Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Swift Update

Mountain Philosopher reader and attorney Danya Ledford Vanhook points us to an editorial in today's New York Times regarding the story of Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift:

{Swift} did his duty and defended his client. The case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled in June that the tribunals violated American law as well as the Geneva Conventions.

The Navy responded by killing his military career. About two weeks after the historic high court victory in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, Commander Swift was told he was being denied a promotion. Under the Navy’s up-or-out system, that spelled the end of his 20-year career, and Commander Swift said last week that he will be retiring in March or April.

With his defense of Mr. Hamdan and his testimony before Congress starting in July 2003, Commander Swift did as much as any single individual to expose the awful wrongs of Guantánamo Bay and Mr. Bush’s lawless military commissions. It was a valuable public service and a brave act of conscience, and his treatment is deeply troubling.


The Navy gave no reason for refusing Commander Swift’s promotion. But there is no denying the chilling message it sends to remaining military lawyers about the potential consequences of taking their job, and justice, seriously.

Damn right.