Justice is to be impartial. This is the repeated teaching of the Scriptures and what most civilized nations profess to believe. The rich are not to have advantage over the poor, nor those with friends over the friendless, nor those with popular appeal over the unpopular. Being the sinners that we are, we fall short of the scriptural standard. Nevertheless, individuals and society are to strive to attain it. For example, we are not to apply one standard of rectitude to former Supreme Court Justice Fortas and a different standard to the man nominated to replace him, Clement Haynsworth. Nor are we to say that we oppose a nominee because of questionable financial dealings when what we really object to are his judicial decisions.
The sudden dismissal of the charges against the Green Berets is another example of the need for impartiality. If what these men did has long been common practice, then it was wrong to injure their reputations by singling them out for trial. That public outcry apparently led to more humane treatment for the men and then to their release and the dismissal of charges is a sad commentary on military justice. How many others are unjustly punished because the public does not get word of their condition? Or, if the men were guilty, why should public clamor be allowed to influence justice? Mixed into speculation about the case was the fear that intra-service or inter-agency rivalry was behind the charges. If the missions of the Special Forces are to be redefined, surely there are ways to do it with much more justice than by charging eight men with murder, then dropping the charges on a technicality.
Meanwhile the Army is faced with a Mafia-style scandal in its non-commissioned officer clubs. That wrongs may have ...1
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