To the Editor:

I am sure everyone reading this letter has been appalled at some time to learn of U.S. citizens in foreign countries arrested without probable cause, jailed without charges and tried in secret proceedings without help from lawyers. We will never be able to criticize these practices again, however, because now we are doing the same things to other people.

It is easy to agree that terrorists should have no rights. But we have already arrested hundreds of people who are no more terrorists than you are. In other words, many of them are innocent. If it is all right for us to try them in secret, then surely it is all right for foreign countries to treat U.S. citizens the same way.

It also is easy to believe that it is acceptable for us to treat foreigners as if they had no rights, because we are better people than they are, and we would never misuse the powers the administration has granted itself. In addition, we can trust the government not to turn those powers on us.

In fact, these beliefs are unfounded and dangerous, to ourselves as well as to others.


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