Best Defense

‘Banned from public life’: A useful tool?

Best Defense is in summer reruns. Here is an item that originally ran on January 19, 2016.

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Best Defense is in summer reruns. Here is an item that originally ran on January 19, 2016.

I admire French food and culture more than I do French politics, but I do think there is something worthwhile in their practice of “banning from public life.” I saw the phrase whilst reading William Shirer’s Collapse of the Third Republic.

I am not sure how this would work in our country. Is one simply banned from running for or holding public office? What about testifying before Congress? Keeping people off TV would run into First Amendment issues, on which I am a fundamentalist.

Still, the practice seems to me a useful compromise between doing nothing or charging someone with a crime. You helped us go to war on false premises? Not a crime, but it should carry some consequences.

Image credit: Bibliothèque nationale de France/Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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