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Friday, November 20, 2009

The lack of logic in Holder's choice

Charles Krauthammer takes on the logical holes in Eric Holder's choice to try KSM in civilian court while trying other terrorists in military courts.
Finally, there's the moral logic. It's not as if Holder opposes military commissions on principle. On the same day he sent KSM to a civilian trial in New York, Holder announced he was sending Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, (accused) mastermind of the attack on the USS Cole, to a military tribunal.

By what logic? In his congressional testimony Wednesday, Holder was utterly incoherent in trying to explain. In his Nov. 13 news conference, he seemed to be saying that if you attack a civilian target, as in 9/11, you get a civilian trial; a military target like the Cole, and you get a military tribunal.

What a perverse moral calculus. Which is the war crime -- an attack on defenseless civilians or an attack on a military target such as a warship, an accepted act of war that the United States itself has engaged in countless times?

By what possible moral reasoning, then, does KSM, who perpetrates the obvious and egregious war crime, receive the special protections and constitutional niceties of a civilian courtroom, while he who attacked a warship is relegated to a military tribunal?

Moreover, the incentive offered any jihadist is as irresistible as it is perverse: Kill as many civilians as possible on American soil and Holder will give you Miranda rights, a lawyer, a propaganda platform -- everything but your own blog.

Alternatively, Holder tried to make the case that he chose a civilian New York trial as a more likely venue for securing a conviction. An absurdity: By the time Barack Obama came to office, KSM was ready to go before a military commission, plead guilty and be executed. It's Obama who blocked a process that would have yielded the swiftest and most certain justice.

Indeed, the perfect justice. Whenever a jihadist volunteers for martyrdom, we should grant his wish. Instead, this one, the most murderous and unrepentant of all, gets to dance and declaim at the scene of his crime.

Holder himself told The Post that the coming New York trial will be "the trial of the century." The last such was the trial of O.J. Simpson.
If Holder truly believed that civilian trials were the best of all possible choices, why not use them for the bombers of the Cole? Eric Holder's explanations of his decision were pitiful. He couldn't answer the simple question as to why he made the choices he did.


mark said...

Krauthammer also wrote: Just as the memory fades, 9/11 has been granted a second life

I thought we were never supposed to forget. Now he insinuates we should just let it fade.

I too would rather we have military tribunals, but find it strange that tough talking proponents of the Iraq war (in which tens of thousands of innocent civilians have been killed) turn to whiny, frightened children regarding the trials in NY or bringing the Gitmo detainees to US soil. For torturing terror-suspects, against bringing them to justice. Pretty shameful, folks!

Bachbone said...

You're as funny as "Bill B.", Mark. Like an old, broken 78 rpm record stuck in a BDS groove. If you went on Wheel of Fortune, every spin you made would stop on the BDS card. When you floss before bedtime, BDS must fly out in big chunks.

"Fade" doesn't mean "forget." Memory of the Holocaust has faded for Jews (and many others), but none of them has forgotten it.

Supporting the Iraq war in no way negates anything Krauthammer says in his piece. The Left has been carping about Guantanamo being a recruiting tool for terrorists ad nauseum, but now that Obama and Co. will move the terrorists to the mainland, the Left pooh-poohs the possibility of anything untoward happening from those recruits even though prison guards are not trained to handle terrorists, and even mid-sized cities not capable of preventing things like mall attacks. If you think that's "whining," wait till another Muslim extremist shoots up a mall and see what Chuckie Schumer, Dickie Durban and a few other "tough talking" liberals say. (Remember it was Biden who long ago predicted Obama would be "tested" within six months of taking office. Looks like Major Hasan won and Obama and Biden failed that test.)

Since you apparently think there is absolutely no danger in moving the terrorists to the mainland, write your newspaper, TV stations and congressional reps and volunteer your home city. Let us know what responses you get. And remember, no whining!

6p00d834515b2069e2 said...

I agree with Mark, and the most people getting upset at this are going to look like idiots when KSM pleads guilty, and there is no trial at all.

Pat Patterson said...

Since there haven't been any death penalty convictions in New York since 2007 and no executions since 1963 it appears that the whiny little school girls are those that are demanding a trial in a state that can but will not act. But for all the demands that the US rehabilitate its image in the world the promise by Pres Obama, the Congress and the DOJ that even if convicted these men will still not be released seems to prove just the opposite. What kind of reputtion does a country acquire by trying someone for a capitol crime but mentioning, soto voce, that regardless of the verdict they are going to be held. It seems like the little matter of habeas corpus which attaches to any trial regardless of the national origin of the defendant.

The current administration is simply not serious about these terrorists and fighters because they have tried to placate two opposing views. That of the internationalists in denying the legitimacy of the wars and then turning around to the American people and saying that the trial is a sham and we'll keep them in jail any way, just like those nasty old Republicans, irregardless of our superior sense of justice.

tfhr said...

mark & Ken Ashford*,

Tell me why you don't think giving KSM a global forum to rant, rave, defame, and spew his perverted version of Islam to advance Jihad is a bad thing.

It is not necessary to provide a war criminal, terrorist, and illegal combatant with a fair trial. If the Nuremburg trials were adequate to the task of trying Nazi war criminals, why would a war criminal like KSM require a trial complete with Constitutional rights?

It would seem that the Obama administration has decided that using the event as a means to attack the Bush administration is worth the risk taken by allowing this show trial/circus to take place. Damage done to intelligence sources and methods, including foreign collaboration, could prove fatal. The legal precedent is more than troubling as we extend Constitutional protections to illegal combatants. We've already heard from the President and his AG that those Constitutional rights will be disregarded, in as much as they have both said that KSM and his cohorts will not be allowed to walk. In our system of justice the accused are innocent until proven guilty but now we're being told that this is not an issue for KSM.

I worry that our war effort will suffer and so too the sanctity of The Constitution.

* - What's with the 6p00d834515b2069e2 ?

tfhr said...

Whoa! ***Clarification***

The "It" in "It is not necessary to provide a war criminal, terrorist, and illegal combatant with a fair trial." was a reference to a global forum. The accused are deserving of a fair trial and a military tribunal would do just that.

mark said...

Of course, I've never claimed there is so risk involved in bringing detainees to the US. However, I believe it is the right thing to do, and in the long-term, the smart thing to do. Why are you always looking for the easy way out? You're still in the "how low can I duck" mentality.
I'm sorry that Bush allowed so many years to pass without the military tribunals people here now seem to be clamoring for. Kinda like with Bush's reckless spending, repubs were silent when they could have been trying to influence him.

equitus said...

mark is flossing again, and those BDS chunks are all over the place.

At least try to stay focused, mark!

mark said...

This criticism of Obama doesn't suprise me too much. Too many are afraid to do the right thing if it might be unpleasant. I remember in '03, when Bush was failing at capturing OBL. He decided he wasn't worried about him after all, and folks here went right along with it. Some poor, tough-talking, deluded fool (name of "suek") even suggested it might be better if we didn't capture him, as that might anger some people. Imagine, saying that we should allow the man most responsible for the attacks of 9/11 go free. Strange but true.

tfhr said...


Why do you think trying KSM in the United States will be "the right thing to do, and in the long-term, the smart thing to do"? You said that but we've not heard a good explanation as to why.

You're "sorry that Bush allowed so many years to pass without the military tribunals"? Then you must be very angry with the likes of Eric Holder's associates that fought hard to move the trials to US courts and the rash of delays they invoked to achieve that end. How do you deal with that contradiction?

In the end, if KSM is acquitted or his case is dismissed, what will you do?

mark said...

I was referring to closing Gitmo, not the trials. I think the easy thing to do would be to keep them at Gitmo. Keep them out of sight, just like we kept the coffins out of sight. Just like we passed the costs of the Iraq war onto future generations. (And while I've always been against the war, I have stated that we had a responsibilty to pay for it now. But we couldn't even make that sacrifice).
Of course, I and others were accused of "enabling" and "championing" the terrorists for that position. That is, until Gen. Petreaus and other military leaders vocalized that position. Turns out people here were (inadvertantly) accusing our military leaders of betraying our country. Move-on would have been proud.

tfhr said...



Who here has accused GEN Petreaus of betraying the country? I remember Al Gore braying that Bush "betrayed us" and mocking Petraeus as "Betrayus", but please tell us who in these threads said such a thing about our past President or the current commander of CENTCOM? Did you mean to post this at Hufpo or Kos?

So you think closing GITMO is good. The war continues and prisoners must be placed somewhere but GITMO is wrong in your opinion. Do you favor keeping them in Afghanistan and Iraq? It would be under the same charges. Should they be tried there or in the United States? Do you see some inconsistencies with your argument to move KSM and other AQ operatives to the US for trial while leaving others overseas?

You still have not answered whether or not you think trying KSM in the United States will be "the right thing to do, and in the long-term, the smart thing to do". Since GITMO will supposedly be closed, the remaining questions about KSM's disposition still need answers.

Should KSM be given the same Constitutional rights as an American citizen?

Further, you avoided the question about Obama and Holder's supreme confidence that KSM will not be acquitted or released on a technicality. Doesn't that sound like they've either failed to plan for the possibility or that they have the intention of keeping him in jail regardless of a jury verdict to the contrary? Would not such a predisposition suggest that this was nothing other than a show trial?

I'm seeing estimates exceeding $100 million dollars to try KSM in NYC. Depending on how long the circus is in town, I would not be surprised to see the costs rise above $250 million. Does that sound like a worthwhile expenditure for a show trial?

mark said...

I did answer your question -before you asked. In my first post: I too would rather have military tribunals. Sorry that was beyond your comprehension level. I have read support of a NY trial from Bush supporters, and criticism of the trials from Obama supporters. I don't think it is a clear-cut issue.
The point is that Krauthammer and others are once again appealing to our lowest qualities with their fearmongering. I'm a bit surprised that someone who served in the military is so susceptible.
Regarding Gen. Petreous, several people here accused me and others of "enabling" and "championing" the terrorists for being in favor of closing Gitmo About a week after that exchange, Gen. Petreous and military leaders said they wanted Gitmo closed. Words matter. Just like the fool here who keeps calling Obama a "closet marxixt". She is also (indirectly) accusing Gen. Petreous and others of being part of the "conspiracy", or saying they are so stupid that they don't know they are being duped.

tfhr said...


1. Again, who here has accused GEN Petraeus of betraying the country, as you claimed?

2. Go back and listen to the RFE interview where Petraeus discussed the planned Guantanamo closing. He uses the term "responsible" to preface the act of closing the facility. Thus far, we've not seen a responsible plan for dealing with the inmates, unless you feel bringing each and everyone to the United States for a show trial is "responsible". Sending illegal combatants to Bermuda isn't an answer either.

3. I'm not sure what you've inferred from the comments of some other person posting here but passing that along to the conclusion that Petraeus is now some sort of conspirator when he publicly complies with the official position of the Commander in Chief is a leap, mark.

4. Your response failed to address the inconsistencies inherent in the Administration's plan to try some terrorists in civil courts as opposed to military tribunals for others.

5. You've also failed to address the appalling affront to the notion of a fair trial when both Holder and Obama stated that KSM would be convicted and receive the death penalty. I'm not sure about the Marxist comment you mentioned but such a predetermined conclusion offered up by a head of state reminds me of Stalinism. What about you, mark? What would you think if the President of the United States informed the world of your guilt and your sentence before the trial had begun?

Let the show trial begin!

mark said...

It's pretty simple, tfhr. Let's pretend Skay is right about Obama being a secret Marxist (and I'm sure you've seen the posts). Logically, that would mean Gen Petraeus either
a. knows but chooses to stay silent, thus becoming part of the conspiracy. Or wouldn't you agree he had a duty to resign and expose Obama.

b. he doesn't know. Somehow, despite knowing and meeting with Obama, he's clueless about something that Skay somehow knows.

I realize that Skay is just a benign simpleton who regurgitates what she hears from Glenn Beck. But the charge she makes is not only offensive to Obama and the people serving under him, but they are potentially dangerous.
We know there are a lot of nutjobs who would like to take out Obama, and those words are the kind that will incite somebody to do it. The fact that she has repeatedly made that claim, without anyone but me call her on it, is a disgrace. You don't hesitate to tell me or other "libs" to show evidence or STFU. Are you afraid to offend a fellow conservative, no matter how absurd or dangerous the comments? Or perhaps you agree with her.
No matter how much you dislike the president, you and others have a responsibility to stand up to such irresponsible talk.

tfhr said...


You're so sensitive. You always come here demanding apologies from this one or that. I guess when you can't or won't respond to substantive points 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 above, I am left to believe that's the best you can do.

Now I laid out five points and you failed to address any of them unless you expect me to accept your wild-eyed extrapolation that Patreaus must either resign or we are to believe he is a Marxist or conspirator.

Listen to yourself. You sound ridiculous.

mark said...

Did you forget the third possibility: Obama isn't a secret Marxist. Apparently, you agree that he is. That puts you with the birthers and the truthers. I believe Gen. Petreau is an intelligent honorable man who has turned Iraq around after years of incompetent management. I wish you would give him the respect he deserves.
I've never demanded an apology from anyone here. I've made apologies when I have crossed the line, and I have said an honorable person would apologize for mocking a man on his death bed as you did with Kennedy. But I never demanded (nor did I expect) you to apologize.

Pat Patterson said...

Petraeus argued, see his Gwinnett College commencement address, that closing Guantanamo was necessary to blunt the anti-American publicity throughout the Muslim world. That sounds like Realpolitik and not the screeches of some about the moral or legal dimension.

As to the charge that Obama is a secret Marxist and that Peartaeus should resign I actually wasn't aware that his oath to defend the Constitution and to obey civilian authority was limited to the political beliefs of the President. Regardless of who that person might be or believe. I personally don't really think that Obama is a secret Marxist because I honestly don't think he has ever read Marx and that he is anything but a partisan hack with an engaging smile from Chicago.

But mark has taken his lumpshere and deservedly so for at first claiming to be for military tribunals and then include the remark, " For torturing terror-suspects, against bringing them to justice. Pretty shameful, folks!" Which a plain reading simply says that they would not receive a fair trial in front of the military tribunals. As if justice can only reside in a civilian court. But since the President and the DOJ have promised to keep them in jail even if acquitted which puts the US in the postition of sponsoring show trials. Even for the most heinous that is not justice.

tfhr said...


You're back to the "birthers" thing again. You had been doing so well too. What was that? Four or five consecutive posts without an outburst? Oh well, maybe a relapse was to be expected in these difficult times for Obama.

You telling me to give the respect deserved of the man that led the Surge is really comical. How often did you come here to tell us that the Surge had failed? Aren't you overlooking the salient fact that George W. Bush backed the Surge against wide spread skepticism? Now if we could only get Obama to back Petraeus and McChrystal but apparently he doesn't want to risk running up against the nut-roots ire until he sees what's going to happen to his socialized medicine scam.

That's right, mark, I said "socialized" but if I ever mean to say Marxist, I'll let you know. Until then, you just run along and confabulate yourself into a frenzy, if you must.

mark said...

Final word (from me), tfhr.
The great irony here is that you, more than anyone else, tried to tie any criticism of Bush as an attack (or "spitting") on the troops. It was a cheap way to deflect criticism aimed directly at the administration. Now, you are the most vocal in denying that attacks on Obama have any connection to those serving under him.

Anyway, it's been fairly amusing. Have a good Thanksgiving.

tfhr said...


Stuff this in your turkey:

"Now, you are the most vocal in denying that attacks on Obama have any connection to those serving under him."

When Obama appoints an avowed communist as his "green jobs" czar, who should I blame? Would you appoint a communist to a position that allowed him to have his hands on TARP money? Would you? Have you forgotten that the same communist, Van Jones, also believes that the US Government destroyed the WTC? I think you call those guys "truthers", don't you?

GEN Petraeus is going to support the Commander in Chief. It is his job. Obama didn't appoint him but it's a pity that he won't support his CENTCOM commander or McChrystal, the man he DID appoint to lead the fight in Afghanistan. Obama's lack of support for the specific theater of conflict that he repeatedly singled out as the "war of necessity" in the larger War on Terror is nothing short of willful negligence and our troops will increasingly pay the price as the President dithers.

I will give thanks again this season for the service members and their families that sacrifice so much for our security. This year I have several friends deployed in both Afghanistan and Iraq. I've already sent their holiday packages out and I've been sending boxes of school supplies to Afghanistan where one friend is helping rebuild a school that was hit by insurgent mortars. I look forward with Hope® to the day that President Obama will Change® from campaigning politician to war time leader. I Hope® that this Hope® and Change® won't be the same empty or cynical slogan for our troops deployed in Afghanistan as it has been for the rest of the country because if it is, he'll be sending the bird to each of them and I'm not talking about Turkeys for the dining facilities.

Pat Patterson said...

It's instructive that the grand strategy of World War II was not arrived at until August of '42 but in the meantime work continued on the B-29, the B-17 was deployed to Britain, the US was publicly participating in the Battle of the Atlantic, the FBI was infiltrating native German groups and penetrating South America to both set up listening stations and identify hostile alien groups, the newest air craft carriers were just undergoing sea trials almost 3million men and women were in the military, the Japanese had been turned back at Midway, the US had landed the Marines at Guadalcanal and seized Iceland.

While the current administration is ponderously debating as if no one is dying or there is at least confidence in the US military and the ISAF as to what the tactical orders are currently operational.

tfhr said...

Pat Patterson,

I think our greatest weakness is that the United States mistakenly views itself as "too big to fail" when it comes to war. It's as if we can elect to walk away and there will be no consequence. Fight to win.

You mentioned Iceland. They've got lots of geothermal which is great for hot tubs. Hot tubs and saunas are popular in Sweden. OK TV, I've prepped the thread for you...jump in and tell us about universal saunas because mark is pretty much frozen to the permafrost here.