Attorney General Eric Holder says we must not "cower" from trials for the 9/11 detainees currently in GITMO. This is his justification for bringing the trials to Manhattan, New York City, just a short distance from the terrorist attacks of that day.
What Holder doesn't understand is that no one is "cowering" by voicing objections to the decision of bringing these murdering Islamofacists into our country for trial. The objection is based on the belief that these terrorists are not ordinary criminals, they are captured combatants who deserve to be tried in military tribunals. The purpose of building GITMO in the first place, a multimillion dollar state of the art complex in Cuba, was to house detainees captured overseas on fields of battle and to host military tribunals in the same complex.
Remember that Eric Holder is a former Clinton administration deputy attorney general, serving former Clinton attorney general Janet Reno. This brings us to a renewed awareness of a basic political philosophy difference between Republicans and Democrats. The Clinton administration tried terrorists in civil court - an example being the trial from the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. It is not a stretch to conclude that this procedure decision brought about the bombings on 9/11/01.
Holder uses the deduction that civilians were killed in the attacks of 9/11/01, therefore civil court is the correct venue for the trials. This dismisses the murders of the military members at the Pentagon that day, in particular. It is not a strong premise, anyway, as this goes back to the decision to treat captured detainees as criminals.
President Obama has weighed in on this subject as he is interviewed during his trip overseas. Remember that we were told, during the presidential campaign, that Obama possesses a brilliant legal mind, that he was an adjunct constitutional professor in Chicago. Why, then, did he compromise the government's prosecution of the detainees by declaring that they would be found guilty and be issued the death penalty? This opens the door for defense attorneys to decry the fact that they will be unable to get a fair trial.
Liberals and conservatives alike, Democrats and Republicans, have weighed in on this decision. Overwhelmingly the opinion is that this is a bad decision. Members from the 9/11 Commission, including Tom Kean, voice opposition.
Why did Holder feel the need to shade the truth about the process he used to come to his conclusion to use the courts in Manhattan for the trials? He claims he made the decision without input from the administration, that he consulted with his wife and sister for their opinions. That he alone made the decision. This is not believable by most, of course. That is not how politics works. And, anyone denying this is a political decision must have his or her head in the clouds. Governor Paterson of New York is now quoted as saying that the White House told him of the decision six months ago. Six months ago? Holder only announced this decision a few days ago. Why the delay - why the announcement while Obama was overseas? Did the administration deliberately wait until after the November elections to make the announcement? You be the judge.
Governor Paterson, by the way, is against the decision, too.
The administration claims America must prove we are the better nation by bringing these detainees through our criminal court process. We must show the world from our federal courts that we will deal with detainees with our rule of law. Here's the thing - most Americans feel no such mandate. Most Americans do not feel that we have to prove anything to the world. This is simply more of the same from Team Obama - those who feel the need to prove to the world that we are worthy of our position as world leader.
Senator Cornyn says of the upcoming trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, "I believe that this decision should be reconsidered by the Attorney General and the President of the United States because of the risk it puts Americans in and because this provides Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, a self-described super-terrorist, this gives him everything he could have ever wanted, which is a platform to spew his hate-filled ideology and one in which he can recruit other like-minded individuals all around the world who will be watching." "He is anything but a common criminal. He is guilty of nothing less than war crimes against innocent Americans. And according to this decision, the Attorney General is going to be providing him the forum that he can use in order to proclaim himself as the super-terrorist and in order to attract like-minded ideologues to his sick and twisted ideas of jihad."
He continues, "Our experience with terrorist trials show that civilian courts are an inappropriate forum for the trial of war crimes. This is one example of why: as a result of information related to the East Africa embassy bombings, Osama bin Laden became aware of cell phone intercepts which prompted his organization to discontinue cell phone conversations because of the evidence disclosed in the trial. They simply realized that they were being eavesdropped on and quit using cell phones, denying us that intelligence." "This will allow al-Queda to detect our means of intelligence gathering and to push forward into areas we know nothing about."
Holder and Obama have not addressed the upcoming problem of the process known as 'discovery' in a criminal trial. This process will leave vulnerable the CIA and any intelligence gathering done as the detainees were captured. Is this all a part of a bigger picture of holding CIA intelligence gatherers for trial, too?
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) claims bringing detainees to a facility in Illinois when GITMO is closed will be a "dream come true" for the citizens of that state. He claims the jobs created - government jobs and union jobs, not private sector jobs that stimulate the economy - will allow those seeking employment to benefit. Nifty re-election point, no?
President Obama continues with this pattern of allowing others to take the fall for his decisions. He prefers to hover above the sausage-making and feign innocence when all goes wrong. His lack of leadership experience comes though loud and clear.
We, as a nation, and those who suffered personal losses of family and friends that day on 9/11/01 deserve much better.