George W. Bush is following in the footsteps of two men who were considered among our nation's greatest presidents.
Unfortunately, he is doing so by repeating mistakes which tarnish their legacy.
During the Civil War, President Lincoln attempted to expand the powers of the presidency by suspending the writ of habeas corpus, allowing criminals to be arrested and held without any formal charges being filed against them. This is a privilege provided to all U.S. citizens under Article 1, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution.
After the United States entered World War II, President Roosevelt forced Japanese-Americans into concentration camps, suspending all of their rights as U.S. citizens.
Today, Bush is attempting to expand his own powers -- just as his predecessors did -- during the U.S. Justice Department's investigation of the Sept. 11 attacks. His plans include authorization of military courts to try non-citizens, interviews with hundreds of people of Middle Eastern descent, secret detentions and the monitoring of jailhouse conversations between lawyers and clients, according to the Associated Press.
By implementing these plans, Bush would be violating the Constitution. He claims the current war on terrorism is justification for this. So did Lincoln and Roosevelt. It may be. However, Bush should proceed with caution when tossing out the Constitution during a war which is meant to protect the American ideals it represents.