Barack Obama is serving sitting duck this Thanksgiving, featuring the raw meat of Bush and Cheney Administration officials and CIA officers, offered up on a platter to his far left base. Stewing in the same juices of this cold dish will be the citizens of New York, the police officers charged with their protection, and the safety of all the American people
I am referring to the travesty announced Friday, November 13 by Attorney General Eric Holder: Obama’s decision, clothed in sanctimonious righteousness, to stop the Military Commission proceedings against 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and that of 4 of his co-conspirators, and to commence criminal action against them in a civil court in New York City.
KSM had wanted to plead guilty before the Commission, but now that process has been terminated in favor of a show trial that will be a circus unlike any we have witnessed, an unmitigated debacle with parades of lawyers, undoubtedly well financed by the same terror sponsoring states that brought us 9/11 in the first place, and media pundits hovering on their every move. We can expect repeated motions, trials, mistrials, and retrials over the years and decades to come.
This decision endangers everyone, but especially anyone involved in the court system in New York. The judge, jurors and witnesses in the KSM case may need protection for years, (“juror intimidation” takes on a whole new meaning here), and New York City is at even greater risk for terrorist attack.
The prosecution will be hampered by the fact that the procedural rules have now been changed in the middle of the game: Evidence gathering, including interrogations, was not done in anticipation of having to introduce it in this kind of trial. Military Commissions have less strict rules for introduction of evidence, and the prosecution will face a whole host of challenges (on Miranda rights, due process, coerced confessions, to name a few) that were never contemplated by those involved in building the case.
The trial will delight our enemies and provide an unexpected platform for the terrorists to play to the world with hateful messages about America.
On top of that, the terrorists’ lawyers will press to expose our intelligence gathering, interrogation techniques, security practices, and a whole host of other information that could end up harming America.
That happened in the 1993 WTC bombing case, where information was revealed that the US considered Osama bin Laden a terrorist co-conspirator, which in turn led to OBL changing his hiding place in Sudan to Afghanistan. (“KSM Hits Manhattan-Again,” The Wall Street Journal, November 14, 2009, p. A14.)
Consider these comments from Andrew McCarthy, the prosecutor in the Blind Sheikh trial in 1995 for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, on the dangers of trying KSM in civilian court:
“Nothing results in more disclosures of government intelligence than civilian trials. They are a banquet of information, not just at the discovery stage but in the trial process itself, where witness-intelligence sources must expose themselves and their secrets…
We are now going to have a trial that never had to happen for the defendants who have no defense. And when defendants have no defense for their own actions, there is only one thing for their lawyers to do: put the government on trial in hopes of getting the jury (and the media) spun up over government errors, abuses and incompetence. …It will be a soapbox for al-Qaeda’s case against America…” (“Holder’s Hidden Agenda, “the corner,” nationalreviewonline.)
And, last but not least, this opens up the real possibility that one or more of the terrorists will be set free. If that’s not a possibility, why have the trial? This is particularly galling in view of the fact that KSM can’t stop bragging about the WTC attack, and states that he wants to die, presumably ready to fall into the arms of the 27 virgins waiting for him in Islamic heaven.
Obama-era “change” now means that we go back to a September 10 mentality, back to the ‘90’s way of treating Islamic jihadists not as the enemy combatants they are but as your garden variety criminal, say a car thief or a burglar.
Our democrat leaders have apparently learned nothing from the experience of 9/11, refusing for purely ideological and political reasons to see Islamic terrorism for what it is: the waging of an ongoing war to kill all infidels by religiously motivated extremists who are more than willing to die in order to murder us. As Nidal Malik Hasan, the Ft. Hood killer explained: “We love death more than you love life.”
So how did we get from the awakening of 9/11 back to the naïveté of 9/10? I will try to explain my view in as reasoned and dispassionate a manner as the subject matter and my intense feelings about it allow. But, before I take to that task, first permit me to indulge in stating exactly what is on my mind:
That this decision by Obama is the single most recklessly dangerous, ill-intended, bone-headed, irresponsible, morally confused, politically motivated, ideologically conceived piece of demagoguery from the President that we have seen in almost a year’s worth of bad moves.
Now, back to how we returned to the ’90’s after all those years in the 21st century.
Denial and Wishful Thinking as Policy
With the ascension to power by this far left President and a democrat controlled Congress, the administration immediately imposed an Orwellian “doublespeak” terminology to describe our conflicts with radical Islam.
Doublespeak consists of words “deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which not only had in every case a political implication, but were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them.” The underlying theory is that if something can’t be said, then it can’t be thought. (Wikipedia Encyclopedia.)
The Obama administration notified us that they would no longer use certain terms: They did not recognize a “war on terror” or “terrorists” or “enemy combatants,” but only “overseas contingency actions,” “man-caused disasters,” and “insurgents.”
Obama has often made a point of describing Islam categorically as a “religion of peace,” while failing to discuss its inspiring many followers to wage violent jihad against non-believers. In that same vein, Obama ignored the obvious jihadist nature of the terrorist attack on Ft. Hood by Nidal Malik Hasan.
Hasan, who cried “Allahu Ahkbar,” the jihadist war cry, before killing 13 and wounding 30 of our soldiers, had had numerous recent email contacts with a radical Yemeni imam with ties to Al Qaeda, and had openly defended Islamic suicide bombers (likening them to an American soldier falling on a bomb to save his comrades), and the beheading of infidels. The acronym, SOA, “Soldier of Allahu,” was on his business cards.
Most of us can instantly add up these facts and see that they spell “terror attack,” not just some guy going “postal.” Yet Obama, he who is “so smart,” did not even address these facts, instead referring to Hasan’s rampage as “an inexplicable act of violence.” What’s inexplicable is Obama’s characterization given the facts. (It is worth noting that Obama didn’t have any trouble jumping to conclusions that Cambridge police officers were guilty of “racial profiling” or assigning sinister motives to the killing of the abortion doctor, George Tiller.)
There’s a patently fallacious but commonly held belief on the part of many on the left, apparently including the President, that if we just change our behavior and how we look at people, that they will treat us right; that if we don’t treat the terrorists as terrorists they will cease to be terrorists.
And, so the theory goes, if other would-be terrorists in the rest of the world see how nice we’re being to the not-really-terrorists, then they won’t become not-really-terrorists either. This is farcical. This is fantasy. And this is dangerous. And anyone with common sense, and with no political agenda to drive, can see it.
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who as a judge presided over the trial stemming from the first World Trade Center attack in 1993, criticized Obama’s decision to transfer KSM to civilian court. Speaking at a legal convention on Friday, Mukasey described the proposed move as:
“…a decision I consider not only unwise, but based on a refusal to face the fact that what we are involved with here is a war with people who follow a religiously-based ideology that call on them to kill us, and to return instead to the mindset that prevailed before September 11…that such acts can and should be treated as conventional crimes and tried in conventional courts.”
Mukasey went on to comment on the pattern of decisions coming from the Obama administration after the decision to close Guantanamo, describing them as:
“…a system in which policy is fashioned to fit and proceed rhetoric rather than being thought out in advance with arguments then formulated in support of it.” (“Mukasey Blasts Pre-9/11 Mentality in ISM Decision,” by Philip Klein, The American Spectator.)
Appeasement as Policy
Obama takes pains often to apologize to the world at large and especially to worldwide Muslims, even some of our enemies, for what he calls America’s many “mistakes,” seemingly referring to “mistakes” made in the ‘70’s with the Shah of Iran and, of course, Bush’s alleged “mistakes” for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
To appeal to and appease the world’s Muslims, Obama has gone to the extent of bowing at the waist to the Saudi king, and kowtowing to the Iranian “Supreme Leader,” while refusing to speak up on behalf of the Iranian people protesting a violent, repressive regime.
And today, after months of being pressed by his hand-picked generals to provide more troops to the Afghan front, Obama is still waffling on what to do, even though this is the war he said was the “right” war to fight against the Muslim Taliban. Not surprisingly, the morale of our troops in Afghanistan is at an all time low, and close to 100 soldiers have fallen while Obama continues to ponder.
So a pattern of appeasement of Muslims and wishful thinking about terrorism appears to have jelled in the decision to try the 9/11 mastermind KSM and his cohorts in a civil courtroom. But that’s not the only, or even the main, reason for Obama’s decision to try the terrorists in civil court.
The Other Agenda
The trial in a public courtroom is Obama’s back-handed way of doing what the radical left has wanted him to do all along but he didn’t have the guts to do: investigate Bush and Cheney on the legality of CIA interrogations with the hope that war crimes indictments might result.
Obama hasn’t acceded to the left’s demands for congressional investigations on the CIA interrogations because that would prove too hot for him politically. But he can accomplish even more handily what the far left wants, the humiliation and possible prosecution of Bush-Cheney officials, through the back door of a civil trial of KSM et al.
It will be Bush and Cheney and their former lawyers, and some former DOJ, FBI and CIA officials who will really be on trial, with defense requests to detail every interrogation, waterboarding incident, and the like, along the way. The far left is salivating over this juicy meal being served up by Obama.
Military Commissions Are the “Rule of Law” for Terrorist Detainees
It is popular liberal myth that Military Commissions (MC) are a break with our legal tradition and were formulated by Bush-Cheney out of whole cloth in some secretive, backroom attempt to circumvent “the rule of law.”
“The rule of law” is a phrase repeatedly thrown out in the context of the detainee discussion, usually by non-lawyers who have not bothered to bog themselves down with actually studying the law or the history of the matters on which they pontificate.
Here’s an example of what some bloggers who support Obama’s decision are saying:
“By prosecuting KSM in a civilian court, we say to the world that we are not a nation of groupthinking workshops assembled by one administration’s attorneys to find a way to move our treatment of terrorists entirely outside the legal system. That’s what the Bush administration tried to do, and because we are a nation of checks and balances, they failed. With a new government that respects the legal system, it’s time that we manifest that respect.”
Folks, if people you know start talking like that, take them aside and tell them their stupid is showing. This is simply not the state of the law or our history.
Military Commissions stretch far back into American history. They have been used since 1847 to prosecute thousands in the US and abroad during the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Spanish-American War and World War II.
MC defendants have included:
• a former Ohio Congressman accused of sympathizing with the Confederacy during the Civil War (ordered confined for the rest of the war),
• eight accused conspirators in President Lincoln’s assassination (four sentenced to hang, four given prison sentences),
• and eight Germans accused of arriving in the U.S. by submarine to carry out sabotage attacks (six were electrocuted). (Wikipedia Encyclopedia.)
So even the two former Presidents on whom Obama likes to style himself, Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, had no trouble using the Military Commission proceedings even against US citizens, in Lincoln’s case, and against those whose sabotage mission was not successful, in FDR’s.
Beyond all that history, we have a current law on the books, the 2006 Military Commissions Act, which was adopted with bipartisan support and followed a Supreme Court case that obliged the executive and legislative branches to come up with a detailed plan to prosecute illegal “enemy combatants” captured after 9/11.
Another Holder Decision Acknowledges the Integrity of MC Trials
MC trials had earned a reputation for fairness and independence, the 2006 Act having devised a careful process to try detainees. In fact, Holder’s recent decision to allow some MC trials to go forward against other terrorists (those accused of the 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole) indicates that the administration must have confidence in the integrity of those proceedings.
In trying to justify why KSM was to be tried in civil court while the Cole detainees are to be tried in an MC, all Holder could offer was the fact that the Cole bombers struck a military target overseas while KSM struck targets in the US. He might as well have made the distinction based on the terrorists’ astrological signs or birth order, for his stated reasons were simply made up, nonsensical justifications for something that he can’t legally justify.
As the Wall Street Journal editorial points out:
“Mr. Holder’s justification betrays not a legal consistency but a fundamentally political judgment that he can make as he sees fit.” (The Wall Street Journal, supra.)
This decision of Obama’s has been made for purely political reasons and it puts us all at risk. An OJ trial on steroids and to the nth degree, in which defendants with no real defense will, through their legal defense team, instead attack America and the previous administration, is not the “change” we need.
Perhaps Obama’s thinking is that we’ll all be so glued to our TV sets watching the ultimate reality show that we won’t notice the rampant unemployment, unprecedented spending and deficits, and government takeover of the private sector.
The Obama administration says that this trial will send a message to the world. Indeed it will. But it’s not the one he’s telling us. The message is that America can be played, and be played the fool by politicians who prize their political agendas over the welfare of the American people.
We need to start calling a spade a spade. We need to distinguish between the acts of your average “nut case” and those of people whose ideology allows blowing up little children in suicide attacks, beheadings of “infidels,” flying planes into buildings, and killing our soldiers in the name of “Allahu Ahkbar.”
These are terrorist acts and are not “man-caused disasters.” Man-caused disasters are things like the Obama presidency.