Constitutional FAQ Answer #111 – The U.S. Constitution Online – USConstitution.net

Constitutional FAQ Answer #111

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Q111. “OK, I read the answer to Question 25 but I’m confused because of all the
talk of military tribunals and loss of rights for terrorists caught in
Afghanistan. What’s the deal?”

A. Your question is a the heart of many of the concerns of civil
libertarians, who see the government’s announced use of military tribunals hard
to swallow, and frightening in their use. The biggest difference, though,
between Louise Woodward and terrorists caught in Afghanistan is that the United
States is saying that the latter are combatants in a war, whereas the former
was a young woman charged with a criminal matter. Woodward was alleged to have
committed the act in the United States, was arrested in the United States, and
was, ultimately, tried in the United States. She was also acquitted (by the
judge). The terrorists are being tracked down for crimes committed or just
contemplated, to be done in the United States or elsewhere, and are being
caught and detained outside the United States. Though there are similarities,
the two classes of people (foreigners who commit crimes in the U.S. and
terrorists engaged in planning or carrying out terrorist acts) are totally

Last Modified: 10 Aug 2010

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