Thursday, July 13, 2006

Graham Leads on Detainee Justice

The LATimes has an interesting profile today on Senator Lindsey Graham, who is emerging as the leading voice in the Senate when it comes to rights for military combatants in the wake of the SCourt's Hamdan decision. Graham's experience as a military lawyer (he currently is one of just 13 judges on the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals) is serving him well now, as his colleagues look to him for advice and ideas.

Graham has come out in favor of using the Uniform Code of Military Justice as the basis for a system to try terror suspects, rather than approving the Administration's tribunal plan or devising some other method. "We need to not only adhere to treaties that we've been a part of for 60 years for the protection of our own troops, we need to let people know that we can win this war without becoming our enemy," Graham said. Of taking another route than the UCMJ, Graham said "If you fight that approach, it's going to be a long, hot summer."

The LAT article quotes two of the Senate's "big guns" in support of Graham: Senator McCain, who allied with Graham on the anti-torture amendment last year, said "Lindsey is very persuasive and very articulate. He is the only guy in the Senate who has practiced the Uniform Code of Military Justice, so he has a pretty good idea what it's all about." And from the other side of the aisle, Hillary Clinton said of Graham "He has demonstrated a grasp of the issues and a commitment to the values of our military justice system, and an understanding of how what we do with enemy combatants affects our own troops. So I hope people listen to him."

It seems to me that the UCMJ would be a very decent basis for approaching this question, and the Senate (not to mention the Administration) could certainly do worse than to give Lindsey Graham's ideas the consideration they deserve.


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