Friday, December 07, 2012

Military Law Destroyed

When the persons involved in the murder of President Lincoln were tried, it was by a Military Commission. That body provided council to the defendants, heard and carefully considered the evidence, found the defendants guilty and had most of them properly executed (By hanging) without legal nit-picking.

On 22 June 1942 German spies and saboteurs were landed, by submarine, in the USA. Quick arrest, trial before military authorities immediately followed and six of them were executed on 18 August 1942.
During World War-II some German soldiers dressed in US Uniforms and committed other war crimes. They were quickly, but fairly, tried under the Laws Of War, were found guilty and quickly executed.

On 5 November 2009 Major Nidal Hasan committed Treason (Although Mr. Obama's Administration lacks the courage to bring that charge) and mass murder at Fort Hood. This week, our military justice  non-system finally came to the conclusion that he could be shaved of his beard for his trial appearances.

Many of the terrorists (Who are not under the protection of the Geneva Conventions) held at Guantanamo Bay have violated the Laws of War by attacking the forces of the USA (And its allies) or civilians under their protection, by murder and like offenses, not being in the uniform of a recognized government. Yet (As far as I know), none have been tried for those capitol offenses, let alone executed as has been both legal and just for centuries.

NOW, take a moment and consider the old and valid maxim: "Justice delayed is justice denied".

What then has happened to our once valid, fair and efficient system of Military Commissions and Courts Martial?  The basic answer is LAWYERS! These critters are the same as inflict such complicated laws and regulations as only (Some) attorneys can understand and, thereby, insure their bloated incomes.

Since I am loath to present a problem without offering at least one solution, I offer the following.
1. Prepare to eliminate the "Universal Code Of Military Justice" (UCMJ) by developing a new code, let us call it the New Article Of War (NAW).
2. Keep, as much as is possible, attorneys out of that process.
3. Base the NAW on the old 101 Articles Of War of the US Army and the old Articles For The Government Of The Navy.
4. Require that randomly selected Enlisted personnel (Grades E5 and above) be involved in both the development of a draft NAW and, by like and greater selection, the evaluation of that NAW as to it being able to be understood by personnel with the average education in our services and that without "legal advise".
5. Insure that the NAW contains a definition of "Terrorist" [eg A person who attacks members of the Armed Forces of the USA or its allies or civilians under their protection, outside of the laws-of-war, not being properly in the uniform of the armed forces of a recognized government and under the effective control of such a government.]
6. Provide for a like definition of "Pirate".
7. Provide for the summary courts-martial trials of terrorists and pirates captured on the high seas OR in areas where: Civil government cannot provide for the control of such; OR, Is considered a general area of combat activities; OR, where the safety of members of the armed forces or innocent civilians would be endangered by deferring judicial actions.
8. Provide for the summary punishment for such persons and under the same requirements.
9. Provide, under certain conditions (eg During an intense and dangerous military situation where delay may endanger the national defense or military personnel or civilians under their protection) the same summary trials and punishment for others under military jurisdiction.
10. Most importantly, reduce the number of steps between offenses and final disposition, disallowing certain appeals in times of immediate great danger, where permission in such times for capitol punishment would be given to any Flag or General grade officer having command over the physical area in which such matters originated or were tried.

No doubt but that the trustworthy senior NCOs of our forces can come up with other and useful provisions---Without "lawyering-up"

1 comment:

A name that is not dummy said...

well thought out. I agree completely on all you suggested.