The Bush administration is not only asking Congress to approve essentially the same military tribunal rules the Supreme Court rejected in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld; it also wants the tribunals to have broader jurisdiction. According to The Washington Post, the administration's proposed legislation says military commissions can try people for any of 25 listed crimes, plus whatever additional "violations of the laws of war" the secretary of defense decides to add later. The November 2001 executive order creating the commissions, by contrast, was limited to members of Al Qaeda, people who had harbored terrorists, and people who had committed, abetted, or conspired to commit "acts of international terrorism."
Once someone is deemed subject to trial by a military commission, he faces procedures that seem designed to assure a guilty verdict. "The theme of the government," says former Reagan administration lawyer Bruce Fein, "seems to be 'They are guilty anyway, and therefore due process can be slighted.' "