Dahlia Lithwick pens an pens an appreciation to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who have stood up for America’s proud history against the politicized show trials at Guantanamo Bay:
The truth is that the best thing the commissions have going for them right now are the lawyers and judges in uniform who have, albeit reluctantly, refused to play along. If they’d been out on the battlefield, they’d have killed any detainee they met as an enemy. But they’re not willing to see them killed in the wake of a sham trial. That’s not because they value the lives of terrorists over the lives of Americans or because they value legal formalism over the exigencies of war. It’s because they come out of a long military tradition of legal integrity and independence. And much as it must pain them, this precludes them from being yes men for the Bush administration at the expense of the rule of law.
Critics of the president’s military commissions worried that the bodies would do their work in secret, in the legal shadows, answering only to the president as their commander in chief. But the soldiers and lawyers who insist on holding the proceedings to a higher standard have, at crucial moments, operated in the open. They’ve navigated by the light of the Constitution, sometimes at an enormous cost to their careers. Their performance is the best thing the Guantanamo commissions have to offer.
Read the article for specifics. These soldiers are displaying a remarkable integrity in the face of what must be enormous pressure.