We lose. America certainly no longer is the Land Of The Free. It may be telling that the German term “Rechtsstaat” doesn’t really have a useful translation in English, but, alas, at least in the US, there may no longer be the need for one. President Bush now ordered the special tribunals, or military commissions, to be created in which so-called “enemy combattants” will be tried. Most of the defendants are currently inmates in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Last year, the US supreme court had stopped their creation based primarily on institutional concerns – after some political haggling, a bill was passed, and the tribunals will now be established.
Even Bush’s last friend among the German newspapers, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, seems appalled about the seemingly totalitarian legal practices applied by these “courts”. As the newspaper reports (in German), defendants may be punished with the death penalty based on indirect witness accounts and forced testimonies.
Let’s hope Ben Franklin did not hear about it.