The US Sedition Act Appropriate Today?
Is the Sedition Act appropriate today? Now that we are at war, should this Act be used to address some that oppose the War? This question was put to me, I now ask for your comments……. 16 May, 1918 The U.S. Sedition Act United States, Statutes at Large, Washington, D.C., 1918, Vol. XL, pp 553 ff. A portion of the amendment to Section 3 of the Espionage Act of June 15, 1917.SECTION 3. Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully make or convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States, or to promote the success of its enemies, or shall willfully make or convey false reports, or false statements, . . . or incite insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or shall willfully obstruct . . . the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, or . . . shall willfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States . . . or shall willfully display the flag of any foreign enemy, or shall willfully . . . urge, incite, or advocate any curtailment of production . . . or advocate, teach, defend, or suggest the doing of any of the acts or things in this section enumerated and whoever shall by word or act support or favor the cause of any country with which the United States is at war or by word or act oppose the cause of the United States therein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both....
The document has been a real embarrassment to the United States. Only the most unpatriotic person would recommend that it be enforced. (imo)
What do you think, tichi?
I support the enforcement of the Sedition Act.
I support the liberation of Iraq.
I support the US Military.
Very interesting idea. 1918 -- World War 1 is the setting for this Sedition Act.
It seems like parts of run counter to the First Amendment protection of free speech. However, we all know there ARE reasonable limits to free speech. (Like the Supreme Court justice once said, you are not free to yell "fire" in a crowded theater and thus cause a public danger.)
So should the anti-war crowd, should they be suppressed if found in violation of the Sedition Act? To me it depends on the actual danger posed by their words. I don't know that they do. If they are found to be "in cahoots" with the enemy, then I say throw the book at them.
Some say that these antiwar protests give comfort and aid to the enemy, in this case Saddam Hussein. I wonder if Saddam really follows what goes on in the Western press? Most of the protesters are saying Iraq ought to be disarmed, just that this war isn't the way. Although I may not agree with that view, I think their saying so is well within their rights as Americans.
Some good background history on the Sedition Act:
You got it backwards…….It was to deal with unpatriotic activities, information that proved to be false or an obstruction to the US
It really started in the 1800s under Adams who used it very well....
A spokesman for the White House told CNN yesterday that the fact that weapons of mass destruction had not yet been found as yet in Iraq was 'superfluous' ( to use his words ) to the invasion issue and that this was all about the liberation of the Iraqi people.
Considering that WMD and a linkage between the Iraqi Government and 9/11 terrorist action were the stated war ticket and both of which are now presumably superfluous to invasion requirement, I consider this spokesman’s comment seditious toward truth…lol
SS: I asked you first…..
Most people read the Sedition Act TOTALLY WRONG. There is very little in it that applies to wAR pROTESTERS as we know them.
For the purposes of this question I make the following assumption:
A wAR pROTESTER is one who does no more than hold a sign and march in some circular path in front of some Federal installation.
(A Naval Officer is reviewing this and generally agrees. There is some thought that TECHNICALLY any of the WP’s that BLOCK TRAFFIC could be construed as interfering with TROOP MOVEMENTS.)
(Also, these people that are defecating in public are grossly offensive and their message really sucks, no matter what it is. I don’t see the MESSAGE @ this point, only Indecent Exposure, that deserves Prosecution.)
WP = wAR pROTESTER (I don’t agree with them, but they do have rights. This has been established. If they go too far, they could also go to PRISON. This too, has been established.)
1) How many WP’s interfere with a troop movement?
2) How many WP’s are trying to convince someone to NOT TO ENLIST, MUTINY, DESERT or REFUSE TO PERFORM THEIR DUTY?
Generally, next to none!!!
There are some other aspects here that perhaps run counter to Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Press. These "gray areas" have been generally dealt with in other circumstances during TWO World Wars, the Korean Conflict and Vietnam since the Sedition Act’s inception. I am not too worried about their "over-interpretation".
However, there are advocates within the military who voice the opinion that we should use such as the Sedition Act against the most unruly of the WP’s WHO CAN BE SHOWN TO PHYSICALLY INTERFERE AND GO BEYOND MERE PROTEST; these should be Prosecuted. Their punishment should be minimal. Once released, these people will have to deal with a FEDERAL CRIMINAL RECORD for the rest of their life and career’s. This is more serious than a parking ticket.
I find that most WP’s are poorly informed. Protest at your own risk: You pays your money and takes your chances :)