To the Editor:
President Obama’s proposal of a new legal system in which terrorism suspects can be held in “prolonged detention” inside the United States without trial—a radical departure from our venerable system of constitutional justice—is based entirely on the rationale that the United States is “at war,” and therefore these extraordinarily radical practices are justified. It is time for Americans to ask a few fundamental questions, and to answer them.
1. When did the war start?
2. Who declared that the United States is “at war,” and by what authority?
3. Who is the enemy?
4. What is the definition of a “terrorism suspect”?
5. How will we know when the war is over?
6. Who will declare that the United States is no longer at war, and by what authority?
Eugene C. Tidball