I generally resist the urge to comment on military commission matters, but in the wake of the No Man’s Khadr post, I’m going to fall off the wagon (hopefully just this one time).

According to Reuters, a military commission prosecutor challenged a member for cause (unsuccessfully) because “he agrees with the President”:

The rejected Army officer, a lieutenant colonel who had served in Europe and specialized in nuclear arms control, said “America seemed to lose its status as a beacon of freedom, liberty and justice” by conducting extrajudicial renditions, holding prisoners in secret locations and treating others inhumanely in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo.

“I don’t believe my position is any different from the president’s,” he said.

President Barack Obama has tried unsuccessfully to shut the Guantanamo detention camp and banned cruel, degrading or inhumane treatment.

Prosecutor Jeff Groharing, a former Marine major, said that Army officer showed “a decidedly hostile view of the government” and tried to have him dismissed as biased.

“He said repeatedly he agrees with the president!” Groharing exclaimed.

The judge refused to exclude the man but Groharing used the prosecution’s lone peremptory challenge to dismiss him without having to give a reason.

Jane Sutton, Keep or close Guantanamo? Military jurors weigh in, Reuters (Aug. 11, 2010).

25 Responses to “Gitmo TC reportedly challenges member for cause because “he agrees with the President””

  1. soonergrunt says:

    Mark my words, this will be birfer fodder.

    Prosecutor Jeff Groharing, a former Marine major, said that Army officer showed “a decidedly hostile view of the government” and tried to have him dismissed as biased.

    “He said repeatedly he agrees with the president!” Groharing exclaimed.

  2. Christopher Mathews says:

    Apparently, commander-in-chief influence works the opposite of regular ol’ command influence.

  3. Navy lad says:

    LOL, he’s a marine…what do you expect?

  4. haha says:

    maybe the TC is a member of the military tea party.

  5. Anon says:

    Please forgive me for not being current on all things “military justice”. The note says he is “a former Marine major”. (Let’s not get into the “former Marine” exchanges.) Is he now a civilian? We have civilians prosecuting Military Commission cases? And the guy who created the Military Justice Litigation Career Track in the Navy is the head of Military Commissions? Does anybody see the irony in this picture?

  6. Late Bloomer says:

    I saw that and wondered the same thing. Perhaps he’s DOJ.

  7. anonymous says:

    please…try harder to resist. The Commissions are a good thing, after all.

  8. Gitmo JAG says:

    Jeff Groharing is now DoJ, having left AD with the Marine Corps within the last year. Yes, there are civilian DoJ/DoD lawyers prosecuting the military commissions. In the 9/11 case, the one military lawyer (Groharing) assigned to prosecute the case, along with 5-7 civilian lawyers (depending upon the hearing), said nothing over the course of 6 hearings, other than to put his detailing and qualifications on the record.

    Groharing has been with the Khadr case for many years and had several ugly battles with former defense counsel (LCDR Kuebler in particular). Having watched him in court on several occassions, it is clear that his personal convictions on this case have at times overcome his professional temperament. Overall a good guy but a tad over-zealous. The challenge for cause of an officer for agreeing with the order of the Commander in Chief is not his finest moment.

  9. huh says:

    All of these should have gone to SDNY or DDC. GTMO was bad enough before this particularly idiotic challenge for cause. Not to mention the TC reinforces the belief that these are kangaroo courts.

  10. Dwight Sullivan says:

    Anon,

    You want me to resist commenting about commissions and then you bait me like that? I will not bite the hook; I will not bite the hook; I will not bite the hook . . . .

  11. Former GTMO JAG says:

    DOD, DOJ, it does not matter. There’s no painting these flawed tribunals as anything other than kangaroo. Sounds like this TC is too personally invested in this case to make the process look less tragic than it really is. Or maybe he’s just a closet teabagger and couldn’t hold back his true feelings.

  12. soonergrunt says:

    Or maybe he’s just a closet teabagger and couldn’t hold back his true feelings.

    I think he’s ‘out of the closet’ as it were.

  13. Actually deployed says:

    Yeah, b/c you demolibs have all the answers…. How ’bout you get your boots dirty before you pass judgment on men’s work?

  14. soonergrunt says:

    Yeah, b/c you demolibs have all the answers…. How ’bout you get your boots dirty before you pass judgment on men’s work?

    Having actually deployed more than once, why don’t you keep the stupid politics out of it? I have T-shirts with more time in theatre than some and I’m about as liberal as you will find. What relevance does that have to whether or not something is moral or immoral, legal or illegal?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Soonergrunt-the only reason you deployed was so you could be the next John Kerry. And the challenge was valid; if you actually read what the member really said: “GITMO is an embarrassment, it ought to be closed, blah, blah,” and the fact that the guy admitted he got all his knowlegde from reading media reports, you’d understand why he was challenged. He exhibited a hostile attitude toward one side.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Quit spinning; the media does enough of it.

  17. Dwight Sullivan says:

    Anon 2216, apparently the military judge disagreed with you as to the validity of the challenge.

  18. Waterboarder says:

    Col S, I agree with you; you should have resisted the urge to comment. This train is just more garbage and whining. We get enough of that from Aljazeera, the Tehran Times and most of the US media.

  19. soonergrunt says:

    And yet, somehow, I’ll collect my retirement check on the first of each month and find a way to carry on in the face of your worthless opinion. You, OTOH, will still be wrong. The judge who presumably knows more military law than either of us ruled the opposite direction from your assumption. So perhaps you need to change your source of information to one that actually tells you the whole story. Take care of your buddies and come home safe.

  20. Actually deployed says:

    So the military commissions are immoral? They’re certainly not illegal, right? Hasn’t the Supreme Court weighed in on this?

  21. soonergrunt says:

    We’re at a different version of the military commissions. The Supreme Court declared the last version to be unconstitutional iirc. I’ll leave it to the lawyers here to tell us whether or not they’re legal.
    As for the morality, we should’ve just kept them in POW status, which, as anyone who has read the treaty would know, doesn’t give a whole hell of a lot of rights or privledges to the prisoners and has the benefit of being the agreed-upon standard. We should’ve court-martial’ed them under UCMJ, which has concrete standards and harsh penalties. Instead, the Bush admin wanted to be able to torture the prisoners and use the products of that torture in show trials, where the meaning of the law is changed to fit the predetermined outcome. The Obama administration has decided to buy into this shameful farce, so they’re every bit as wrong. The military commissions are not about justice. They’re about revenge dressed up as justice.

  22. Dwight Sullivan says:

    soonergrunt, one tweak to your comment — in Hamdan, the Supreme Court declared the then-existing commission system illegal, not unconstitutional.

  23. soonergrunt says:

    Thank you, Col. Sullivan. That’s why you’re the lawyer and I’m not.

  24. soonergrunt says:

    And that was all my opinion and my opinion only.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I deployed to Iraq in 04-05, and I agree with that, so what’s your next “you ain’t a true ‘Merican” qualification I have to pass?