Friday, June 13, 2008

Americans in Turbans

I recently stated that all human beings have the right not to be locked away without due process; freedom from unjust imprisonment is a basic right of all men, in my opinion.

That said, the Supreme Court’s new ruling wasn’t what I had in mind.

I don’t believe that foreign terrorist suspects should be treated like American citizens. We live in a time when the concept of citizenship rests on shifting sands. If our Constitution applies in its entirety to foreigners, then what is the distinction between citizenship and non-citizenship? Put another way, if everyone is an American, then no one is an American; U.S. citizenship has no meaning.

There’s a difference between allowing a form of due process, and pretending that someone was born in the good old U.S. of A., with all the attendant rights of American citizenship extended to him.

These people were not born in the U.S.; they are not citizens of the U.S.; nor are they legal residents of the U.S. In point of fact, the guilty ones vehemently hate our country, and would love nothing more than the opportunity to kill as many Americans as possible.

When we conducted war crimes trials in post-WWII Europe, we recognized the right of even Nazis to due process. And we managed that task without indulging in the fantasy that they loved baseball and apple pie, pledged allegiance to the U.S. flag each morning before frying a few Jews, and softly sang “The Star-spangled Banner” every night before tucking their swastika-motif blankets under their chins and going beddy-bye.

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