The Talking Dog

June 30, 2006, TD Blog Interview with Jeffrey Addicott

Jeffrey F. Addicott is Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Administration, and Director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas.  For twenty years, Professor Addicott served in the United States Army's Judge Advocate General Corps, retiring with the rank of Lt. Colonel.  He served for much of that time as the senior legal advisor to the U.S. Army Special Forces. Professor Addicott has consulted with the United States military with respect to the military commission process at Guantanamo, and has written extensively on the law associated with terrorism matters, including one of the very first text books on the subject, "Cases and Materials on Terrorism Law".  On June 28, 2006, I had the privilege of interviewing Professor Addicott by telephone.  What follows are my interview notes, corrected as appropriate by Professor Addicott.  [On June 29, 2006, between the interview and the subsequent review of the post, the Supreme Court issued its decision in the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case.]
The Talking Dog:  The first question, as is my custom for various reasons, is "where were you on September 11th, 2001"? My understanding is that at that time, you were still an active duty Army officer, so if the answer impinges on anything classified (a ground rule for all questions, btw), just let me know if you can't answer it.
Jeffrey Addicott:  I retired from the Army in 2000.  As of 9/11, I was a visiting professor at St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio, and I was preparing to go to teach class that morning.  My wife and I were watching the morning news and saw that a plane had crashed into one of the towers.  We watched the live shot of the second plane crashing into the tower.  In my mind, I immediately associated it with al Qaeda.  I had previously (2000) published a chapter in a book sponsored by the Army War College, about al Qaeda, and the inevitability of this kind of an attack against us. 
I had been the senior legal advisor for the Green Berets for six years.  The rest of my career was primarily spent what is termed “operational law” dealing with a variety of terrorism related issues. I taught a course on terrorism as an instructor at the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s School and worked on a variety of terrorism issues as the Deputy, International and Operational Law Division at the Pentagon. I served in the traditional overseas assignments from Germany to Korea but also operated in places like Peru, Colombia, Haiti, Bosnia, Albania, Ukraine, Thailand, etc …. After bin Laden's fatwa in 1996 and 1998, the attacks on the USS Cole, the embassies in Africa... an attack here on the homeland was, unfortunately, inevitable.
Right after 9/11, the Dean of the law school, Dean Bill Piatt, directed me to establish a Center to study all of the legal issues associated with the Global War on Terrorism. In addition to my basic JD Law degree from the University of Alabama, I have an LLM (Master of Laws) degree and an SJD (Doctor of Juridical Science) degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, where national security law originates from, under the great scholar Professor John Norton Moore.  I had always wanted to start our own national security law program here in San Antonio, which became our terrorism law center at St. Mary's, a subset of national security law.  Senator John Cornyn of Texas officiated at our ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly established Center for Terrorism Law in 2003.  The thing that most surprises me is that I would have thought that other law schools across the nation would have taken up the mantle as well – and developed their own terrorism studies programs - but they have not. Indeed, in 2003 the United States Northern Command J7 put out a call to law schools asking for assistance and help with looking at a variety of legal issues related to their new mission of protecting the homeland.  And there are obviously potential conflicts that could arise, such as the proper application of the Posse Comitatus Act.  In any event, we were the only law school to answer the call and we still provided constructive advice and support.  In addition, although the Center for Terrorism Law is a non-profit, non-partisan entity that provides most services without charge, there is much grant money available from a variety of sources to study a variety of legal issues. For example, in 2006 our Center obtained grant money to study cyber-terrorism law issues.  I understand that the Department of Homeland Security provided $5 million to Texas A&M to study agro-terrorism, and there is a similar program to study WMDs. 
As I said, you'd think more law schools would see the need to provide legal perspectives to a variety of organizations, particularly since the nation is at “war.” But so far, we're the first and the only.
The Talking DogI understand that you had a role in preparing at least some of the rules and procedures applicable to the military commission process to be used for charged detainees at Guantanamo. Can you briefly describe what your role was, what aspects of the commission process you worked on, and whether and to what extent what you worked on has been subsequently modified? 
Jeffrey Addicott:  I should start off by saying that our Center is not partisan for any political party.  Indeed, in the Acree case involving the right of U.S. soldiers to recover for alleged torture at the hands of Saddam Hussein's forces during the First Gulf War the Center for Terrorism Law filed an amicus brief opposing the Bush Administration’s position on the matter.  The soldiers won at the federal district court level, and got a judgment against Saddam, and then the Bush Administration intervened against the soldier's position at the Circuit Court level, and the Supreme Court refused to hear the case after the Circuit Court of Appeals reversed.  Again, we wrote an amicus brief against the government's position on that one.
As to the commissions, Bob Swann [the chief prosecutor of the commissions] happened to be a classmate of mine at the Army’s graduate course for Judge Advocates.  Colonel Swann was looking for possible expert witnesses on some of the law of war issues associated with the military commissions.  Now, let me preface everything else I'm going to say with a simple proposition.  I firmly believe we are in a “state of war” with al Qaeda and similar al Qaeda-like groups. The Global War on Terrorism is not a metaphor like the “war on drugs” or the “war on poverty.”  Indeed, if we are not in a "state of war," then the government is clearly engaging in a wide variety of illegal activities to include the detention process at Guantanamo.  If we are at war, then these things are not unprecedented at all.
That said, if we are "at war", then the military commissions are nothing unusual.  In any event, I ultimately didn't serve as an expert witness.  However, I did review the pleadings in the Hamdan case for their legal sufficiency, and I went to D.C. on a pro bono basis to provide advice on these matters.
The Talking Dog:   Can you tell me how you would respond to overall criticism of the commission process that certain aspects to it, such as the appeals process controlled by the President and Secretary of Defense rather than by independent courts (such as would be the case in courts martial) or other aspects of the commission process, at least as argued by some, that are purportedly rigged in favor of guilt (such as the potential use of coerced testimony) undermines the "fairness" of the commission process? Why shouldn't we just use the same basic procedures as courts martial?  

Jeffrey Addicott:  Once again, the issue and premise is that if we are at war, then we can do this. I note, for example, that detainees as such have far more rights for example then in earlier conflicts, such as during World War II. 
Now, there are some criticisms I have, notwithstanding that I believe the commission process is, nonetheless, legal and not unprecedented.  For one thing, I would have like to see Congress do this – establish the military commissions - rather than the President.  (This position was taken by the majority in the Hamdan v Rumsfeld decision issued on 29 June 2006). For another, if the President has the authority to establish a military commission process, the President exempted U.S. citizens from the commission process.  This is unnecessary, and I don't believe wise,  It is not "illegal", but it is certainly inconsistent and sends a bad message.  If someone, even if a citizen, is plotting with our enemies, I would want them treated the same way as any other member of al Qaeda, regardless.  If that means that they stand before a military commission, so be it....
The Talking DogYou cite the World War II example, but since World War II, we have the Geneva Conventions of 1949... 

Jeffrey Addicott:  In my view, the third Geneva Convention of 1949 really shouldn't have much impact on the military commissions.  Look, we haven't done these commissions for a long time-- since World War II.  But I think this is an area  where we will need "adult supervision" from the Supreme Court (and we're going to get it shortly!)
In my view, we can certainly be at war without a declaration of war; there have been only 5 declarations of war in our history, but we have certainly been at war a lot more often than that.  Can we be in a "state of war" without a Congressional declaration of war, and are we in that now?  Again, I would answer yes, and certainly, the Authorization to Use Military Force following 9/11 and again in Iraq are clear Congressional statements to that effect.
Are things different for enemies who consistently violate the laws of war, such as by not wearing distinctive uniforms or being organized in commands or who hide among civilians?  These are big issues that hopefully Congress and the Administration would have worked out...
Yes and we have other issues - Al Qaeda is very, very big. It is not simply another criminal organization. In fact, there are 191 U.N. members, in terms of finances, military strength, organizational infrastructure, and followers, al Qaeda might rank as 100th or so if it were  a state. In my opinion, al Qaeda is a virtual state and must be treated under the laws of war.
In the 2004 Hamdi decision the Supreme Court with Justice O'Connor writing the plurality opinion, held that there had to be an independent judicial determination to make sure that the President “got it right” when he determined that a person was an “enemy combatant.” She didn't spell out the process in particular detail, but suggested that this body could consider hearsay and could be made up of military officers. Since Congress did not set up such a body, the Department of Defense set up a Combatant Status Review Tribunal. In my opinion, Congress should have taken on this mission.
The Talking Dog:  Let me ask this... this nature of the enemy we now fight is not totally unprecedented; for example, in Vietnam, the Viet Cong didn't wear uniforms, hid among civilians and the like...
Jeffrey Addicott:  Well, during the Vietnam War, we would turn over captured North Vietnamese or Viet Cong to the South Vietnamese government...  by the way, when our personnel were captured, it was understood they could be detained for the length of the conflict-- and in many cases, we're talking about a period up to seven years from the mid 1960's to 1973. The United States never demanded that our POWs be charged with crimes or released as many do with the al Qaeda detainees.
In any event, Justice O'Connor held that an "independent body" can consider combatant status.  Certainly, Congress should have designated such a body-- made some kind of determination by explicit legislation.  It didn't.  So it fell to the Defense Department.  DOD came up with the Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT) which conformed to what Justice O'Connor said they had to do.  Is it legal?  Well, it followed the Supreme Court's directive.
Does it appear to be a competent Article 5 tribunal as required by the Geneva Convention?  I would argue that it does.  
Now, it would certainly have been better had each detainee had an independent Article 5 "trial," early on in the process of detention but instead the President made a blanket decision on all of the detainees at once.  But that's not to say, necessarily, that how he proceeded with the CSRT's is not "legal."  
The Talking DogThe Supreme Court is likely to issue its ruling in the Hamdan case within a matter of days. How would you comment on the aspect of the case (and the Al Odah appeals now before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals) associated with the Graham Levin Amendment, to wit, can the Congress, either intentionally or inadvertently (as suggested by Solicitor General Clement) suspend habeas corpus absent invasion or rebellion (thankfully, neither of which now apply) pursuant to Article I of the Constitution?

Jeffrey Addicott:  Again, this is associated with an "are we at war?" question.  If we are not, under domestic law, we are doing an awful lot of illegal things.  I believe we are at war. Nevertheless, I tend to take a "minimalist" view and look at the basic question, "is it legal under the rules of war?"  As such, habeas corpus is not really the issue - we are not punishing these individuals, but simply detaining them under the laws of war for the duration of the conflict so that they don't attack us again.  Such a detention is legal under the laws of war.  We detained over 400,000 Germans and Italians in World War II, some of them U.S. citizens, and we held them until the end of the hostilities.  It wasn't a "habeas corpus" issue.
Now, certainly, an issue that struck the Supreme Court in 2004, is "just when does this war, or this kind of war, end?"  That's a very good question.  Again, it would be nice if we had an answer from Congress, but again, we may require as the Court hinted, future guidance from the Court.
The Talking Dog:  How would you comment on an observation made by former U.S. War Crimes Ambassador David Scheffer, that the conspiracy to commit war crimes charge leveled at all ten of the charged detainees is not a recognized charge under the laws of war, and hence, not a valid basis for the military commissions to proceed?  

Jeffrey Addicott:  The law is constantly evolving.  In Nuremberg, while we essentially had conspiracy-type charges against the higher-ups, I'm not aware of such charges for the lower guys.  One could argue that the senior leaders of al Qaeda can be tied into conspiracy such as conspiracy to commit crimes against humanity.
But absent a charge of having engaged in some overt act to advance the conspiracy, I must say I'm not all that comfortable with such a charge under the laws of war (the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld decision on 29 June 2006 made the same finding).
The Talking Dog:  Do you have any thoughts on the likely outcome of Hamdan? 

Jeffrey Addicott:   Well, it's going to be dependent on one or two justices, and their ideologies.  It will be a close call, and that is sad.  If we have a clear cut rule, the Court just shouldn't be that divided on such a critical issue.  We should really try to have a unified and unifying opinion. I am afraid it will be deeply divided.
As a military officer, and as director of our Center, one can "criticize the boss," (Congress, the Courts, or the President) but we try to suggest how to do it right.  That's what we're trying to do with our Center, and our numerous national conferences include speakers from all spectra to discuss the subject issues, like cyberterrorism, WMDs, contractors on the battlefield, and new rules to deal with international terrorism ….
But certainly, we'd  like to see a clear rule come out of it.
The Talking Dog:  Let me ask you about the cases of Messrs. Padilla and al-Marri, whom the Government arrested in the United States (and certainly not on any battlefield). Am I not correct that the Government has still not abrogated the authority to detain any other person in similar circumstances it deems appropriate as an "unlawful combatant", meaning if the President (or the next President... or the President after that) decided that you or I was somehow an "unlawful combatant", we could, like Padilla, be hailed off in camera to a military brig, indefinitely, for all practical purposes?
Jeffrey Addicott:   Once again, this is an "are we at war?"  issue.  Certainly, in "this" war, the battlefield really could be anywhere.  If that's the case, and the issue is to detain pending duration of hostilities rather than to punish, then the detained parties' citizenship shouldn't matter.  They're entitled to a proper article 5 hearing, such as they'd get from a CSRT, and that's all that's legally required. 
The Talking DogDoesn't our treatment of Padilla and Al-Marri violate Ex parte Milligan, finding that if the federal courts are open, habeas corpus must remain available? Have circumstances gotten so dire that we should consider amending the Constitution on the habeas corpus point
Jeffrey Addicott:  Well, there are a string of decisions after Milligan where the Court said that the President can designate ANYONE as an enemy combatant.  Again, it's an "are we at war?" question.  In my view, the President made a mistake in exempting U.S. citizens - if you are plotting our destruction as our enemy, why should your citizenship matter?

Many, indeed, most of my colleagues probably don't accept this.  But, if we are at war, we can detain such persons for the duration of hostilities, and we can interrogate them as long as we do not violate the Torture Convention or applicable domestic law. But, if we are not at war, there is no question we are doing things that are very illegal!
The Talking Dog:   Your book offers an extensive discussion of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, and offers explanations for that (thankfully anomalous) situation, much of the responsibility for which, in your view, fell on the shoulders of the junior officers and command structure of the units directly responsible. I note that in the Abu Ghraib incidents, not a single commissioned officer was charged before a court-martial for anything, and even at Haditha, once again, it appears to be all NCOs and grunts charged. Can you tell me how you would respond to the proposition that it conveys to the rest of the world and to the American public that we are less serious (rather than more serious) about policing and combating these sorts of occasional abuses by not holding those higher in the chain of command responsible when events like this occur? 

Jeffrey Addicott:   There were other massacres during Vietnam, but fortunately, they were of smaller scale than My Lai.
I wrote a chapter in my first edition of the terrorism book discussing this issue at length, before our military campaign in Iraq, discussing the kind of conflict that Vietnam was, and what we learned from it, in particular with an enemy that blended in with civilian populations. While the Afghanistan conflict did not suffer this problem as I predicted, I predicted that Iraq would be a full blown Vietnam scenario for years to come.
To deal with terrorists who refuse to act under the laws of war, what you need, of course, is a well-disciplined chain of command with clear instructions and proper training.
In my view, the National Guard tactical chain of command responsible for overseeing Abu Ghraib - the Sergeant Major, the Colonel and General - should have all faced courts martial.  We're talking about events of abuse that stretched over 6 weeks. Clearly, the chain of command at the tactical level, to include General Janis Karpinski, knew or should have known that there were tons of problems with what was happening.  Under the Yamashita standard set by the United States in World War II, this knowledge of wide spread problems of abuse over a long period of time should have triggered an obligation on their part to take firm action.
So notwithstanding her book and her explanations, in my view Gen. Karpinski should have been court-martialed... she certainly "should have known" something was wrong.
As to Haditha, Iraq, it looks like we may have had the actions of soldiers keyed up from having lost members of their unit and other problems.  But, at least from one report, it looks like there is a very, very low probability of a cover-up. We have to wait for the investigation to and legal process to play out. The good news is that our military self-reports the vast majority of abuse cases and then prosecutes as needed.  That was a big problem with My Lai-- the cover up.  Bad news never gets better... if an officer knew... or ordered it... or SHOULD have known... then there might be responsibility... it's too early to tell what happened there.
However, I really like the Schlesinger Report about Abu Ghraib, discussed in my book. Relative to previous wars, the Report indicated that our soldiers are better behaved by and large than in any previous conflict. Remember that we have had a tremendously large number of detainees processed – over 50,000 - and a relatively small number of problem incidents, comparatively, especially compared to prior wars.
We have better training of our personnel... we have learned the lessons of My Lai.  For example, embedded with every Special Forces Group is a judge advocate serving as a legal advisor on laws of war-- I was the judge advocate in charge of advising all Special Forces having previously served as a Group judge advocate in 1987 along the Cambodian border, making some interesting calls. Our soldiers have extensive pre-deployment briefings prior to all operations. At this point, the military does a much better job of policing itself.  The problems really do come down to a few bad apples.  They are not to be excused by any means, and those responsible are to be fully punished... but certainly, there is nothing remotely like "moral equivalence" in our behavior compared to that of our enemies. 
The Talking Dog:   Let me turn to the "captured on the battlefield" issue, a term which the President, Vice-President and Secretary of Defense (and sometimes, you) use frequently to describe the detainees at Guantanamo.  Are you familiar with the "Seton Hall reports" (here   and  here ?  In particular, are you aware that those reports, based on declassified records made public by the military, that of the detainees at Guantanamo, less than 10% were captured by American (or coalition) forces, and that the majority of detainees were not even accused of having committed a single "hostile act"?  Accepting these facts, do they change, in any way, your view or analysis of how we are treating detainees at Guantanamo? Do you have any reason  not to accept them?
Jeffrey Addicott:   Once again, I go back to the "we are at war" analysis.  It does not matter if detainees were picked up by our own armed forces, or handed to us.  The British handed us numerous detainees in World War II, for example.  The detainees are entitled to a  CSRT review to determine status.
Have we picked up some people we shouldn't have?  Perhaps.  I believe our government when they say that we are holding a lot of very dangerous people at Guantanamo.  Yes, we may have 1 or 2% who may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.  The solution is not to close down the facility and release all the detainees. That's the nature of war.  I have a friend who lost his legs serving in Grenada from wounds accidentally inflicted by our side.  Again, that's war.
The Talking DogDoes it matter to the analysis if, instead of 1 or 2% incorrect, its, say, 50%?
Jeffrey Addicott:  This sounds like the conversation Abraham had with God in Genesis regarding the pending destruction of Sodom!  Are there 50 righteous men in Sodom?  10 righteous men?  Look... the question is is it illegal?  Immoral... or ill-advised... is another question, which is really not the issue.

The Talking DogDo you have any comment on the recent "extraordinary rendition" cases (the Arar case in New York and the Al-Masri case in Washington)? 

Jeffrey Addicott:   Rendition is a moving target.  We certainly can't send anyone to a state with a pattern of gross human rights violation, for purposes of torture.  But... is ill-treatment necessarily torture.  If a nation is on our State Department's list of states that sponsor terrorism, then certainly that's a problem.  Egypt, for example, may be guilty of "ill treatment," but this not classified as "torture"...

The Talking DogHow about Syria?
Jeffrey Addicott:  Syria is more problematic, as it is on our State Department's list.  But again, we have the torture conventions... that are not necessarily what everyone thinks they are...
For example, in the case of United Kingdom v. Ireland cited in my book, there are horrendous allegations of things done with respect to suspected IRA terrorists, and yet, the court finds that it was "only" ill-treatment and not "torture."   Torture usually requires a very high standard, in legal terms, before it is termed that.
Generally, I think it's entirely safe to say that there is no command directed torture program by our military at Guantanamo Bay. "Stress and duress" to be sure. But interrogation is not illegal. 
Look, there is the 2006 UN Human Rights Commission report I cite in my book, where, without even visiting the facility, the drafters arrogantly concluded that there was torture at the facility.  How can a reasonable person sign off on a report like that?  It's outrageous.
The Talking DogOf course, the U.N. officials complained that had they visited, they wouldn't have been permitted to speak to the detainees...
Jeffrey Addicott:  And so what?  What would you expect the detainees to tell them?  Most would, naturally, insist that they were tortured.  And, of course, they would also insist that they were completely innocent.  They were certainly going to be given the same access as all other groups to include the Red Cross.

The Talking Dog:   Would you concur that our overall legal regimen in the war on terror, to wit, Moussaoui, Reade and Lindh get federal trials, Padilla and al-Marri get the brig, all but 10 Guantanamo detainees get indefinite detention without charge, the 10 who are charged get military commissions, at Guantanamo we hold arguably innocent people while releasing some arguably very dangerous people (I'm thinking in particular of Mamdouh Habib of Australia and Abdullah Mesud of Pakistan)... is arbitrary? Isn't this very arbitrariness a very serious problem that undermines our overall moral authority in fighting the war on terror, not to mention our commitment to the rule of law? 

Jeffrey Addicott:   I would not call it arbitrary.  For example, I recall Wall Street Journal reporters who were asking me at great length whether Rumsfeld was personally directing abuses at Abu Ghraib, etc. Let me say that our government – any democratic government - is simply too incompetent to keep something like that a secret for any length of time! The Bush Administration got some bad advice early on (from lawyers from unnamed law schools!) regarding how to deal with some of the folks that have now been convicted in federal court. There should have been a unified approach.  If we are at war, then certainly a Moussaoui, who plotted against us, or a Reid, who tried to blow up an airplane, would have been perfect candidates for military tribunals, not federal courts.  Even John Walker Lindh - as a citizen – should not have been given different treatment than the other terrorists.
But it was unfortunate that the government couldn’t get its act together. They did the best they could under trying circumstances.  Mistakes were certainly made.  Further, there were certainly very bad public relations in how this was done... placing similar factual cases in different categories only added to that.  But as time goes on, things are improving, as the government starts to get it together and have a more sensible approach.
But the ultimate question comes back to is it ILLEGAL. And once again, if the answer to the "are we at war?" question is yes, then the answer is, while mistakes were made and matters were handled inconsistently, it's not illegal.
The Talking Dog:   Your book makes quite clear that even in the case of "ticking-time-bomb" scenarios, there is simply no legal justification for torture (ever), which is a conclusion I fully agree with. And I also agree that "hard" or "aggressive" interrogation is not necessarily torture. Still, there are a number of allegations of abuse, if not outright torture, from Guantanamo detainees; one set is contained in the affidavit of a detainee named Al-Dossari ... he describes, among other things, beatings, the isolation, the sleep and food deprivation, etc. Could you comment on the issue of torture?

Jeffrey Addicott:  Torture... depends on the degree of physical or mental pain inflicted.  It must be severe. Below severe, we have "ill-treatment" which is not defined in the Torture Convention.  Below that, we have "stress and duress."  We need court decisions to define this area-- what can and cannot be done.  We can certainly use trickery on detainees and other means that do not violate international or domestic law.
My book points out an instance in 2003 where some former Guantanamo detainees were interviewed by AP reporters following their release. They all insisted that they were tortured, though they refused to show things like their purported scars. However, one of the ex-detainees told the reporter that there was no torture at all, only daily questioning. 
I will say it this way: the American military does not torture. 
Domestically, the Supreme Court has developed a "shock the conscience" standard when dealing with abusive behavior by law enforcement.  In the event that our personnel engage in torture, they should be prosecuted, period.  If they can prove necessity-- that they were doing evil to prevent a greater evil—they may raise this common law defense and might be acquitted.
On this, I'm to the left of Alan Dershowitz, who insists that an interrogator should be able to apply to a judge for a "torture warrant."  No. Torture is always illegal, in my view.
But, contrary to the arguments of some, there is evidence that force or even torture can be effective at extracting information, such as the Leon case discussed in my book-- where a cab driver who knew where a kidnap victim was... told interrogators after he was chocked and had his arm twisted.
As to detainees, I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to our government and military, rather than to those accused of being terrorists.
The Talking DogIs there anything further on the subject of the legal basis of the United States' conduct of the war on terror (or our legal conduct in the war on terror) or related issues, that my readers, the American or international public need to be aware of?
Jeffrey Addicott:   First, let me say that I hate the term "war on terror."  Terrorism is a means or tactic.  We are at war with militant Islam, Islamic fascists who want to kill us.  We are not at war with Islam, but a small minority of fanatical groups who claim to murder in the name of Islam. You really can't win a war if you can't even identify who it's against.
We are the GOOD GUYS.  We have to follow the rules of war, and the rule of law.   This means that we fight with one hand tied behind our back in the short term. But in the long term we cannot engage in the tactics of the terrorists. For example, when the military charged an officer for pulling out a pistol to threaten a detainee to get information, that was appropriate.   We CANNOT engage in tactics identical to the terrorists.
We self-report violations, and then we prosecute.  Abu Ghraib, for example, was self-reported by members of the military.
Our Center is a source of information and study. While it is true that we criticize the Administration for its conduct at times, but then, unlike most, we try to say what we think the right way to proceed is.
We are, of course, waiting for guidance... adult supervision if you will... from the Supreme Court.  The Court should have been clear in 2004 about many of these issues. Further, Congress should have been much more active-- legislation should have defined the parameters-- in short, Congress should take greater responsibility for the conduct of this war.
The Center for Terrorism Law seeks to explore the balance between increased security and civil liberties. In every war that balance is going to shift to some degree towards increased security, but the modifications must be judicious and equal to the need. We are trying to add our voice to the equation. But we have got to fight under the laws of war and the rule of law. 
The Talking DogThank you, on behalf of myself and my readers, for that extensive and informative interview. You have provided some illuminating views on critically important issues, and I sincerely wish our government officials could be anywhere near as clear in their expression of them as you have been.

Readers interested in legal issues and related matters associated with the "war on terror" may also find talking dog blog interviews with attorneys Thomas Wilner, Jonathan Hafetz, Joshua Denbeaux,
Rick Wilson,
Neal Katyal, Joshua Colangelo Bryan, Baher Azmy, and Joshua Dratel (representing Guantanamo detainees and others held in "the war on terror"), with attorneys Donna Newman and Andrew Patel (representing "unlawful combatant" Jose Padilila), with Dr. David Nicholl, who spearheaded an effort among international physicians protesting force-feeding of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, with former Clinton Administration Ambassador-at-large for war crimes matters David Scheffer, and with former detainee Shafiq Rasul to be of interest.  


really great interview

Posted by jr at July 1, 2006 4:30 AM

Great interview dog. One of the few objective treatments I have seen on this subject.

Posted by GR at July 5, 2006 4:50 PM