Wednesday, August 02, 2006

so many questions

From The Washington Post (via AMERICAblog):
A draft Bush administration plan for special military courts seeks to expand the reach and authority of such "commissions" to include trials, for the first time, of people who are not members of al-Qaeda or the Taliban and are not directly involved in acts of international terrorism, according to officials familiar with the proposal.

The plan, which would replace a military trial system ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in June, would also allow the secretary of defense to add crimes at will to those under the military court's jurisdiction. The two provisions would be likely to put more individuals than previously expected before military juries, officials and independent experts said.

Under the proposed procedures, defendants would lack rights to confront accusers, exclude hearsay accusations, or bar evidence obtained through rough or coercive interrogations. They would not be guaranteed a public or speedy trial and would lack the right to choose their military counsel, who in turn would not be guaranteed equal access to evidence held by prosecutors.

Detainees would also not be guaranteed the right to be present at their own trials
, if their absence is deemed necessary to protect national security or individuals. (emphasis mine)

John Aravosis rightly asks whether journalists would find themselves on the wrong side of this legislation. My question is, do you really want to live in a country where anyone can be faced with this kind of treatment?

And exactly what people and what kind of crimes would be commuted to military tribunals? They would probably spell it out if the American people were likely to support it. If they're not involved in terrorist organizations, and they're not directly involved in terror plots, what the hell business could they possibly have in military tribunals instead of the regular criminal courts?

Which brings to the the biggest question of all: how again is this not unconstitutional?

This segs with another question I asked recently: what the hell do Republicans have against our own justice system? In what way is it inadequate or untrustworthy for handling terrorists or POWs or "enemy combatants?" Our system may not be perfect, but it works. It's worked for 200 years. It was good enough for Timothy McVeigh and Jeffrey Dahmer and John Muhammad (the sniper from 2 years ago). Why wouldn't it be able to handle these clowns?

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