Yesterday, President Bush spoke at the US Attorneys conference. When he talked about the military tribunals that he authorized, the attorneys applauded:
I have also reserved the option of trial by military commission for foreign terrorists who wage war against our country. Non-citizens, non-U.S. citizens who plan and/or commit mass murder are more than criminal suspects. They are unlawful combatants who seek to destroy our country and our way of life. And if I determine that it is in the national security interest of our great land to try by military commission those who make war on America, then we will do so. (Applause.)
This disturbs me deeply for two reasons. The first is that the US Attorneys should know better than anyone that replacing our criminal justice system with secret military tribunals held with ambiguous evidentiary rules and standards of proof paves the road to Hell. The second is that the US Attorneys would probably be charged with prosecuting the terrorists if they were tried in normal federal courts. If these guys are genuinely enthusiastic about the military tribunals, then that means that they’re eager to be passed over for the prosecutional opportunity of a lifetime. I thought these guys were supposed to be ambitious or something.