WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. military has confirmed rumors that it plans to augment the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or UCMJ, with parts of Islamic Shariah law.
"In the name of God, the most compassionate and merciful, and his Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, I announce that the Uniform Islamic Code of Military Justice is hereby declared operational," Army judge advocate Lt. Gen. Dana Chipman told reporters at a press conference. Chipman was flanked by his new deputy advisor, Dr. Osama al-A'bd from the Islamic Al-Azhar university in Egypt.
The change originally began as an investigation in response to congressional complaints that commanders were using the UCMJ to abuse subordinates accused of misconduct, while exonerating more senior-level officers. While conducting the review, the group tasked with overhauling the UCMJ accidentally discovered an 1813 treaty signed between the United States and the Bey of Tripoli.
According to the treaty, which was both ratified by Congress and signed into law by President James Madison, "In exchange for cessation of piracy and restoration of captives, the United States shall henceforth become an Islamic nation."
While the President and Congress have called an emergency session to repeal the law, the Supreme Court has ruled that until then military law must conform to basic Islamic norms, upending its centuries of fair and unbiased rulings, as well as reputation for even-handed justice that has made it so popular among the U.S. military.
Some military leaders are urging Congress not to be too hasty.
"Look, I was all against [Shariah] until I realized I could now just ban my soldiers from drinking; within a week our liberty incidents had dropped to nothing," said Army chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno.
Members of the Judge Advocate General's Corps are livid.
"How can they possibly force us to run a modern military using an outdated legal system that's centuries old," Maj. Bryan Medina wrote in a widely-published e-mail. "I can't believe that in the twenty-first century we're actually going to have to waste time on things like adultery and sodomy. And don't even get me started on those mandatory facial hair regulations!"
Capt. Georgina Attaway feared that Shariah law might actually increase instances of sexual assault in the ranks.
"These new rules provide no safeguards for our most vulnerable members: the junior enlisted soldier," she told Duffel Blog. "The way the new UICMJ is structured, if an underage female private first class is out drinking and gets sexually assaulted, her command can still prosecute her for violating Article 134. And if it's by an officer or staff [noncommissioned officer], she can be charged with fraternization too!"
Other senior JAG members are confident this will not happen.
"Despite these hiccups, we fully intend to fulfill our congressional orders to cut down on sexual assault in the ranks," said Col. Dan Driessen. "I recently presided over a case where we successfully convicted a 19-year-old soldier of statutory rape after she claimed she was assaulted by a 17-year-old sailor: clear evidence that Shariah has helped us move beyond any 'blame-the-victim' accusations."
The new policy is affecting current court cases too. Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair was able to have all of his charges reduced to a single misdemeanor since his accusers failed to produce the required four witnesses to his acts. As part of the plea bargain, his wife now faces life in prison for "poor moral character." Bradley Manning also had all of his charges dropped, since Shariah law fails to address espionage, but is now facing a series of new charges based on his sexual orientation and failure to pray five times a day.
After accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan proudly boasted to his Shariah judge that he had committed the murders in the name of jihad, he was politely asked what Qadi, or religious judge, had authorized the killings. When he was unable to cite a recognized authority other than 'the Internet,' he was summarily dragged out of the courtroom and beheaded.