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Guantanamo and Kwajalein By: Henry Mark Holzer
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, March 14, 2007


At Guantanamo’s holding facility, the military commission hearings have begun for the worst of the worst.  Soon, these savages will be convicted and hopefully put to death.

If death sentences are ordered, rest assured that the enemy combatants’ pro-terrorist lawyers, aided and abetted by their fellow travelers from some of America’s largest law firms, will use every available strategy and tactic to defeat the just, hopefully capital, punishment their clients richly deserve.

 

When the hue and cry is sounded for “mercy,” it would be well for Americans to remember what happened on June 19, 1947, on the island of Guam.

 

But first, the back-story.

 

Early in World War II, the Marine Corps organized a guerilla battalion named after its leader, Lt. Colonel Evans F. Carlson.  In the summer of 1942, two companies of “Carlson’s Raiders” attacked Makin Atoll in the South Pacific’s Gilbert Islands.  The Raiders’ principal mission was to destroy the Japanese garrison, installation, and supplies.  A secondary goal was to make the Japanese worried about similar attacks so they’d reinforce other small Pacific islands, thus spreading their troops thin.  (An interesting side note is that among the Raiders was Major James Roosevelt, one of the president’s four sons.)

The story of the Makin Raid has often been told and although accounts differ about some aspects of the engagement and its success, there is no dispute that several Marine raiders didn’t get off the atoll when the main force withdrew.

The Marines were taken to another Japanese-held island, Kwajalein, as prisoners of war.  When the island’s commander sought to remove the Marines to Japan, he was told by Vice-Admiral Koso Abe that it would no longer be necessary to transport prisoners to the mainland—from then on, American prisoners of war would be “disposed” of on the island.  In other words, the Marine prisoners were to be executed.

That’s exactly what happened.

On October 16, 1942, in a formal ceremony celebrating a Japanese holiday, the Americans were beheaded.

On April 16, 1946, a United States Military Commission was convened in Guam.

On June 19, 1947, the Provost Martial of Guam informed the Marine Corp Commandant that in accordance with the sentence of the Military Commission, Vice-Admiral Abe had been hanged.

A similar fate should await every enemy combatant convicted by a Military Commission at Guantanamo if he is found guilty of having killed a defenseless American.

For additional information about the events described above, see Record of Proceedings of a Military Commission convened on April 16, 1946, at United States Fleet, Commander Marianas Area, to deal with the cases of Vice Admiral Koso Abe, Captain Yoshio Obara, and Lieutenant Commander Hisakichi Naiki, all of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

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Henry Mark Holzer, Professor Emeritus at Brooklyn Law School, is a constitutional lawyer and author most recently of The Supreme Court Opinions of Clarence Thomas, 1991-2006, A Conservative’s Perspective.



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