Free Essay

Bush

In: Social Issues

Submitted By Hend3901
Words 2782
Pages 12
Zeba Hasan
March 12, 2013
WRD 104
Professor Staley
Suspected Terrorists Post 9/11: Constitution Abandoned The Founding Fathers of the United States created a basic set of laws that all people and officials abide by. Every individual has the right to a fair and speedy trial and the accessibility to a lawyer according to the Sixth Constitutional Amendment. The Eighth Constitutional Amendment bans cruel and unusual punishment while the Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. The words ‘people’ and ‘individual’ occur frequently in the Constitution and do not specify a certain group of people or whether a person must be a United States citizen for these amendments to take effect. Michael E. Cannon, member of the military service for over twenty-two years, noted that these amendments are not followed through when it comes to investigations outside of the United States, notoriously in the Middle East where countless infamous prisons torture prisoners daily, such as Abu Ghraib (Cannon). Many arguments are made as to whether torture should or should not be used during investigations. Torture, in some circumstances, has been shown to aid investigations or in some way break the prisoner. Americans feel secure knowing that they are controlling people from the same nationality or religion as those who hurt the nation tremendously a few years ago. Although the safety of United States’ citizens is a vital necessity and a right when living in the nation, it should not take precedent over the torture-free lives of others. Torturing began to surface in investigations after the events of September 11, 2001 when terrorists crashed planes into the Twin Towers. Since the tragic day, torture techniques surfaced in order to link people to terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda. “By a wide margin, 40%-58% of Americans say that torture should never be used, no matter the circumstances”, reported by Glenn Greenwald, American political journalist (Greenwald). By a wide majority, Americans come to the consensus that torture should not be used against terrorists. Opinions on whether or not torture should be used vary along the entire spectrum. While a group of Americans may be set against torture for moral reasons, others feel that torture has a valid safety purpose in American prisons. There is no doubt that torture during investigations is immoral, but what arguers to my statement may propose is that immortality should not play precedent to the safety of American lives. “Most civilized people would say they oppose…but what happens when there is a so-called “ticking time bomb”…a suspect is thought to have time-sensitive information”, retold by Clinton Zandt, a former Supervisory Special Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Zandt). The “ticking time bomb” situation, a figurative statement for a prisoner possessing vital information that may protect millions of American lives, is one of the main concerns for those Americans pro-torture.
This is most certainly a valid point. What if one of these prisoners has top-secret information about a future attack that could harm thousands of Americans? What if an attack is going to occur and one of these inmates is concealing the information? What if….what if? Can we live in a world of What if’s ? Are we honestly considering torturing the entire population of suspected terrorist inmates for a fear luring amongst society? The mere reason behind torturing these prisoners lies behind an uncertain fear of future harm. A nation known as the “superpower” of the world should have interrogation procedures a little more organized than this, should they not? We are simply moving back to the time of the Red Scare, a time when communism was viewed as a great threat to American society, leading to uncanny tortures and trials for persons in the United States. Torturing these “suspected terrorists” may also be a way to, in a way, take revenge from the people who tortured our land. Although others may disagree, I can see that revenge is most certainly a reason as to why so many Americans are not opposing the torture occurring; but, if we torture these prisoners, what makes our nation different? Are we not just another merciless nation? Let’s look at this in another way. By torturing these suspected terrorists, we are promoting even more hate for our nation by terrorist groups throughout the world. I am most certain that that will be of no aid to the safety of our nation. The legal aspects also need to be taken into consideration when discussing torture used against prisoners. The United States Constitution specifically states the rights of “people”, itself. It is not specified whether these “people” need to be United States citizens or not, therefore the Constitutional amendments should be extended towards everyone, as agreed upon by popular political radio host and American free market Libertarian writer Harry Browne (Browne). Does everyone not deserve the right to live a life of freedom? What would our lives be if we were not granted the right to speak up when we felt the government was making a mistake? Would gay marriage even be considered if it had not been the right for freedom? Would pro-life supporters even be given the opportunity to speak up if it had not been our “guaranteed right of freedom”? We all know the answer to those questions, and it is a simple no. Should we deny these very rights we live our lives by and preach to classroom students to others in need of freedom? I see that as morally incorrect. In our Constitution, every person has protection against unreasonable searches and seizures (Amendment 4); each individual is given the right to a speedy trial headed by an impartial jury (Amendment 6) and protected against cruel, unusual punishment (Amendment 8). Reported by Pulitzer Prize winning American journalist, Eric Schmitt, “Elisa Massimino…administration had interpreted an international treaty banning torture to mean that a prohibition against cruel and inhumane treatment did not apply to C.I.A. actions overseas” (Schmitt). Now, my question becomes, why should the international treaty not be acknowledged overseas? What right does the nation have to simply state, “We are not going to be abiding by this so-called international treaty with our prisons outside of the country”? Granted, others may not view this the way I am, but what this merely reminds me of is an elementary school bully who believes he is better than the rest making an unreasonable excuse to continue doing what he desires by stating, “I’m bigger, better, and more powerful than the rest of you, so I’ll do what I want, when I want to”. Is the United States not acting as this big school bully by making its’ own rules while forcing other nations to abide by the original terms nonetheless?
The amendments glorifying our nation are nullified when it comes to the investigations conducted by U.S. military overseas, which is illegal in all regards. The infamous court trial, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (316 F.3d 450 (4th Cir. 2003)), acts as a clear indication of the bias that occurs in enforcing the sixth constitutional amendment. Hamdi, a citizen of the United States, was taken into custody for being near premises of an “enemy combatant” in Afghanistan. Eric M. Freedman, the Maurice A. Deane Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law at Hofstra Law School, states, “Not being given a fair trial, Hamdi petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus, a process by which prisoners appeal to the federal court to have a decision overturned, in order to receive a case hearing” (Freedman). Although the Constitution clearly states that every person should be granted a fair, speedy trial, Hamdi’s request was not granted by the courts. A prioritized constitutional right denied to a United States citizen acts as a substantial act as indirect torture in case law. What reason does the United States government have in this court case? We were all told that the Constitution protects all citizens’ of their rights. This very Constitution, however, failed to protect Hamdi, a citizen of the United States, because people felt that providing him with a trial would allow him to roam freely. If Hamdi truly was a terrorist, would there not be a way to prove this in a court of law, forcing him to be put behind bars? Obviously, this was not given a second thought to, because unfortunately for Hamdi, he was not granted a right that all citizens of this free nation are supposedly granted, a right to free trial. This case acts as a strong precedent for similar suspected terrorist cases and images the significance constitutional rights play in regards to terrorism. Because of this case being a precedent for future similar court cases, “terrorists” are bound to be given the same consequences as Hamdi, giving them no hope for a fair trial or a bright life ahead. As reported by Vincent Lacopino, M.D., Ph. D. Director of Research for Physicians for Human Rights, not only is torture illegal in the United States, but it is also prohibited throughout the world. “Torture is unequivocally prohibited in international law” (Lacopino). International law, established during the aftermath of Nazi crimes in concentration camps, prohibits the use of torture against prisoners. Under United Nations law, torture in any regards in any circumstance is prohibited, and vast actions should be taken to protect prisoners from torture. The Bush administration, however, assured Americans that whatever actions were occurring Middle Eastern prisons was legal and should be continued (“New York Times”). In this sense, President Bush agreed with the torture of prisoners and felt that torture was crucial for the safety of the country, making it somewhat legal for military troops to conduct torture acts. Scott Wheeler, executive director of the National Republican Trust PAC, international investigative journalist, and veteran of the U.S. Army infantry, reported his experiences with prisoner investigation. Both Wheeler and the Bush administration seemed to come to the consensus, however, that there are no humane methods of interrogation (Wheeler). The better question may be to ask, what other methods have been attempted to interrogate these prisoners? Knowing other methods that have been used to combat terrorism in prisons would certainly aid in brainstorming other interrogation procedures rather than promoting torture. Through what has been reported and leaked out to the public, it does not seem as if the Bush administration spent a great deal of time attempting to brainstorm a more effective method of gathering intelligence, rather, it seems that torture was considered to be the only way out. Torture should have been the last option, if at all even a possibility. It merely promotes exponential hate for this great nation we live in by people worldwide and is the least effective in terms of gathering true vital information needed for the nation’s security. The effectiveness of manipulating torture during investigations is debatable to a great extent. Karen Greenberg, Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University’s School of Law states, “People possess dissuading opinions whether torture is actually beneficial in regards to obtaining new information on terrorist groups” (Greenberg). ABC News Reporters, Brian Ross and Richard Esposito, reported the news story of Al-Libbi, an alleged senior member of the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization. "It was later established that al Libbi had no knowledge of such training or weapons and fabricated the statements because he was terrified of further harsh treatment…they get so desperate that they begin telling you what they think you want to hear” (Ross, and Esposito). This highlights a downside to torture, showing that the harsh nature of interrogators force prisoners to concoct a story that will prevent any more torture. “People who are violent should be separated from the community, for the sake of the nonviolent”, says American lawyer and Georgetown University law professor, Paul Butler (Butler 201). Many “terrorist” detainees, however, show no signs of violence in the community; rather, arrests are merely made in fear for the rest of society. The Constitutional Amendments have always been considered superior over any other body or law created by government; they play a basis for all laws and decisions created from court cases. In the issue of torture of prisoners during investigations oversees, however, the Constitution lacks power. The laws enforced by President Bush seem to have played a much more powerful role than the document which created our country. The Patriot Act passed in 2001 following the attacks on September 11 substantially altered the laws governing privacy and citizens. This set of laws passed by President Bush expanded government access to information considered off-limits provided a special circumstance does not exist. With the passing of the Patriot Act, phone records, internet usage records, e-mails, along with numerous other personal records are openly available for government access to use against suspected terrorists. Think about it. Your text messages are no longer private; the emails sent out for private purposes are not only being read by the intended person, but government services, as well. Phone calls can easily be tapped into, and an entire sense of privacy is stripped from every one of us, not just media celebrity targets. What happened to our 4th amendment right protecting us against unreasonable searches and seizures? Well, I guess it no longer pertains to society today, because, guess what? The safety of our nation depends upon Big Brother watching over our every move. Torture has aided interrogations to some extent and has been responsible for crucial information being obtained. The issue remains, however, whether it is humane or beneficial to make use of torture against prisoners that may not even have a link to terrorists.

(Spagnolia)

(Spagnolia)

Is torture truly a necessity for interrogation purposes? Over the board people agree that making use of torture is immoral, however, the blatant excuse that is continuously surfaced time after time is whether the safety of American lives is worth the torture of foreigners. Unfortunately, this very act of our nation is being acted upon by nations worldwide who have come to despise the United States. It has been seen constantly by nations in the Middle East where American ambassadors were tortured and killed. Yes, this is a terrible way to end a life; but can we blame them? Are we not allowing the same to occur with foreigners in our land? Are we not just promoting the same hate techniques being used in nations we consider evil? Look at this from a broad perspective and take into account the pros and cons of torturing these “terrorists”. Hate is erupting throughout the globe against the United States. And why, you may ask? The irony our nation is based upon acts as a solid reason. We preach freedom and individual rights, yet we do not grant them. Our Constitution provides for these undeniable rights to all citizens, yet a citizen of this very nation was denied the right to a speedy trial. Torturing these prisoners needs to have an end; in the end, putting an end to this very act will promote the safety of our own nation against the growing hate of nations worldwide.

Works Cited

Bright, Stephen. "The Accused Get What the System Doesn't Pay For." 3. Print.
Browne, Harry. "Should the U.S. Military Be Allowed to Use Torture?." HarryBrowne. N.p., 11 Jan 2005. Web. 28 Feb 2013.
Butler, Paul. "Racially Based Jury Nullification." Black Power in the Criminal Justice System. 201. Print.
Cannon, Michael. Abu Ghraib. Xulon Press, 2005. Print.
Freedman, Eric. Habeas Corpus: Rethinking the Great Writ of Liberty. New York University Press, 2003. Print.
Greenberg, Karen. The Torture Debate in America. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.
Greenwald, Glenn. "New Poll On Torture and Investigations Negates Beltway Conventional Wisdom." Salon. Salon, 22 Jan 2009. 28 Feb 2013.
"Hamdi v. Rumsfeld." 316 F.3d 450 (4th Cir. 2003) U.S. 2003. Print.
"Legalizing Torture." New York Times (2004): Web. 28 Feb 2013.
Ross, Brian, and Richard Esposito. "CIA's Harsh Interrogation Techniques Described." ABC News. ABC, 18 Nov 2005. Web. 28 Feb 2013.
Schmitt, Eric. "White House Insists That CIA Should Be Allowed To Continue Torture Of Detainees."Information Clearing House. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb 2013.
Spagnoli, Filip. Terrorism and Human Rights (6): The War on Terror. 2008. WordPressWeb. 4 Mar 2013.
Vincent Lacopino. "Should the United States Torture Terrorist Suspects to Gather Information?." CQPress. CQPress, n.d. Web. 28 Feb 2013.
Wheeler, Sc. ""Torture" Methods the CIA Should Have Used." Townhall. TownHall, n.d. Web. 28 Feb 2013.
Zandt, Clinton. "Should the United States Torture Terrorist Suspects to Gather Information?." CQPress. CQPress, n.d. Web. 28 Feb 2013.

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