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And Justice for All

April 12, 2005

Not Metallica, but how we should be fighting lawfare. We are a nation built upon laws. Some people may not like them and others may conspire to eliminate the adjudicators of them. Many of these laws have stood the test of time like the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, but there have been times in the past that perceived expediency or necessity. The Alien and Sedition Acts of the 18th Century, suspension of Habeas Corpus by Lincoln, Woodrow Wilsons draconian measures to arrest WWI objectors, and Roosevelts internment of Japanese citizens are all examples of how the U.S. has reacted during wartime.We can look back and see that the Government uses this not for protection of the country only to squelch dissent and opponents of policy.

I know that the nations opinion of the Federal Judicial system is very low. Public opinion should not be the determiner of how we proceed in the defense of freedom. Let us lead by example and give foreign nationals like Zacarias Moussaoui and Yaser Hamdi and U.S. Citizens like Jose Padilla their day in court. Give them fair trials. This is the quickest way to sort out who is a member of Al-Qaeda and who has been falsely accused. Hiding these people in detainmentonly makes it look like you are hiding something from the World. Lead with words and deeds to establish freedom and the rule of law.

I close with a comment by Phillip Carter on how law will only strengthen America:

As a nation, we have now committed ourselves to the spread of freedom and democracy throughout the world. Establishing the rule of law, and building democratic institutions, come part and parcel with this charter to spread freedom. We cannot embrace such things on the one hand, as we are in Iraq, while flouting the rule of law on the other, as we are in Gitmo. The world sees our inconsistency, and criticizes our policies as a naked, unprincipled grab for power. It’s not enough to talk the freedom talk; you must also walk the freedom walk. And that means adhering to the rule of law in all contexts, suchas treating captured enemy fighters according to established U.S. and international law. There is no evidence that giving these men a proper trial would somehow hurt national security; all the evidence suggests our political and moral standing would be enhanced if we treated these men according to the law. So why haven’t we done so?

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