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March 05, 2010


Gene Hutchins

Perhaps I am just Neanderthal about military and now 'asymmetrical conflicts'.
The Geneva Convention to me a layman applies to the uniformed troops of a Sovereign Nation entity. It does NOT APPLY to the 'outlaws, 'brigands', 'pirates'..the people at GITMO, one like my sone captured in Iraq. It does not apply to them.

For the three "Al Queda In Iraq" [US military acronym is AQIR} he captured [they were loading a vehicle with explosives; were themselves ladened with body charges9 the fuses weren't set0 and among the items they were going destrou was the satellite phone taken from a KIA US soldier, two laptop hard drives. Incident occured 4/14/08, G/4/6 Cavalry]

The US troops could have killed them on the spot..they were in civilian clothes and had spent the past 10 months presenting themselves as local national merchants.

War between organized nations is bad enought.. but when an independent transnational organization that is functioning like guerillas and other parties not protected by the Geneva Conventioon.. Field Commanders can do with them as they wish, in my humble layman Neanderthal opinion.
Gene Hutchins VietNam Vet 1968- 1971

Mike Coleman

I'm not a lawyer but I've seen a lot of one lately. As a former member of the USAF, we were taught a lot about the Geneva Convention and the ramifications of breaking the rules. We were taught that the GC was as every bit as American law as anything in the states. We were also taught that it was not about them, it was about US. As Americans we were taught to be the good guys. Now we act like a child that someone stubbed their toe. I've been around a long time and I think that the lawyers that went to GITMO did a great service in the name of fair play. Americans have also had that sense of fair play and for us to break teh rule to suit us doesn't feel right to a lot of people. The memos of Yoo, Bradbury was a low point in American Law and I hope that some of you are doing things to change it.

James E. Coleman, Jr.

One of the most important lessons I learned as a young lawyer working for Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering was the importance of private lawyers defending the rights of unpopular clients who otherwise might not receive adequate representation. We were encouraged to take on such representation and not wait to see if others might do so. That is the highest tradition of our profession, and was one of the foundational values of my firm.

As a law professor in 2006, I spoke out against the unfair prosecution of three white Duke students falsely accused of sexually assaulting a black dancer. In the beginning, I was one of the first and one of the few lawyers of any political stripe to do so. At the same time, I also was criticizing prosecutors and judges in my state for their indifference toward poor defendants and defendants of color.

It is a dangerous game to suggest that a lawyer who defends the rights of a particular client is opposed to the rights of others. Lawyers who engage in such attacks are unworthy of their profession and do the public a great disservice.

Charles H. Carpenter

While I was at Pepper Hamilton, working on GTMO habeas litigation, we were proud to represent a Marine in his proceeding. I'm quite sure that any of my colleagues in the GTMO bar would have done the same.

United States v. Nazario (2008) involved a former Marine Staff Sergeant faced with charges that he committed manslaughter in Fallujah in 2004, during one of the fiercest battles of the Iraq war. It was the first case in which a former member of the U.S. Armed Forces was tried in a civilian criminal court, as opposed to a military court martial, for allegedly committing a crime during combat operations. A civilian jury in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California acquitted Nazario of all charges. The case tested the power and scope of the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act of 2000, and the acquittal underscores flaws in the law that could lead to legislative changes to the Act.


"I would feel better about these guys if they were just as eager to defend American soldiers accused of abusing detainees."

Who says they're not? Have any American soldiers accused of crimes lacked legal representation? I don't think you can name a single example, but please do if you can.

Law Grad

Lawyers should take more personal responsibility for the agendas and causes they advocate. Attorneys who choose to represent credit card companies in certain tactics that are harmful to consumers should question whether they truly approve of the behavior of their clients. Attorneys who represent companies polluting water we drink or air we breath should likewise question when the agendas of their clients go too far. Simply because a talented lawyer can successfully argue that conduct is legal doesn't exhaust all moral or ethical considerations.

That said, many lawyers are willing to represent clients that may be unpopular. Representing a client does not mean that lawyer personally endorses every activity that client engages in, just as doing business with a customer does not mean that business approves of everything the customer does. Lawyers, should, however take more personal responsibility for the consequences to others when they choose to provide professional services to clients.

Brian D. Liddicoat

I would feel better about these guys if they were just as eager to defend American soldiers accused of abusing detainees. Both the American soldier and the al-Qaeda member can be represented very adequately by military attorneys. Yet our friends at Sidley Austin only seem interested in representing people who have openly confessed to trying to kill as many Americans as possible. You think common American soldiers can afford to hire a big-name private lawyer when they're accused of hurting a PoW?

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