Letter to the Editor

Secret tribunals could use some PR assistance

Thursday, December 13, 2001

To the editor:

The Bush-Ashcroft plan to use secret trials on suspected noncitizen terrorists seems to have stirred up a lot of questions. I do not have a problem with these type of courts. They would probably eliminate the three-ring circus: no delay tactics, but efficient, swift and fair justice.

Unfortunately, the rest of the world may not see it that way. We have screwed up some important trials in the past. Foreign legal experts, to the surprise of many of us, are not impressed with our legal system.

The term "secret military tribunal" conjures up visions of Charlton Heston getting unfair justice from the Romans in the movie "Ben Hur." The attorney general should have conferred with advertising experts to change the wording. "Secret military tribunal" could be changed to "Freedom Rock trial." This catchy phrase sounds much less sinister. Picture the president using this wording the next time he says "tribunal."


Scott City, Mo.