Duncan Hunter vs. The Rule of Law

Joe Crews
Duncan Hunter vs. The Rule of law
Undermining support for our troops.
INSIGHTS, by Joe Howard Crews
- July 18, 2006

The U.S. Supreme Court delivered one of its most historic decisions last month in Hamden vs. Rumsfeld. The Court ruled the Bush military kangaroos courts in Guantanamo are illegal. Almost immediately our own congressman, Rep. Duncan Hunter, began scheming with Bush operatives to undermine the court’s ruling.

It was important for them to do this, because otherwise the White House could be charged and convicted of violating the Geneva Conventions and other war crimes. White House's top lawyer warned more than four years ago that Bush and company could be prosecuted for "war crimes" as a result of new and unorthodox measures used by the Bush administration in the war on terrorism, according to an internal White House memo, it was revealed in a NEWSWEEK article by Michael Isikoff on May 19, 2004.

Isikoff wrote “In the memo, the White House lawyer focused on a little known 1996 law passed by Congress, known as the War Crimes Act, that banned any Americans from committing war crimes—defined in part as ‘grave breaches’ of the Geneva Conventions. Noting that the law applies to ‘U.S. officials’ and that punishments for violators ‘include the death penalty.'" (end quote)

This could bring the downfall of the whole corrupt regime, with untold damage to the Republican Party and its leaders.

GOP lawmakers in Congress are now frantically aiming to change laws to make legal what had already been committed. Thus we enter deeper into a perverse Bushian netherworld of American law in which criminals, once convicted, could simply rewrite the laws to make legal that which was had already been committed.

This is as un-American as a politician can get. Furthermore, Hunter undermines support for our troops in time of war.

Hunter forgets that the United States helped write the Geneva Conventions to protect our own troops should they be captured in some future war. By weakening the Geneva rules, he subjects our own troops to the same, or worse treatment by foreign enemies when they are captured. I find Hunter’s reasoning deeply flawed and misguided, and his undermining support for our troops despicable.

There is much about the torture and degrading treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo that has disturbed us Americans. This Guantanamo thing seems perversely at odds with America’s values. We do not know who these 750 people are or what crimes, if any, they may have committed, but these men have been locked away for up to five years now. Some of the prisoners were as young as 14 when incarcerated. No charges have been brought in court against the prisoners. They have been denied access to legal counsel and outside communication with their families. Only a handful have been released through extreme diplomatic pressure from allies.

During all this time, horrible stories of torture, humiliation and abuse have leaked out. We learned of anguished prisoners committing suicide, of hunger strikes, brutal forced feeding and cruel psychological techniques used by interrogators. Bush locked these prisoners away in a no-man’s purgatory, to be tormented interminably for unknown sins, unreachable by any system of justice on earth - until last month when the U.S. Supreme Court finally ruled this nether world of injustice must end.

The world’s halls of jurisprudence rang out with echoes of relief at this first glimmer of hope for the rule of law in that remote corner of Guantanamo Bay. San Diego’s own preeminent attorney, Marjorie Cohn, referred to the welcome ruling by saying:

“In the most significant rebuff to George W. Bush's assertion of executive power since he declared his ‘war on terror,’ the Supreme Court called a halt to Bush's kangaroo courts at Guantánamo Bay.


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