By Scott Tibbs, November 30, 2009
The Obama Administration's decision to afford try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian criminal court rather than a military tribunal is foolish and dangerous and represents a September 10th mentality that proved Obama does not understand the War on Terror. Mohammed is a criminal to be sure, but he is not an ordinary criminal. He is a war criminal, no different than the Nazis who participated in the wholesale slaughter of Jews in Europe of the Japanese who participated in the infamous Rape of Nanking. Mohammed intentionally set out to obliterate as many noncombatants as he could, a clear violation of the rules of war.
This trial represents a security risk for obvious reasons. Muslim terrorists are going to see this as an inviting target, and Obama's decision places the people of New York in unnecessary danger. But what about potential threats to Mohammed's life? Has the administration considered that New Yorkers harboring bitterness over the war crimes committed on 9/11 will attempt to carry out vigilante justice on Mohammed? How would that look to the rest of the world, given that Obama's stated purpose is to show that we are a country that values due process?
President Obama has disavowed knowledge of the decision made by his attorney general. This is an obvious lie. Do Eric Holder and Obama really expect the American people to believe that the President of the United States was not aware of a major policy change in the War on Terror, especially considering that policy change is unprecedented? This is becoming a pattern: Obama allegedly did not know about the flyby of the Statue of Liberty that sent many in New York into a panic and also allegedly did not know about the decision by his own administration to smear political opponents as "terrorists" several months ago. Even if we suspend disbelief and accept that these were not Obama's decisions, this represents a frightening possibility that the President is asleep at the wheel.
Could Khalid Sheikh Mohammed be acquitted? Eric Holder has already said that he will not be released even if he is acquitted, and both Holder and Obama have expressed confidence that he will be found guilty and put to death. Mohammed's conviction is highly likely, but is not guaranteed. If he is acquitted and still not released, how does that reinforce the Obama Administration's stated goal for this trial, to show that we will follow the rule of law and afford even the worst war criminals due process under the law? Simply put, it doesn't. This is to satisfy Obama's Leftist base.
There is no legitimate reason not to try these war criminals before a military tribunal, where security is tighter and it is easier to protect sensitive intelligence information. We can still respect due process for Mohammed under that system, and not give a notorious war criminal a worldwide forum to spread his radical ideology and spew hatred for the United States. While I've been very critical of the Bush Administration's policies that give government too much power, specifically the so-called "Patriot Act", I am vehemently opposed to trying war criminals like Mohammed in civilian criminal courts as if he was a gang member or serial killer.
As I said above, Obama either genuinely does not understand that we are in a war with Muslim terrorists or he is in denial. We saw this dangerous September 10th mindset when Obama warned us not to pre-judge the Muslim terrorist who went on a shooting spree at Fort Hood while screeching "Allahu Akbar." Obama did not afford the same benefit of the doubt for Sgt. James Crowley, who he said was stupid over the summer after the arrest of Henry Louis Gates. In Obama's world, we should wait for all the information despite overwhelming evidence that the Fort Hood shooter was a Muslim terrorist, but police officers responding to a burglary report are "stupid" and should be condemned. Shameful.
I have to wonder, where are the "blue dog" Democrats? Baron Hill is voting to send you to prison for five years if you do not comply with the federal government's health care mandate, but has been disturbingly silent on the foolish decision to try a war criminal in a civilian court. Why has Hill not spoken out about this? Where is Baron?