Controlling the Rules in Guantanamo

Today’s Guardian is running an interesting (and apparently exclusive) story about the legal defense of the prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay:

US Fires Guantanamo Defence Team

A team of military lawyers recruited to defend alleged terrorists held by the US at Guantanamo Bay was dismissed by the Pentagon after some of its members rebelled against the unfair way the trials have been designed, the Guardian has learned.

And some members of the new legal defence team remain deeply unhappy with the trials – known as “military commissions” – believing them to be slanted towards the prosecution and an affront to modern US military justice.

One thing that the Bush administration understands – probably better than any other administration in recent memory – is how important the rules of the game are to ensuring the desired outcome. That’s why they have consistently devoted incredible attention to controlling the rules of the game in a host of different situations, from changing the congressional districts in Texas, to changing the rules on conference negotiation and on roll call procedures in Congress, to this. They know that if you can change the rules in the right way, then more often than not you can win perfectly legitimately – according to the rules.