How military commissions are like the Cleveland Browns

|The Volokh Conspiracy |


There has been another leadership change for the Guantanamo Bay military commissions. Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor, offers some thoughts in the NYT. His essay begins:

Last week, we learned that, only months into the job, the official in charge of the military courts system at Guantánamo Bay was stepping down, after judges ruled he had interfered in proceedings. The appointment of an interim replacement was the sixth change of leadership for the tribunals since 2003.

This is yet another setback for the military commissions, as they tackle two of their highest-profile cases: the joint trial of the chief planner of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and four alleged co-conspirators, and the trial of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused in the bombing of the American destroyer Cole.

That's not all. Besides the revolving door at the convening authority's office, six military attorneys have served as chief prosecutor for these courts over the same period. (I was the third.)

Think about that for a moment. If a professional football team was on its seventh head coach and sixth quarterback in less than a dozen years, that team would almost certainly be a loser.

By comparison, the Cleveland Browns are on their seventh head coach since 2003, and even more starting quarterbacks.