To Stop Terrorism, Detain Potential Terrorists

There are two major reasons why fifteen years after September 11, the United States still almost never detains individuals in the United States who—indicators show—may commit terrorist acts. One such reason is spelled out in a brilliant, seminal article by Adam Klein and Benjamin Wittes, published in the Harvard National Security Journal. They point out that Americans hold on to a myth that detaining someone without charging them is a major violation of their most basic rights; the term habeas corpus often jumps to mind. Most people believe that when someone is arrested, he or she must either be brought before a judge and charged within twenty-four or forty-eight hours, or released. Furthermore, any mention of detention without being charged brings to mind the gross injustices inflicted on Japanese Americans during World War II.