The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

OJ and KSM

O.J. Simpson … remember him? OJ was a U.S. citizen, a football star, and a celebrity. He was alleged to have murdered his ex-wife and her lover, but procedural maneuvers in a California courtroom by an all star legal team, coupled with an incompetent prosecution, an idiot judge, and a biased jury led to his acquittal. Most objective observers were surprised.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) … remember him? He is not a U.S. citizen or a football star, but he is a celebrity of sorts to some on the extreme Left and a superstar among Islamic Jihadists worldwide. He’s also an international terrorist and self-professed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

Attorney General Eric Holder has decided to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (as well as some of his compatriots) as a common criminal in a New York courtroom. One has to assume that KSM will be given all the protections of a U.S. citizen, including the protection of evidentiary procedure. Thomas Sowell comments on this:
In the string of amazing decisions made during the first year of the Obama administration, nothing seems more like sheer insanity than the decision to try foreign terrorists, who have committed acts of war against the United States, in federal court, as if they were American citizens accused of crimes.

Terrorists are not even entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention, much less the Constitution of the United States. Terrorists have never observed, nor even claimed to have observed, the Geneva Convention, nor are they among those covered by it.

But over and above the utter inconsistency of what is being done is the utter recklessness it represents. The last time an attack on the World Trade Center was treated as a matter of domestic criminal justice was after a bomb was exploded there in 1993. Under the rules of American criminal law, the prosecution had to turn over all sorts of information to the defense-- information that told the Al Qaeda international terrorist network what we knew about them and how we knew it.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed should be tried by a military tribunal as a prisoner of war. Oh, sorry, I forgot. The war on terror is over, in fact, within the Obama administration the phrase cannot be uttered. And besides, there’s international opinion that must be considered. We so much want them all to like us, don’t we?

But what if the KSM trial turns into the O.J. trial. It can’t, you argue, and you’re probably right. But there’s a small possibility that things will go south during the trial. That an expert defense team—and make no mistake, competent Leftist lawyers are already lining up to defend KSM—will turn the trial into a circus, an indictment of the U.S., and in the worst case, achieve a verdict that is unsatisfactory to those of us who want to see this mass murdering terrorist dead.

Ronald Cass asks a few questions that Holder (and the Obama administration) better be able to answer:
Most public attention now will focus on whether Mr. Holder made the right choice. But that isn't the only question people concerned with how our government works should be asking.

The other question is what if Mr. Holder has guessed wrong? What if challenges to the way evidence was obtained result in exclusion of enough material that KSM is acquitted? What if discovery rules for federal criminal trials again result in disclosure of sensitive information - ending up in the hands of our enemies - on how we gather information and who provides it? What if that facilitates another attack with more lives lost?

Why did the Obama administration feel compelled to try KSM in a U.S. courtroom? Is the decision an example of still more moral preening? Do they really think that the military is incapable of conducting a “fair” trial? Do they truly expect that the “international community” will somehow take heart from this exercise? Do they honestly believe that a show trial will somehow make Islam like us more?

I worry that they fervently believe those things and that makes them childishly naïve. But then again, that’s no surprise.