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Lawyered up


Just for a bit of broader context on all the Gitmo chit-chat re the Stimson resignation. Here are a couple of fairly representative items from recent days.

On the one hand, the ongoing campaign to spring David Hicks, as the Aussie media refer to him, notwithstanding his change of name to “Mohammed Dawood”:

Given recent comments on the damage that can be done due to a lack of Vitamin D, has anyone considered how this might be affecting David Hicks if, as has been reported, he’s only seen sunlight a very few times in the last  five years? Most people need about 1000IU of Vitamin D a day which comes quickly with sunshine but is much harder to achieve via diet. For example a glass of milk or orange juice contains about 100IU vitamin D. Can Mr Downer assure us that David has been getting extra doses of multivitamins for all these years?

On the other hand – from a Daily Telegraph story about an English bookstore raided last week by police in connection with the plot to kidnap and behead a British soldier:

The Maktabah store has been raided three times under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. It has links with several past and present terror suspects including Moazzam Begg, who was held in Guantanamo Bay, and Dhiren Barot, 34, jailed for 40 years last November for planning attacks and said to be Osama bin Laden’s “UK general”.

If, as Justice Jackson said, the constitution is not a suicide note, at a time of war the American legal system should not be a slow-motion instrument of surrender. To upgrade every enemy combatant to a defendant is unprecedented and unwise. Men released from Gitmo have been re-captured on the battlefield and “linked” to terror plots. But the world frets about whether they’re getting sufficient multivitamins and excoriates any US official insufficiently deferential to the vast legal support network which no previous nation at war would ever have dreamed of according detainees.

Sorry, but, if those are the rules, we’ll lose.


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