January 15, 2010 in Letters

Rights commitment fading?

The Spokesman-Review

I read with interest the number of letters to the editor regarding the rights of noncitizens. Of particular note to me is the reaction to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab having been granted the right to a lawyer and being read Miranda rights under our law (remember that Miranda was not an issue until the mid-’60s – NO ONE was read Miranda rights before then).

The argument seems to be: He’s guilty, he’s not a citizen of the U.S., therefore he shouldn’t be granted those rights.

I must have missed the memo. When did we abandon the concept that human rights for one are human rights for all? It is true that in other countries, Americans are not granted what we regard as basic American rights, but when that happens we complain bitterly about it. Isn’t that the basis of our disaffection with China – their attitude toward human rights?

Let me get this straight. In other countries, Americans should be treated as Americans under American law, not the law of the country they’re in; but in America, non-Americans should not be granted human rights under our law. Is that correct? Does anyone really believe that?

Jeff Brown

Spokane Valley

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