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Playing by the rules

June 13, 2007

Re "Bill of Rights without borders," Opinion, June 9

Kal Raustiala asserted that military courts-martial are inherently less fair than their civilian counterparts because "they do not employ grand juries." Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice provides for a hearing serving the same function as a civilian grand jury, while granting more protection to the accused than its civilian counterpart, as the accused and counsel are permitted to take part in the hearing and rebut the prosecution's presentation.

CAPT. MARK R. PHARISS

Wright-Patterson

Air Force Base

Ohio

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If we truly believe in the principles this nation was founded on, we must acknowledge that foreigners have basic human rights that our government cannot abridge.

GREG TABER

Riverside

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It is not so much that American constitutional rights should travel abroad with American citizens. If I break the law in Mexico, then I should have to play by Mexico's rules. The real point is that the U.S. government's obligations to adhere to constitutional rights should follow the U.S. government during those rare instances when it is compelled to exercise executive power outside the borders of the United States. Otherwise the government could simply move the accused across the border and proceed without regard to the Constitution, e.g. Gitmo.

Of course, the Bush administration has shown no interest in protecting constitutional liberties even within the borders of the United States, much less outside of the country, so it would appear that this will continue to be a moot point, at least until January 2009.

RONALD O. RICHARDS

Los Angeles

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