n the opinion of Washington, D.C., attorney Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, Swift was "a no-brainer for promotion," given his devotion to the Navy, the law and his client.
But, he said, Swift is part of a long line of Navy defense lawyers "of tremendous distinction" who were not made full commander and "had their careers terminated prematurely."
"He brought real credit to the Navy," said Fidell. "It's too bad that it's unrequited love."
Swift's supervisor, the Pentagon's chief defense counsel for Military Commissions, said the career Navy officer had served with distinction.
"Charlie has obviously done an exceptional job, a really extraordinary job," said Marine Col. Dwight Sullivan, a former American Civil Liberties Union attorney, calling it "quite a coincidence" that the Navy promotion board passed on promoting Swift "within two weeks of the Supreme Court opinion."
In June, the prestigious National Law Journal listed Swift among the nation's top 100 lawyers, with such legal luminaries as former Bush administration Solicitor General Theodore Olson, 66; Stanford Law constitutional-law expert Kathleen Sullivan, 50; and former Bush campaign recount attorney Fred Bartlit, 73.
"Quite a coincidence" indeed. Let's be clear: the above accolades show quite clearly that Swift was not denied his promotion because he was unqualified. He was denied it because he was too qualified. Swift was a Pentagon appointee to this case, and apparently they were taken aback by the zeal with which he defended his client. So they got rid of him.
It's also worth noting that this sordid episode obliterates any claim towards the independence of the "military tribunals" that Bush wants to be the ultimate arbiters of guilt and innocent for detainees. Swift did his job as a defense attorney for the military. And he was kicked out. I'm quite confident all the other JAGs and military personnel who would be assigned to defend alleged terrorists have got the message loud and clear.
In the spirit of a true Navy lawyer, Swift says that he would do it all over again, even if he knew that defending Hamdan woul lead to the premature end of his military service. Good for him. And thanks to the broke no dissent culture of the Bush administration, the Navy has lost one of its best.