"It bothers me that the executive branch is taking the amazing position that just on the president's say-so, any American citizen can be picked up, not just in Afghanistan, but at O'Hare Airport or on the streets of any city in this country, and locked up without access to a lawyer or court just because the government says he's connected somehow with the Taliban or Al Qaeda. That's not the American way. It's not the constitutional way."
by:
Laurence Tribe
(1941-) Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard University
Source:
interview on ABC's Nightline
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Those who make no noise have no fear until one day they fart.
 -- Robert, Sarasota     
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     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US      
    You just figured this out
     -- Gregoroff, Penticton bc Canada     
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    True--but only half the story... the fact remains that we are at war and the killers are among us posing as citizens, or are even citizens... Thus the great danger of terrorism to a free people... how to survive as a free people. That is the challenge of our time.
     -- Michael , Houston     
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    Michael has got it right.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
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    Well, GlaxoSmithKline (BeanO) stock just went through the roof. Don't kid yourself, we're ALL scared!
     -- Anonymous     
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    I'm sorry Michael and David the more we believe this the more we will have wars and the more we shall go down the road of selfdestruction - We invaded another country. We still have no idea...
     -- Kent, Sarasota     
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    Not only is this executive power to imprison without warrant or trial tyrannical, but also that the President may declare war without the lawful authority to do so. Let Congress declare war -- the President should not (and does not legally) have this power.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Our Constitution gives our President the responsibility, as commander in chief of our armed forces, to do what is necessary to preserve, protect, and defend our country. When America is under attack, that power is appropriately given to the President as the leader elected by the people. This power can be checked by Congress if they feel it must. The bottom line remains that some ONE must be empowered to act when the situation demands it. Be glad and thankful that the men who have held this office have carried our nation through many difficult times without becoming dictators or kings. Prof. Tribe perhaps forgets that in much of the world, his opinion on this issue would land him in jail at best, or he could just go "missing."
     -- J. B. Wulff, Bristol     
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    Many if not most of my friends and acquaintances were afraid of turbaned, robed, and swarthy bearded men after 9/11. I think we all were. Group think and discrimination based on these things is unfortunate but human. Racial or ethnic profiling at times like that is natural. While there are and should be constitutional guarantees that are enforced I think it would be normal to forgive or at least to understand the President's and law enforcement's dilemmna just like we understand our own.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    I am a firm believer in the constitution. But, I feel that the nature of the "United" States ultimately puts the responsibility of the safety of the citizens as a whole to one body, i.e. the federal government. This is in contrast to the statement made by J. B. "some ONE". One should only be the option if the body is ignorant or unwilling to make the hard choices. The more we give up in the name of fear will lead to nothing more to give and plenty of things to fear.
     -- Beau, LC, Louisiana     
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    Maybe if the west would quit screwing around in the internal politics of foreign countries in the first place we wouldn't be suffering what the CIA calls "blowback". And to say we're at war is "fun" for war mongers, but the fact is we're at "occupation". And I'd feel one hell of a lot safer if the Community Organizer in Chief would quit screwing around with gun rights and personal liberty. Taking away people's rights solves NO security problems. Leaving foreign nations to self determination would be a good start though.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Cudos, Waffler you got one exactly right. President Bush and Congress definitely and somewhat understandably over-reached with the Patriot Act, a piece of legislation that is in hind-sight fairly disgusting. That our federal government has far-reaching enough power to enforce such legislation is the real root of the problem.
     -- Justin, Elkland     
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    I've here expressed personal knowledge of Patriot Act abuses. I knew a gentleman that was swept up in great SWAT style, put into a mental institution, and died of cancer a few months later (nothing was wrong with him the day before he was abducted - his debt free home was sold at auction quickly after being abducted). I know an individual that was held a substantial time beyond their release date, where the judiciary has terminated their parole (their conviction was on a very broad and loose interpretation of a security;s violation) and, the executive has created what they claim to be an executive parole (???). No reason is given for the executive parole other than they can, all the while an increase in daily harassment continues. Even the mighty ACLU has been unable to reign in the executive to date. The anointed Obamunist has done nothing to fix the economic problems of this nation but, acting in a Taliban or Al Qaeda fashion, has gone a long way to installing a totalitarian blend of Lenin and Hitler style socialism.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Congress has NOT declared war, therefore the United States IS NOT AT WAR. I live in DC and "911"(synthetic terrorism) was an inside job; the real "fear" is that these same rogue forces are still at work INSIDE our nation! Lastly, the only thing "we the people" have to fear is fear itself...
     -- Al, DC     
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    Al, you need to spend less time studying conspiracy theories and spend more time studying Occam's razor. If that doesn't work you might try not smoking crack.
     -- Justin, Elkland     
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    In spite of Justin's juvenile response, I agree with much of what Al says. The US is not legally at war and the government bureaucracy is still being run by Republican appointees with the mandate set by Bush, Cheney, Rove and the other neocons. The fact that they couldn't manufacture WMD's in Iraq to support their claims makes it hard for me to beleive they could or would organize an attack on the US like 911 and keep it secret.
     -- Bucky, Vancouver     
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    The U.S. is in fact conducting operations in two military engagements that are both authorized by congress, one against the Taliban and al Qaeda authorized by SJ Res. 23 and one in Iraq authorized by HJ Res 114. Formal Declarations of War should be (and have in practice been) reserved for instances when the U.S. is willing to commit all of its resources to the singular goal of finality in a conflict with another soverign nation.
     -- Justin, Elkland     
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    Bucky my response to Al was an intentionally juvenile poke at his equally juvenile belief that any government, however depraved, would launch indiscriminate attacks on its populace to justify an already justifiable military conflict.
     -- Justin, Elkland     
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    Al DC...don't expect anyone to believe the "inside job" theory. Facts don't work at all against a well organized film and propoganda show. Answering logical questions about all the discrepancies in their story is not something the government will do. Instead they have a "Commission" to investigate, with people like Hamid Karzai on it. He's the present US installed president of Afghanistan and was at the time of the investigation an Exxon consultant...and that's the kind of peiple we have looking out for us in the "war on terror". Check out the corporate, oil and government connections of the entire "Commission"...its disgusting.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Professor Lawrence Tribe's statement is bold, courageous, profound, and true. He has identified precisely the kind of "big government" that our Founding Fathers and the framers of our Constitution warned us to avoid and attempted to protect us from in the Constitutional structure the provided, including our precious bill of rights. For Congress to attempt to delegate to the President its constitutional duty to decide when the USA will be at war is little better than treason.
     -- Timothy Ray, Gainesville, FL     
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    The worlds greatest wall street/military coup 9/11 - Welcome to the new America ....
     -- Robken     
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    What is even more upsetting is that both republicans and democrats have not restored the basic right of habeas corpus -- one of the oldest 'rights' in American/British history, that is to not be able to arrest someone without charge and hold them indefinitely. We were assured this would only be used in cases of terrorism, but as we have seen over the last 10 years (!!) that calling someone a terrorist is an easy thing, and that the law itself now designates anyone who disagrees with the unlawful government acts as a terrorist. Who are terrorists? Well, according to the FBI, Constitutionalists are! Who else? State militias! Who else? The Tea Party! We are at war alright, we are at war with each other -- divide and conquer they will as we let them do. We have lost control of our servant government -- they have turned their sights on us now.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    I know an individual that after their prison sentence was placed on what the fascists called an executive parole (WHAT ? ? ?) The statist theocracy's president is not bothered by constitutional limits.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    If.they put it in the hands of WE THE PEOPLE, I think in about 3 weeks, we would have um all rounded up. NO agency can do it, it will take a Nation, one nation, Under god, Indivisible, yep, I said that prayer every day..in PUBLIC school..now ya know how old I am. Mike, ya nailed it again. And archer, you too, The meaning of 'divide and conquer" should be given much thought, because folks, LOOK at what is happening....
     -- Kimo, USA     
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     -- John, Vallejo      
    After reading many of these and skimming others, I'd guess this nation isn't in danger of being all of one opinion -- and I think that's GREAT !! It's been a long time since there has been 100% popular agreement on ANY issue ( even WWI and WWII had their decliners; IMAGINE ! ). There IS a problem with brief, even if succinct quotations: missing details and descriptions of ifs-ands-and-buts. RARE is the statement or "pronouncement" to which ALL can agree, thank God, and it's our FREEDOM ( the FIRST amendment ) that makes it so
     -- Bobble, No. Ferrisburgh, VT     
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    It bothers me that any branch of government can and is picking up anybody they want, not just in AmeriKa but, everywhere in the world, with no reason given. I have found that terrorism is only part of the governments (executive and otherwise) criminal activities. That is not the American way. Its not the constitutional way. I have an acquaintance that was picked up in a foreign country (living with spouse in spouses home country / my acquaintance was an investment counselor an individual of peace), never charged with anything and spent more than 5 years in prison without so much as a trial. I have many like experiences, some Ive shared on this blog, some not, again, welcome to AmeriKa.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    The fact is that we don't have any idea who is coming into this country and for what reason. If they can't wait for a complete vetting then stay out.
     -- BR King, Ogden     
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