Habeas Corpus Should Be Restricted

Should the ancient right of Habeas Corpus be limited or suspended as part of efforts to combat terrorism?

Habeas Corpus Should Be Restricted
Yes because...

The events of September 11 constituted an unprecedented attack on American soil. The US government ...

The events of September 11 constituted an unprecedented attack on American soil. The US government must do everything in its power to ensure that the individuals responsible cannot participate in further terrorist activities. Restricting suspected terrorists’ rights to challenge their detentions is necessary to achieve that goal. Terror suspects still have recourse to military tribunals, which contain many of the same safeguards as the federal court system.

No because...

There is no reason why the United States cannot uphold constitutional protections such as Habeas Corpus and effectively combat terrorism at the same time. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, ensuring that suspected terrorists have access to Federal courts will save much-needed resources and ensure more accurate administration of justice. In the present case, it is unclear which of the Guantanamo detainees actually committed the acts that are used to justify their indefinite detention. Allowing detainees to challenge their detention would bring clarity to this uncertain situation and free up resources in the war against terrorism.

Habeas Corpus Should Be Restricted
Yes because...

Unlawful enemy combatants are not US citizens. The only connection they have to this country is the...

Unlawful enemy combatants are not US citizens. The only connection they have to this country is the desire to destroy it. As such, they do not fall within the group of people the Constitution is intended to protect.

No because...

Via legal precedent, Habeas Corpus protections extend to foreign nationals detained in the US. Furthermore, to focus solely on the immigration status and purported guilt of suspected terrorists ignore the fact that Habeas Corpus exists to protect us all. Eliminating the rights for “bad people” necessarily eliminates them for the innocent as well.

Habeas Corpus Should Be Restricted
Yes because...

Global terrorism calls for aggressive responses. We cannot allow our nation to be besieged by terro...

Global terrorism calls for aggressive responses. We cannot allow our nation to be besieged by terrorists while we stand aside and do nothing. Our enemies are well aware of the legal framework in which the US authorities operate, and will exploit it wherever possible. Constitutional freedoms are extremely important, but the security and continued existence of our nation come first. America must make a stand and demonstrate that terrorism will not be tolerated.

No because...

Restrictions on Habeas Corpus undermine the war against terror and put our national security further at risk. Habeas Corpus legitimizes the war against terror by ensuring that US actions against suspected terrorists have some legal basis and are not purely subjective. Furthermore, if the US disregards Habeas protections, it sets a dangerous precedent for the rest of the world to follow. If other countries followed suit, US citizens abroad could be indefinitely detained with no legal recourse.

Habeas Corpus Should Be Restricted
Yes because...

There is a longstanding tradition of suspending Habeas Corpus protections during times of war and co...

There is a longstanding tradition of suspending Habeas Corpus protections during times of war and conflict. For example, President Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus during the Civil War. Habeas was also suspended briefly during World War II, after the attacks on Pearl Harbour. 9/11 and other Al Qaeda plots against the United States and its citizens mean that we are engaged in just the same kind of conflict, and we must respond in just as determined a way. The war on terror may not follow the rules of traditional warfare, but it is a war nonetheless.

No because...

The current war on terror is not comparable to past wars during which Habeas Corpus was suspended. Both the Civil War and World War II were openly declared wars of limited duration following invasions by hostile forces. The “war on terror” is nebulous and open-ended. In any case, history has harshly judged arbitrary detentions during wartime. Lincoln’s Civil War detentions and Roosevelt’s Japanese internment camps of the 1940s are embarrassing chapters in our national history. The fact that former presidents improperly suspended Habeas Corpus is all the more reason to exercise caution now.

Habeas Corpus Should Be Restricted
Yes because...

The hatred our enemies feel for America does not depend on details of our legal system. They hate u...

The hatred our enemies feel for America does not depend on details of our legal system. They hate us for our success in building a tolerant, democratic society at odds with their narrow vision of harsh conformity. They hate us for our willingness to stand up for our values abroad and protect our allies against violent extremists seeking to take over their states. Their propaganda seeks to radicalise young Muslims across the world not by arcane appeals to Habeas Corpus, but by twisted portrayals of American military actions against civilians in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia.

No because...

Our enemies hate the freedoms, prosperity and opportunities of America, as well as the way the United States is admired for these throughout the world. One of their aims is to demonstrate that the USA is an oppressive state in order to make our model less attractive to others. In particular, they wish to show that America is at war with Muslims in order to radicalise young Muslims both at home and overseas. By suspending Habeas Corpus, we are playing into their hands and creating more would-be terrorists for the future. We should be warned by the UK precedent in Northern Ireland, where widespread internment without trial radicalised many Catholic youths in the 1970s and drove them into the arms of the IRA.



Habeas Corpus Should Be Restricted

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