The Instigator
katiemc
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
imabench
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

Terrorists Should Be Tried in a Military Tribunal

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
imabench
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/17/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,010 times Debate No: 34841
Debate Rounds (1)
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Votes (3)

 

katiemc

Pro

On September 11, 2001, nearly three thousand innocent American citizens were killed in the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. It affected and devastated the entire nations. In the 6th amendment it states that you have the right to a fair and speedy trial by an impartial jury. You will not be able to find one unbiased American willing to be open-minded and listen to the trial based on fact. The nation was hurt. Wouldn't it be better for the accused' sake, to have their case held in a military tribunal, in which their would be authority trained and taught to keep their opinion and emotions out of their cases in deciding the fate of the accused? If terrorists have the rights of the accused as stated in the Bill of Rights, which would mean that they are under the Constitution's jurisdiction, then haven't they also committed treason as defined by Article 3 Section 3 in the Constitution? Over 15 Americans have lost their lives in terrorist attacks since Sept. 11, 2001. When do we come to the conclusion that enough is enough? An act of war is defined as, "an act of aggression by a country against another with which is allegedly at peace". Were we not at peace on September 11, 2001? How about the other days that other American citizens were killed due to terrorism? If an act of war is defined as "an aggressive acts which constitutes an immediate to peace", and if a war crime is defined as "killing or conspiring to kill anyone not involved in the hostilities", then isn't terrorism an act of war as well as a war crime? Since a power of Congress, as stated in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, is to "define and punish offenses against the law of nations" the principles of which would include terrorism as being a breach of the law of nations, doesn't that give Congress the authority to decide how terrorists should be tried? In Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, it states that, "Congress shall have power to provide for common defense and general welfare of the United States". If people know about the trial and its location, wouldn't civilian trials for terrorists not only put the jury in danger of protests, but also the terrorist? In the 6th amendment in states that the accused has the right to a public trial. If we do hold the trial in public, wouldn't that put national security at risk, as military secrets could be leaked? "Military tribunals protect U.S. intelligence sources and methods from being revealed in open court. Many war crimes, acts of war, and acts of terrorism weren't committed on U.S. soil. Therefore, there is no Constitutional jurisdiction. Why would the Constitution still apply if the crime wasn't even committed in the US? Does the power of Congress to make rules about captures as stated in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution also give them the authority to decide how captured terrorists should be tried? Terrorists are enemy combatants, not common criminals. They commit acts of war against the American people, not crimes. They should be tried at military commissions, not in civilian courts where they have access to the same rights as U.S. citizens. The Military Tribunals for Terrorists Act makes sure that foreign terrorists are tried in military tribunals, not civilian courts. Military tribunals have served the nation well since the Revolutionary War and we should continue to use them.
imabench

Con

Let me go ahead and pick apart this massive wall of text and see what we get.

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"Wouldn't it be better for the accused' sake, to have their case held in a military tribunal, in which their would be authority trained and taught to keep their opinion and emotions out of their cases in deciding the fate of the accused?"

Just because they are told to keep emotions out of their ruling it doesnt mean they actually will. They also do that in civil court cases as well where people are asked to remain unbiased when deciding ones fate, but both civilians and military soldiers are more then capable of showing bias towards a terrorist on trial.

"If people know about the trial and its location, wouldn't civilian trials for terrorists not only put the jury in danger of protests, but also the terrorist? "

It wouldnt.... Al-Qaeda doesnt have the capability to wage an attack in central Kansas where one of their own in on trial, and the safety of a terrorist on trial is just as questionable in a civil court case then a military tribunal, there is no given difference between the two.

"If we do hold the trial in public, wouldn't that put national security at risk, as military secrets could be leaked? "

No, because its not a secret that the US tracks down terrorists and knows what they are up to...

"Why would the Constitution still apply if the crime wasn't even committed in the US?"

Because its possible that some terrorist attacks could indeed be committed in the US. Theyve come close on a couple of occasions and had they not gone awry, then the crime would have succeeded and be committed in the US...

"They commit acts of war against the American people, not crimes."

Had Al-Qaeda been behind the Boston Bombings then it can be argued it was both an act of war and a crime committed by the two brothers who were behind it. The two arent mutually exclusive.

"They should be tried at military commissions, not in civilian courts where they have access to the same rights as U.S. citizens"

Opinion....

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Military tribunals do have their use, and are often the go to option for terrorists who are caught in acts against the US government when NOT on US soil. However when the crimes ARE committed on US soil, then the states arguably have a better cause for putting the terrorist on trial in a civilian court since the terrorist attack affected them more then the US government.

There isnt an inherit benefit to trying terrorists in a military tribunal rather then a civil case. The only difference is that the terrorists on trial gain access to specific rights (not all) that by themselves dont give the terrorists an edge, they just make the judicial process fairer. So why make military tribunals the only option when 1) There are good cases that call for civil trials, and 2) There is no inherit benefit to giving terrorists military tribunals over civil courts.
Debate Round No. 1
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3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by makhdoom5 3 years ago
makhdoom5
katiemcimabenchTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: refuted all argument very well and in convincing manner.
Vote Placed by 2-D 3 years ago
2-D
katiemcimabenchTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Are one round debates really a thing? Please stick around to explain yourself. Great thoughts from a bench.
Vote Placed by rross 3 years ago
rross
katiemcimabenchTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Interesting topic. It would have been better to have had more than one round, because then it would have been more of a debate and Pro might have been able to defend her position more effectively. I don't see how an act of terrorism is an act of war, but that might be a different subject anyway.