Who is Charles Stimson? He is the deputy assistant secretary of defense of detainee affairs, who caused such a furore lately when he suggested that companies should boycott law firms that engage in pro bono work for Guantanamo detainees. This is outrageous on so many levels. Let's start with the facts that (i) a high percentage, perhaps the majority, of the 500-odd men now held at Guantanamo were not captured on any battlefield; (ii) fewer than 20 percent of the Guantanamo detainees have ever been Qaeda members; (iii) many, perhaps hundreds, of the detainees were not even Taliban foot soldiers, let alone Qaeda terrorists; they were innocent, wrongly seized noncombatants; (iv) the majority were not captured by U.S. forces but rather handed over by reward-seeking Pakistanis and Afghan warlords. And of course, these men have been locked up for years with charge. Some have been tortured, and others are there based on the testimony of other under torture. Lawyers who represent these guys for free should be given a medal, not criticized.
But, of course, the National Review sees things otherwise (from Andrew Sullivan and The Plank).
Exhibit 1: Mark Levin: "There is nothing unethical about Stimson's comments. In fact, he was serving a public interest by shining a light on those law firms that are representing the enemy."
Exhibit 2: Mark Steyn: "..the constitution is not a suicide note, at a time of war the American legal system should not be a slow-motion instrument of surrender. To upgrade every enemy combatant to a defendant is unprecedented and unwise.... the world frets about whether they’re getting sufficient multivitamins and excoriates any US official insufficiently deferential to the vast legal support network which no previous nation at war would ever have dreamed of according detainees."
Exhibit 3: Andrew McCarthy: "Stimson was talking about attorneys who've flocked to Gitmo — attorneys who, to fulfill no requirement and overlooking countless more worthy indigents, choose to contribute their skills to an enemy seeking to kill our troops and destroy our country. We don't stop those attorneys from doing it, but it is common sense that the branch of government charged with defeating this enemy should object to those volunteering to help the enemy use of our courts as a weapon of war against us."
Of course, not too surprising from the National Review, an outfit that recently defended Pinochet on consequentialist grounds, defended waterbaording, and lambasted John McCain's desire to "'preserve' our Geneva obligations." while defending Bush's torture program. Outrageous.