I love and respect our Constitution and Bill of Rights. As such I consider myself a good American. At the current time I see a lot of flag waving, but I don't see these foundational documents being flaunted as readily. A few of our core values have come under attack lately, such as freedom of speech, freedom of (or from) religion and freedom from search or seizure.
In addition, there is one fact of our nation that has gone virtually unreported during this current crisis. Article VI of the Constitution states explicitly that international treaties shall be held as "the supreme Law of the Land." Good Americans believe in the rule of law; our justice system is rightly praised for appealing to the highest standards of evidence before convicting anyone of a crime.
In 1945 our great country ratified the United Nations Charter. This is an international treaty and is therefore "the supreme Law of the Land." The following are quotes taken from this revered document with implications to the current situation in Afghanistan.
"Article 39: The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken."
Implication: The UN alone is to determine if Afghanistan is guilty of the Sept. 11 attack. The UN alone has the authority to take action.
"Article 48: The action required to carry out the decisions of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security shall be taken by all the Members of the United Nations or by some of them, as the Security Council may determine."
Implication: If the UN determines that Afghanistan is guilty of a crime, only the UN will determine what nations take part in the action.
So far, the only portion of the law that the United States has followed is Article 51: "Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs." The nation under attack must notify the UN, but this "shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council... to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security."
Implication: Even if the U.S., the richest and most powerful nation in the world, is forced to defend itself from Afghanistan, the poorest and most impoverished nation in the world, the United Nations remains in charge and will resume total control of the international situation once the immediate threat is over.
By obeying "the supreme Law of the Land" justice can and will be done. We are a model for the world, an example that other nations would hope to attain. By breaking international law we invite other nations to do so. All good Americans should urge their state and federal representatives to bring our troops home and out of harm's way. All good Americans should urge their representatives to obey our Constitution.