The Pentagon Lawyers’ Revolt

From Holden:

They just can’t stay silent.

The military’s top uniformed lawyers, appearing at a Senate hearing Wednesday, criticized key provisions of a proposed new U.S. plan for special military courts, affirming that they did not see eye-to-eye with the senior Bush administration political appointees who developed the plan.

The lawyers’ rare, open disagreement with civilian officials at the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the White House came during discussions of proposed rules for the use of evidence derived from hearsay or coercion and the possible exclusion of defendants from the trials in some circumstances.


The basis for the lawyers’ concerns is that weak respect for the rights of U.S.-held prisoners eventually could undermine U.S. demands for fair treatment of captured U.S. service personnel.

“The United States should be an example to the world, sir,” Maj. Gen. Scott Black, the army’s top uniformed lawyer, told Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. “Reciprocity is something that weighs heavily in all of the discussions that we are undertaking as we develop the process and rules for the commissions,” Black said. “The treatment of soldiers who will be captured on future battlefields is of paramount concern.”