Military tribunals avoid the spectacle civilian trials...


November 25, 2001

Military tribunals avoid the spectacle civilian trials unleash

As a staunch defender of civil liberties, I'm going against type and supporting the president's executive order authorizing the use of military courts for alien terrorists ("Taking the war on terror too far," editorial, Nov. 19).

I am concerned about possible abuses but recognize the need for new procedures to deal with new threats. It's unthinkable that terrorists attempting to kill Americans would, if captured, be entitled to an O.J. Simpson-type trial. Osama bin Laden and his ilk aren't entitled to constitutional protections or prisoner-of-war status.

President Bush erred by not involving the Congress in this decision and by failing to incorporate a "sunset" provision. However, the United States should have the option of using military tribunals or a special international court for non-U.S. citizens engaged in terrorism.

These international criminals could be tried on military bases or the high seas to ensure security. The rules, protections and procedures of the Uniform Code of Military Justice would apply to them, as they do to all our service personnel.

We are a country under attack, and real security dangers entitle the commander in chief to a limited, short-term prevention and protection tool.

Roger C. Kostmayer


I think the anti-terrorist court is a good idea. It would only be used in extreme circumstances, and deal with the terrorists without the kid-glove approach of our civilian court system.

Diane Dye

Perry Hall

If we could have as much faith in the U.S. justice system as in the courts at the Nuremberg trials, there would be no problem. But would you really like to see a trial of Osama bin Laden in the United States?

What an impossible circus that would be. And it would probably result in the same justice dispensed to O.J. Simpson.

Leslie Dell


Don't compromise freedoms we cherish

The Sun's editorial "Taking the war on terrorism too far" (Nov. 19) was, indeed, timely. And, after reading Jonathan Turley's chilling article "Destroying American standards" (Nov. 18) it would seem that the Constitution is truly part of the collateral damage of the Sept. 11 attack.

As The Sun's editorial pointed out, even in times of great peril, we can't compromise the freedoms we cherish, either for ourselves or for those we suspect may be trying to harm us.

Veva Grebe


Putting too much power in the president's hands

George W. Bush became president by means of an election of dubious honesty and without popular support.

Now he is taking advantage of a national crisis to circumvent the Constitution's guarantee of open, fair trials so he can quickly and in secret dispense with the nation's enemies.

The question that comes to my mind is: When will the nation's enemies become his and his supporter's enemies? And how will we know the difference if the trials are held in secret, the evidence is secret and the outcome kept secret?

Am I just paranoid, or is it that I remember all too well Richard Nixon's enemies lists and the Watergate break-ins?

Or is it because I know that one of the tactics used by dictators from time immemorial is to consolidate power and squash dissent?

Ed Schneider


Many special-needs students struggle for proper schooling

As a mother of two elementary school children who were diagnosed outside of the school system as dyslexic, I read with great empathy the article outlining a mother's struggle to give her child the one thing that she never had - a free and appropriate education ("Mother sacrifices all for daughter's literacy," Nov. 11) .

When the article is read by others, I hope they see past one mother's struggle, one school system's failures and one judge's lack of understanding. The problems are much larger.

Higher education has not prepared our public school teachers to identify, remediate and educate our children.

We must first teach the teachers before they can teach the children.

Leslie Bachmann

Richmond, Va.

After reading "Mother sacrifices all for daughter's literacy," I am torn over which part of her story to address: the broken school system, the enormous family financial burden, the emotional damage or the court's lack of understanding.

But the fact of the matter is that Amanda Hetmanski is just one in a long line of students who are not being served.

Carolyn Ott


If martyrdom is so great, why do the Taliban resist?

If martyrdom in the name of Islam is such a revered and aspired-to state, why is the Taliban running for its life?

Mark Warns


Cut off governor's efforts to lead state's universities

Mike Bowler correctly pointed out the dilemma of the search for the next chancellor of the University System of Maryland ("Fund raising starts at top," Nov. 14). Clearly, the perception is that Gov. Parris N. Glendening has stacked the deck on his own behalf, thus discouraging candidates of national stature.

The answer, however, is not to find a sweetheart deal for the governor. Rather, the Board of Regents should declare that it is not in the best interest of the university to consider the governor for the position for many reasons, including the fact that he does not meet the academic profile required.

But it will be interesting to see if the board will stand up on an issue so important to the future of the university.

Richard E. Hug


Pension fund's woes reflect stock market's false promise

Don't be too hard on the state pension board for the decline in its assets ("Changes in pension system foreseen," Nov. 16).

Didn't billionaire Bill Gates also lose a bundle in the last two years, along with other high-fliers in the stock market?

But there is a huge lesson for Mr. and Mrs. Average Citizen to learn from this: The stock market is not a highway to wealth, even for those who are supposed to know what they are doing.

Richard L. Lelonek


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