The Supreme Court correspondent for the Wall Street Journal exposes the post-9/11 legal morass resulting in the detention of alleged terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.
Bravin (Squeaky: The Life and Times of Lynette Fromme, 1997) explains why the administration of George W. Bush felt it could round up the terrorists from nations around the world, transport them in secret to Guantanamo, deny them basic legal safeguards, torture some of them and establish military commissions of questionable legality to mete out punishment. Because verifiable information about the suspects has been so difficult to obtain, Bravin wisely builds the narrative around the prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges who have struggled to understand the procedures and jurisdictional limits of the military commissions. Bush's White House staff lawyers and U.S. Justice Department lawyers viewed the military commissions as a vehicle to convict terrorist suspects without normal due process of law. The author illuminates why so many of the prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges rebelled against the immoral and apparently illegal conduct of Bush administration ideologues. Perhaps the first among equals within the Bravin narrative is Stuart Couch, a Marine lieutenant colonel assigned to prosecute some of the detainees. Couch fervently wished to carry out his mission until he realized that the administration lacked evidence against an overwhelming percentage of the suspects. Consequently, Couch spoke up, endangering his career and his family life. Bravin also explores the broken promises of President Barack Obama concerning Guantanamo.
A damning, brave book by an author who is legitimately outraged by what he uncovered.