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Senator Leahy Challenges Bush on Military Tribunals

Today's Washinton Times is reporting that Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy criticized President Bush's decision to impose military justice on foreigners suspected of terrorist activities. Leahy said that use of military tribunals might give the world the impression that the United States is seeking "victor's justice". The article quotes Leahy as saying: "We need to understand the international implications of the president's order, which sends a message to the world that it is acceptable to hold secret trials and summary executions, without the possibility of judicial review."

We wonder what Senator Leahy means when he says summary executions? The first article that comes up when you search Google for "summary execution" is an Amnesty International reports that says that the Taleban summarily executed "scores of Afghan civilians" in Yakaolang last December. According to the description of the incident, "A Taleban commander is alleged to have ordered his forces to kill all men between the ages of 13 and 70 whom they consider to be anti-Taleban."

Well, if that's what summary execution really means, then Senator Leahy ought to choose his words more carefully. No member of the Bush Administration will ever issue an order like the one that the Taleban commander allegedly gave. And, of course, it's outrageous to even hint at the prospect.

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