I'd almost come to believe they didn't make men like this in public life anymore.
Patrick Fitzgerald helped restore my faith, but he's only one man. However,
now we have another.
Cmdr. Charles Swift was interviewed yesterday on “Hardball.” The
last place you would likely find championing of the rule of law, which puts President
Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld in danger of being charged with crimes. After all, brother Jim Matthews has an election coming up in November. Can't just let the truth out and let the people judge for themselves, now can we, Chris?
Cmdr. Swift is a Navy
judge advocate general assigned to Hamdan's case in 2003. Hamdan was a driver
and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden. President Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney, the
triangle of prejudging before the facts are in from Saddam to Hamdan, pronounced Hamdan guilty, then threw away the key. Here's a guide to Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.
Swift lays out the bottom line.
SWIFT: ItÃ¢â‚¬Ëœs not whether they deserve it or not. ItÃ¢â‚¬Ëœs how we conduct
ourselves. It has to do where if we say that our opponent can cause us not
to follow the rules anymore, then weÃ¢â‚¬Ëœve lost who we are. WeÃ¢â‚¬Ëœre
the good guys. WeÃ¢â‚¬Ëœre the guys who follow the rule and the people we
fight are the bad guys and we show that every day when we follow the rules,
regardless of what they do. ItÃ¢â‚¬Ëœs what sets us apart. ItÃ¢â‚¬Ëœs what
makes us great and in my mind, itÃ¢â‚¬Ëœs what makes us undefeatable, ultimately.
MATTHEWS: What about the charge made recently, just a couple minutes ago
by Kate OÃ¢â‚¬ËœBeirne of the “National Review,” that people who
fight us who are not in uniform, who do not represent countries who are party
to the Geneva Convention shouldnÃ¢â‚¬Ëœt be free riders? They shouldnÃ¢â‚¬Ëœt
get Geneva Convention treatment. They should be treated like thugs.
SWIFT: Well, you know, if youÃ¢â‚¬Ëœre looking at it from that way, we have
a lot of criminals here in this country. And to prejudge anyone that we capture
outside the country as a thug, why are we having a trial in the first place?
WeÃ¢â‚¬Ëœve already decided they were guilty.
What the Supreme Court said is you have the trial first, you use the procedures
that are set up under international law, and then you decide whether theyÃ¢â‚¬Ëœre
a thug. You donÃ¢â‚¬Ëœt make the thug determination going in.
I could give you my opinion and draw out the case for why Gitmo is against
every American value, which means it must be closed, but Cmdr. Swift does the
job better than I, with Bill Arkin adding the rest.
“We can't be scared out of who we are.”
That statement by Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, the military appointed defense
attorney for Salim Ahmed Hamdan, is the real victory to build upon in the
aftermath of the Supreme Court decision rejecting President Bush's handling
Speaking to reporters, Swift said the ruling marked a “high water point”
in American history. “It's a return to our fundamental values.”
Among those values, I assume Swift meant, is an unwillingness to let terrorists
— or weapons of mass destruction for that matter — so frighten us that we
suspend our principles and laws.
For almost five years now, we have been rewarding terrorists and conferring
upon them far greater importance than they deserve through panicked and secret
programs that ignore the rule of law, from the handling of detainees to the
adoption of a national policy of preemption. …
On a different note, Chris Matthews gave some time today to two military widows.
He was visibly uncomfortable with the subject and their loss, but he still gave
them airtime to plead their case, which is more than anyone else offered. Our
fallen soldiers' families need our help. Watch
the video, which tells the tale, then do
something. Widows who have lost men to battle should not have to beg for
benefits due them. It's un-American. Our military doesn't leave fallen brothers and sisters on the battlefield. We shouldn't leave their families stranded when they're most in need.