Monday, January 15, 2007

Lieutenant Watada's defense

America's chief executive, wearing his commender-in-chief's suit, is the only person in America authorized by Congress to punish U.S. servicemen.

The courts-martial system, formed in antiquity by king-generals and adopted by our Revolutionary Founders, is designed to whip an armed force into shape competent to fight when the life of America is at stake. Articles of war (named today the Uniform Code of Military Justice) are supposed to be short-lived, and applied to very specific purposes and times. AWs, measured by any standard, are irreconcilable with our Constitution when the country is not threatened with its life, enjoys tranquility, experiences relative peace.

In times of relative peace, the Constitution commands juries of our peers to determine issues of guilt or innocence, and when appropriate, give the state permission to punish regarding all criminal accusations.

However, there are no juries in the exercise of military discipline, again a central reason why AWs should ordinarily last only moments interspersed throughout this country's evolution.

Using the lack of a shared sacrifice as chief evidence that America's combat with modern day enemy forces does not yet threaten to end the United States' form of constitutional government, indulge the notion that the U.S. enjoys a relative state of peace. The free and unconstrained operation of all federal offers yet another example that America is open for business.

So I advance this gentle suggestion that Lieutenant Watada's accusations against America's king-general ought to be inspected by a U.S. jury (as established under Article III), and not the king-general himself (as allowed under Article I only when the United States is in extremis).

Decisions of guilt or innocence or punishment regarding Lt. Watada's circumstance must be determined by an independent peer jury, not the man Lt. Watada accuses. Laconically: "The Decider," is not always allowed to make the decision.

Actually the president doesn't get to decide very much by himself.

In fact the Constitution strictly forbids direct state action carried out by the CINC against a citizen (called attainder) except until barbarians are at our gates.

So, for Lietta Ruger, and those joining her at this weekend's CITIZEN's HEARING in Tacoma, I recommend focusing on the opportunity to petition a federal judge's intervention (injunction) that forcefully bars CINC Bush from all considerations regarding whether Lt. Watada's accusations against the president are meritorious.

This requires moving the Watada case into a federal court (please recall, the federal courts are open), with a real jury. It's as powerful an argument as it's simple.

I'm happy to supply citations upon request. And I've raised up this argument prior. This posting finds its genesis in my conversation with Lietta and David Goldstein Saturday night on Goldy's radio show, and with Lietta again by phone yesterday evening.

Here endth the lesson .

The JAG Hunter. Copyright©2007


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