Anticipating international criticism over plans to seek the death penalty for accused September 11, 2001, terrorists, the State Department is advising U.S. diplomats to point out that Nazis were executed after their war crime trials.
－ CNN, 2008 February 13
Since the War Tribunals, the US military has rarely imposed the death penalty*. In fact, it last carried out a death sentence in 1961, when it hanged a certain John A. Bennett, Pvt. 1st. Class. His crime? Rape, and attempted murder, of an 11-year-old Austrian girl. No, there were no fatalities. In fact, the girl and her parents wrote letters to President Kennedy asking him to spare Bennettt's life.
What media reports on the new Gitmo trials do not tell you is that Private Bennett was an African-American.
ADD (February 14): The huge dissonance between the title and the substance is intentional, but I realize now that it is very confusing. My intent was to place the politicization of the military criminal procedure system (the Gitmo suspects in a constitutional limbo between the military and the civilian, Private Bennett falling in the societal abyss between the Jim Crow and post-Civil Rights Act worlds) as the backdrop to the many doors that the small historical footnote in the articles on the Gitmo trials opened. But it obviously does not work too well, as ross’s comment shows.
I still have a lot to learn about this craft. My only excuse: I’m new at writing for myself.