Wednesday, May 21, 2008

No Soup for You

Americans, indeed all freemen, remember
that in the final choice, a soldier's pack is not
so heavy a burden as a prisoner's chains
--Dwight D. Eisenhower

I know how men in exile feed on dreams of hope

There ain't no substitute for the truth

Either it is or isn't

--The Truth
, India Arie

More members of the military revolt against participation in the kangaroo trials for Gitmo detainees (
A Few Good Soldiers.) These defections are excellent evidence that some principled men and women in uniform still navigate by the Constitution.

"These refusals, affecting two trials [last] week, suggest that the whole apparatus—seven years and counting in the making—cannot ever be fixed. The trials are doomed, and they are doomed from the inside out (A Few Good Soldiers.)"

It is doubtful the military tribunals can ever be fixed, but
why did they come into being in the first place? The U.S. has done well up to 2002 with a Department of Justice and a Federal court system, fully capable of trying terrorist cases. All terrorist acts are violations of normal U.S. Code. Terrorist acts are criminal in the same way as are murder, kidnapping, bombing, etc.

How can the Court Martial Convening Authority for these trials be a Department of Defense civilian with no military or command authority? Courts martial are convened by the Commander in a particular chain of command. Why is this different for Gitmo?

The system was created to provide an extra-legal sphere in which torture and relaxed rules of evidence could prevail in kangaroo courts. But there is no need to get tricky and cute with the law, as this tinkering threatens the integrity of a democratic society. Either we are or we aren't.

As the judicial process stands vis a vis detained potential / possible / probable enemy combatants (POW's?) and terrorists, we have created a grotesque pastiche. Small part democracy; large part gulag. They are incompatible processes, hence the attorney's declining to play on such a mined field.

If we don't trust our own legal system, what are we fighting for?

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Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

So, in the Libyan fable it is told That once, an eagle, stricken with a dart,
Said, when he saw the fashion of the shaft,

"With our own feathers, not by others' hand Are we now smitten."


Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 7:49:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

To be "hoist with his own petard."

Thursday, May 22, 2008 at 12:24:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

MB, yes and in the words of Bruce Cockburn- It's a dart to the heart. jim

Thursday, May 22, 2008 at 9:38:00 AM GMT-5  

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