June 22, 2010

A Bruise on the First Amendment - Readers' Comments - NYTimes.com#comment25#comment25

Comment in support of the editorial position of the New York Times regarding a disastrous Supreme Court decision affecting free speech and assembly rights, as well as hobbling the ability to resolve conflict - Diane V. McLoughlin

June 22, 2010: From the NYT editiorial:

'The case arose after an American human rights group, the Humanitarian Law Project, challenged the law prohibiting “material support” to terror groups, which was defined in the 2001 Patriot Act to include “expert advice or assistance.” The law project wanted to provide advice to two terrorist groups on how to peacefully resolve their disputes and work with the United Nations...But though the law project was actually trying to reduce the violence of the two groups, the court’s opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. on behalf of five other justices, said that did not matter and ruled the project’s efforts illegal. Even peaceful assistance to a terror group can further terrorism, the chief justice wrote...;'.
[ http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/opinion/22tue1.html ]

My comment:

I agree with the New York Times editorial that Congress should step in and rectify this wrong. Not only is free speech now badly hobbled by this latest Supreme Court decision; the ability to seek peaceful resolution between adversaries is, too.

I am mindful of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln's approach to adversaries, war and peace. We took a wrong turn in branding individuals or groups 'terrorist', to the degree that peaceful resolution through dialogue itself is now outlawed; it is as if the aim of terrorism law is to outlaw any prospect of peace itself.

'Combatants find it difficult to live together in peace after they lay down their arms if there is too much to forget. Demonizing is dreadfully difficult to undo.

'He had found a better way. Lincoln was fond of saying that the best way to destroy an enemy was to make a friend of him.

'Thus, Tolstoy could write: "Washington was a typical American. Napoleon was a typical Frenchman, but Lincoln was a humanitarian as broad as the world. He was bigger than his country - bigger than all the Presidents together."

['Lincoln Quotes: The Best Quotes From Abraham Lincoln From The Pages of The Achievement Digest';
http://www.theamericans.us/Quote.html ]

A Bruise on the First Amendment - Readers' Comments - NYTimes.com#comment25#comment25

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