Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pentagon Official Calls for Boycott of Law Firms Representing Gitmo Detainees

Update: So, the guy apologized, saying, in part, "Regrettably, my comments left the impression that I question the integrity of those engaged in the zealous defense of detainees in Guantanamo. I do not." Okay, I'm happy he apologized, and that he reaffirmed the bedrock principle that even the most unpopular need and deserve representation. But, I really hate it when someone only sort of apologizes for what he said by saying that he regrets that what he said left some sort of unintended impression. Why doesn't he just apologize for saying it, period? The comments "left the impression that [you] question the integrity" of the detainee lawyers because you questioned the integrity of the detainee lawyers. Why don't you just apologize for questioning their integrity instead of apologizing for leaving the impression that you question their integrity? That would be nice.
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Original post:

Charles Stimson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, thinks all the law firms doing pro bono work to represent the detainees at Guantanamo should be blackballed. He wants all their names published and their clients to ditch them. Apparently, it's not enough for Mr. Stimson that they be held indefinitely without charge, tortured, denied the writ of habeas corpus, and tried on charges they're not allowed to be told about, with evidence they're not permitted to see or hear, and without being permitted to call witnesses in their own defense. Nope, he needs to slander their attorneys, who are spending hundreds of hours for no compensation (despite Mr. Stimson's veiled assertion that they were being compensated by shadowy terrorist financial supporters), becaue as attorneys, we are ethically obligated to ensure that everyone, no matter how shameful and despicable they are accused of being, are given the due process guaranteed by our constitution. I'm not sure what more I would expect from the person who is apparently in charge of detainee affairs. Common sense and decency and respect for the rule of law don't seem to be running high in those parts these days.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pentagon has since disavowed this statement.

1/14/2007 6:17 AM  
Blogger swd said...

What's interesting is the statement "I think, quite honestly, when corporate C.E.O.’s see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those C.E.O.’s are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms." That "when" clause speaks volumes, doesn't it? He is so sure that the men at Guantanamo are terrorists, yet overlooks the fact that the majority of men held there have been released to their home countries, many represented by Big Law firms!

1/17/2007 4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You said, "Why don't you just apologize for questioning their integrity instead of apologizing for leaving the impression that you question their integrity? That would be nice."

Although it's hard to tell, I hope you are being facetious. This is obviously not a sincere apology. His original comments cannot be explained away as unintended or misperceived. In fact, his original comments are so egregious that I cannot imagine an explanation or an apology that would be believable.

As a side note, and as a separate issue, I don't believe in apologies. I believe in not doing anything for which to apologize. Bells cannot be unrung, etc. I also don't believe in forgiveness or in redemption. It's the actions that speak louder than words thing.

When it comes to apologists, the better liar seems to be the better forgiven. I don't try to figure out who's lying about the apology and who's not.

That's not to say I don't believe in second chances -- second chances that stem from fear of consequences, not from being a good liar.

1/18/2007 4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More --

Richard Cohen, an NL (non-lawyer) who wrote
this
column in the Jan. 23, 2007, Washington Post, rejects Stimson's so-called apology. (Cohen does not, as do I, reject all apologies. He reject this so-called apology for cause.)

Cohen: "I, for one, do not accept Stimson's apology. I think it is insincerely offered and beside the point. What matters most is that he retains his job, which means he retains the confidence of his superiors in the government. How anyone can have confidence in such a man is beyond me. There are only two explanations, one inexcusable, the other chilling. The first is that his bosses don't care. The second is that they agree with him."

1/23/2007 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still more --

Apology NOT Accepted!

Cully Stimson Resigns

The Washington Post
, February 2, 2007

2/02/2007 2:27 PM  

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