July 18, 2007

People who get it

For instance, these two military lawyers assigned to Guantanamo detainees:

“I hated the fact, still hate the fact, that we were making up a trial system to convict people after we’d already decided they’re guilty,” Fleener says. “I hated that as a country, we were doing that. I didn’t like the fact that we were violating the rule of law, and that what we were doing as a country was just…wrong.... What we’re saying is, ‘You are guilty of something—we just don’t know exactly what. So we’ll gather as much incriminating evidence as we can, using methods that we aren’t going to talk about, and then we’ll make up a law that criminalizes the conduct.’ ”

“Over time,” Kuebler says, “we figured out we’re the linchpin in this process. They want to have these bizarre trials, they don’t want to let the defendant see secret evidence—so the one thing they need is us. The government wanted this attorney-client thing to work. They really did. It’s an important part of the show.”

“The administration believes the commission process will ultimately justify the detentions." [Fleener says. ] "They know they can’t just hold people; they don’t want to take the political heat. So they rigged the rule of law. And because it’s rigged, the only thing that’s in play is the appearance.... At the end of the day... that’s how [the detainees] look at it: ‘If I’m going to get a life sentence—or a death sentence—I’d rather get one in this weird, disgusting system that everyone knows is a weird, disgusting system than have some military lawyer up there dancing and juicing it up and making it look like it’s not rigged.’ ”

“I think more war crimes have been committed in the detention and interrogation and fake trials of people in Guantánamo than people in Guantánamo have committed,” [Feener] says. “And I don’t think the question is whether they’ve tortured people.”

Read all of the story here. (via Andrew Sullivan.)