Statement from Law Prof. Amos Guiora, a former Lt. Col. in the Israeli Defense Forces (Ret.), Commandant of the IDF School of Military Law and Judge Advocate of the Navy and Homefront Command, who teaches International Law and Global Perspectives on Terrorism at the University of Utah:
I first met Moe Davis when he was Commander of the Air Force JAG School in Montgomery, Ala.
I was immediately impressed by his forthright manner that was combined with humor and modesty. It was compelling, particularly because Col. Davis had a clear sense of self and of right-wrong.
That became even clearer when I invited Moe to speak to students, faculty and the legal community at Case Western Reserve Law School.
Moe was then the Chief Prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Prior to his talk, Moe informed me he was going to “use” the opportunity to very clearly state that if forced by his commanders to submit into evidence information procured by illegal means he would both refuse to do so and would resign his post. When I informed Moe that the talk would be broadcast live on C-SPAN he was not deterred; if anything, quite the opposite.
In his talk, he said exactly what he had told me he would say. When forced to submit evidence procured by torture, he did exactly what he said he would do: Resign.
Whether that decision cost him friends and impacted his career struck me as two concerns that Col. Davis paid no heed to. The only important consideration was doing the right thing at a most difficult time.
Many of us say, “I’ll do such and such.” In Moe’s case, he said what he meant and meant what he said. I find that both noteworthy and impressive. Most of us are not risk-takers. Most of us take the comfortable route. That is, for better or worse, human nature.
His compass told him what to do; his moral fiber was sufficiently strong that he did what he said he would do.
I am aware there have been efforts to impugn his record. I find that astonishing.
Col. Davis did exactly what an officer in the military should do when receiving a blatantly unlawful order: Refuse the order and resign the post rather than participate in a clear illegality.
Those who question Moe’s record, honesty and decency have either never met Moe or “been there.”
Criticism is easy; doing the right thing is exceptionally difficult.
For doing so, I am proud to call Moe Davis my friend.
This opinion is the author’s only and does not, under any circumstances or conditions, represent or reflect those of the University of Utah.