Friday, November 19, 2010

Military Omissions

Morris Davis makes the case for the verdict on terror suspect Ahmed Ghailani, acquitted of 284 charges and convicted on one (for which he will serve at least twenty years in prison).

I was curious about Davis' background after reading that he was once a Guantanamo prosecutor. This Washington Post piece from two years ago, after he soured on military commissions, is a useful introduction and also underscores how important the Ghailani verdict is:

Davis said he wants to wait until the cases -- and the military commissions system -- have a more solid legal footing. He also said that Defense Department general counsel William J. Haynes II, who announced his retirement in February, once bristled at the suggestion that some defendants could be acquitted, an outcome that Davis said would give the process added legitimacy.

"He said, 'We can't have acquittals,' " Davis said under questioning from Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mizer, the military counsel who represents Hamdan. " 'We've been holding these guys for years. How can we explain acquittals? We have to have convictions.' "

These commissions had less to do with justice than saving face and looking 'tough on terror.'

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