The difference is that you are confusing citizens of foreign countries with American citizens and terrorism with combat. In the civil war there were two sides, in a declared war, and each side wore distinctive uniforms and the Southern states DID renounce their US citizenship. That's what the war was about.
The underwear bomber was a foreign national who attempted to set his nuts on fire over international territory. As was entirely appropriate, and as with the idiot who had 3″ of some sort of pseudo-explosive taped to his shoes, the passengers aboard the aircraft immediately beat him unconscious and kicked the fire out. In my opinion, they would have been within their rights to have beaten both of them to death and I am sure no one would have been prosecuted. Even though the aircraft landed in the US they were not US citizens and have no protection under the Constitution – neither were they members of the military arm of a foreign country at which we are at war, so the Geneva convention wouldn't apply either. They were religious jihadists.
Neither of them deserved any rights under US law. Neither did al-Awlaki because Constitutional rights only apply in the US proper. He didn't have any US constitutional rights in Yemen, even if he was a US citizen. But neither did he constitute a real and present danger. He was not a combatant, and he was not in a country with which we are at war. So an attack on the sovereign soil of Yemen should not have happened overtly. I don't mind that the bastard got killed, but the way it was done pissed down the back of half the world.
“Al Queda” and bin Ladin and almost every despot you can name were, at one time, functionaries of the US government in our undeclared war with the USSR between 1945-6 and its collapse. When Russia was doing exactly what we are in doing Afghanistan, we enabled and armed Al Qaeda to fight them. Our problems with Iran shouldn't exist, but we put the Shah in power and he was a tyrant. When he was overthrown, we tossed our might behind Iraq in their war against Iran, but then we had to snuff them when they invaded Kuwait and were poised to go right on to Saudi Arabia. The only airplanes allowed in the air on 9/11-9/12 were the ones getting the royal family of Saudi Arabia out and the ones getting the bin Ladin family out. Saudis flew internationally on a regular basis and landed at the Bush ranch in Texas – which is not an international airport.
In point of fact, this entire east/west conflict goes right back to the crusades and the Muslims who are stuck in the 7th century and can't get out. Every terrorism incident involves the following dialogue: “Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar”, (bang/boom/crash). And that's the reason for all of the confusion – when one commingles politics with religion, there are no viable answers. Religion is based in faith and can quickly turn to fanaticism. A democratic Republic is based upon compromise. There is no compromise in fanaticism. You can kill anyone you want if God tells you to – or anyone you honestly believe is speaking for Him.
So when you begin attempting to codify acts of war which haven't happened yet, by civilians who are not in uniform, and you have no way to predict their actions, you are merely removing more freedoms, which include personal freedoms, such as the choice to pursue happiness, and you come solidly against the wall of fanaticism. YOU may or may not believe women do not have the choice of delivering a child of incest or rape, but by imposing your religious beliefs on others, you are infringing her freedom to pursue a happy life and sentencing her to a lifetime of pain. On the other hand, you may think having a beer at lunch and a glass of wine with dinner is fine – or eating a chunk of honey-baked ham. But in some countries you die for that.
If we are going to have a free republic, we have to be open to EVERY citizen's freedom as long as their quest for happiness harms no one but themselves. If the citizen leaves the protection of the country and goes to Yemen, Yemen has to deal with them. If they act out in a manner which harms other people HERE, the rest of the citizenry is obligated to stop it. In Texas, if you break into my house and try to kill me, I can shoot you and be done with it. In Hawaii, I will be arrested and prosecuted for murder. In Afganistan, I can kill my own wife and children if I feel 'dishonored' and no one will care – as long as I am only smoking hashish and not drinking alcohol. But I had better not get caught picking a pocket.
How about we stop making more and more laws – which make more and more AMERICAN CITIZENS into criminals and, instead, start enforcing the letter of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution – which, regardless of what many people believe, are designed TO work, and only work IF, they are applied equally in all situations to which they apply, and NONE of the ones to which they don't. And in those situations, diplomacy and international treaties are supposed to prevail – not unilateral decrees by our government that they can do anything they want to anyone in the world, without recourse, simply because they decide to. No one has the right to make plants illegal, or fish, or flowers. That's just stupid.
American citizens on American soil are protected by the Constitution. Foreign citizens on American soil aren't. American citizens on foreign soil aren't. Citizens on international flights, in international airspace are, in theory, the responsibility of the country of destination, not the nationality of the airliner or the country of departure. Except hijacked aircraft. But not always.
In answer, I don't think the structured framework being suggested addresses the problem. I think it merely gives the government more of the power they shouldn't have. I don't believe the word 'terrorism' should be used at all, because I'm not 'terrorized', and no one can ever terrorize me. Rather than delegating our freedoms away any further, I think the government should secure the borders and teach people to be LESS afraid and more self-reliant instead of frightening everyone into becoming cowering jello bowls who must depend on the government for everything. They only do it so they can excuse their malfeasance with our money. We aren't any safer than we ever were.
I also think the term 'Al Qaeda' has been overused and overblown. We have been in Afghanistan for over ten years fighting, as the government admits, maybe 50 'Al Qaeda' operatives. We are really fighting the Taliban, which means that we are really fighting the Muslim religion. We cannot win that war – EVERYONE is an enemy soldier, but NO ONE is a UNIFORMED enemy soldier. We end up shooting up a lot of weddings, our own guys, and, last week, 26 Pakistani soldiers. Just before elections, we always get a report the we 'got' the #3 Al Qaeda guy to justify that nonsense. We have 'got more #3 guys than the entire al Qaeda complement.
Further, EVERY ONE of these attacks has come after warnings. Several flight school operators warned the FBI that foreign nationals who weren't pilots were learning to fly big jets – but not learning to take off or land. The FBI agents in the field duly reported that and were duly ignored. So now we have the TSA, bless their hearts.
I am not suggesting that constitutional rights should apply where they shouldn't. The underwear bomber shouldn't have had any rights at all. Neither should illegal aliens. But if no one cares for two or three generations, until they have learned the language and become productive members of society, it's too late to suddenly decide that they must all be arrested and deported because OUR government ALLOWED and FACILITATED thousands of firearms to be illegally exported to Mexico – and, of course, tried to blame American firearms dealers.
OUR government is the 900 pound terrorist in the room. Not the students at UC Davis. Not Mitt Romney's lawn-care professionals. Not some illiterate person in a dusty village in Afghanistan. This bill is inherently illegal and ignores the sovereignty of every country in the world. It says, in effect, that we are the only sovereign nation and everyone else exists at our pleasure and by our whim. I wouldn't like it structured at all, because the perspective is wrong. We cannot rule the world by decree and by the threat of our own terrorism – which is what this bill is.
We had to stay in Iraq 'until we win. We aren't gonna cut and run”. Now we are leaving. Did we win? What did we win? Why were we even there? We didn't beat terrorism. A terrorist and 'enemy combatant' to one side is a member of the French Resistance to another side. The easiest way to tell is by seeing who invaded whom. Al Qaeda were 'resistance fighters' when they were fighting Russians. When WE invaded, they became terrorists and enemy combatants.
I don't think that's your main concern, though. I think that in about ten hours the economy of the world is going to start crumbling and I don't think you are ready for it.
Actually, Anwar al-Awlaki is what this is all about.US. citizen, targeted and killed in foreign land by US forces.The ACLU is appalled, while I applaud. So do you.This bill is supposed to make similar actions in future , even more systematically legal within an appropriate structured framework.How would you like to structure such a legal framework?
This bill is supposed to make similar actions in future , even more systematically legal within an appropriate structured framework.
How would you like to structure such a legal framework?
Related: should a foreign AlQaeda underware bomber have been Marandized and allowed to lawyer up within 45min of capture in USA? I think not. How would you like to see the laws on that structured?
Geneva Convention only applies to uniformed soldiers in the service of an identified nation, not to this case.
What if he was a US citizen, clearly identified as AlQaeda, and interrogation needed to detect other plotters, possibly foreigners , possible other pending attacks? I think there should be some mechanism to do so as in essence he has surrenders his citizenship by acts of war against his own country. Should Confederation soldiers & supporters been given full usual civilian criminal rights during the civil war?
How would you like the legal structure for that handeled?
I maintain the full Bill of Rights and Constitutional rights should not apply equally in those situations. There should be other clearly defined and reasonable ways to do so.