I guess BushCo cares more about their show trials than they do having a long-time Cheney fixer.

William Haynes, one of the architects of our DOD detainee policies, announced his resignation today (h/t TPMM).

The Department of Defense announced today that General Counsel of the Department of Defense William J. Haynes II is returning to private life next month. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates said of Haynes, “I am sorry to see Jim leave the Pentagon. I have valued his legal advice and enjoyed working with him. Jim held this important post longer than anyone in history and he did so during one of America’s most trying periods. He has served the Department of Defense and the nation with distinction.” Said Haynes, “I thank the President and the Secretary of Defense for their confidence and for the opportunity to serve. I leave the Pentagon humbled and inspired by the selfless sacrifices of the men and women, uniformed and civilian, who defend our country. And, I thank their families.”

You’ll recall that Haynes is the guy who said "we can’t have acquittals" in the Gitmo show trials coming up.

"[Haynes] said these trials will be the Nuremberg of our time," recalled [Morris] Davis, referring to the Nazi tribunals in 1945, considered the model of procedural rights in the prosecution of war crimes. In response, Davis said he noted that at Nuremberg there had been some acquittals, which had lent great credibility to the proceedings.

"I said to him that if we come up short and there are some acquittals in our cases, it will at least validate the process," Davis continued. "At which point, [Haynes’s] eyes got wide and he said, ‘Wait a minute, we can’t have acquittals. If we’ve been holding these guys for so long, how can we explain letting them get off? We can’t have acquittals. We’ve got to have convictions.’"

Davis submitted his resignation on October 4, 2007, just hours after he was informed that Haynes had been put above him in the commissions’ chain of command. "Everyone has opinions," Davis says. "But when he was put above me, his opinions became orders."

Reached for comment, Defense Department spokesperson Cynthia Smith said, "The Department of Defense disputes the assertions made by Colonel Davis in this statement regarding acquittals."

Mind you, I doubt Haynes’ departure changes the general perception in the Bush Administration that "we can’t have acquittals." Rather, I suspect they decided they couldn’t have Haynes hanging around, discrediting the show trials.

That would kind of defeat the purpose of show trials, wouldn’t it?

Udpate: Come to think of it, since Colonel Davis announced last week he was going to testify for Osama bin Laden’s former driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, and since he would almost certainly be asked to describe his conversation with Haynes about how there could be no acquittals, I can see how Haynes would be a liability for the show trials.

I guess DOD wasn’t really so convinced that Davis was wrong about his conversation with Haynes, huh?



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.