November 18, 2009

Broken Minds

This observation from Tom Maguire has haunted me since last night.

As he told us last Friday, Eric Holder wants to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in civilian courts because he (mostly) attacked civilians, while the attackers of the USS Cole will be sent to a military tribunal. The Dallas Morning News explained:
There is no contradiction here: military courts for attacks on the military, civilian courts for attacks on civilians.

OMG. And if the next batch of terrorists are clever enough to attack an elementary school will they be tried in juvenile court?

How bizarre is Holder's logic? First, why give more rights and more protections to a terrorists who targets civilians? Secondly, the court ought to be determined by the nature of the defendant, not the nature of the victims - if KSM is an enemy combatant he deserves a military tribunal regardless of who he was crafty enough to target.

I've long disagreed with the underlying ideology of the Obama Administration, which is based upon the philosophies of those men who replaced his father in his life. Radical left-wing ideologies like those the President learned from his mentors—Frank Marshall Davis (communist), Bill Ayers (Marxist), Jeremiah Wright (racist black liberation theology, Marxism), etc—have never led to anything other than misery for the wretches that survive it.

But Obama and his subordinates compound the errors of these diseased ideologies by adopting another failed ideology, one that acts as if the open warfare of Islamic fascism is a civilian law enforcement problem. That flawed thinking already led to horrors of 9/11. Why are our President and Attorney General so dimwitted that they desire to repeat those mistakes and put the lives of Americans at greater risk?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at November 18, 2009 10:35 AM

It is obvious that Holder has not bounced this idea of anyone with any intelligence.This is up there with the decision to NOT prosecute the black panthers on the voting station steps in Pa. If this insanity actually leads to a trial in NYC and a bomb goes off there, it will be the end of the era of Hope and Change. Holder is way over his head in this and there in no good that can come from it. Like my Dad used to tell me when I was a teenage hoodlum with bad ideas, "What is the best and worst thing that this will produce".

Posted by: inspectorudy at November 18, 2009 11:04 AM

But at the same time, KSM isn't a soldier, he's a murderer. His attack wasn't an act of war it was a cowardly crime. To me that means he should be treated as a criminal, and the Brits and Spanish had the same reaction after the London and Madrid bombings. They tried those guys in the cities that had been bombed, and they tried them in civilian courts, and they got convictions for murder, not war crimes or some crap like that.

If we turn terrorists like KSM into soldiers, or enemy combatants, or any legal fudge other than criminal then any attack by those guys that targets our military -- like the Pentagon -- would be a simple act of war in an ongoing war, and the civilian deaths would be collateral damage, which is pure BS. These guys aren't fighting a war, they're terrorists plain and simple.

Posted by: Jim at November 18, 2009 02:33 PM

I wonder if Jim would feel the same way if it was his relatives that died in those buildings on 9/11.

Posted by: Michael Smith at November 18, 2009 03:09 PM

WTF is that supposed to mean Michael, did you even read what I wrote?

KSM isn't a soldier, he's a criminal. His actions weren't attacks upon an enemy nation during a time of war, they were murders.

When we bomb cities during a war it's an act of war, not an act of murder. Do you want KSM to be able to claim he was doing the same thing? Of course not.

Posted by: Jim at November 18, 2009 03:56 PM

Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda declared war against the US in 1996. Perhaps you missed it.

KSM was working for Al Qaeda on 9/11, who had previously declared war on the US AND attacked several of its possessions. 9/11 was yet another attack perpetrated in prosecution of that war. That fact alone is enough to remove this matter from the civilian court system.

KSM IS a conspiratorialist to murder, but he did it in the context of a larger war effort. This is a military matter, and should be prosecuted as such. Followed by a speedy hanging (as opposed to years of appeals).

Posted by: Michael Smith at November 18, 2009 09:40 PM

Sorry Mike, I disagree. I don't want to dignify what KSM did by making the hijackings part of some larger war. He's a criminal, he was never a soldier.

Posted by: Jim at November 18, 2009 10:57 PM

And if the next batch of terrorists are clever enough to attack a pig farm ?

Will they be tried by a court of pigs ?

Posted by: Neo at November 19, 2009 08:43 AM

So does this mean that the Holocaust was a military operation ? 6 million military deaths ? Nuremberg was a military tribunal.

Would a nuclear attack be a military or civilian operation ? Do they count the number of eviscerated and wounded military vs civilians ?

Posted by: Neo at November 19, 2009 08:51 AM

You are free to disagree, but you are being willfully blind of the facts in this matter.

So by your definition, since Al Qaeda is not a formalized fighting force (aka Army), then ALL trials of Al Qaeda detainees should be held in civilian court.

Is that what you are really espousing?

Posted by: Michael Smith at November 19, 2009 09:04 AM

Neo, Nuremberg is tricky for a number of reasons, the court was a mix of civilian and military, the defendants were a mix of civilian and military persons, and they were accused of a whole array of different crimes from waging illegal aggressive war to hate speech. Throw in a multinational set of prosecutors and judges and there's pretty much something for everyone there. This is just us.

Mike, I'm talking about KSM a guy who was captured far from the battlefield, not every potential defendant, different circumstances warrant different approaches.

Here's what I worry about, you can tell me if it's a valid concern.

The first shot we fired in the Iraq War was a cruise missile or missiles fired to try and kill Saddam. We had declared war, he was the head of state and the commander of the Iraqi military making him a valid target.

If some group like Al Qaeda "declares war" on us, would it then be legal in your eyes for them to attempt to blow up the President? I don't. I don't want to invest individual terrorists with the privileges of nations.

Posted by: Jim at November 19, 2009 09:30 AM

I think the pushback on Jim is a bit gratuitous. But there is a third designation of less than ancient vintage but still with a long track record. In the Geneva Conventions this demo of asshole is called an "unlawful combatant" and as I understand it this concept loomed large in the legal underpinnings (yes, there were such) of the Bushies detention policies. It seems unclear if it is still the case and it is clearly NOT the case if other international accords are considered but in their original form the Geneva Conventions took a rather stern line on unlawful combatants; summary battlefield execution. If that is allowed then any lesser harshness in their detention is discretionary. The real indictment of the Obama KWM policy is that he has already confessed in military tribunals and no, this was not swirlied out of him. He is, as one would expect, quite a proud jihadi. As far as "justice" goes, before the recent decisions of OHolder, execution was a matter of procedure. These procedures were not yet pursued for the obvious intelligence value of KSM and who knows what other political factors. This amounts not to a delivery of justice unless a reprieve of the condemned man and a new trial is warrented. It is a perversion not of justice merely but of the justice system because rather than introducing decent jurisprudence into the GWOT it is importing Jihad into our courtrooms. So, what will be the results? I predict that KSM will walk. Holder declares that he has sufficient evidence for a CAPITAL conviction that is of sufficient provenance to be admitted. Well, maybe he thinks he does but it is the DUTY of the other side to argue otherwise. This "other" evidence must be absolutely underived from any non-Mirandized and evidence-chained information from ANY source. Needless to say this is a high bar and Holder's declared confidence is just braggadoccio. But will any of that ever become an issue? How will they seat a jury? That is a year's process at least, and then only if the defense team is not intentionally delaying. Other tactical possibilities abound that make Mr. Holder's "evidence" moot. Only two outcomes are possible. One, KSM will walk or two, he will be returned to his former state of detention. And it will not really take some Leftwing nutcase judge or plant in the jury, merely a rigorous application of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and if that doesn't happen at trial, it will happen at appeal, which is of course automatic and gub financed in capital cases. No, KSM is NOT in for speedy trial and execution. Nope. Holder promises the impossible, declaring it inevitable and in so doing reveals that he knows nothing in his supposed area of expertise OR he was instructed to make this decision. In that case he is indeed The Holder. He is holding the bag and it is ticking.

Posted by: megapotamus at November 19, 2009 09:41 AM

Jim believes that the Nanking Massacre wasn't murder because it was part of War.

Jim, all good people in the world disagree with you, as does the US Military.

UCMJ - Article 118 - Murder

Posted by: brando at November 19, 2009 02:47 PM

You have it completely backwards as usual Brando.

A better analogy for what I actually wrote above would be; I don't think a Chinese man who shot a Japanese woman in Tokyo a month after Nanking should be treated as though he was a soldier at war on the battlefield.

You can murder while in uniform, no one disputes that. I do not believe a person can declare war on a nation and then 5 years later kill civilians and call that an act of war. KSM was not a soldier in a war, he was a simple criminal and should be tried as such.

Posted by: Jim at November 19, 2009 03:36 PM

Jim -

Your argument is so specious that I don't know where to start.

The US did not specifically target Saddam at the beginning of hostilities. They concentrated on command, control and communication facilities. That's the first move any aggressor makes in a war. The US may have a lobbed a missle or two after Saddam, and if they got him in the process, so much the better. But as I recall, lots of munitions fell that night, and not all of them were aimed at Saddam.

And do you really believe that Al Qaeda would hesitate, even for a second, to eliminate Bush if they had the chance? You do understand what a PR coup that would be for Al Qaeda, right?

Further, except for the heroic actions of some on flight 83, Al Qaeda WOULD have destroyed the Capital. But, if I understand your argument correctly, had the terrorists succeeded, and politicians (as opposed to civilians) died, then we could try KSM in a military court?

You may not want to "invest individual terrorists with privileges of nations", but Al Qaeda doesn't really care what you think. They have already taken those "privileges", whether granted or not.

Posted by: Michael Smith at November 19, 2009 05:47 PM
BAGHDAD, Iraq The United States launched its opening attack against Iraq Thursday morning, aiming at "targets of military opportunity" in a pre-dawn "decapitation" strike after President Bush's deadline for Saddam Hussein to leave the country passed unheeded.

The "decapitation" attack targeted Saddam personally, U.S. officials told Fox News, and the barrage of cruise missiles and bombs was a prelude to a major invasion of Iraq.,2933,81607,00.html

Of course Al Qaeda would target our President, my question to you is, if we and Al Qaeda are at war, and you can legally target a leader in a "decapitation" strike while at war, would you call an attack by Al Qaeda on our President a valid act of war or a crime. I would call it a crime because I don't treat Al Qaeda as an entity that can wage war. If you say they can and have, then why would their decapitation strike be illegal and ours legal?

Posted by: Jim at November 19, 2009 06:24 PM

Are you being obtuse on purpose? Are you seriously suggesting that Al Qaeda has not been waging war? Or perhaps that KSM should go free because he acted while in a war?

What you clearly do not understand is that this is not a matter of legal and illegal. It is a matter of national sovereignty. Al Qaeda declared war on the US and acted on that declaration. KSM, a member of Al Qaeda, by his own admission, was the orchestrator (i.e. General) of that attack. He was caught (and it does matter where he was apprehended, as you have argued elsewhere). To the extent that he should be given a trial at all, it should be a military trial. This is not a civilian matter, and no unrepentant foreigner who acted in a war effort against this country should be granted the same rights of defense that I as a citizen enjoy.

You're getting hard to take seriously.

Posted by: Michael Smith at November 19, 2009 10:01 PM

Michael it's not clear to me that you are reading what I'm writing. Did I ever suggest KSM should go free? No, I'm saying the exact opposite.

Yes Al Qaeda has been attacking us for over a decade, but no, I don't think a handful of individual terrorists can declare war upon a nation in any meaningful way. They're not a country, they're not soldiers, they're common criminals. I don't know how I could be any more clear about that.

I'm asking you a simple question, and I think you've been ducking answering that simple question because you don't like the answer.

You keep saying Al Qaeda can declare war upon a nation in the same way the USA can, fine. Do they then have the same right we do to declare war, and then legally launch decapitation attacks against our leaders? It's a simple yes or no question. Of course I'd also appreciate your reasoning.

Did it start getting harder to take me seriously when I showed you that you were wrong about the US directly targeting Saddam at the start of the Iraq War? ;)

Posted by: Jim at November 19, 2009 10:29 PM

Jim -

the economic destruction of 9-11 exceeded that of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

How exactly do you justify saying ... but no, I don't think a handful of individual terrorists can declare war upon a nation in any meaningful way.?

Posted by: Adriane at November 20, 2009 02:50 AM