John Walkers parents and

December 20, 2001 4:41 a.m.

John Walker’s parents and lawyer have been expressing increasing frustration that Walker – presently cooling his heels on the U.S.S. Peleliu in the Arabian Sea – has thus far not been allowed to meet with his lawyer. The White House responds that for the moment at least Walker is simply a prisoner of war and has no constitutional rights per se until he’s bounced over into the judicial system.

Whatever problems one might have with military tribunals, is it really possible to gainsay the White House response on this one?

The Post raises the possibility that information collected now under military interrogation might not be admissible in a subsequent court proceeding. And a visit from the Red Cross would seem to be in order, though perhaps not a Red Cross-delivered letter from the ‘rents.

But isn’t it just ludicrous to assume that John Walker – at best a prisoner of war taken by the US armed forces – has the same rights as someone arrested in the United States for a criminal offense?

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