Quote of the Day “We can only trust that the next subjects … will include cooks, tailors, and cobblers without whose support terrorist leaders would be left unfed, unclothed, and unshod, and therefore rendered incapable of planning or executing their attacks.” –Army Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham, a former Guantanamo official who has since become critical of the legal process
One of Osama Bin Laden’s drivers was convicted today in a mockery of a trial held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. First things first–Osama has a car? I thought he used a donkey or something.
With that out of the way, I’ll assume the allegation that this man was Osama’s driver is true. I’ll also assume its true that to be his driver, one must demonstrate fealty to Bin Laden. Those facts are enough to convince me this man is terrorist and an enemy of the United States. But compared to the harm done to our justice system, not just during this trial but for the last 7 1/2 years, he is but a pimple on a pig’s ass.
Just because someone is guilty does not mean you don’t give them a fair trial. Notice I did not say they deserved one. The public is who deserves a fair trial. Because when a criminal is convicted based on a flawed process it sets a precedent. The same process will be used again and again and eventually it will ensnare the innocent. In the driver’s trial, the Judge allowed hearsay evidence, evidence obtained through tortured interrogations, and most shocking of all–secret testimony.
It is beyond debate that the trial would be unconstitutional if the defendant were an American. It is debatable whether it is constitutional for foreign nationals, but that is not the point of my argument. If America cannot be relied upon to give a fair trial to everyone, who can? If terrorists cannot be convicted using the 1000 years of Anglo-American jurisprudence that has developed to ensure fair trials, they should not be convicted at all. After all, American civilian defendants have all of the rights denied to these detainees, yet are still convicted at a rate of around 99%.
The Republicans are responsible for this. You may not care and you may even cheer them. But remember they are also responsible for the paltry sum your dead grandmother will be worth if she’s mutilated by an out of control vehicle. They are also responsible for the lowball settlement of your beachfront home leveled by a hurricane. They are the Big Business funded and elected state Supreme Court Justices who sit as a last line of defense for corporations who have committed torts and crimes. They are also responsible for turning the Justice Department in to a political organization. All of this is tied together. They have damaged the process systematically and they won’t stop until they own it.
Maybe you like the way the Cons have handled the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, their approach to gas prices and energy, their opposition to making health care available to poor kids, their stance against protecting the environment, or their vigorous defense (of the idea) of marriage, and maybe those issues are more important to you than the legal system. But know this, when you vote Republican you are voting to put power in the hands of government and corporations and to take away power from individuals, even wealthy ones.
Bonus Quotes of the Day
“Those who would give up liberty for safety deserve neither.” –Benjamin Franklin
“You can protect your liberties in this world only by protecting the other man’s freedom. You can be free only if I am free.” –Clarence Darrow