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Non-Americans deserve real justice, too

Ian Montijo | Monday, November 23, 2009

Dear Mark Easley,

American Civil Liberties may be reserved for Americans, yet the values of human rights and common human decency have no limitations.

I could not agree with you more in your assertions that these terrorists are not Americans and that any terrorist’s action is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent (“Terrorists are not Americans,” Nov. 19). However, I am rather alarmed at the retaliatory action you advocate. What you fail to comprehend is that acting to punish them without a trial is akin to what they have done in that there exists no basis or justification for the action. If you do not condone baseless and hateful attacks on America, then you cannot in the same breath support punishing these individuals without some kind of trial or basis on which to punish them. Not only does swiftly carrying out your version of “justice” violate numerous international laws, that very same action is exactly the kind of reaction the terrorists are seeking. By refusing to treat them with the decency that a normal citizen would be granted, you create sympathy for their cause and add to the proliferation of militant extremism throughout the world. In fact giving these “evil men” a fair trial through our judicial system is the best course of action. Not only does it bring legitimacy to our claims against them, it shows that even amidst the terrible pain and destruction that they brought upon our country, we are steadfast and refuse to abandon the values upon which this great nation was founded — those same values that are taught to us here at Notre Dame.

In closing, Gandhi once said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Should we take your course of action, a blind world may be the best outcome possible.


Ian Montijo


Stanford Hall

Nov. 20