Well said, JMS

July 23rd, 2002 – 10:45 pm
Tagged as: Uncategorized

Posted by J. Michael Straczynski, probably best known as the creator of the Babylon 5 television series:

From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
Date: 22 Jul 2002 05:29:54 GMT

>I would be interested to hear some alternate suggestions on how to deal with them [terrorists]. After all, it is one thing to criticize. It is another to offer an alternative.

The alternative is that we use the system of justice that has served this country for over two hundred years.

We endured two world wars and one cold one. We faced the greatest military war machine in human history, with their own agents in this country as we had agents in theirs. We beat them by hewing to the ideals and the standards and the laws that had propelled us to that moment out of history in the first place.

The moments we look back at in shame are the moments when we *diverged* from our sense of justice, as with the Japanese internment camps.

Let’s take a good, hard look at what we’re facing here. For all the announcements to come out of the administration, we have had no further attacks on American soil, and the one attack we DID have consisted of a handful of individuals wielding *box cutters*. That’s it. We’re talking freakin’ exacto-blades here. They used our own technology against us.

This could have happened at ANY point in time prior to that moment. It could have happened during the Korean war, the Vietnamese conflict, the Gulf war…all you need is X number of guys with the will to do it. We are not in any more danger now than we were then.

We have ALWAYS been vulnerable to such things because we are a free society, and there are an awful lot of people pissed off at us for a variety of reasons.

Not ONE really credible threat has been exhumed since 9/11. The “dirty bomb” bit turned out to be just a *discussion* about such things, so that even Ashcroft had to backpedal.

The Al Queda structure has been severely weakened by the actions in Afghanistan (or so we are told), the hostiles in this country (not yet proven but I’m willing to believe they’re here) are small in number…is all this worth throwing the Constitution away, the same Constitution that served us through the Civil War, in which over 100,000 US citizens died, in which brother could not trust brother?

(Yes, Lincoln suspended the writ of habeus corpus for some of that time, and there were other abuses, but we recognize them now AS abuses. If we see that it was wrong then, why repeat the error?)

The administration says we are at war, and therefore must sacrifice our rights. But in fact we are NOT at war. There has been no declaration of war from congress.

Is the solution to detain American citizens in military cells without right of attorney (even if they are lowlifes like Padilla)? Is the solution to dealing with maybe a few dozen dangerous guys (and there have ALWAYS been dangerous guys in this country, anybody who thinks otherwise is nuts) to have a million people acting as informants and spies on other American citizens through TIPS? Is the solution, as Ridge and Bush are now advocating, to use the military to make arrests in violation of the Posse Comitatas act?

No. The solution, the alternative to dealing with the problem you ask for is the one we’ve had for two hundred years. A nation with laws, and oversight, and checks and balances.

If we sacrifice that, then the country we hand to our inheritors won’t be worth the struggle we endured to maintain it.


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