Tuesday, August 12, 2008

And Justice For Most

The new improved justice - less sense, nicer abs.

Judge Allred, after the sentencing of Osama Bin Laden's driver to 66 months minus 61 already served in captivity (also known as a whopping five months):

Mr. Hamdan, I hope the day comes when you return to your wife and daughters and country, and you are able to be a husband and father in the best sense of all of those terms.

Well that's odd. Surely that day comes five months from now no?

Whether that day will come, of course, remains unclear. Although the Bush administration insists enemy combatants can be locked up so long as the global fight against terrorism is under way, Hamdan's continued detention after Dec. 31, 2008, when his sentence ends, will become less sustainable politically in light of last week's verdict.


There have been many legitimate complaints about the trial process at Gitmo. It's a thrown-together mess with much lower standards of evidence and procedure, designed to find defendants guilty. But the entire process appears to be a red-herring -- whether or not the defendants are released is not dependent on the results of the trials.

Had Hamdan been found guilty of all charges and sentenced to life the Pentagon would be crowing about how the system validated its actions. But because the sentence was dissapointing the Pentagon feels free to ignore it. Keep the guilty verdicts and ignore the not-guilty ones -- that's justice?

The true justice system is guilt by decree. We pick people up, we use the parlance of "illegal enemy combatants" to declare them guilty, then the rest is an afterthought. Once we've declared someone an "illegal enemy combatant" they are too scary and dangerous to be let go, even if a rigged trial system still disagrees with that conclusion.

That's the new justice, American style.

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