To the editor:
Tom Eagleton, hiding his partisan biases under the cloak of journalism, was grossly unfair in his attack on John Ashcroft and the U.S. military-justice system in Sunday's column.
Eagleton claims Ashcroft "wants to throw out the Bill of Rights in toto" and mindlessly rants that Ashcroft "orders secret, nonjury trials before three military officers with hearsay and illegally obtained evidence allowed. ... Anything goes. Guilt does not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt. ... No right of appeal." This is the most ludicrous statement I have ever read that was penned by a former U.S. senator. What government did Eagleton serve in?
Eagleton ignored these facts: Military commissions will be administered by the Department of Defense, not the Justice Department. The rules and guidelines for tribunals have not been worked out yet and will not apply to U.S. citizens. His asinine, demeaning description of the commission is an insult to the military officers who will administer these tribunals. Eagleton, an old-line Democratic attack dog, intentionally distorted the truth to fit his partisan agenda. This would be unforgivable for a real journalist. Eagleton, however, a member of the liberal media elite, will survive this unsubstantiated attack.
What Ashcroft can rightfully be accused of is, unlike Janet Reno, he will enforce the laws of the United States. This is what scares ultraliberals like Eagleton and forces them to attack the messenger when they do not like the message.
CHARLES W. POWERS