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The current government's extremist attitude toward terrorism has led us to desert some of our most fundamental principles.

The US government does not have the right to incarcerate foreign nationals suspected of terrorism with out formal charges or the advice of an attorney.

Today’s culture is centered around fear. The amount of crimes reported on the nightly news in recent years has increased 90%, while the actual crime rate has gone down. Gated communities, safe rooms, and security devices grow with popularity each time the “terror alert” is raised from orange to red (will find actual sources for these assertions). And no one feels the grunt of this paranoia more than a foreign national suspected of terrorism. Since the days of 9/11 merely uttering the word terrorist will earn you suspicious glares. This extremist attitude toward terrorism has led us to desert some the most fundamental principles of the country, specifically the US constitution and the Geneva compact. The government should not treat all suspected terrorists as if it was them who drove a plane through a building, but maintain the high standards of equality and diplomacy that the rest of the world follows by example.

The unconstitutionality of holding individuals without formal charges or advice of an attorney.
The writers of the constitution made no specific reference to the treatment of foreign nationals suspected of terrorism. Possibly because severe punishments would be a sore subject to men who, not two years before, could be considered terrorists to the English crown according to the definition, “terrorism: the unlawful use or threat of violence esp. against the state or the public as a politically motivated means of attack or coercion” (dictionary.com). The constitution declares each person shall have “equal protection of the laws“. And protection under the law means right to an attorney and a formal charge. Is there a part in the constitution that says only US citizens are equal or that we are free to dole out the equal protection on whom we see fit?
After WW11 leaders around the world met in Geneva to establish a set of conventions for the treatment of prisoners of war. Including the clause which prohibited “the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.” Turning our back on the Geneva Convention, or rewriting the rules sets an incredibly bad president for other nations to follow.

final version
Position 4
April 19, 2005
The Current Government’s Extremist Attitude Towards Suspected Terrorists has led us to Desert Some of our most Fundamental Principals.
Today’s culture is centered around fear. The amount of crimes reported on the nightly news in recent years has increased 90%, while the actual crime rate has gone down. Gated communities, safe rooms, and security devices grow with popularity each time the “terror alert” is raised from yellow to orange, and no one feels the grunt of this paranoia more than a foreign national suspected of terrorism. Since the days of 9/11 merely uttering the word terrorist will earn you suspicious glares. This extremist attitude toward terrorism has led us to desert some the most fundamental principals of the country, specifically those found in the US constitution and the Geneva compact. Although, it is difficult to not get swept up in the anger following the genocide on 9/11, this country depends on a fair and unbiased government to maintain standards of democracy. The government should not treat all suspected terrorists as if it was them who drove a plane through a building, but uphold the high standards of equality and diplomacy that the rest of the world follows by example. In order to uphold these standards, The US does not have the right to incarcerate foreign nationals suspected of terrorism without formal charges or the advice of an attorney.
The writers of the constitution made no specific reference to the treatment of foreign nationals suspected of terrorism. Possibly because severe punishments would be a sore subject to men who, not two years before, could be considered terrorists to the English crown according to the definition, “terrorism: the unlawful use or threat of violence esp. against the state or the public as a politically motivated means of attack or coercion” (dictionary.com). In fact one of the complaints listed in the Declaration of Independence was the practice of the English crown in “depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury” (Declaration of Independence, paragraph 1). Our country seems to be practicing some of the same atrocities as the English and condemning the people who speak out against it.
While the framers were vague on terrorists specifically, they were not vague on the unalienable rights of all men. They specifically say that men are not to be deprived of “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” (US Constitution, Amendment V). The constitution goes into even greater detail in amendment VI when it states the rights of the accused. These include the right to “be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation” and to “have the assistance of counsel for his (the accused’s) defense” (US Constituion, Amendment VI). In taking away the rights given to US citizens, our actions imply that non-us citizens accused of terrorism are lesser people and therefore entitled to fewer rights. The constitution declares each person shall have “equal protection of the laws,” and protection under the law includes the right to an attorney and a formal charge.
After WWII, leaders around the world met in Geneva to establish a set of conventions for the treatment of prisoners of war (POWs). “The fundamental aim of international law is to establish limits to the means and methods of armed conflicts” (Khan, 2005). The laws of Geneva included the clause which prohibited “the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court and affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples” (Geneva Compact). This clause states that POW’s must first legally be convicted of a crime and the country should impose its own moral standards to deal with them. Turning our back on the Geneva Convention sets an incredibly bad precedent for other countries to follow. The US could not, in good faith, apply to the UN for intervention if our soldiers were taken into camps and held indefinitely without trial, if we were not willing to do that to others.
The Bush administration distinguishes between prisoners of war, who are given rights under the Law of Geneva, and enemy combatants who are not. This distinction was given to the soldiers picked up in Afghanistan because they were not “wearing uniforms and insignia” (Loci, 2004). While the US has the right to dole out harsher punishments to men/women convicted of war crimes, taking away the rights of someone not found guilty puts a spur on our entire legal system. U.S. District Judge James Robertson found the treatment given to people picked up in Afghanistan (including holding them indefinitely without trial or formal accusation) unconstitutional. The Bush administration attempted to bypass the protections given to POW’s in the Law of Geneva by calling them “enemy combatants.” According to Arfan Khan in the Journal of Criminal Law, the US was breaking international law with their treatment of enemy combatants. Smiths makes the point that “discriminatory application of the laws of war by either side only exacerbates the human suffering.” Furthermore, “the fact that a person has unlawfully participated in hostilities is not in itself a criteria for excluding them from the application of protected civilian status.” (Khan, 2005) In reinterpreting the International laws, the US is making suspected terrorists out to be a lesser breed of people who are not intitled to the same rights.

After September 11th, the question on everyone’s mind was, who did this, how can we find them, and how can we make them pay? Fewer people, and almost no politicians, instead asked why would a man give up his life to kill others? What is it about the United States the he could hate so much? Answering questions like these is the most productive way to combat terrorist. If terrorists are striking at us with such force then we are failing at building trust with countries that could potentially hates us. If security is our ultimate goal, attempting to throw in jail any possible terrorist will most likely only end up making more enemies. However, holding ourselves to a high standard of justice will decrease US hatred abroad and result in much more constructive benefits for our country.
The framers of the Constitution left the document vague in order to allow current governments to interpret it in their own way. The question of the rights of foreign nationals suspected of terrorism can be boiled down to two different interpretations. Do you believe that terrorists are people and as a basic human right they are subject to the same laws and punishments as American citizens, or do you believe that terrorists are so evil, that we should compromise our own constitution to deal with them? I believe the US has been so successful for the last few centuries because we our built on such a strong Constitution. Allowing the government to misinterpret the Constitution is allowing them to compromise our country in the long run.



Bibliography
Khan, Arfan. International and Human Rights Aspects of the Treatment of Detainees
Journal of Criminal Law, Apr2005, Vol. 69 Issue 2, p.168-188.

Locy, Toni. Tribunal halted after judge rules system unlawful USA Today; 11/09/2004 Database: Academic Search Premier

The Declaration of Independence, July F, 1776

The Constitution of the United States of America, Amendments V and VI.






Critique (by Rohan):
Your introduction was very blunt about your position, which is good, but could use a bit more than just one sentance. Also, just a clarification, the terror alert usually moves in between yellow and orange, I just think you had your colors mixed up. Your statements concerning the founding fathers and their classification as "terrorists" may be a bit far-fetched, but I think it was still ok to use that. The paper as a whole was a bit short, but Im guessing that since it is just a draft a more thorough argument will come. You should also use more sources than just the dictionary, some of the court battles would be great, and since you refered to the Geneva Convention, specific quotes would be great. I would also just recommend a clear, concise concludiong paragraph to tie everything together to support your thesis. Other than that, the ideas are pretty well organized and the support is there but just could use some elaboration.

Evaluation by politician2b

I like how your intro states your position exactly, there is no confusion as to where you stand which is good. But you might not want to have such an angry tone for the paper. In your first paragraph, it might be a good idea to state the "fundamental principles" tht you are refering to, this will make it clearer. I dont know how valid your arguement about the framers making no reference to the treatment of foreign nationals is. The framers left several parts of the constitution vague deliberately. Isn't that why we have the Necessary and Proper Clause?

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