My Commentary on: A story by Michael Doyle of Washington, D.C. McClatchy Newspaper
The American War machine is not what it once was. The DOD employed 155,000 “civilian contractors” in Iraq and Afghanistan (that is, as of approximately a year ago). Maybe that’s so the Obama Administration can say there are fewer troops there? (conjecture, on my part)
Still, I wonder why a civilian (Ali) is about to be court martialed! According to lawyer Michael J. Navarre, the civilian in question, ‘wore the same uniform, ate the same food, slept in the same tents and faced the same dangers from the enemy, and was “effectively” a soldier.’ . . . so what’s the difference?
He was an interpreter, a Canadian immigrant who came to Canada from Iraq in 1992, but went to work for (I suspect) the U.S.? It wasn’t clear, in the article I read.
His job? He was to enable communication between our troops and the Iraqis being trained, . . . to take over their own nation’s security.
From here on into the story, the lines become terribly blurred, and possibly rightly so. To me, the system seems totally inept!
- This is not a “declared war”.
- This case is the first to go before a military tribunal since Viet Nam!
- A recent amendment (because of alleged abuses “in a somewhat lawless environment”) by Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., now impacts the case and it leaves in doubt / jeopardy, those hundred and a half thousand or so, “civilian contractors”.
- After a fight with another interpreter, Ali pled guilty to charges including obstructing justice and lying to investigators. He was locked up for almost 4 months.
- Civilians accompanying the armed forces closely during “wartime” have been subject to military discipline, but some key court decisions leave questions here.
The legal question is whether the military had a right to try Ali, . . . and in a traveling session, law schools are now considering the debate over the question.
The prosecutor is quoted as saying: . . . . those that live, work, face the enemy and in some cases, die together should all face the same (military legal) code,” but the military offers fewer constitutional safeguards to those being tried . . . .
It almost sounds like double jeopardy, doesn’t it?
All in all, it’s likely another Constitutional question for the Supreme Court?
Looks like it to me, … in light of the storms these last few decades of judicial activism having muddied up issues where the nation has departed from the Constitution, especially now, that our President doesn’t quite understand the 1st year of law school case of Marbury vs. Madison.