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Re: FW: More Questions than Answers

>The above is provided by: http://www.courttv.com/casefiles/nuremberg/law.html
>If anything the Nuremberg Trials support rather than oppose the current use of
> military tribunals and further show that the U.S. has in the past used such t
>ribunes, when others would have no semblance of civilized law, quite effective
>ly and with world consent.

Indeed, the Nuremberg courts were military tribunals.
However, they were organized by a U.S. Supreme Court justice,
they used, as your posting notes, elements of law of several
countries (basically of the four victorious allies), and they
were recorded on film and paper in their entirety.  I do not
believe even William Safire would refer to them as kangaroo courts.

This is a bit different from the military tribunals currently
authorized, which can sit at any time and any place, judge all
matters of fact and law in secret, convict and execute.  The
standard for invoking all this is "if there is reason to believe".
Even allied combatant countries have objected to such tribunals
and refused to turn over suspects if they are to be tried by them.

The actual order for these tribunals is available over the net
from the White House:


There is much debate over what it means, what precedents it follows,
whether it's good or bad, necessary or illegitimate.
For example, Safire proposes a simple solution that wouldn't
require these tribunals: treat enemy combatants as such and
and deal with them with military force until they all surrender.
This appears to be what U.S. forces are actually doing right now.

Now you may well ask, how will we know they all surrendered?
Indeed, that is a good question, and nothing's perfect.
Keeping sources secret might still be necessary;
however, our criminal courts already have methods for that.

Some people have worried that public trials would give terrorists
a platform for propaganda.  Maybe so, but previous examples have
tended towards discrediting the perpetrators through their own
deeds and words.  Truth is like that.

There are always risks, no matter what one does.
There are risks to life and limb, and there are risks
to those principles for which the founders of the Republic fought.
How to balance the two has always been a difficult question.

Personally, I do not see sufficient reason to grant the enemy
a victory over principles that he has failed to win militarily.

What I find heartening is that there is debate.

>	Dana

John S. Quarterman <jsq@quarterman.org>
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