The 9/11 Military Commission Motion Hearings: An Ordinary Citizen Looks at Comparative Legitimacy
Southern Illinois University Law Review, Fall 2013
37 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2013 Last revised: 18 Jun 2013
Date Written: March 15, 2013
Under the Military Commission Act of 2009, since May 2012 the 9/11 Military Commission has been proceeding at Guantanamo Bay. As an ordinary citizen observer in October 2012 at a remote feed in Fort Meade, Maryland and in late January 2013 at Guantanamo Bay, the author has followed the 9/11 military commission motion hearings. Numerous dualities became readily apparent: such as, Guantanamo Bay as tropical paradise and an unseen tropical detention hell; the impact of unseen detention and interrogation “offscreen” on the courtroom process “onscreen;” the virtual presence of offscreen classification authorities in the courtroom and the judge’s control; the flexible law space of a military commission act built to stand alone and its amenability to diverse interpretations with other federal law and practice (Article III courts and courts-martial); the operability/inoperability and applicability/inapplicability of the Constitution; the defendants and the families of 2976 victims; military honor and duty and the intelligence community; legitimate and illegitimate government secrets and the citizen’s right to the truth; the domestic observer and the international observer; a domestic law vision and an international law vision. All of these dualities (and others that become apparent as one processes the experience) flow together to make Guantanamo Bay more than a place but an idea. After grappling with the legitimacy of the Guantanamo Bay idea, the author suggests one ordinary citizen’s view of what should be our next choices on adjudication, torture, indefinite detention, and accountability.
Keywords: militarty commissions, torture, indefinite detention, accountability, detainees, Guantanamo Bay
JEL Classification: K14, K33, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation