Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Lawyers Who Defend Terrorists Are Terrorists?

Is it just me, or is that the message in this ad from Liz Cheney's outfit "Keep America Safe?"

If not, then the message is: lawyers who defend terrorists are evil. Or something dang close to that.

Why is it that we have a right to know who the lawyers are? I mean, the reason for not knowing who they are is clear--it would put them in danger. In danger, that is, from the very kinds of lunatics who Cheney's crew is trying to stir up.

Are these lawyers some kind of super-lawyers who have super reasoning powers that allow them to win every case? Or do they have, like, mind-control powers that they use on judges? I guess that's the kind of lawyer that would be appropriate for the al Qaeda super-villains who cannot be held by even the country's most super-duper-max prisons.

There's no plausible way to get to "Keep America Safe"'s conclusion without accepting something like the premise that any lawyer who defends a defendant who may have committed a terrible crime is evil. The idea here seems to be that no one should defend someone accused of a crime, since some such people are guilty. Which means that the entire adversarial system of justice is evil--or, at least, makes people evil, or cannot function without evil people to defend defendants. But we couldn't have an inquisitorial system either, since, by similar reasoning, anyone who offers any argument in defense of a guilty person is also evil--even if they do not know the person to be guilty.

So I suppose we should be able to intuit the innocence or guilt of a defendant without holding a trial, since the very process of trying to determine guilt or innocence is inherently flawed.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I find "Keep America Safe" at least as worrisome as I find al Qaeda. There's no way for al Qaeda to win this thing. KAS and their ilk, on the other hand...they might very well win in the end. And then there will be no America at all in any important sense.


Blogger Jim Bales said...

WS, your assessment is spot on.

Had defendants been tried in open court, the identity of their lawyers would be a matter of public record. I see no reason to make public the identity of some offices of the court in a military tribunal (the defense lawyers) but not others (the prosecutors and judges).

Of course, Cheney's intent is to inspire fear in the American people in order to advance her political agenda. Since she is not committing violent acts to accomplish her intent, her actions do not constitute terrorism.


2:48 PM  

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