By NAT HENTOFF
December 17th, 2006
During the mutual-admiration hearing before the Senate Committee on Armed Services—which led to the unanimous confirmation of former CIA chief Robert Gates to be Donald Rumsfeld's successor—no senator asked Gates if he approves of the Pentagon's "extreme . . . emergency" insistence on a $125 million appropriation to construct a permanent compound for a war-crimes court at Guantánamo.
There, in 2007, war-crimes trials will be held for dozens of Guantánamo "detainees." The facilities will accommodate simultaneous proceedings. Unlike the Nuremberg war-crimes trials of the Nazis, there will be no government officials in the dock, but rather—as detailed in my last column—prisoners against whom the United States has itself committed war crimes under the Geneva Conventions and our own War Crimes act. These crimes include their conditions of confinement and a total lack of the due process that the Supreme Court ordered in Rasul v. Bush (2004) and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006).