Wouldn’t it be ironic if the great triumph of the 20th century, the end of the Cold War, became the bane of the 21st century by its revival. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, as reported in the Associated Press, stated:
“We look at what has been created in North America: horror, torture, homelessness, Guant‡namo, detention without courts or investigation,” he said.
“You see what’s going on in Europe: harsh treatment of demonstrators, the use of rubber bullets, tear gas in one capital, the killing of demonstrators in the streets in another,” he added, in an apparent reference to the death of an ethnic Russian in the Estonian capital during protests over the removal of a Soviet-era war memorial.”
He then went on to assert:
“If a part of the strategic nuclear potential of the United States appears in Europe and, in the opinion of our military specialists will threaten us, then we will have to take appropriate steps in response,” Putin said. “What kind of steps? We will have to have new targets in Europe.”
Thankfully, the rule of law scored an important victory as described in this article from McClatchy Newspapers in the Herald-Leader.
The decisions were based, at least by outward appearances, on the law and not any political agenda despite what the article’s title suggests:
“At issue was the failure of the Pentagon to find during earlier proceedings that Omar Khadr, whom U.S. officials had charged with murder in the death of a U.S. Special Forces medic, and Salim Hamdan, a driver for Osama bin Laden, were “unlawful enemy combatants.” Instead, military panels had declared that the men were simply “enemy combatants.”
But in separate decisions, Army Col. Peter Brownback and Navy Capt. Keith Allred said that the Military Commissions Act specifically limited trials to detainees who had been tagged with the “unlawful” designation and barred trials of enemy combatants whose actions could be judged “lawful.” Without a more specific designation, a military commission has no authority to act, the judges found.
“A person has a right to be tried only by a court that has jurisdiction over him,” Brownback said.”
We cannot toss out the basic tenets of the rule of law without compromsing our position in the world.