The patRIOT Letters

If words are all we have...

Thursday, November 29, 2001

I think every newspaper in the country should print this column and every television, radio and web site should be telling their viewers, listeners and readers about it. You have "to be taught to hate..." and taught that people do value justice. - Rejr

USAToday: Even terrorists have civil rights

The principal justification that President Bush offers... is following in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's footsteps...

Six years after Roosevelt issued the executive order that Bush mimicked, the United States helped write, and then signed, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — an international agreement that recognizes the "equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family" to, among other things, a "public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal" for anyone charged with a criminal offense...

...In fact, on its Web site, the State Department says that "a central goal of U.S. foreign policy has been promotion of respect for human rights, as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

The Bush administration's resorting to secret military courts may prove to be a "mighty swift sword" in our national quest for revenge, but it ultimately will bring this country more pain than satisfaction. No nation that refuses to abide by the standards it uses to judge others can plant its feet firmly on the moral high ground. Any country that thinks — and behaves — otherwise deceives itself.

DeWayne Wickham writes weekly for USA TODAY.

Teach them:

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa.

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass

Now this *is* depressing. - Rejr

Six in 10 agree with President Bush that suspected terrorists should be tried in special military tribunals and not in U.S. criminal courts.

Poll: Majority endorse new rules

Dallas Morning News: Administration grilled on anti-terror secrecy "...Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy deplored what he called a "lengthening list of unilateral actions" by the administration, particularly in light of bipartisan efforts to get anti-terrorism legislation with sweeping new law enforcement powers through Congress..."

"On those rare occasions when military commissions have been used in the past, Congress played a role in authorizing them. This administration has preferred to go it alone with no authorization or prior consultation with the legislative branch," said Mr. Leahy, D-Vt. "Now, this is no mere technicality. It fundamentally jeopardizes the separation of powers that undergirds our constitutional systems."

While Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., joined the Democrats in questioning the propriety of the tribunals, other committee Republicans derided the growing criticism from civil- and human-rights groups.

"Some of the criticisms, I think, have been unfounded and very unfair, and have almost been hysterical," said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the committee's top Republican.

"The concern is, aren't we doing exactly what we've criticized other nations for doing?" asked Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

Mr. Leahy said any decision not to use the federal courts "would send a terrible message to the world that when confronted with a serious challenge, we lack confidence in the very institutions we're fighting for."

The congressional scrutiny comes amid concern in civil-rights circles about the secrecy surrounding the incarceration of hundreds of people, most of Middle Eastern or Central Asian origin; and the administration's decision to provide only limited information about most detainees.

Wednesday, November 28, 2001

If we as individuals, as a community, as a nation, as an administration feel we are justified to take any action, sacrifice any liberty or bend any law in this fight against terrorism then we legitimatize those that perpetrated the acts of 9/11 upon us.

How we act is the measure of who we are. If we do not live up to our ideals at home and abroad there will be no victory. To deny our ideals only emboldens the cruelest, radicalizes the fearful and hateful, and multiplies the factions among us.

If our acts take the low road we open the door to measuring all actions based on our benchmark. We can lead by the example that is written in our laws and national declarations. Or we can lead by the power, control and fear - at home and abroad.

- Rejr