Thu, Nov 30, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Letter: In defense of Haynes

By Bryan Whitman

The article on US President George W. Bush and the judiciary titled "Bush's bid to reshape US judiciary now in doubt" (Nov. 13, page 7) fails to recognize the gravity of the decisions the general counsel of the Department of Defense must advise on and their importance to US national security.

William Haynes is the chief legal officer of an organization with over 11,000 attorneys and a range of practices that encompasses virtually every legal discipline.

Haynes takes his vast responsibilities very seriously. He has served during a period of unprecedented, complex legal issues.

Many of the issues have no clear "right" or "wrong" answers and evoke strong arguments on competing sides.

Throughout these challenging times, Haynes has taken the lead and demonstrated integrity, compassion and intellect in advising the leadership of the department.

Contrary to some reporting, Haynes encourages open discussion and welcomes the participation of legal experts on detention operations.

Furthermore, he has demonstrated a willingness to make the necessary adjustments to ensure detainees were treated appropriately and humanely, while discharging the duties to defend the US from further attacks on innocent civilians.

Bryan Whitman

Deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, Washington

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