SUSPECTED TERRORISTS CHARGED AFTER MIDWEST RAIDS…. The details are still coming together, but based on early reports it appears that federal officials took eight members of a Michigan-based Christian militia group into custody over the weekend. According to reporting today by the NYT‘s Charlie Savage, these eight, and a ninth who is still at large, have been indicted on sedition and weapons charges.

Based on court filings, it is believed that the nine radicals intended to kill an unidentified law enforcement officer, and attack the funeral procession with explosives similar to those used against U.S. troops in Iraq. The goal, according to the indictment, was to create some kind of “uprising against the government.”

Eight of the nine were taken into custody over the weekend in raids in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. The extremists were identified as members of a militia group called Hutaree, which considers the U.S. government its “enemy,” and which reportedly was moving forward with its plans for the attack next month.

These accounts suggest that federal officials intervened at a key moment, and prevented a devastating tragedy from taking place. Responses to terrorist attacks are important, but so are successful efforts like these to prevent the terrorist attacks from happening in the first place.

Given the recent political debates, Tim F. raises a good point.

Rightwing antiterror doctrine clearly states that we must strip these “terrorists” (no such thing as alleged in the war on terror) naked and hang them in cold cages by the wrists with their arms tied behind their backs so that the tendons tear and the shoulder joint dislocates. We should waterboard them until they confess and give up their co-conspirators (the Inquisition found waterboarding almost 100% effective! ). Without question these people should be held without any trial or access to habeas corpus petitions until the “war” against violent fundamentalist groups is over. At the very least we should shunt these guys into military tribunals where the rules have been rigged to ensure a conviction.

Of course Jonah Goldberg and Glenn Reynolds and Crittenden and Erickson and any other credentialed rightblogger will agree with what I just said. They have to.

That sounds about right. In fact, I’m genuinely curious what the reaction will be to this from some conservatives.

It appears that the Obama administration identified a group of religious radicals who consider the United States their enemy, and who have been plotting a deadly terrorist attack on American soil. Based on what’s publicly available, the accused are very dangerous.

Will the Cheneys demand that they not be tried in civilian courts? Will Rudy Giuliani insist that it’s too dangerous to detain the suspects on American soil? With a ninth member of the radical group still at large, will various Fox News personalities call on the president to torture the other eight for information before he/she can do something dangerous?

This may sound snarky, but it’s really not intended to be. It appears that the Obama administration has captured eight suspected terrorists, and prevented a deadly attack. Putting aside whether the right would give the administration credit for stopping terrorism before it happens, will we have to endure the same inane questions from the usual suspects, or do those rules not apply when the accused are white Christians?

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.