I live in a one-party state; at least when it comes to the race for the senate, and the primary campaign has really gotten nasty. One of the candidates accused his adversary of wanting to give constitutional rights to terrorists.
The first casualty of politics is logic.
I see two problems with the underlying premise that terrorists should not be given constitutional rights.
1. Who decides who is a terrorist?
Unless there is some sort of due process or oversight, there are only two options–the civilian branch of government or the military: either the president or the commanders on the ground. I can’t believe that conservatives, given the fears they have of the president, would want to give him the power to declare someone a president and make him disappear without any kind of public notice. And it has been proven that in the heat of battle, and lacking a knowledge of the language, the military has made mistakes.
2. Who gives us our rights?
It is un-American to believe that congress gives us our rights. According to the Declaration of Independence, we are granted inalienable rights by our creator. Those who live under a monarch may believe their rights are granted by the king; those who live under organized atheism may believe they are granted by the state; but our heritage tells us human rights are granted by the creator and the role of government is to protect these rights.
But now some politicians want us to believe that there is a class of people who are entitled to no rights at all, neither the rules of war nor the laws of our land. Once defined by the undefined authority as terrorists, they have no right to a trial or protection from torture.
Whatever happened to the idea that if we let terrorists make us abandon our own ideals, they win?