Free Markets, Free People

Military tribunal for KSM probable result (update)

Apparently the White House is about to bow to the inevitable and prosecute Khalid Sheik Mohammed by military tribunal:

President Obama’s advisers are nearing a recommendation that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, be prosecuted in a military tribunal, administration officials said, a step that would reverse Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s plan to try him in civilian court in New York City.

The president’s advisers feel increasingly hemmed in by bipartisan opposition to a federal trial in New York and demands, mainly from Republicans, that Mohammed and his accused co-conspirators remain under military jurisdiction, officials said. While Obama has favored trying some terrorism suspects in civilian courts as a symbol of U.S. commitment to the rule of law, critics have said military tribunals are the appropriate venue for those accused of attacking the United States.

I’ve never understood why only civilian courts were considered to be a symbol of the US commitment to the rule of law. The military tribunal system now in use was created by an act of Congress, signed into law by the president and vetted by the Supreme Court (which, as I recall, made Congress change a few things before it okayed the procedure). So how is its use somehow the abandonment of the rule of law?

Of course it’s not. What this is about is a petulant and mistaken insistence, at least in this case, that the previous administration preferred to operate outside the law.

What they’re about to admit, if indeed that’s the course of action they decide on, is the proper venue in which to try terrorists that have declared war on our nation is via military tribunal. That’s also a tacit admission that their’s isn’t a criminal conspiracy to be handled in civilian court, but instead an act of war to be handled in the appropriate military legal venue.

All this after 14 months of chasing their tail, trying to pound a square legal peg in a round hole.  Wasn’t it Obama complaining about these people not receiving a speedy trial?

Heck of a job, Eric.

UPDATE: Andy McCarthy at NRO thinks this is all a compromise to finally get the backing (and funding) necessary to close GITMO.  SLATE agrees, citing the story above:

If Obama accepts the likely recommendation of his advisers, the White House may be able to secure from Congress the funding and legal authority it needs to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and replace it with a facility within the United States.

Any guess as to who this is aimed at? Does the name Lindsey Graham ring a bell? Says McCarthy:

The real agenda here is to close Gitmo. That’s the ball to keep your eye on. The Post is trying to soften the opposition to shuttering the detention camp by portraying beleaguered, reasonable Obama as making a great compromise that will exasperate the Left.  The idea is to strengthen Sen. Lindsey Graham’s hand in seeking reciprocal compromise from our side.

This, however, is a matter of national security, not horse-trading over a highway bill. You don’t agree to do a stupid thing that endangers the country just because your opposition has magnanimously come off its insistence that you do two stupid things that endanger the country.

Bold emphasis mine – they’re the two key points in what McCarthy says. So let’s make it clear – KSM should be tried by a military tribunal and those trials for him and others should be held at Gitmo. As originally planned.



6 Responses to Military tribunal for KSM probable result (update)

  • McQHeck of a job, Eric.

    Oh, let’s not let his boss off the hook.  Either way, Imeme is responsible for this:

    — He let his AG make a presidential-level decision on his own authority and tacitly supported it after the fact, or;

    — Holder was merely following orders.

    While Obama has favored trying some terrorism suspects in civilian courts as a symbol of U.S. commitment to the rule of law…

    So, does this mean that courts martial and Article 15 actions used in the Armed Services under the UCMJ are somehow not in accord with “the rule of law”?  Does this mean that the next time some idiot PFC gets mouthy with his sergeant or goes AWOL, he must get a civilian trial?

    Does Imeme understand ANYTHING other than how to read a teleprompter???

  • I don’t see how this makes the closing of Gitmo any more palatable to the electorate.  As McCarthy notes, it’s not a popular move because no one wants the Gitmo detainees anywhere near them.  It has nothing to do with how they’re tried, as much as it has to do with people not wanting terrorists housed in their back yards.  Attempts to close Gitmo will continue to run into that problem– that even the people who want it closed don’t want the detainees held anywhere near them.

    • It has nothing to do with the electorate. It should be clear that they really don’t pay attention to the electorate. This is about getting a compromise which will have a Republican beholden to the president and agreeing to give something to get the military tribunal result.