How civilized, law-abiding countries imprison terrorists

Numerous countries that arent the U.S. — including those targeted by Terrorist threats at least as serious as those faced by the U.S. — have routinely and repeatedly given what are called “trials” and “due process” to those it accuses not merely of harboring terrorist wishes, but also actually having carried out atrocious terrorist attacks.  During the Bush era, even the U.S. — when we were moved to do so — successfully did the same.

Giving real trials to people whom the state wants to imprison — even accused Terrorists — is what civilized, law-respecting countries do, by definition.  By contrast, lawless and tyrannical states — also by definition — invent theories and warped justifications for indefinite detention with no trials.  Before the U.S. starts talking again about “re-claiming” its so-called leadership role in the world, it probably should work first on catching up to the multiple countries far ahead of it when it comes to the most basic precepts of Western justice — beginning with what ought to be the most uncontroversial proposition that it will first give due process and trials to those it wants to imprison.  Shouldnt the claim that the U.S. cannot and need not try Terrorist suspects be rather unconvincing when numerous other countries from various parts of the world — including those previously devastated by and currently targeted with terrorist attacks — have been doing exactly that quite successfully?

Glenn Greenwald |