On her show Thursday night, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow summed up why many Americans are so distraught over counter-terrorism efforts such as Guantanamo Bay and targeted drone strikes.


Before interviewing former Defense Department general counsel Jeh Johnson, Maddow noted that German prisoners were held on U.S. soil during World War II, paralleling the current detention of terrorism suspects in Guantanamo. However, the war with Germany had a definite endpoint, while currently terrorism suspects are being held indefinitely.

"We have always held prisoners in wartime, and obviously we have always killed people in wartime," she said. "That's not what is weird now. What is weird now is that we are doing those things right now, this year for twelve years now, as part of a war that we say is a worldwide war in which the only declared combatant country is us. We have been at war before as a country. The reason we agonize now, the reason we agonize over how we are at war now is because the generally accepted precepts of war that make us relatively OK holding prisoners without trial and killing people without trial are those are precepts that also assume that war is a thing that has an end, after which the prisoners go home, after which we have to arrested people and try them without just targeting them and shooting them from afar."

"When does this thing we are in now end? And if it does not have an end -- and I'm not speaking as a lawyer here, I am just speaking as a citizen who feels morally accountable for my country's actions -- if it does not have an end, then morally speaking it does not seem like it is a war," Maddow added. "And then, our country is killing people and locking them up outside the traditional judicial system in a way I think we maybe cannot be forgiven for."

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