Civil Liberties, Habeas Corpus, and the War on Terror

Topics: Military Commissions Act of 2006, Supreme Court of the United States, Habeas corpus Pages: 10 (1777 words) Published: June 24, 2013
Civil Liberties, Habeas Corpus, and the War on Terror
POL 201
April 15, 2013

Civil Liberties, Habeas Corpus, and the War on Terror

Civil liberties, Habeas Corpus, and the War on Terror have been the forefront of Congress since 2001 with the terrorist

attack against The United States. Although there have been many attacks before, none have hit the American people in

such a manner to question whether our civil liberties are at stake. As a member of the Armed Forces I swore to support

and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies both foreign and domestic at all cost. A sense of

pride, loyalty and commitment engulfs me when I hear the words for equal justice and liberty for all when it comes to

serving my country that practices and honors American citizen’s civil liberties. Unfortunately, the liberties that most

Americans take for granted; are the same liberties that other people from different realms of the world come to obtain.

The War on Terror would impact lives deeply from this point on and the civil liberties of every American citizen and

noncitizen would change the history of what we were founded on.

Former President George W. Bush and his administration set out to capture those

thought to be responsible for the terrorist attacks on American soil. In addition Former President

Bush and his administration went to great lengths to go beyond the reach of the judicial system

which enforces the writ of Habeas Corpus. These actions have been highly debated across the

nation. Habeas Corpus original meaning can be best defined as a demand by the courts to which a

government agency produces a prisoner and demonstrates that they have the proper grounds in

which to hold them. “It is the process by which Common Law countries ensure the second

freedom mentioned in the U.S. Declaration of Independence Liberty and the right not to be

imprisoned arbitrarily in its most fundamental form” (MacMillan, K, 2010). Habeas Corpus was

written into the first article of the constitution reading as such: "The privilege of Habeas Corpus

shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may

require it. No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed."(Article 1, Section 9, U.S.

Constitution). Furthermore, the Habeas Corpus in the U.S. Constitution guarantees the people

the right to require the government to justify detaining or imprisoning, the right not to be

outlawed without fair trial, freedom from laws passed after fact. So the questions to ponder about

are: Did the tragedy of September 11th, justify the actions of the Former President? Is it

fair that prisoners were and still are locked away, and stripped of their basic rights under the writ

of Habeas Corpus? And is the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” such a great nation,

that is so powerful that the laws that were put in place to protect civil freedoms and liberties, do

not apply to us?

Jonathan Turley, professor of constitutional law at George Washington University stated,

"What, really, a time of shame this is for the American system. What the Congress did and what

the president signed today essentially revokes over 200 years of American principles and values."

I agree whole heartedly about this comment. The President’s decision to deny the detainees

Prisoner of War (POW) status remains a point of conflict, especially overseas with some arguing

that it is based on an inaccurate interpretation of the Geneva Convention for the Treatment of

Prisoners of War, which the assert requires that all combatants captured on the battlefield are

entitled to be treated as POWs until an independent tribunal has determined otherwise.

One notable date in military history is on October 17, 2006, when President Bush

signed a law...
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