The Ties We Bind Them With
The military commissions trials of several men accused of being members of al-Qaeda started yesterday at Guantanamo Bay.
After recent Congressional testimony by several people connected to these kangaroo proceedings, including the former Chief Prosecutor who revealed that he was ordered that there be no acquittals, it is clear that not only do these commissions prevent the universal right to a fair trial, they are illegal in themselves under the Constitution, U.S. statutes, and international law.
If these men are guilty, I want them to pay for the death and destruction they caused. And if they are convicted by illegitimate show-trials that don't allow for a proper defense, allow unsubstantiated hearsay evidence, secret evidence, and evidence obtained by coercion (read "torture"), you know as well as I that such a conviction will never withstand scrutiny by a real court.
There is also the chance that an innocent person will be found guilty under this shamefully inadequate system. With all the people who have been wrongly convicted even with all the rights and process of our normal justice system, it would be damn near impossible not to condemn an innocent man under the Kafka-esque, Orwellian rules and standards detainees now face.
This is not justice, this is sheer stupidity. Can you not see that this is a no-win situation? If we get convictions, they will be invalidated - if not by a higher court, definitely in the court of American and world opinion. That is the last thing anyone should want. We should avoid even the appearance of injustice and impropriety.
And if we don't get convictions, how do we explain keeping people locked away on an island for 6 or 7 years? And do you really think the President will release them once they are "exonerated"? Of course, that term would never be used. We would just call them "no longer enemy combatants." Did I mention Orwellian doublespeak?
This is not justice. This is not the American way. It is not worthy of our history, and it will prove utterly disastrous to our future.
America is but an idea. Our people are not bound together by bonds of blood or common ancestry. The only thing that binds us together as Americans is that wonderful, fragile idea. If we destroy that idea, America will cease to exist, and the terrorists will have won.