I remember my mom picking me up early that day. I remember the relentless replay of the Windows of the World crashing to the ground, my 5-year-old mind numb to the catastrophic nature of the event. I remember my classmates who attended the funerals of their parents a few days later.
I will be the first to admit that the damage done on September 11, 2001 was irreparable.
Even now, 15 years later, it is still branded into our minds as if it happened yesterday.
That being said, I’m a firm believer that there are two things that explain most actions — intellect and emotion. When Congress voted to override Obama’s veto on the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, this was a political move motivated by sheer emotion.
This marks the first veto override for the Obama Administration, and I believe that it was wrongfully administered.
What many fail to recognize is that Obama’s decision had nothing to do with the families of 9/11. He said it best himself on CNN town hall:
“If we eliminate this notion of sovereign immunity, then our men and women in uniform around the world could potentially start seeing ourselves subject to reciprocal laws.”
JASTA creates a precedent that is bound to have dangerous implications overseas.
The bill would allow families to privately sue Saudi Arabia since many of the hijackers were Saudi and some believe that the Saudi government aided the attack.
Although the 9/11 Commission found no supporting evidence, this is quite possibly the case since last year Zacarias Moussaoui, rumored to be the 20th hijacker, testified that members of the Saudi royal family gave millions of dollars to al-Qaeda prior to the attacks.
Not surprisingly, the Saudi embassy dismissed these allegations and called Moussaoui a “deranged criminal.”
So why, if there’s substantial reasoning that the Saudi government could have been behind the attacks in some way or another, did Obama veto such a constructive bill?
First off, the Saudi foreign minister has threatened that he will sell all Treasury bills and other American assets they currently own, which amasses to over $750 billion. Many call this a bluff.
Even so, if you spin the situation on its head, what is going to stop other international courts from doing the same thing to us in the long run? As Obama stated, it’s a “dangerous precedent.”
In 1976, the U.S. passed the Foreign Sovereign Immunities, which protects foreign governments from getting sued in American courts. JASTA would effectively create an exception to this sanction.
According to international customary law, meaning a law based on acceptance by the member state and the international community, countries are usually immune from legal proceedings in other states.
In a letter written to the U.S. from the E.U. Delegation, they reject the passing of JASTA on the basis that “state immunity is a central pillar of the international legal order. Any derogation from the principle of immunity bears the inherent danger of causing reciprocal action by other states and an erosion of principle as such.”
This customary law is jus cogens, or non derogable. By passing this law, Congress has unanimously put our country under foreseeable scrutiny by every single UN nation state.
To put it bluntly, it’s not going to be pretty.
Although it wasn’t an ostensibly easy decision to make, I hope that those of you reading this will understand why he vetoed this bill.
Obama isn’t the bad guy. He simply had to make an intelligent decision on an emotional issue.
Now Congress will have to deal with the repercussions of their rash choice to override Obama’s decision for years to come.