I have to admit that this story is getting far more traction than I initially thought that it would get. At first I was really at a loss in understanding why it was getting such outrage from the Republican network. But the more I see the less I like, and I am beginning to see why there seems to be such an outrage. I can certainly also understand why New Yorkers are so against the move made around the trial. What I am failing to understand is how anyone from the left is able to support such a move being made by the administration. I can see no valid arguments being made by those on the left that would justify the Attorney General moving the trial to a civilian court in NY instead of a military tribunal in Cuba. None-the-less, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, along with 4 others will be tried in a civilian court in New York rather than in a military tribunal. And I am not pleased that this is the case.
Now before I get started, allow me to make a correction, or rather an admission of being wrong. I challenged BF on Tuesday, stating that KSM confessed that he was the mastermind of the NYC terror attacks before enhanced interrogation techniques were used against him. BF challenged me on this and I spent about an hour tonight doing research on it. It appears, from what I can find, that I am incorrect. KSM did not confess to US authorities that he played a part in the planning of 9/11 prior to being interrogated. He DID, however confess his part in the September 11 attacks to the al-Jazeera reporter Yosri Fouda in April 2002 in an interview in Karachi, Pakistan alongside Ramzi bin al-Shibh who will now stand trial with him in New York (From the Telegraph link below). So while I was wrong about who he confessed to, I was correct in stating that he professed his participation prior to interrogation.
The others who will stand trial for the September 11 attacks include Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a key member of the Hamburg cell who was allegedly one of the hijackers but failed to get a US visa, Walid bin Attash, also known as “Khallad,” who allegedly helped train some of the hijackers, Ali Abdal Aziz Ali, also known as “Ammar al-Baluchi,” Mohammed’s nephew, who allegedly took over from his uncle in planning the attacks against Britain in 2003, and Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, said to be one of the financiers for the September 11 attacks (also from the Telegraph link). For the purpose of this article I am going to be focusing on KSM, but obviously the arguments apply to these other four alleged terrorists as well.
Khalid Sheik Mohammed is a terrorist. Of that I have no doubt. He has admitted so in many venues and interviews prior to his capture in 2003. And regardless of the claims that the interrogation produces inaccurate results (a claim that I dispute, FTR. While I understand that interrogation or torture can possibly result in bad info, the fact is that it usually does not), I don’t have any qualms about KSM meeting his demise at the hands of US authorities. Whether he actually did plan 9/11 or not, he is a terrorist and is responsible for many other atrocities committed by Al Qaeda over the last decade. So fry him, hang him, poison him, shoot him, electrocute him, or turn him over to the families of his victims, I don’t care. In fact, let’s pay down some of this deficit by featuring him on a pay-per-view where he is hunted in West Virginia by the cast of Deliverance (that is just a joke, simmer down).
First, the claim that moving the trials to a civilian court is going to mean that tons of classified information is now going to be publicly offered, putting the US at greater risk and exposing state secrets. I disagree with this claim. Our court systems are set up to deal with this aspect of the trial. Classified information will not be given to the public. There are plenty of protocols in place to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Second, the claim that this puts New York at a much greater risk of terrorist attack. I don’t buy this one either. New York is a preferred target for terrorists, I agree. I don’t think that this makes them a bigger target than they already are. In fact, I would imagine that the gobs of money that will be spent to ensure security during the trials will make New York far less likely to be attacked. Terrorists are cowards. They don’t go after the big, heavily guarded targets. They go after the unsuspected targets of opportunity that are easier to hit. Besides, doesn’t the great GOP fear of an attack on NY, which happens to be US soil, mean the GOP folks are admitting that the Bush administration didn’t actually make us safer with unconstitutional moves like the Patriot Act?
Finally, the claims that this trial could possibly now end in a acquittal or whatever that sets KSM free in the end. Get real folks. This trial is in the bag. And I mean it in the old fashioned way. I believe that the trial’s outcome has been decided before it even begins. Do you really think that the Obama administration would risk the massive backlash that would come with a not guilty verdict? Of course not. It would irreparably harm the Democratic party and it would embolden Republicans in a way that the Democrats are trying really hard to suppress. Obama and Holder would not have made this decision without the verdict already in the bag.
But the question I want someone to answer for me is WHY is this decision being made? What is the purpose of the trials being moved to a civilian court and NYC as opposed to a military tribunal in Cuba? It makes no sense.
If the President felt that military tribunals were unfair, ineffective, or simply wrong, he would stop their use altogether, right? But that is not what is happening. 5 different alleged terrorists were announced as being sent into the military tribunal process. So obviously the administration doesn’t feel there is something wrong with military tribunals. And KSM has stated that he would plead guilty in a military tribunal, but not in a civilian trial. That being the case, if justice is what you want and you are 100% positive that he will be convicted either way, why make the move to a civilian court in NYC?
The costs will be far higher for the civilian trial. From what I have read and heard regularly throughout the course of the debates the last couple of days, the estimated cost to New York City for the trials to be held there will be between $75 Million and $100 Million. Millions of New Yorkers will be inconvenienced due to the increased security. I would imagine that during the trials, taking any form of public transportation will become a monumental pain in the ass. The time frame will be much longer in a civilian trial, making this pain in the ass last much longer in the psyche of Americans. If tribunals are good enough for some, they are good enough for all.
The claims that other terrorists have been tried in civilian courts rings hollow as the ones that were were captured on American soil. Being captured in Pakistan as an enemy combatant should disqualify him as a candidate for a civilian trial in New York. Senator Lindsey Graham pointed this out to the Attorney General in a the Senate Judiciary hearings this morning. He asked, “Can you give me a case where an enemy combatant caught on a battlefield was tried in civilian court?” Holder was silent for a minute and then proceeded to attempt to dodge the question. Graham called him on it stating, “let me help you. We are making history here. It has never been done before.” The attack was an act of war and the suspects should be tried in a military tribunal rather than a civilian court, where they will have more legal protections and a potential platform to spew their hatred for America.
Additionally false are the silly claims that this somehow will show the world the power and grace of the American court systems and show the world that we are a fair country. This notion is beyond silly, it is an outright attempt to play an emotional card for those who hate America. These trials will do absolutely NOTHING for our global image. When we stop invading other countries, stop meddling in the affairs of sovereign nations, and resort the the VDLG platform of defense only, we may begin to regain our moral stature. Until then, nothing we do in this case is going to change anyone’s opinion of the United States. Claiming so is ridiculous.
I will stop there as far as bashing the two sides of the argument we are hearing today. I am sure there are other points. I will wait to hear them from those on each side of the issue and address them in the comments. I do look forward to someone, anyone, giving me a good reason for the decision to move these 5 jackasses into a civilian federal court and trying them there. I can find no valid reason to do so.
Which brings me to my conclusion, which I will defend as necessary as well. I do believe that this is a calculated move by the Obama administration to rehash the same old arguments against George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the CIA. The mood of the American public is suddenly changing. Obama’s approval rating is below 50% for the first time. The Democrats in Congress are finding widespread disdain for their agenda spreading legislation. The Democrats in national politics have made hay by bashing Bush. I think that they figure if they can get back to bashing Bush, the American public will come back around to supporting their madness.
So the answer is to find a way to put Bush, Cheney, and the CIA back on trial in the mind of Americans. And this is the ONLY way that they have to re-hash the same old tired arguments. This is the mechanism they intend to use to take the focus off the traitorous cap and trade, stimulus, and health care legislation.
Additionally, so long as we are focused on the right hand, we don’t pay attention to the right hand. Things like Sarah Palin and this trial are a way to distract all of us from the things they are doing behind our backs. The bottom line is that I don’t see anything beyond a pure political play at hand here. I can find no valid reason for this decision, therefore I have to conclude that the Obama administration is doing this for political reasons (and make no mistake, this was an Obama decision, not an Eric Holder decision).