Thursday, August 03, 2006

As I Was Sayin': Boing, Boing, Boing

Top Military Lawyers Oppose Plans for Special Courts

Demon Princess never minds repeating herself when it comes to Neocon war debacles (proposed kangaroo courts), & she does enjoy watching them trying to justify their arrogantly unilateral war-mongering behavior after the fact.

Makes it all the more special when it's to point out that even military lawyers agree with her *gasp* And affirms that all lawyers have not sold their souls to the GOP. Maybe there's hope for democratic government after all.

The WaPo today (title bar) has further details about yesterday's Congressional review of Bushco's draft legislation & wish list.

"The draft legislation debated yesterday would create military commissions to replace the ones struck down in June by the Supreme Court, which ruled that an earlier plan, imposed by the Defense Department without congressional authorization, was unconstitutional. The new proposal seeks to expand the authority of the courts by including defendants who are not members of al-Qaeda or the Taliban and not directly involved in acts of international terrorism.

"Some independent experts and human rights groups have criticized the plan because defendants would be denied many protections guaranteed by the civilian and traditional military criminal justice systems.

"The proposed legislation has not been formally released because of the administration's inability to persuade the military lawyers to accept it, even after two meetings with Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales."

One of the most contentious points seems like a no-brainer to those of us who remain sane, & that would be the admissibility of evidence obtained by means of coercion. 'Berto retreated into that most cowardly of lawyers' tactics by pretending to not comprehend what "coerced" means.

"Gonzales said: 'The concern that I would have about such a prohibition is what does it mean [and] how you defined it. I think if we could all reach agreement about the definition of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, then perhaps I could give you an answer. . . . Depending on your definition of something as degrading, such as insults, I would say that information should still come in.'

"McCain called this 'a radical departure' from past U.S. practice."

Military lawyers pointed out that one of the benefits of heeding the Geneva Conventions (as the Court stated Bushco must do--& still they're trying to dance disingenuously around it) is that the interests of American soldiers in being treated humanely are also at stake. This is international law of war we're talking about fiddling with here. We are not entitled to revise it unilaterally just because we're America and nobody can make us observe it.

Bushco has been coy about presenting publically plans for revamped military tribunals, but as mentioned yesterday, the provisions they've floated so far are ludicrous.

The following especially annoys me, addressing as it does the Bushco formulation of amnesty, essentially, for miltary personnel who were operating under the illegitmate & unconstitutional program unilaterally put in place by the Department of Defense (illegally, as it turns out). That would include, we imagine, military field manuals purposely scrubbed of verbiage even remotely suggesting the Geneva Conventions so recently affirmed by the Supreme Court, the same Geneva Conventions that Dick Cheney had such a huge problem with, as well as allegations of methods of torture being approved & condoned at Gitmo & Abu Grahaib.

"Gonzales also confirmed a report last week in The Washington Post that the administration plans to include language in the legislation designed to protect service personnel and civilians from domestic war-crimes prosecutions for any violations of the international laws of war that are committed under administration policies that have been withdrawn or ruled illegal.

"It seems to us it is appropriate for Congress to consider whether or not to provide additional protections for those who've relied in good faith upon decisions made by their superiors," Gonzales said."

Americans? The world's white knights in shining armor? Say it ain't so! Let's call it the Alfred E. Neuman War College. Graduates' mottoes would be "What, me, a war criminal?"

Maybe I should be thankful 'Berto is not asking for amnesty for military "superiors," only for the rank & file who reasonably believed they were following orders. If that's the case.


Anonymous Pat said...

The few times I've watched Alberto. I've found myself mesmerized by the fact that the man has to be some kind of droid that was resurrected from Rosewell. How can a person become so isolated from rational thought that the word torture becomes coertion. He probably attends church on Sunday surrounded by SS agents (that abreviation has a whole new twist). Even though the ABA, and some military lawers are speaking up, Alberto still remains the Attorney GENERAL.

8:37 PM  
Blogger Demon Princess said...

Ha! Point noted, Pat!

10:47 PM  

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