As we hand complete power back to the Iraqi people this week, we
send mixed messages of the American way to our own.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a mismatched verdict
on President Bush’s anti-terrorism policies, ruling that the United
States may hold American citizens and foreign nationals without
trial or charges, but that detainees may also challenge their
treatment in court, according to a Denver Post article.
So pretty much what’s being stated here is that as long as
someone doesn’t seek trial, he or she may be held forever.
This really goes against the basic tenets of our judicial
system. The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution declares, “In
all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a
speedy and public trial…”
Why should this principle be changed because the detainees are
suspected of terrorism?
It certainly is important to be extremely cautious about
terrorism – that’s how we avoid another Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy.
But it’s also important to make sure people are treated fairly
until they are proven guilty. Someone may very well have
participated in terrorist activities, but we can’t bank on that
until they are given some sort of trial.
This logic should absolutely be true for American-born
detainees, but it should also apply to foreign nationals, no matter
where we find them. The United States should strive to treat
everyone in a way that befits the democratic ideals we claim to
uphold, because this is what will improve our reputation in the