Monday, January 26, 2009

Should Al Qaeda have the same constitutional rights as American citizens?

On June 12th, 2008 the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that suspected terrorists that have been held as Guantanamo Bay detainees have the right to challenge their detention in federal court.

Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican- S.Carolina) has strongly opposed the ruling, stating “The American people are going to wake up tomorrow and be shocked to hear that a member of Al Qaeda has the same constitutional rights as an American citizen.” "[Even] the Nazis never has that right."

Flash forward a few months to President Barack Obama's first day in office, January 21, 2009 where he signed three executive orders to:

  1. ban the use of torture
  2. close Guantanamo Bay within one year
  3. review detention policies for terrorist suspects- and review existing inmates

What does this mean for the American people?

"Transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay to U.S. soil will endanger American lives," Sen. Jim DeMint said. Even New York City mayor, Rudy Guiliani joined the debate on Hannity saying, "People that we have released from Guantanamo have gotten involved in terrorist activities again and killed people, innocent people, Americans."

Conservative talk show host, Rush Limbaugh has similarly argued that this "polictical" move has been made at the expense of America's national security. "They're going to have to be held accountable in any future attacks as a result of this."

Why is it that they fear future attacks when we haven't seen one on American soil since 9/11?

Well- There have been over 61 inmates released from Guantanamo that have gone back to terrorism and killing innocent lives of Americans and our allies.
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell released this information on January 13, 2009.

This figure is an drastic increase from the 37 in March of 2008. The Pentagon's information has been gathered over the years from photographs, intelligence and forensic evidence such as fingerprints and DNA that tie the inmates to known terrorist activity.

Obviously a lot of information on the detainees at Guantanamo has yet to be released- but human rights activists and lawyers have concluded that only a few of those still held are actual terrorists.

But who wants to be the one responsible for releasing the next Osama bin Laden?

House Majority Leader John Boehner, (Republican-Ohio), has expressed his concerns as well.

"I think the first thing we have to remember is that we're talking about terrorists here,” Boehner said January 15. “Do we bring them into our borders? Do we release them back into the battlefield, like some 61 detainees that have been released we know are back on the battlefield? And do we release them to get back and rejoin this fight?”

He added, “The big concern is, how do you come up with a policy to say, ‘We're going to close Guantanamo,’ without having a policy in place for what you're going to do with those that are there?”

In addition, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, (Republican-Virginia) said, “Actively moving terrorists inside our borders weakens our security, raises far more questions than it answers and is the wrong track for our nation. Most families neither want nor need hundreds of terrorists seeking to kill Americans in their communities. We need to have a serious, careful, and realistic national discussion about the ramifications of closing Guantanamo Bay.”

It is correct that an active approach must be taken to examine the detainees' innocence in a timely fashion. But by bringing these detainees to American soil- it provides them American rights. Their grievances should not be opened to the public- there is national security that must be considered and upheld.

Not to mention- why is Obama's first duty as President ensuring the rights of known and suspected terrorists?

1 comment:

  1. Right on, the fact of the matter is, you can tell the character of a man by his words and actions. Telling Congressional Republicans "I won" is the political version of the one fingered salute. Making your first international press interview on Al Arabia is more than slightly telling. After all, Iran is just a tiny country (by the way Mr. President, so is Israel, and they're currently making war on someone, so why can't you just settle for talking with them?). Close Gitmo, put the national debt firmly into the trillions by promoting multiple ridiculous "stimulus" plans (which, by the way, only stimulate those non-partisan, perfectly clean corporations such as ACORN), and sending money overseas for abortions all the while lamenting the lack of money over here...Mr. President, grow up. You won, congrats. But you are still a servant to the public who elected you, both those who cast their votes for and against you. It's time to act like a president and not a kid who takes their ball and runs home when they feel like it. You must play with everyone, not just the Dems, so please, in the name of love, peace, hope and change, GROW UP Mr. President, and hurry, we can't afford to wait.