The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Matthew Allee,(202) 580-6922 or,

Restarting Flawed Military Commissions Will Endanger National Security

Proceedings betray American values and legal traditions, says Constitution Project


The House Armed Services Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing
this afternoon to examine the legal implications of reforming the
military commission system for trials of suspected terrorists. In May,
President Obama announced his plan to revive the military commissions
for a number of detainees currently being held at Guantanamo Bay.
Although the Constitution Project welcomes Congress' efforts to
evaluate this crucial policy matter carefully, the Project urges
Congress to ultimately reject this dangerous proposal.

panel of witnesses that will testify before the Housed Armed Service
comprises current judge advocates general and staff judge advocates
from the four branches of the United States military. A substantial
number of other prominent military and counterterrorism officials and
experts have voiced their opposition to reinstating the military
commissions. These individuals have highlighted the significant
national security costs and damage to our international credibility
that would accompany the creation of a revised military commission

The following is an excerpt from a statement opposing
military commissions issued by Stephen Abraham, a retired Lieutenant
Colonel in the United States Army and member of the Constitution
Project's Liberty and Security Committee. Speaking as an individual,
Lieutenant Colonel Abraham says:

"I have witnessed firsthand military proceedings purporting to
satisfy fundamental rights embodied in our Constitution...Military
commissions are an unacceptable substitute for our federal courts that
have demonstrated time and again that they can handle such cases as
these without diminishing our national security or shared values. Are
we so weary - or fearful - of the institutions upon which our Nation's
heritage has been established that we would so easily discard them?"
To see the full text of Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Abraham's statement opposing the revival of military commissions, go to:
To see a compilation of statements from military leaders,
prosecutors and national security authorities on the danger of using
military commissions to try suspected terrorists, go to:

The Constitution Project is a politically independent think tank established in 1997 to promote and defend constitutional safeguards. More information about the Constitution Project is available at