Tuesday, January 16, 2007

More on those damn pro bono attorneys

Well, I wonder if the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs is going to actually weather this burst of passion from disparate members of the American public and media.

From USA Today, the McPaper of America,
It's easy to understand how annoying these pesky lawyers and their challenges must be to the Pentagon, which runs a prison camp that has given America an international black eye. Deriding their firms, many of which represent Fortune 500 companies, and trying to instigate retribution is certainly one way, albeit a pretty sleazy one, to discourage more challenges.

Perhaps a few facts need to be called to Stimson's attention.

While holding hundreds of prisoners in Kafkaesque legal limbo at the camp, the U.S. government has transferred or released about 380. After labeling prisoners the "worst of the worst," it has admitted that some pose no long-term threat. No doubt, defense lawyers helped bring about some of those just releases.

But Stimson, a lawyer who should know better, doesn't seem much bothered by facts. In his interview with Federal News Radio, he suggested darkly that some of the firms "are receiving monies from who knows where, and I'd be curious to have them explain that."

Oh, really?

According to a spokesman for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which recruited the lawyers, the firms are donating their time and expenses; one firm representing Kuwaiti detainees has received some payment and donated it to 9/11 charities.
I was truly saddened by the note at the bottom of the editorial:Charles Stimson did not respond to a request to reply to this editorial. To keep his job, Cully is going to not directly answer his critics, but he's going to need to show he was wrong, repent, and do right. Making things at Gitmo truly transparent would be a good start.

As an aside, one of the reader comments posted on the editorial was an interesting read:
If Iran was rounding up Americans and placing them in detention camps on suspicion of terrorism without any proof, we would all be up in arms and demanding military strikes on Tehran.

I don't have a problem with the government arresting suspected terrorists. But they need to be charged with a crime and place on trial or they need to be released immediately. People should not be held in prison for years without charges. It's not only inhumane, it's un-American.
Well, after interring Japanese-Americans during World War II, I'm not sure it's un-American, but it is clearly not-what-we-want-America-to-be.

Anyway, it's time for us to set this whole Gitmo thing right; Mr. Stimson, assuming he doesn't get canned this week, is in a position to do right. I hope he draws on some of those lessons he learned along the shores of the Bai Yuka and does right.

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