Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Grilling Season/Majid Khan's 'fair deal': a bad deal for U.S. integrity

·                                 Yes, these are the same questions I ask. Imagine a Congress that would do the right thing. I can't conceive such a body because instead I see Boehner, Cantor, the NRA, Aipac, McConnell, Paul and Ryan. A Congress which is bought and sold only does the bidding of the elite.


March 31, 2012

The Grilling Season


The members of Congress, 535 of them, return home for two weeks of pulse-taking and pre-election campaigning. Those brave enough to venture beyond their circle of political allies should not expect cheers. What they deserve are pointed questions about why they spend so much time in ideological posturing and so little in actually helping people.

Exhibit A is the House’s astonishing performance last week. The Republican majority passed the Ryan budget-to-nowhere (it has no chance of Senate approval), a political manifesto full of tax cuts and other nice things for people who don’t need them and almost nothing for a scared and suffering middle class. Yet House leaders did not lift a finger to muster a majority for a two-year extension of a transportation bill (already approved by the Senate) that would actually create jobs in hard-pressed states and communities.

The rational constituent might ask: Why can’t lawmakers pass a routine transportation bill? Why, for that matter, block sensible efforts to encourage fuel-efficient cars and cleaner energy sources? Why oppose a straightforward reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, crucial to combating domestic violence and sexual assault? Is there nothing — not the shooting of Trayvon Martin or even one of their own, Gabrielle Giffords — that can shame them into fixing the nation’s porous gun control laws?

The answers are that the Republicans, particularly those who control the House, are disorganized, often narrow-minded, terrified of the National Rifle Association and in thrall to the oil companies. Still, the questions should be asked — even if lawmakers try to change the subject by blaming President Obama for $4-a-gallon gas, their default issue when all else fails. 

© 2011 The New York Times Company

Majid Khan’s ‘fair deal’: a bad deal for U.S. integrity

Published: March 8

Contrary to the assertion of the March 5 editorial “A fair deal for a terrorist,” Majid Khan’s plea deal does not demonstrate that all is well with the military commission system. Instead, it underscores that trying cases before the military commission system remains a risky proposition on shaky constitutional grounds.

This system, now in its third incarnation, continues to face lengthy litigation over the legality of trying individuals for offenses that do not constitute war crimes. For example, Mr. Khan was charged with crimes such as terrorism and conspiracy that are not considered war crimes under international law and that were only later deemed crimes in the military commission system. Prosecuting people for conduct that was not a crime when they committed the act violates the ex post facto prohibition enshrined in the Constitution and the international legal principle of legality.

Mr. Khan’s plea deal is ultimately a loss for the integrity of the U.S. justice system and further evidence that the Guantanamo prison must close. As the Afghanistan war winds down, we Americans should learn from the mistakes of Guantanamo and recommit ourselves to our proven federal courts, local law enforcement and the Constitution.

Melina Milazzo, Washington

The writer is an attorney with Human Rights First.

© The Washington Post Company

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


No comments: