Please, Don’t Pet The Terrorist

Meet Army Col. Wendy A. Kelly, director of operations of the Office of Military CommissionsCol. Wendy Kelly, and a Philadelphia lawyer who is in charge of setting up America’s forthcoming terrorism trials in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Don’t pet the terrorist. In other words: Treat detainees humanely but don’t be so eager to make up for past abuses that you put yourself or your country at risk.

Perhaps Col. Kelly’s biggest challenge will be to figure out how trying 80 detainees will not be turned into the greatest show on earth by the mainstream media. Albeit not her only challenge.

She has spent 26 years as a government lawyer – half in the military, half as a civilian federal prosecutor in Philadelphia. Her DNA is half soldier, half lawyer.

From challenges about ‘torture’ that is not torture, to who trashed the videotapes, to these human debris are protected by the Geneva Convention, to these human debris have U.S. Constitutional protection, and the list goes on and on from the anti-Bush, anti-war, anti-American pro-terrorist groups in this country. And that’s just for starters.

Back in Washington, in an unmarked, secure corner office near the Pentagon, Kelly helps draft terrorism-trial rules and reviews proposed formal charges against detainees, including top-secret evidence.

If the first terrorism trial does begin early next year – roughly six years after detainees began arriving from Afghanistan – it will mark the first full-fledged U.S. “military commission” since World War II.

Will the military commissions, as Kelly predicts, show that the United States can convene fair trials for accused terrorists? “I think people will be surprised,” she says.

“I’m sure most Americans think, ‘To hell with them. Why should we give them a fair trial? They’re terrorists.’ It’s true that we don’t have to provide a trial for any of these people. We have the legal right to keep them until the conflict is over, which may be five years or may be 100 years.

That would be my choice for them.

But if you’re going to provide trials – for the sake of the United States and the JAG [military legal] corps, because we are the ones who are going to be judged – they have to be fair.”

I think we’ve reached the point of no return on the issue of whether or not there will be trials, thanks to bleeding hearts in Washington who bow to the U.N. And that’s a shame, but from what it looks like, Col. Kelly will do the job that needs to be done in a fair way.

More than half of the 800 detainees brought to Club Gitmo have been ordered released. Ironically, they have it better in Cuba now than if they were returned to their country of origin, which is why they’re still in Cuba. Sounds good to me, send them back to face the music. Make them wish they were in the custody of the United States.

“No one writes about what the detainees do,” Kelly says. “There’s just the conclusion by the media that detainees are constantly mistreated and the guard force are a bunch of sadistic monsters – that particularly bothers me.”

According to military reports and interviews with guards, the detainees scream, they attack, they carve shanks, they spit, they hurl cocktails of semen and feces. “It takes a lot of patience,” a guard said.

And for the absurdly ridiculous of rules, created by backlash from the fake Koran down the toilet episode, Kelly says . . .

“The guards are not allowed to search detainees’ ‘sacred places’ ” – between their waist and knees – “because it might offend their religious sensibilities.”

She shakes her head. “I’m sorry. Their sacred places? Can you believe that?”

No, I can’t believe that. That area is sacred? Does the Koran cover proper use and handling of genitalia and body orifices? Most Ridiculous Item Of The Day! That must be the Penthouse version of the Koran in use down there. Apparently the Koran is also OK with “hurling cocktails of semen and feces” too! Will have to consult the local Imam about that.

Philadelphia Inquirer link: Mission:Fairness

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