It started with a political noise machine. Before their appointments to the U.S. Department of Justice, it seems that several current DOJ lawyers defended Gitmo detainees on a pro bono basis.
Apparently former Vice President Cheney’s daughter, Elizabeth Cheney, is connected to the group that posted this YouTube video smearing lawyers who dared to represent Gitmo detainees.
It’s a bit shameless because Ms. Cheney apparently employs a double standard on terrorism. It seems amazing that her group attacks Department of Justice Lawyers. Remember the white supremacist who attacked the Holocaust museum, killing innocents? Ms. Cheney held forth on that one, discounting the connection between “political discourse,” terrorism, and the white supremacist who shot and killed people there.
Her attack on lawyers who served the system annoyed me to no end. That’s why I was heartened to see this video clip of former Whitewater Special Prosecutor Ken Starr explaining why Cheney and her ilk are so very wrong.
Let’s be clear. Those who slaughter innocents should be tried. And if convicted they should be punished. But let us not forget that we pride ourselves as being a nation founded on the rule of law. I suppose Ms. Cheney falls victim of that great myth that anyone accused must be guilty. So if that’s true, had her father been indicted for war crimes, would she simply agree that he was guilty? Of course not. That can’t really be different because this is a hard case. We either presume innocence, or we don’t. No double standards. No special exceptions for accused terrorists.
Those who presume that anyone at Gitmo is guilty are taking the government at its word. Call me crazy, but I don’t think that’s such a good idea. I prefer trials. With evidence. And judges. Yes, I am totally old fashioned.
Rev 10 March 2010