Now that American John Walker has been separated from other Taliban and al-Queda prisoners and Attorney-General John Ashcroft has proven to be honorable to his promise of not trying American suspects before a military tribunal, Cyberista now favors the use of the military tribunal to prosecute unlawful combatants and non citizen terrorist suspects.

The decision to support military tribunals is a simple one. In the past, Cyberista has been very precise about international law and particularly the Geneva Convention. International law is very clear that war is prohibited without the explicit and formal use of military troops from internationally recognized nations.

It sounds stupid but under the hair splitting language, there is a purpose. In this case, the purpose is to limit the field of possible perpetrators in the realm of armed conflict and hold everyone in that field accountable for their actions. If the world doesn’t bring a swift end to people that wage unsanctioned war, nations would have an incredibly difficult time dealing with one another. Keeping the field small serves a much greater good called peace.

The greatest danger of putting limitations on who can and cannot violence as a political tool is that there are insurgency movements that are just and noble. To stay focused on the discussion, al-Queda is neither just nor noble. The debate on which insurgency groups are qualified for such a description will have to wait for another day and another time on another subject.


Without a doubt, Bush is aware that he won the last election by court order. To win the next election, he will have to be absolutely right about his actions in Afghanistan and he will have to clarify his aims in the war on terror. As it stands, his effort is satisfactory but only time will tell if his actions are useful and constructive.

The final point on military tribunals involves that everyday use of the military code of justice. Several of us at Cyberista have friends in the military. A few are already in Afghanistan, others are about to leave very soon. Before there was any war on terror, these guys still had to live by a different code of justice. Getting a sunburn is damage to government property and subject to disciplinary hearing. Waking up late in the morning and not showing up to work on time is being AWOL and subject to court martial.


If these guys need to put up with a hypersensitive and borderline psychotic set of penalties for minor transgressions in peacetime, Cyberista has no sympathy for the fate of prisoners and suspects in Afghanistan that face charges of putting American lives in danger.

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