagan. During a 1980 presidential debate with President Carter, the witty Republican quipped, "There you go again."

It portrayed Mr. Carter as having not learned from the past and repeating himself in a less than complimentary way.

President Bush's signing of the partisan legislation that sailed through Congress is a reminder that the chief executive still thinks America can go it alone in a complicated world.

The legislation goes against international law on how to treat detainees, or war prisoners. The president pressured Congress for the law after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the administration's plan for trying detainees in military tribunals violated U.S. and international law.

The president's provincial "Don't mess with Texas" attitude has U.S. prestige at a low point. He adopted it toward Europe, the U.N., in Iraq, and with North Korea, and in each situation has had to retreat.

Already remembered as the nation that scuttled the old League of Nations, the U.S. doesn't need to be the one that undoes the Geneva Convention on handling war criminals.

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