Thursday, June 19, 2008

More on the Military Lawyers and the Detainees

When he speaks publicly, Lt. Cmdr. William C. Kuebler, a military lawyer for a Guantánamo detainee, is careful to say his remarks do not reflect the views of the Pentagon.

As if anybody would make that mistake.

In his Navy blues, the youthful commander could pass for an eager cadet. But give him a minute on the subject of his client, a terrorism suspect named Omar Khadr, and he sounds like some 1960s radical lawyer, an apple-cheeked William Kunstler in uniform.

The Bush administration’s war crimes system “is designed to get criminal convictions” with “no real evidence,” Commander Kuebler says. Or he lets fly that military prosecutors “launder evidence derived from torture.”

“You put the whole package together and it stinks,” he said in an interview.

And this is especially good to read. Cmdr. Kuebler is not a flaming liberal. He's an Evangelical Christian and actually very conservative, the kind of conservative - and the kind of Christian - that we need more of:

However scrappy he may appear, Commander Kuebler does not claim the typical lawyer’s zest for a fight for its own sake. Instead, he said, his faith and his work are intertwined.

“It is a powerful way to be a witness for Christ,” he said, “by demonstrating your capacity to not judge the way everybody else is judging and to serve unconditionally.”

Read "An Unlikely Antagonist in the Detainees' Corner" in today's NYT to get the whole story. I'm proud and heartened that there are military officers who support the rule of law and the ideals on which this country was founded.


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