How the Military Tribunals Will Really Work

President Bush recently issued an executive order allowing US military tribunals to try foreigners suspected of terrorist activity. This act is considered somewhat controversial given that military tribunals have different criteria and methodology than the constitutional jury system, such as allowing hearsay as evidence and rendering guilty verdicts within a reasonable doubt.

Below is a list of some of the rules and regulations for the military tribunals as outlined by the Bush administration:

-- Trials will be held at Tribal Council, with Jeff Probst presiding.

-- The defendant will be sworn in by laying his hand on a copy of the "How to Disarm a Charging Afghan on the Number 6 Train" issue of Jane's Defense Weekly.

-- The defendant will not be allowed to "speak," "cough" or "scratch" during the trial.

-- If a lawyer cannot be found for the defendant a suitable chimpanzee will serve as counsel.

-- The defendant's counsel must have a doctorate in organic chemistry.

-- The defense shall never wake Judge Probst.

-- The prosecutor must be present for all conversations between the defendant and his lawyer/chimpanzee.

-- Justice and fairness will be pickled together in a mason jar beneath the front porch.

-- The defendant must provide a list of foods to which he is deathly allergic.

-- The defendant will remain in custody until the correct verdict is rendered.

-- The defendant must demonstrate his ability to hop on one foot for three (3) hours.

-- The defendant must demonstrate his ability to hang from a noose for thirty (30) minutes.

-- It is recommended that the prosecutor have a nicely cut jaw and a strapping demeanor.

-- The word "legitimate" will be understood to mean, "Being in accordance with loosely established patterns and standards as determined by REDACTED."

-- In the interest of national security, all evidence will be kept from the public, the media, the defense and the court.

-- Each day, the defendant must provide the court and prosecution with fresh lemonade, sweetened to perfection.

-- The defendant will not know that he is on trial.


David Turnley is a writer in New York City who visits the lawyer cage at the Bronx Zoo at least once a week.

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