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Keystones at Gitmo

By now I'm sure you've heard about what happened at Gitmo yesterday regarding the military tribunals taking place there. Well, if not, the short answer is the Bush administration hit a snag.

Two men who were among the small percentage of those who've actually been charged with a crime went before a military panel yesterday. The focus has mainly been on that of Omar Khadr, who was captured in Afghanistan at the age of 15. Anyway, the presiding military judge reviewed the case and had it tossed on a technicality. Namely, that Khadr and the other detainee were improperly classified. Apparently when Congress passed the Military Commissions Act last year, it designated that only "unlawful enemy combatants" could be tried before the tribunals the law governed. But Khadr and the other fellow's status are listed as simply "enemy combatant". This may seem like a semantics issue but it's nice to see someone taking serious how the laws on the books are written as opposed to just making up their own interpretation.

The irony of the situation is not lost on some. For you see the Bushies' ad hoc system backfired on them. That's because according to news accounts, there is no appeal system set up to handle this development. This just illustrates pretty clearly how much of a farce these show trials are. They were so sure that guilty verdicts would be handed down that they didn't see fit to set up an appeals process. But now that missing component has become a double edged sword since it has them scrambling around like a bunch of Keystone Kops trying to figure out how to proceed.

Meme has a round up of analyses from both laymans and legal eagles.

(Filed at State of the Day)

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