IF the View that Our Constitution is Obsolete Is Allowed to Prevail, The Terrorists Will Have Won


 

IF the View that Our Constitution is Obsolete Is Allowed to Prevail, The Terrorists Will Have Won
 


28 July 2005 at 8:33:42 AM
salon

The sentence itself was fairly straightforward: An Algerian man received 22 years for plotting to bomb the Los Angeles airport on the eve of the millennium. It was what the judge said in imposing the term that raised eyebrows.

U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said the successful prosecution of Ahmed Ressam should serve not only as a warning to terrorists, but as a statement to the Bush administration about its terrorism-fighting tactics.

"We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant or deny the defendant the right to counsel," he said. "The message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart."

He added that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have made Americans realize they are vulnerable to terrorism and that some believe "this threat renders our Constitution obsolete ... If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won."

Critics of the Bush administration — mostly human-rights groups and Democrats — have long accused the U.S. government of unjustly detaining terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, as well as a small number of American citizens who have been designated enemy combatants.


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