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JASTA And Its Effect On the 21st Century

President Obama deep in thought. Photo credit: AP

        Although a great number in our millennial cannot recollect the moments of 9/11, we are nonetheless affected by the horrendous backlash of it.  Our parents can recall the exact spot they were standing in when they heard the news, our older siblings remember the solemn speeches given to them by their teachers.  However, those of us born in the late nineties and on cannot give a single comment about the intense emotion that suddenly overturned our young lives, and yet, we continue to experience the aftermath of 9/11.  

On May 17th, 2016 the United States Congress officially passed the the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).  The act enables the United States to remove foreign sovereign immunity within the United States judicial system.  To specify, foreigners are no longer protected against being charged in the U.S. for both civil claims and varying degrees of criminal claims.  The supporting idea behind JASTA is that it attempts to aid 9/11 victims and victims’ families to gain some form of personal justice in the wake of 9/11.  

Although the act was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives, it was then vetoed by President Barack Obama on September 23rd, 2016.  The President’s reasoning behind the veto was his concern of the act’s effect on foreign relations, specifically with Saudi Arabia, the United States’ primary Middle Eastern ally.  Although Obama made an extremely valid point that any president should be sure to consider, on September 28th, 2016, his veto was overridden by the both the Senate and the House.  

Saudi Arabia has not wavered in vocalizing its disagreement with the act.  For Saudi Arabia, the act indicates worse consequences pertaining to limits in travel for its citizens and increasing the negative connotations with the country .  This is primarily because the 9/11 attack was led by the terrorist group, Al Qaeda, the majority of its members being Saudi Arabian, including its leader, Osama Bin Laden.  By enacting JASTA and enraging Saudi Arabia, it brings a divide between the U.S. and its most trusted Middle Eastern ally, which in turn could could create greater troubles concerning foreign affairs later in time.

9/11 was, and continues to be, one of the greatest travesties in the history of the U.S. and the fact that it happened over fifteen years ago makes no difference.  Our generation is given the task and burden to carry out the justice deserved by the victims of 9/11, which is representational of our society as a whole.  Time and time again, choices are made, choices that may not benefit its receivers but will without doubt, affect them.  This generation is seen as one of the most pivotal yet to come, and with this power, it is our duty to remember history with its horrors and prosperity alike.  We may not remember the specifics of 9/11, but we are being hit with its aftermath more than we ever have. Our generation’s challenge is to use this to our advantage, and remember the past so we can, in turn, change the future.

Grace Del Vecchio (277)
Staff Writer



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