Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 





A Dubious Honor
Wednesday, 06 June 2007 09:03
by Jayne Lyn Stahl

On the basis of one word, "unlawful," a military judge threw out charges, on Monday, against a 20 year old Toronto man Omar Khadr, held at Guantanamo Bay, accused of having murdered an American soldier, in Afghanistan, when he was only 15. The judge, who is an Army colonel, Peter Brownback, said that Khadr's classification as an "enemy combatant," by a previous panel, instead of an "unlawful enemy combatant" makes him ineligible for prosecution under the Military Commissions Act of 2006. Oh, the power of a single word.

Given that not a single detainee, at Guantanamo, has been designated as "unlawful," this ruling has the stunning potential of resulting in dismissals of all charges against any detainee lucky enough to find themselves in front of a military tribunal, or even know what they are charged with. Khadr's attorney, Marine Col. Dwight Sullivan, insists that the judge's decision to dismiss his case comes not as the result of a mere "technicality," but instead is proof of "a system of justice that does not comport with American values." (AP)

While human rights abuses, suicides, and related outrages, at the detention camp in Cuba are receiving lots of media attention, few are reading the fine print in the legislation passed, last year, that allows for a new system for trying war crimes in which the prosecution must comply with a 72 hour window for appeals to a court that has yet to be created. Kafka would have loved that! Yes, for now, the "court of military commissions review" , exists only on paper, and as part of the Military Commissions Act which New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, plans to investigate, asserting that the legislation is "riddled with problems and created a process that operates outside the rule of law." (AP)

Known and very popular cialis coupon which gives all the chance to receive a discount for a preparation which has to be available and exactly cialis coupons has been found in the distant room of this big house about which wood-grouses in the houses tell.

Arguably, the whole notion of a military tribunal to try detainees, as created by this administration, suggests that the so-called "rule of law" operates within its own vacuum, one that is itself not merely insular, legally anachronistic, but immune from accountability, and congressional oversight. That said, the system is not immune from oversight by the Supreme Court which rejected previous attempts at military tribunals, calling the method by which this administration wishes to try detainees, in a word, unconstitutional. Of course, new guidelines for war trials were quickly put in place, and passed by Congress, which allow for the kind of hearing today that resulted in the extraordinary dismissal of charges against Khadr and, in a related case, of those against Hamdan, too.

More troubling than the notion that one may seek redress from a military commissions review that has yet to be created is a look at the revisionist stance on terror espoused by chief prosecutor in the Hamdan case, Army Lt. Col. William Britt, who contends that one might even argue that the war on terror began in 1993 when the World Trade Center was first bombed. This kind of mangled logic ranks right up there with that of criminalizing certain war crimes, such at conspiracy, retroactively or, for that matter, classifying and declassifying information based on political expediency. Once again, we witness a precedent setting proclivity on the part of this administration to break the law, and then make it law.

But, plainly, there is no nuancing one essential fact, the U.S. now has the dubious honor of being the "first country in modern history to try an individual who was a child at the time of the alleged war crimes," (AP) as well as to try to revive practices that were vestigial even in feudal times.

So it is then that a young man, Omar Khadr, one who isn't even old enough to drink in most states, may yet get to return to his native Canada, and leave Guantanamo Bay where he remains, as a consequence of the ruling of one military judge who turned ambiguous terminology like "enemy combatant" into the samurai's sword it deserves, showing that the law as written and rewritten over the past half-dozen years must surely backfire when an infrastructure of injustice comes apart, bit by bit, thanks to the efforts of those who still remember to read the fine print.
More from this author:
Following in the Footsteps... (8460 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl The manic warriors, in Washington, are at it again, only now they've found someone who can manage more than one syllable at...
Worldwide Open Season on the Press (12590 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl On an otherwise quiet street in Istanbul, this morning, a 53 year old Turkish citizen of Armenian descent was gunned down...
On Hillary's announcement... (7712 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl You may have read the transcript of a speech given by George McGovern in The Nation last week in which he rightly...
An Open Letter to "The Decider" (8272 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl While the odds are probably better of getting a response from Santa, there are a few things I'd like to say if you can...
"Notes from the Undergrown: State of the Oilman Address" (8145 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl The president's speech last night was more important for what it didn't say than for what it did. In an address that could...
Related Articles:
No Honor among Murderers (8343 Hits)
by Anwaar Hussain On Saturday December 30th, at 6:05 Iraq time, in Abu Ghraib prison, Saddam Hussain was executed not for the mass killing of...
A Well Deserved Honor for Joe and Valerie Wilson (5104 Hits)
by Linda Milazzo In a display of gratitude for taking the high road for their nation, Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson were honored tonight...
The Dubious Decider (3902 Hits)
by Dr. Paul Balles Who doesn't know, for example, that Bush lied about WMDs in Iraq? The question that hasn't been answered adequately is why? ...
Dubious Praise for ‘The Daily Show’ (3721 Hits)
by Norman Solomon As corporate media coverage of the presidential race becomes even more notably stingy with intrepid journalism, the...
To honor the memory of Dr. Tiller, We need to carry on the fight for reproductive rights (2556 Hits)
Dear Editor The heart of every member of Radical Women goes out to the family, friends and co-workers of Dr. George Tiller, a fallen hero for...

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Comments (0)add comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger



Top 123