Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Powerful Prologue

Thomas Jefferson once said, "Whenever you are to do a thing, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly."

In his book, "Letters from Nuremberg: My Father's Narrative of a Quest for Justice," Senator Dodd introduces the letters of his father with over sixty pages of his own commentary. His long remarks eloquently capture the importance of his father's work at Nuremberg, as well as the United States' decision to put Nazi officials on trial in a world still devastated by their crimes:

"By trying those who carried out a criminal war, a complete record of their actions could be shown to the world, therefore announcing once and for all that such behavior would not be tolerated by the community of civilized nations. And, in giving the defendants a chance to hear the evidence against them and to defend themselves, the Allies would take the moral and legal high ground."

In our era of the Military Commissions Act (of 2006) the precedent set at Nuremberg seems long forgotten. The Military Commissions Act states:

"No alien enemy unlawful combatant subject to trial by military commission under this chapter may invoke the Geneva Conventions as a source of rights as his trial by military commission."

Undoubtedly, among the prisoners we're holding at Guantanamo are those who seek to kill Americans and destroy our way of life. However, for the reasons that Senator Dodd cites, Guantanamo's "enemy combatants" should be given the opportunity to "hear the evidence against them and defend themselves" just like those who were responsible for the deaths of over 6 million Jews.

Under the imprudence of the Bush administration we have become a nation that no longer abides by the enlightened hand of justice, and have instead fallen under the control of fear?the same fear and anger that prompted the British and Russians to call for the swift execution of those at Nuremberg, not the fair, albeit arduous, trial that they were given.

I read on....