Friday, March 09, 2007

More dangerous vilification of Gitmo lawyers

Here is some dangerous rhetoric from a Wall Street Journal commentary regarding legal services provided by Shearman & Sterling to a former Guantanamo detainee:
Shearman & Sterling lawyers aren't hucksters crassly promoting a cheap product; they are sworn officers of the court volunteering to represent alien enemy combatants in a time of war, interjecting themselves in cases that affect how American soldiers on the battlefield do their job. It is one thing to take these cases in order to achieve the proper balance between due process concerns and unprecedented national security issues. It is another to hire PR and marketing consultants to create image makeovers for suspected al Qaeda financiers, foot soldiers, weapons trainers and bomb makers, all of which is financed by millions of dollars from a foreign country enmeshed in the anti-American, anti-Israel elements of Middle East politics.
Please note my emphasis upon the word "suspected" in the excerpt above. Our legal system is just that--a system. How about waiting until a suspect is convicted before vilifying everyone in sight? Maybe the government never gets it wrong, and maybe some citizens have crystal balls which accurately tell them in advance who is guilty and who is not, but I don't think so. There's nothing even remotely wrong with allowing "suspected" enemy combatants to retain whatever lawyers or other professionals they want. This sounds like Cully Stimson all over again, only this time voicing an objection to lawyers and professionals representing paying clients who are wildly unpopular. The day when "suspects" are denied rights to counsel and vigorous rehabilitation of their impugned reputations may be just around the corner.


Post a Comment

<< Home