That’s the first word I thought of while reading this article on the Gitmo trials.
“Obscene” is the word if it’s actually enacted.
Let me step back and detail exactly what they are proposing. 9/11 was the second biggest psyche changing attack in our history (or biggest depending on whether you believe that it was inevitable we would join WWII or not) and has now dominated our socio-political culture for most of a decade without resolution. We captured five men that are accused of plotting the event, and seemingly much of the “evidence” against them was obtained through torture. We refuse to prosecute unless we can get a guilty verdict, and therefore are weighing just keeping them imprisoned for life; I’m not sure how Obama plans doing that considering the Supreme Court rulings, but whatever. They are now suggesting that maybe they should let the accused plead guilty, so they can be put to death without a trial and not worry about it.
We know they did it, so the torture was justified. We know they did it, so we’ll keep them for life if they don’t plead guilty. If they do plead guilty, then we’ll kill them in the name of justice. This is the legal standard of the Inquisition, Salem Witch Trials and putsches. It’s insane. And that’s not even taking into consideration that they want to be executed in that manner to be “martyred” and prove we are barbarous like they say.
The actual guilt or innocence of these individuals is relatively incidental to a larger point; the difference between Justice and Revenge is that Justice takes into account not only the punishment of the perpetrator, but resolution for the victims and understanding by society at large. Even if these men are guilty, if we don’t pursue it in a way that pays attention to the latter two, it’s merely revenge.
There have been many confessions to monstrous crimes that have been ignored because of lack of evidence or coercion. This is because our legal system recognizes that a guilty plea is not meant to cut off inquiry into a crime, it’s meant to help provide greater insight into the details and nature of it. In fact, in most cases it’s impossible to find a judge that will accept a guilty plea without making the person detail for the public record what happened. I hope the story is wrong, because otherwise the Administration is subverting this basic principle.
The article ends with: “Don’t we have an interest as a society,” Ms. LeBoeuf asked, “in a trial that examines the evidence and provides some reliable picture of what went on?” Yes, we do, and anything less is unjust.