The ACLU is continuing its efforts to shield terrorists in
US hands from the consequences of their actions. It seeks to prevent their
trial and execution, which the Supreme Court has ruled legal. It seeks to
prevent their interrogation for the purpose of saving American lives in the
* * * *
The facts for this ACLU Outrage, but not the legal conclusions, come from an
article in the Jurist, a publication of the Law School of the University of
Pittsburgh, on 15 March.
The ACLU has been consistently opposed to all efforts of the US government
to obtain information from terrorists it has captured, and to try terrorists
as “illegal enemy combatants.” The latest assault of the ACLU concerns some
“high value” captives who were turned over to the US from Pakistan.
The other part of the ACLU attack involves the interrogations of some of
these captives, outside the territory of the US. In the last week, the ACLU
has filed suit seeking a court order that it be given “unredacted
transcripts of military hearings for 14 of the ‘high value’ detainees.”
Let’s put the ACLU positions in some context, shall we?
In 1942, two groups of German saboteurs, armed with maps, targets, and
money, and wearing civilian clothes, were put ashore in America from German
submarines. Their goal was to go to selected military targets and blow them
up. Through excellent work by a Coastal Guard walking the beach, one group
was quickly captured, and that led to the other group.
All eight saboteurs were brought to trial in front of military tribunals
before any were able to act. All were convicted in private trials with no
press or public admitted. Six were sentenced to death. Their lawyers
appealed to the US Supreme Court that they could not be constitutionally
tried in that manner.
The Supreme Court decided, unanimously, in the Quirin case, that the
military tribunal trials were permitted under the Law of War, as adopted by
the first law on military justice in 1789, and that their trials did NOT
offend the Constitution. The current Supreme Court recognized Quirin as
good law in the Hamdan case only years ago.
The bottom line is quite clear. Only fighters who are in uniform, part of
organized units, and not hiding among the civilian population are protected
under the four Geneva Conventions, which are much the same on this point as
the Hague Convention which the Court referenced in the Quirin decision.
Wars are not fought with lawyers. If one side fights with lawyers and the
other with soldiers, the one with soldiers will always prevail. Had the
ACLU been in charge of the D-Day invasion of France in WW II, would the
Americans have charged the beaches with arrest warrants in the names of
specific Germans? Would they have been slaughtered to the last man on the
beach as each sought to find “his” German to arrest?
Doesn’t the ACLU not possess any history books on the American Revolution
which describe how the British tried and executed Nathan Hale as an “illegal
combatant”? Or that the Americans tried and executed John Andre for the
same reason in the same war?
During WW II, the ACLU apparently did not attempt to force the US government
to produce full transcripts of its interrogations of German, Japanese or
other spies for public inspection. Why is the ACLU doing exactly that in
It is not just irrelevant to the ACLU that tens, or hundreds, or thousands
of Americans may be killed if the information held by these “illegal
combatants” is not obtained and used. It seems to be the goal of the ACLU
to take steps that will keep that information hidden, and lead to those
Though the methods of the ACLU on this issue are in court, its purpose is
political, not legal. For the US Supreme Court has repeatedly and clearly
ruled against its legal positions.
Source for original story on the Net: