A few days ago The Eagle ran a commentary by James Jay Carafano called Military Tribunals Work Just Fine. Dr. Carafano makes the statement that AG Eric Holder "could not come up with one compelling argument why trials in New York were superior to military tribunals in Guantanamo." I have not researched as to if this is true or not, but lets assume Mr. Holder was unable to answer. So I'll do it for him.
Lets go back.....way back.....to the Constitution. You know that silly piece of paper that - like Jesus - we tend to use only when it suits us and ignore when it gets in our way. Here is the thing I want to make perfectly clear - I take it ALL - the stuff I like and the stuff I don't like. That to me is what it means to be an American. I subscribe to the document because I see merit in what it was attempting to bring about - it is it's goodness and morality and humanity that I find worthy of my devotion.
Now I am no history buff, lawyer, constitutional scholar, or well read thinker. I do, however, know how to read - and - I do have an idea of what the Founders were trying to put together. Its that "more perfect Union" thing in the preamble to the constitution. It is beautiful, elegant, all encompassing, and a testament that these guys understood what it would take to "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."
So when some, Like Dr. Carafano, rail against the normalcy of our justice system they are, in fact, railing against what our founders felt was important for us to preserve and secure. The idea that the protections outlined in our constitution are not meant for some simply because of how we perceive them (non-citizen, terrorist, enemy combatant) or their crime smacks of a self-righteousness that the constitution and its amendments were trying to guard against. There is a reason that 235 some years these men addressed crime and punishment numerous times in both the Constitution and Bill of Rights (Amendments).
- What part of "The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury" do you not understand. Regardless of his standing this jury idea seems to me like it was pretty important to them.
- And why in New York? Valid question and fair, but the Constitution is implicit in its direction when it states "...but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed."
- What part of "The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." applies to guys we picked up in Afghanistan and are now locked up in Gitmo?
- What part of "habeas corpus" is not applicable here? I mean the mere fact that it is referenced in our constitution means it was important to the founders that the safeguarding of individual freedom against arbitrary state action be implicitly mentioned. Isn't it wise and prudent for us to question our government over the detention of these men? Doesn't that "state action" they were referring to in the Constitution really mean us? This to me is exactly what ol' Pogo was referring to when he saw the enemy. The founders saw it too, that's why habeas corpus is not to be trifled with, unless you really don't give a shit about the Constitution and just want to do away with all them evil-doers.
- And what part of "nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" does not apply here? And if it does not, why? Because they are not citizens, because they are enemy combatants? Because we are at war? Thats not how I read the 5th, but assuming I am reading it wrong, I think the message is clear: Before you lock someone away there should be due process. This applies to everyone, you know, that All Men are Created Equal thing....its the "All" part that sticks with me.
- And what about the "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury ..... and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence?" Do we throw that one out the window because these men were picked up and declared an enemy combatant? Does that simple act by "the state" make the 6th moot? My God Dr. Carafano, ins't it clear to you how important the protection of the accused was to our Founders? Are these men in Gitmo not accused or have they already been declared guilty by you and your ilk so why bother with all this bleeding heart trial fairness stuff?
So I will ask you the same question posed to Mr. Holder: "Give me your one compelling reason why military tribunals are superior to the method prescribed in our Constitution?"
I double-dog-dare-you to tell the truth. C'mon you can acknowledge the reason - be brave and tell it like it is - that a Military Tribunal will more likely than not present a verdict of guilty. You want a guilty verdict even if some may not be guilty. That's cool - wrong in my opinion - but you are entitled to your sense of decency and morality. But when you will unequivocally give the state the power to both accuse and convict you are messing with my constitution. I have complete confidence that the method prescribed by the Constitution will be superior to that of a Military Tribunal, even if I don't agree with the verdicts rendered. Better to let one or two guilty men off the hook for a technicality then trample on our two-century old Constitution.
If you don't like these protections then I suggest you go find somewhere else to live ....and take all your like-minded buddies with you as well.