Thursday, November 19, 2009

Civilian Trials for Terrorists

There's been a lot of flap lately about Attorney General Holder's plan to try the half dozen men suspected of the 9/11 attacks in civil court in New York.  The AP quotes Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as calling it a "perversion of justice" to put wartime enemies into a civilian criminal court.

I guess the Allies were wrong to try the Nazi leaders in Nuremberg, then.

Mr. Holder believes he has the evidence to convict these men in a normal civilian court.  I'm not sure whether the people who oppose his plan don't believe him, or whether they're afraid a New York jury wouldn't convict these guys.  Frankly, I believe a New York jury is so likely to convict that, if I were Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's defense lawyer, I'd be moving for a change of venue.  We're supposed to have one of the best legal systems in the world; do we really not trust it to give these men honest justice? 

And let's stop talking about a war.  This isn't a war.  We're being attacked, not by an enemy nation with an army, but by a group of criminal thugs who use a perversion of Islam as justification for acts that no religion, including Islam, condones.  These are criminals, and the criminal system is the right place for them.  We'd do better if we took that mindset to Afghanistan, too:  the Taliban, and Al Qaeda for that matter, are armed thugs practicing extortion on the people of Afghanistan (and Pakistan), just like the Mafia in Chicago in the thirties.  They even run dope, like the Mafia.  They're just another form of organized crime, and we need to use our crime-fighting tools on them, and quit dignifying them as opponents in a "war."


  1. I suspect that muslim countries wouldn't oppose a trial on their home soil, if hypothetically, the US had perpetuated a 9/11 on one of their cities. And that even under the risk of a possible future retailation.

  2. It got called a "war" because the Bush Administration needed a legal justification for going into Iraq--something they'd planned to do since before Bush was even elected the first time. "Wartime" contingencies permit a number of actual powers (and PR buzz) which just chasing international terrorists doesn't allow.

    Everyone knows that Iraq was a crock. We've all known it for 7 years. WE started that war. There was NO war, before we did that.

    With respect to Afghanistan and Pakistan: We can't "win" in either country, and it's unlikely that we can effect any favorable outcome with force. My guess is that, no matter how long we hang around there, in the end it'll be either another dictator (like Saddam) or more theocratic nonsense like we now see in Iran. The Middle East is a mess, and we're making it messier. The Chinese have the right idea: Just sign economic pacts, and use your cash for leverage. Arabs aren't stupid; they recognize a good deal when they see it.

    So we don't want to buy opium. Maybe we could invent a new crop they could make medicine out of. Whatever--our boys wandering around the countryside looking for bombs isn't the answer. If Obama cringes under the "honor" thing, we can expect more senseless deaths, untold loss of treasure, and no end in sight. I still think we've done exactly what Osama wanted us to do, all along. We've really been completely gullible. Al Quaeda is perfectly happy to see tens of thousands of people killed, just to keep the game going; they know we're playing tar-baby--stuck in the muck.

    At least we don't have to listen to Smirk the Jerk crooning "the wahr on Tare" any more. Boy, was I sick of that!