Jun 292004
Authors: Collegian Editorial Staff

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


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