Saturday, September 09, 2006

Justice Defined

Bush wants another blank check. The last blank check that Congress gave him led to an apparently endless, bloody, illegal war in Iraq to eliminate WMD’s that weren’t there. This blank check is to “bring to justice” those arrested as terrorists who have been held in illegal prisons and interrogated using illegal methods.

His definition of justice is not mine.

My definition of justice does not include convicting someone using evidence that the person being tried is not permitted to see, with accusers that the person is not permitted to confront. It does not permit using hearsay evidence, evidence obtained by coercion, or evidence unwillingly provided by the person on trial.

I have read the argument that allowing the detainee to view the evidence would compromise national security and I reject that argument. We are committing too many crimes in the name of “keeping America safe.” If that evidence is so critical to national security, don’t use it. Find evidence that you can use or reduce the charge to fit the useable evidence.

I have read the argument that these are bad people and do not deserve the full protection that citizens of the US receive. I do not doubt they are bad people, but isn’t that supposed to be the end result of a trial rather than the precursor of it?

Justice is not a matter of who is on trial, it is a matter of the society which is putting that person on trial. If we are to righteously claim to be a civilized nation we simply cannot say that good people deserve one kind of trial and bad people another. That makes a mockery of our claim to be administering justice, our claim to be a civilized nation.

A society must define how it will administer justice and we have done that. It is spelled out in our Constitution and in our Uniform Code of Military Justice. Now we must adhere to that by saying that anyone seeking justice at our hands will receive it as defined.

Not because of who they are, but because of who we are.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:18 PM

    Right on. Well said, as usual