Enemy Combatant Have No Rights

The Justice Department has filed a brief with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that enemy combatants do not have Constitutional rights and do not need to be allowed to seek counsel. Also in the brief the Justice Department states that civilian ourts do not have the power to review or overrule military tribunal decisions.

This brief will certainly anger many civil-liberties groups, but may indeed be necessary in the battle against terrorism. Those who are declared "enemy combatants" such as foiled dirty-bomber Jose Padilla and Taliban fighter Yaser Esam Hamdi have worked towards the murder of millions of Americans. It is clear that they are connected to terrorist operations, and possibly have significant operational knowledge of the inner workings of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. The gathering of that kind of intelligence is of the absolute utmost priority to prevent further attacks.

If Hamdi or Padilla were given full Constitutional rights, they would not need to divulge such information due to Fifth Amendment protections. If there was a biological weapon being planted in Washington D.C. this moment, they would need not reveal that fact, as that could lead to self-incrimination. Clearly that kind of protection is against the primary interest of the Constitution, which is safeguarding the people of the United States from harm.

The issue here is that there is potential harm to the United States through overzealous government action. However, we can reasonably balance that potential harm with the very real harm of another terrorist attack. The government is randomly rounding people up and declaring them enemy combatants. We’re not seeing federal agents rounding up dissidents and hauling them off to federal detention centers. We’re not going to see anything of that scale because the government is stretching itself to the limit just trying to get people who legitimately are terrorists. Yes, the potential for abuse is there, but in such a case as this, the balance of harm falls in favor of the government.

Even the Constitution reads:

The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it. – Article I, Section 9 (emphasis mine).

Note that phrase "the public safety". That gives the government the room to circumvent normal Constitutional protections when necessary in order to safeguard the Republic. We did it during the Civil War, we did it in both World Wars, and we never slipped into tyranny as some of the more viciferous defenders of civil liberties think we will now. Enemy combatants such as Jose Padilla wanted to destroy the rights we Americans enjoy. They do not deserve to be protected under them.

One thought on “Enemy Combatant Have No Rights

  1. I have to say that if you don’t think that the government will misuse these rights then you don’t know much about history. Why do we need to give up so many rights? Why is the Patriot Act II being pushed? I think that it is obvious that the neo-con agenda is in full motion now. Check out The Project for a New American Century closely and you will see exactly what is unfolding. I don’t want protection from these so called “terrorists”. I would rather take a greater terrorist risk than give up basic freedoms that so many of our forefathers have died for. When it comes down to it I would be willing to die as well to keep these freedoms. Let’s try and find a medium where we can keep our liberties and fight terrorism effectively. I think we all know that it can be done if some people didn’t use a tragic event as a tool to take advantage of our Bill of Rights. Wake up and smell the FASCISM!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.