Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Constitutional Rights Are Human Rights

The partisan bickering over the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed continues:
Several senators announced legislation Tuesday that would cut off funding for the federal trial of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four accused accomplices, saying the five should be tried in a military court.

"We believe we're at war," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, who stood with a number of senators that included Democrats and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent.

"The law enforcement model being used by the Obama administration should be rejected," Graham said. "We're not fighting a crime, we're fighting a war."
But, I ask, when did Congress declare war, and with what nation are we at war? The last time Congress declared war was on December 11, 1941, in response to Germany's declaration of war against the United States.

Congressman Ron Paul declares, "The process by which we’ve entered wars... and the inconclusive results of each war since that time, are obviously related to Congress’ abdication of its responsibility regarding war, given to it by Article I Section 8 of the Constitution."

Sadly, it appears that an honest understanding of the Constitution is a very rare anomaly on Capitol Hill. Our representatives in Congress have continuously and deliberately circumvented the precepts of the Constitution in order to advance their rotten agendas at the expense of the people's liberty over the last century.

Senator Joe Lieberman also commented on the impending trial:
"Putting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a public courtroom in full view of the public gives him a better platform than any member of al Qaeda has been given to recruit new members," Lieberman said.
I find Senator Lieberman's initial comment to be somewhat ironic. Indeed, no better platform for al Qaeda recruitment could be provided than was provided by the United States government when they repeatedly attacked, occupied, and manipulated various countries throughout the Middle East. As I wrote in a previous post, there is undeniable evidence that American involvement in the Middle East has helped recruitment in terror organizations immensely. Again, Ron Paul was correct when he said of the then looming U.S. invasion of Iraq, "The greatest beneficiaries of the attack may well be Osama bin Ladin and the al Qaeda. Some in the media have already suggested that the al Qaeda may be encouraging the whole event. Unintended consequences will occur – what will come from this attack is still entirely unknown."

Senator Lieberman continued:
"To try them as common criminals, giving them the constitutional rights of American citizens in our courts, is justice according to Alice in Wonderland."
Fortunately, the Constitution clearly distinguishes between persons and citizens, and the Fifth and Sixth Amendments - the right to due process and a speedy trial respectively - declare persons to have these rights. The founders understood that these were inalienable rights - essentially human rights - rights that all men should have. Thus, I refuse to accept the notion that the Bill of Rights applies only to those that are fortunate enough and extraordinary enough to be American citizens.

If Americans want to encourage liberty to take hold across the world then we should do so - not through imperialism, not by force - but by example. We should restore our country to the confines of our Constitution and bring these men to justice. In doing so, we can demonstrate to the world the compassion that is the foundation of America and the morality that resides in all of us.