If this Washington Post story is accurate, the White House may soon announce that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be tried in a military tribunal, not in a federal court in Manhattan. Better late than never.
The administration botched this one from the beginning, including President Obama’s telling statement that no one would be offended “when,” not “if,” KSM was convicted and executed — undermining the notion that this was going to be a fair trial to show off America’s justice system.
The anti-antiterror left will tear their clothes over this one because it is inconsistent with their narrative that our fight against Islamist terrorists is not a war but a mere law-enforcement problem — like a kind of “CSI: Afghanistan.” They vilified the tribunal system under President Bush and have had to watch as Obama’s deadline for closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay came and went to no effect. Now this.
So, expect many comments along these lines, from the Post’s story:
Marine Col. Jeffrey Colwell, acting chief defense counsel at the Defense Department’s Office of Military Commissions, said it would be a “sad day for the rule of law” if Obama decides not to proceed with a federal trial. “I thought the decision where to put people on trial — whether federal court or military commissions — was based on what was right, not what is politically advantageous,” Colwell said.
But all along it was the decision to stage a publicity-stunt trial in civilian court which was politically motivated; the White House has been forced into reversing course due to bipartisan opposition on principle.
And you know what? The people who hate us don’t care whether KSM is tried in a military tribunal versus a civilian court. They’re going to hate us anyway. In the same way, closing Guantanamo and moving terrorists to Illinois isn’t going to stop America-haters from hating America — just as they weren’t appeased when Obama replaced Bush in the White House.
The sooner everyone realizes that, the better.