The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

‘Freedom’ needs to be universal

I vividly remember those words from the 2003 State of the Union address: "The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity."

But, as the War on Terror continues, it is quite clear that the government that professed the universality of freedom beneath God does not believe one bit in that word.

The result of this disbelief in executing the freedom of God is a dangerous move in the execution of justice against terrorism.

It is clear that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 does not find that freedom is a universal gift for all humans, because the enforcement of the act will separate from humankind the very persons that desperately need to be tried according to the laws that purportedly express human values.

What I do not understand about this act is a matter of principle. The War on Terror is a war of principle, especially on the front of promoting democracy in the Middle East.

Shouldn't this be an indication of the universal freedom of all persons? Shouldn't this be an indication of the desire to fight terrorism by living according to principles that the terrorists cannot answer to?

There are numerous principles that America professes to hold, to live by, which makes brutal, criminal terrorist acts all the more shocking.

But it is clear that by the execution of specific forms of legislation, we will not be fighting the terrorists according to principle. We will be changing principle in order to fight the terrorists.

This is a genuinely frightening situation. It rids the world of the framework of universality, which must in fact ensure that all persons, in so far as they are universally free, are equally free. This is a strong and beautiful statement if its full potential is realized.

If persons are universally free, and democracy is a political manifestation of that freedom, why is it that the unlawful persons we wish to apprehend and bring to justice cannot be brought to justice through our own courts? The courts of law, the courts of freedom, the courts of universality.

Instead, we will bring unlawful combatants to justice separately, according to laws that are neither universal nor free.

These commissions combat universal freedom and defile any possible principle that would hold this purportedly free world above the terrorists that seek to destroy the free world.

If we no longer believe in the principles which justified a large portion of this battle, we no longer possess anything that is worth defending.

The freedom we desire and uphold no longer exists as universal. It is tainted. And from here, where will it go?

Zettel is a graduate student in the College of Arts & Sciences.

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