Some Thoughts on al Nashiri and Military Commissions While Waiting for the Grown-Ups to Take Over‬

The Department of Defense announced today that military commissions prosecutors have sworn charges against Abd al Rahim Hussayn Muhammad al Nashiri of Saudi Arabia. They will seek the death penalty for his alleged role in the USS Cole attack of 2000 and an attack on the French civilian oil tanker MV Limburg in the Gulf of Aden in 2002.‬‪ ‬‪

These charges provide a perfect teachable moment about what's wrong with military commissions and why prosecution of al Nashiri is better left to the regular, federal criminal courts.‬‪ ‬‪

What the government says here is that al Nashiri is a war criminal for attacking the Cole. But if the Cole attack was in a war, then it's not a war crime because under the laws of war, the USS Cole is a legitimate military objective, as are the sailors on the vessel.

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How a US Army ‘Gator Gets Info in Less Than 10 Minutes

The first time I taught a one-hour class at the US Military Academy at West Point, a 20-year-old student made it very clear that while he might be studying ethics, law and morality in school, it was practicalities that really concerned him.

"If we are kicking in doors in Iraq," the third year student – known in West Point parlance as a "Cow" – said, "and I find a guy who has a load of materials that could be used to build an IED in his home and explosive residue on his hands, I don't have time to do a by-the-book interview do I? I mean, lives are at stake and we will have minutes, not hours or days, to get the info we need."

There's more...

How a US Army ‘Gator Gets Info in Less Than 10 Minutes

The first time I taught a one-hour class at the US Military Academy at West Point, a 20-year-old student made it very clear that while he might be studying ethics, law and morality in school, it was practicalities that really concerned him.

"If we are kicking in doors in Iraq," the third year student – known in West Point parlance as a "Cow" – said, "and I find a guy who has a load of materials that could be used to build an IED in his home and explosive residue on his hands, I don't have time to do a by-the-book interview do I? I mean, lives are at stake and we will have minutes, not hours or days, to get the info we need."

There's more...

How a US Army ‘Gator Gets Info in Less Than 10 Minutes

The first time I taught a one-hour class at the US Military Academy at West Point, a 20-year-old student made it very clear that while he might be studying ethics, law and morality in school, it was practicalities that really concerned him.

"If we are kicking in doors in Iraq," the third year student – known in West Point parlance as a "Cow" – said, "and I find a guy who has a load of materials that could be used to build an IED in his home and explosive residue on his hands, I don't have time to do a by-the-book interview do I? I mean, lives are at stake and we will have minutes, not hours or days, to get the info we need."

There's more...

How a US Army ‘Gator Gets Info in Less Than 10 Minutes

The first time I taught a one-hour class at the US Military Academy at West Point, a 20-year-old student made it very clear that while he might be studying ethics, law and morality in school, it was practicalities that really concerned him.

"If we are kicking in doors in Iraq," the third year student – known in West Point parlance as a "Cow" – said, "and I find a guy who has a load of materials that could be used to build an IED in his home and explosive residue on his hands, I don't have time to do a by-the-book interview do I? I mean, lives are at stake and we will have minutes, not hours or days, to get the info we need."

There's more...

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