Thank You For A Job Well Done
As a reward for doing his job well, for upholding and defending the Constitution and the rule of law, and for diligently representing his client, Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift has been denied promotion by the US Navy, effectively ending his career in the military.
I just wanted to take a moment to say "Job well done, and thank you." Integrity isn't a medal that you get to pin all shiny on your chest, but it is something that Mr. Swift has in spades. And I salute him for it. Bravo.
It cannot have been easy to challenge the military tribunal system and our entire detainee process at Guantanamo and elsewhere within the context of the Bush Administration's current environment in the Pentagon, the DoJ and the assault on the rule of law — but he did the work on the Hamdan case, and did it well, and ought to be commended for it.
When you do criminal appointments — be it civilian or military — you defend the case that you are given, because the Constitution requires that each and every person accused of a crime be innocent until proven guilty. And in our criminal justice system the prosecutor in the case should be required to prove the charges levied against that person, and the defendant should be given a vigorous defense to protect his or her rights under the rule of law. Period. You do not get to choose only the best defendants or the best cases — you take them as they come, and you uphold the Constitution — or you should stop doing defense work altogether.
Lt. Cmdr. Swift represents the best of what being a lawyer can be in his conduct in the Hamdan case, and he ought to be rewarded for it. Looks like that reward is going to come in whatever job he's given in the private sector now.
It's just too bad that in George Bush and Don Rumsfeld's Pentagon, doing your job superbly and being committed to truth and the Constitution over political expediency gets you cashiered out of the service. The Navy and the JAG corps will be the lesser for it. For shame.