To the Editor:
I regret not having been at Yale Law School professor Ruth Wedgwood’s speech on Monday night (“International law expert favors military tribunals,” 11/27) to hear her full argument in favor of military tribunals to try terrorists.
From the article in the Yale Daily News, however, I garnered that the bulk of her argument rested on presenting problems with international tribunals and federal court cases.
Yet only to point out problems in the existing systems, just as death penalty supporters so often accuse our criminal justice system of being unable to keep violent prisoners incarcerated long enough, does not alone justify this new course of action.
The moral quandary over secret military tribunals in which we deprive the accused and the American public of their usual rights, like the moral quandary over execution, does not disappear simply because other solutions are seen as problematic.
The United States can either work to strengthen international tribunals and allow them more flexibility, thus building up the framework in which we will bring future terrorists and war criminals to justice, or we can turn our back on that challenge and instead favor military tribunals, a system which has always been used at great cost to democracy.
Adam Rosenblatt ’00
November 27, 2001