The most refreshing thing about Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) — the thing that comes through in his often admirable speeches and op-eds, as well as in The Tea Party Goes to Washington, the autobiographical account of his political rise — is that he seems to have the courage of his convictions. It is disappointing, then, that this turns out not to be the case, at least when it comes to enemy combatants.

In his response to my weekend column regarding his efforts to arm enemy combatants with full-fledged constitutional rights in wartime, Senator Paul protests that I have misrepresented his position. He now claims that his effort last week to defeat the combatant-detention provisions in the defense-authorization bill were strictly about protecting American citizens. He accuses me of contending that the debate “was not about American citizens,” and insists that I’ve erected a “strawman” in alleging that he was urging constitutional rights for alien combatants.

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