The critics of last week’s Keep America Safe ‘Al Qaeda Seven’ ad missed the point.
We believe the American people should be told if current DOJ lawyers once freely defended enemy belligerents, advocated for providing them full due process, and are now making detention and prosecution recommendations to President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.
Instead, the critics attacked the messenger, Liz Cheney .
It somewhat reminded me of March 13, 2007, when the ACLU released a statement that, in part, reads as follows:
“Congress made a mistake when they supported the MCA in 2006. But the ultimate responsibility lies with us, the people. We know what America stands for, at home and abroad. We have the power and the obligation to call on Congress to correct its mistake and restore habeas corpus and all the constitutional and due process rights they took away.”
Took what, when, and from whom?
This coming Friday, March 12, Holder is again scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He should bring with him those DOJ lawyers and advocates. There is no use asking them the details of the advice they gave concerning where to prosecute Khalid Shiekh Mohammed for the 9/11 attacks; they will only go off on dissertations about lawyer-client privilege, executive privilege, and run out the 5 to 7 minutes of each Senator’s time. Instead, the Senators should ask the DOJ’s top advisers some direct questions:
1) Yes or no: We owe more legal protection to unlawful belligerents than to lawful belligerents?
2) Yes or no: As civilians were primarily targeted that day, would the 9/11 attacks have been a war crime had they been conducted by uniformed foreign soldiers, subsequent to their nation declaring war upon the United States?
3) Where in our Constitution are the avowed foreign enemies of the United States afforded rights, and
4) exactly who took those rights away from them and when were they taken? *
5) Did you recommend a military commission or a federal trial for the 9/11 conspirators?
Those are straightforward questions.
If the DOJ’s top folks can not get them right or if they avoid giving straightforward answers, each American can judge for themselves if those lawyers should be providing advice about our Nation’s defense.
* Note: For the benefit of any ACLU lawyer reading this at home, if they answer # 3 correctly, there is no need to ask them # 4.