Sunday marked the 21st anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attack on America that killed 2,977 people and 19 godless pieces of crap while reducing the World Trade Center to rubble and heavily damaging the Pentagon.
In the years immediately following 9/11, before the War on Terror descended into some farcical effort to build girls’ schools in Afghanistan, five of the central plotters in the 9/11 attack were captured and incarcerated in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. All these men were in jeopardy of receiving a death sentence. Were is the operative word.
CBS News has confirmed military prosecutors and defense attorneys are negotiating potential plea deals that could take the death penalty off the table for the five defendants accused in the 9/11 attacks, @CBS_Herridge reports. pic.twitter.com/DLZH0ZLxLg
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) September 12, 2022
On the, CBS News has confirmed that military prosecutors and attorneys for five defendants charged for their roles in the attacks are negotiating potential plea deals that could take the death penalty off the table and keep the detention camp at the military base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, open for the foreseeable future.
Their cases have stalled over access to CIA evidence and, more recently, delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The chief defendant is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described architect of 9/11. The other four defendants are Ramzi Binalshibh, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, Walid bin Attash and Ammar al-Baluchi.
I’m not a huge believer in the death penalty, but there are cases where the magnitude and horrific nature of the crime demand the ultimate punishment. The September 11 attacks, in my view, are one such instance.
The infatuation of capturing these men for some months-long show trial for the sake of national catharsis always struck me as dunderheaded. The world would be a better, safer place had we squeezed these scum dry of any information they might have had and then gifted them to somebody who really hated them. Maybe we could have chipped in to buy a cattle prod or two, some Vise Grips, and maybe a good set of metal shears as a show of goodwill to whoever took them.
Where this whole thing went off the rails was another lawless Supreme Court decision authored by Anthony Kenney called Boumediene vs. Bush. Congress had explicitly stripped the Supreme Court of jurisdiction over the Guantanamo trials in the Military Commissions Act in 2006. Article III, Section 2 of the US Constitution clearly allows Congress to place cases outside the purview of judicial review, yet, just as Kennedy invented the Constitutional right to buggery (Lawrence vs. Texas) and homosexual marriage (Obergefell vs. Hodges), he also decided that he, not the Congress, had the right to determine what cases the Supreme Court heard. Instead of impeaching Kennedy or telling him to FOAD, a meek US Congress backed down.
Since 2008, the cases of the 9/11 conspirators have been mired in legal wrangling and backbiting among lawyers. The “torture” of the prisoners (I’m a subscriber to John Yoo’s position that if you can walk away from an interrogation session and none of your body parts are missing or broken, you haven’t been tortured) and the provenance of the classified evidence against them has become the issue.
On the one hand, it would be good to clear the books on this episode by sending Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and confrères off to a life sentence in a super-max prison. But, on the other hand, having them defeat us by planning and executing 9/11 and again by turning our justice system on its head doesn’t strike me as the way a serious nation should treat terrorists who killed nearly 3,000 innocent men, women, and children on one sunny morning 20 years ago.