Saturday, February 06, 2010

A Fundamental Thought

Once again, I see a reference to Republicans decrying Obama giving "new rights" to terrorism suspects by prosecuting them as criminals rather than some form of enemy alien. The "Terror 24/7/365" crowd doesn't seem to understand the fundamental nature of individual human rights: no one "gives" rights to anyone. Human rights are, as boldly stated in the US Declaration of Independence, "unalienable". Unalienable Rights among equals. Something to be respected, to be sure, but not something anyone gives. This nation's founding documents create a system, however imperfect it may be in practice, intended to adjudicate and protect these rights. Hell, we even try to do it in war, too. Used to, anyway.

So instead of calling the Underwear Bomber a deadly enemy and further mobilizing the National Security State (although he did a bit of this, too), Obama called him a criminal and will try him in federal court, just like the other 600 terrorism cases for which prosecutors can claim a 90 percent conviction rate. That's not good enough for the war crowd because it renders terrorism into something routine, something society just deals with. A criminal case successfully prosecuted in court lessens the rationale for extended, costly military deployments.

Don't expect Cheney and his echo chamber to stop barking. If they do, Americans may wake up and decide, finally, that we want our national legacy to be peace and justice, not war and predatory capitalism that wreck our military and their families, bankrupt the nation and create more hostility toward America throughout the world.

An awakened America would also know that the human Rights are inherent in all. that on our best days we recognize and respect all others' rights and that days not our best should be less rather than more.

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Blogger Patrick said...

I'm very comfortable with prosecution of terrorism suspects in Federal civilian courts. The conviction rates are near 100%, the sentences are long, and the prisons are secure. In detention without trial, whether at Guantanamo or elsewhere, because suspects are held on a whim, they can be released on a whim.

I'm far more comfortable for public safety with the certainty of civilian trials and convictions.

7:36 PM  

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