A British reader writes:
Although I don't live in the US I have visited it many times and consider it a great and wonderful country. However, I have taken the conscious decision not to visit during the current Presidency. Like you I was a pretty strong supporter of GWB when he first became President (mainly because I didn't rate Gore very highly), but again like you I have come to realize what a danger he represents to US democracy and world security. However, particularly in relation to Part VII of your series yesterday the fact is that I, as a perfectly normal and innocent non-US citizen do not feel secure visiting the US safely.
I regularly read blog entries, even in your own blog, expressing horror that a US citizen can be treated so badly (Padilla), but the reaction to non-US citizens being treated extra-judicially by your government is, for a lot of Americans rather different. I know the Florida tourism people, for example, have been running advertising campaigns here (the UK) trying to encourage visitors after a number of outrageous incidents involving British citizens had been widely publicised here and had led to a downturn in tourist bookings from this country. The US is a great country and will, undoubtedly, regain its equilibrium in due course, but meantime there are many other parts of the world where I can vacation without feeling I have to glance over my shoulder.
Any non-citizen in this country is at risk of government detention at any time. If they can do it to citizens, they sure can to aliens.