Because (mostly) conservatives are objecting strongly to the Obama admin’s disgraceful decision to try the self-professed “mastermind” of 9/11 – KSM – in a civilian court, this week’s talking point amongst the left contains some subtle, and in some cases not so subtle, accusations that those who would prefer KSM be tried in a military court rather than a civilian court are “cowards.” First up, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT):
Military tribunals are the appropriate setting for the trials of suspected 9/11 terrorists and the tribunals have the added advantage of safeguarding the nation’s security and intelligence operations.
Yet Attorney General Eric Holder wants to try five 9/11 suspects in open court near the scene of the crime in New York City.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in defending Holder’s decision: “I don’t think we should run and hide and cower. Let’s use our system.”
Far left icon Markos Moulitsas:
American liberals are tough on terrorists and secure in their knowledge that the Sept. 11 conspirators are guilty of mass murder. American conservatives are timid cowards who fear that the U.S. government can’t actually prove that the Sept. 11 killers committed their heinous crimes. Sound weird?
Maybe. But what else can be concluded after watching conservatives collectively lose their heads over President Barack Obama’s easy decision to try Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other co-conspirators in U.S. District Court in New York City? Seems that macho conservatives are terrified of shackled terrorists in orange jumpsuits and the United States Constitution.
“This decision is further evidence that the White House is reverting to a dangerous pre-Sept. 11 mentality: treating terrorism as a law enforcement issue and hoping for the best,” wailed House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), panic-stricken that the federal criminal justice system wasn’t up to the task of protecting him.
Conservative hack Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard fretted: “In open court, it will be Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who will hold forth, mocking his victims, exulting in the suffering of their families, ridiculing the judge, his lawyers and the American justice system, and worst of all, rallying his jihadi brothers to kill more Americans … just blocks from where 20,000 body parts were dug out of the rubble of the Twin Towers.”
Kristol’s words were as inflammatory as they were cowardly, betraying a sad fear that the pathetic Mohammed could shout out, “Allahu akbar!” in a courtroom and … what? Generate sensationalistic headlines in the New York Post? Immediately convert millions of Americans into radical Islamic extremists? Give slacking terrorists new resolve to attack America?
Last but not least, AG Eric Holder, defending the decision to have a civilian trial for KSM in NYC:
In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Eric Holder will say, according to the Associated Press, that “I have every confidence the nation and the world will see him for the coward he is….I’m not scared of what (Mohammed) will have to say at trial and no one else needs to be either.” And, “we need not cower in the face of this enemy. Our institutions are strong, our infrastructure is sturdy, our resolve is firm, and our people are ready.”
8 years after 9/11, these morons still apparently don’t get it. This has nothing to do with ‘cowering’ in the face of KSM. How dare the Attorney General of the US insinuate that the opposition to holding KSM’s trial in a civilian court has anything to do with being “cowardly”? The issue at hand is what sensitive information will be revealed in a US court of law, since KSM is being tried as a murderer in a civilian court, rather than as a suspected terrorist in a military court.
Supposedly – in spite of the fact that many other Gitmo terrorists will indeed be tried by a military court – the Obama administration wants this high-profile trial to be a “beacon” to other parts of the world, to show, in particular Muslim countries, how our justice system can be fair. But the underlying rationale for putting on this show trial, as I’ve already discussed here, is not to put KSM on trial and to provide justice to the 9-11 victims but instead to try the Bush administration and in the process reveal potentially damaging sensitve information about our intelligence collecting operations. Andy McCarthy, no stranger to trying suspected terrorists in a civilian court himself, explains:
The Obama Justice Department teems with experienced defense lawyers, many of whom (themselves personally or through their firms) spent the last eight years volunteering their services to America’s enemies in their lawsuits against the American people. As experienced defense lawyers well know, when there is no mystery about whether the defendants have committed the charged offenses, and when there is controversy attendant to the government’s investigative tactics, the standard defense strategy is to put the government on trial.
That is, Pres. Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, experienced litigators, fully realize that in civilian court, the Qaeda quintet can and will demand discovery of mountains of government intelligence. They will demand disclosures about investigative tactics; the methods and sources by which intelligence has been obtained; the witnesses from the intelligence community, the military, and law enforcement who interrogated witnesses, conducted searches, secretly intercepted enemy communications, and employed other investigative techniques. They will attempt to compel testimony from officials who formulated U.S. counterterrorism strategy, in addition to U.S. and foreign intelligence officers. As civilian “defendants,” these war criminals will put Bush-era counterterrorism tactics under the brightest public spotlight in American legal history.
This is exactly what President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder know will happen. And because it is unnecessary to have this civilian trial at all, one must conclude that this is exactly what Obama and Holder want to see happen.
By transferring this case to civilian court rather than leaving it to be handled by the military-commission system created by Congress, Obama and Holder have needlessly created a perilous dilemma. Do we deny KSM & Co. the right to represent themselves and thus risk reversal of any convictions on Sixth Amendment grounds? Do we grant them self-representation but withhold critical discovery and thus risk reversal on due process grounds? Or do we grant them self-representation and disclose directly to our wartime enemies the nation’s security secrets, which they can then pass on to confederates who are actively targeting us for mass-murder attacks?
In the military court, there would be no such dilemma. Indeed, in the military court, this case would be over now. If President Obama had simply let it proceed, there would have been no trial, and these war criminals would be well on their way to the execution of death sentences.
But then the Left would not have gotten its reckoning. Can’t have that.
Hmmm. Let’s see. You’ve got one side desiring to protect sensitive intelligence information from the eyes of Islamofascist thugs who want to kill Americans abroad – including our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan – and both military officers and civilians here at home, a side hungry for justice to be carried out against admitted terrorist brutes like KSM, and you’ve got some on another side that is operating under the shameless pretense of “wanting justice” for 9-11 victims but who in realilty apparently have no problem with the possibility that sensitive national security information will be revealed in the process – and in fact wishes for such information to be revealed in order to put the evil Bush admin on trial, a side where not many are particularly interested in justice for the 9-11 victims but are apparently more interested in being pro-”justice” against their political opposition – a position that presents a clear danger to both Americans and their interests both at home and stateside. This isn’t about “justice” for the left – it’s about “revenge.” Interesting, when you think about it, because they’ve been telling us for years that the courtroom is not supposed to be about “revenge” but about “fairness and justice under the law.”
Um, just who are the “cowards” again?