On Dec. 15 the Boston Globe revealed that the Bush administration had proposed a regulation requiring that members of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) corps must coordinate promotions through “politically appointed Pentagon lawyers.” This appears to be an effort to take control of the group that has been actively and loudly opposing the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere.
The JAG’s are not under civilian control but William “Jim” Haynes, the Pentagon’s General Counsel and a Bush-appointee, has encouraged the idea of civilian control over the military.
Many retired JAG’s were appalled at the notion and and feel the White House policy is illegal.
Today the Boston Globe reports that the Bush administration is no longer pursuing this plan due to the repeated objections and concerns from retired JAG’s.
As some may look upon this as a relief, the chilling reaction of William “Jim” Haynes clearly stands out:
“In light of the feedback that [Haynes] received, he thought that it was wiser to try a different approach,” Geoff Morrell, Pentagon press secretary said.
In these changing times, and they are changing fast, I would not find any comfort in those words. From what I have been reading my bet is that this first approach was the “kinder, gentler” approach and the next will not be so friendly, kind or gentle…