In the excerpt below, NBC Chuck Todd ask President Obama, “.. can you understand why it is offensive to some for this terrorist to get all the legal privileges of any American citizen? “
The President replies, “I don’t think it will be offensive at all when he’s convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.”
This is a classic example of the dominant, misguided and dangerous beliefs that the rights outlined in the Bill of Rights are privileges and only afforded U.S. citizens.
The Bill of Rights was written to highlight for the people and government the most essential rights. It was recognition of these rights, not a granting of them. In Webster, privileges are defined as a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor.
My unalienable rights referenced in the Declaration of Independence can only be recognized or denied.They are not privileges given to me. Because I am human, they simply belong to me with other rights too many to cite.
These rights belong to everyone, not just U.S. citizens. This statement seems clear to me;” We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”
All men/people, not just U.S. Americans. These words were declared before the U.S. existed. It defines each person’s relationship to government and to each other. We have been sold the belief that these rights are not universal and the U.S. government grants and guarantees them as privileges.
This is extremely dangerous because a government that will deny any one person or group access to their human rights is a government which feels empowered to deny whomever it chooses. This is why we have torture, indefinite detention and extraordinary rendition. This is why anyone of these acts could happen to me or you with no accountability.
NBC’s Chuck Todd’s interview with Obama
Posted: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 10:23 AM by firstread
OBAMA: I don’t think it will be offensive at all when he’s convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.
TODD: But having that kind of confidence of a conviction – I mean one of the purposes of doing – going to the Justice Department and not military court is to show of the the world our fairness in our court system.
OBAMA: Well —
TODD: But you also just said that he was going to be convicted and given the death penalty.
OBAMA: Look – what I said was people will not be offended if that’s the outcome. I’m not pre-judging; I’m not going to be in that courtroom, that’s the job of prosecutors, the judge and the jury. What I’m absolutely clear about is that I have complete confidence in the American people and our legal traditions and the prosecutors, the tough prosecutors from New York who specialize in terrorism and have brought multiple convictions before are telling us that they will convict this person with the evidence they’ve got going through our system. Now one of the things I think we have to break is this fearful notion that somehow our Justice system can’t handle these guys. You know we convicted hundreds of terrorists — one of the key perpetrators of 9-11 or one of the persons who didn’t succeed was part of the planning of 9-11 was convicted, he’s in a maximum security prison right now — you’ve got Richard Reid who tried to blow up a plane coming over the Atlantic, he’s in a supermax prison right now, directed by the way by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – so we’ve done this before, now I think that it is important for the American people to have confidence in ourselves and to recognize that when people carry out venal acts like this that we are able to handle it. Military commissions have been set up because there may be circumstances where the targets are military, outside of the US —
TODD: So you’ll be ok with some military commissions?
OBAMA: Absolutely. Well in fact Eric Holder announced that half of the people being prosecuted right now are going into military commissions because of the specific factors involved. One last point I want to make is, you know Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s been sitting there years now, without us finally convicting him and meting out justice, and part of the goal I think of the attorney general is to make sure that justice is no longer delayed. That’s something the American people should be happy about.
Popularity: 1% [?]