Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hamdan Verdict of the Military Tribunal: Set Him Free in 5 Months? Or Presidential Overrule and Keep Him in Perpetual Custody as Enemy Combatant?

1. The Constitution explicitly gives the president the authority to "intervene" in the judicial process through his power to Pardon. This case would be sort of the inverse of the pardon power, which, to my limited knowledge, does not formally exist in the civilian judicial process, though there seems no debate that in the military tribunal realm the president does possess such authority.

2. Are the judges in these tribunals required to presnt written opinions explaining their reasoning for reaching their verdicts? If so, do those opinions exist in this case?

3. Much is made of Hamdan's status as a "lowly" driver. Who says what in the following scenario:
(a) Hamlan is released after 5 months and returns to Yemen;
(b) he re-ups with al Qaeda as a "lowly" driver;
(c) an al Qaeda operative plants a bomb in __________ that kills 40 people;
(d) the bomber was driven to and from his bomb-planting mission by noneother than Hamdan.

Is that a far-fetched sceanrio? Hardly.

4. Once again, the Bush Adminstration has displayed its ineptness for all to see. They've produced a lose/lose situation. Keeping him in perpetual custody clearly makes a mockery of the military tribunal system. Letting him go free carries the risks outlined above.

5. If I had to make the call, I would not destroy whatever credibility the military tribunal system may have (and it doesn't have much), and accept the risk that this "poor, innocent-as-fallen-rain," ex-taxi driver won't pick up the wrong passenger sometime in the future.

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