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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

KSM Trial = FAIL

When Kid Various was a, well, kid - his grandfather used to take him to Madison Square Garden to see the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus... The Greatest Show On Earth!

Well - the circus is coming back to town, in the form of the trial of Khalid Shiekh Mohammed, mastermind of the September 11 attacks. This has got the worst idea to come out of the Obama White House yet (and that's saying something.) It literally makes no sense whatsoever.

Pat Buchanan, who seems ever more determined to consign himself to the lunatic fringe of political debate (Poland was asking for it...) writes a surprisingly cogent piece on just why bringing KSM into a civil court is the height of ridiculousness. Short answer: He's not supposed to be there!!!

And if we must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that KSM was complicit in mass murder, by what right do we send Predators and Special Forces to kill his al-Qaida comrades wherever we find them? For none of them has been granted a fair trial.

When the Justice Department sets up a task force to wage war on a crime organization like the Mafia or MS-13, no U.S. official has a right to shoot Mafia or gang members on sight. No one has a right to bomb their homes. No one has a right to regard the possible death of their wives and children in an attack as acceptable collateral damage.

Yet that is what we do to al-Qaida, to which KSM belongs.

We conduct those strikes in good conscience because we believe we are at war. But if we are at war, what is KSM doing in a U.S. court?

Good point Pat! Here's another:

Were not KSM's Miranda rights impinged when he was not only not told he could have a lawyer on capture, but that his family would be killed and he would be water-boarded if he refused to talk?

And if all the evidence against the five defendants comes from other than their own testimony under duress, do not their lawyers have a right to know when, where, how and from whom Justice got the evidence to prosecute them? Does KSM have the right to confront all witnesses against him, even if they are al-Qaida turncoats or U.S. spies still transmitting information to U.S. intelligence?

Jules Crittenden notes that empaneling the jury should be hysterical!

Once you get past ”Do you know anyone who died in the Twin Towers” or ”Were you in New York, or in the United States of America, or on Planet Earth on Sept. 11, 2001″ and “Do you believe al-Qaeda poses a threat to western civilization or just to innocent commuters,” that kind of thing, then you get some other tricky particulars. Muslims, thumbs up or thumbs down? Jews and Christians, OK or not OK? Never mind the dhimmi, what about atheists? Very haram. I’m guessing anyone who ever saw any vid of Nick Berg or Daniel Pearl getting their heads sawn off is immediately disqualified. Highly prejudicial. Ditto the jets-hitting-buildings, people-dropping, buildings-collapse footage.

and he notes, this effectively ends the war. Or at least, it ends the war for us - our enemies won't see it that way.

The Department of Justice, by determining these men have full constitutional rights and that they should be able to pursue them here, has also opened the door to all kinds of civil actions based on notions of unlawful imprisonment and harsh treatment. Could they really deprive these men of their right to seek redress? That what they were accused of are war crimes is no longer relevant. What they are accused of have been reduced to simple criminal acts, the defendants to criminal suspects, engaged in alleged criminal conspiracies. The GWOT effectively is over, at least our involvement in it. Al-Qaeda can keep playing, we’re all done.

The decision to bring KSM to trial in New York isn't even internally consistent. It's not like they said, "Evil Chimpy McBushitler created these military tribunals and they're not acceptable so we are trying all enemy combatants." No. Holder said some enemy combatants will face military tribunals, but KSM and four others will be tried in a civilian court. Why? What's diference between them and the others? By what legal criteria are they judged differently [CRICKETS CHIRPING]

Even leaving aside the stupendously bad decision to give enemy combatants access to constitutional rights (which they have never had previously.) The decision makes no sense politically. What does the president get out of this? Because Kid Various sees a lot of downside but absolutely zero upside except making the ACLU happy. As James Taranto notes:

You have to wonder if the Obama administration and its supporters bothered to think through the implications of their decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other enemy combatants as civilians. An immediate effect, and one that will only be strengthened by an actual trial or trials, is to bring 9/11 back into the public consciousness. That can't be good for President Obama.

Add to that this idea which should make the president wet the bed at night. If Holder came to Kid Various with this ludicrous proposal, The Kid would have just one question. "What if KSM walks?"

[HOLDER] Oh, mister president, that won't happen! We have so much evidence. No jury would...

[KV] Blah, blah, blah - WHAT...IF...HE...WALKS?

What, KSM doesn't get presumption of innocence now? Guiltier men than him have walked free. No matter how remote a possibility, if KSM walks, Obama's presidency won't be worth shit.

Kid Various just gets the sinking feeling that this hasn't been thought through very thoroughly.

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