November 20, 2010
The Outcome Is...Trying
Eric Holder and Barack Obama are, in many ways, alike. Men of few actual accomplishments but unlimited, astronomical self-regard, they have been elevated far past their abilities, living examples of the Peter Principle, people rising to and greatly surpassing their own level of incompetence. Despite having little prosecutorial experience and having less experience in management, Mr. Holder was elevated to the office of the Attorney General, apparently on the strength of his slavish devotion to leftist philosophy.
Rewind a year to the outrage over Mr. Holder’s decision to try those responsible for “man caused disasters,” and/or “overseas contingency operations” in civilian courts. All of the downsides of this kind of thinking have been exhaustively catalogued and are obvious to those possessed of common sense. The upside is, according to Mr. Holder, that jihadist murderers will appreciate the transparency and fairness of the American civilian court systems and that this will somehow, magically, improve America’s standing in the world. And Mr. Holder, a man of scant trial experience, was absolutely certain that such trials would be won. In fact, he guaranteed that every alleged man caused disaster causer tried in civilian court would, without exception, be convicted. The common man might be forgiven for wondering how the outcome of a fair trial could be guaranteed beforehand, but Mr. Holder apparently knew better. In fact, in the case of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, Mr. Holder declared that “failure is not an option.”
Failure is indeed the option, despite Justice Department and White House attempts to spin it otherwise. Of 285 counts, including multiple counts of murder, Ghailani was, only this week, convicted of only one. One count of conspiracy for which he may be sentenced to 20 years to life. Considering time served and good behavior, perhaps he’ll be released next week (yes, that’s an exaggeration, but sadly, likely not enough of one). Ghailani, for those who have not been following his case, is the self confessed man caused disaster causer responsible for the murder of 224 people (and the wounding of many more) in the 1998 bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Because he was tried in civilian criminal court, Ghailani, a mass murderer, a terrorist combatant dedicated to killing Americans, received all of the rights and benefits of a common American criminal. Vital witnesses and evidence were excluded--properly under American criminal law--and other vital evidence could not be used lest intelligence sources and methods be disclosed. To anyone not Eric Holder or Barack Obama, the outcome was a foregone conclusion.
Still, Mr. Holder and Mr. Obama gamely claim that even if Ghailani had not been convicted, he would still be held as an enemy combatant, making any claim of transparency, fairness and the glories of the American criminal justice system a farce. But not to worry; we can hold Ghailani and his like as long as the war continues. Worry indeed, for Mr. Obama intends to end all hostilities as soon as possible and only just announced that he is confident that we will pull our troops out of Afghanistan on a predetermined schedule. And when that day comes and Mr. Obama declares that the war is over (he is psychologically, perhaps even physically, incapable of declaring an American victory), what becomes, morally and legally, of our justification for holding illegal enemy combatants, combatants who have not been tried with a guaranteed, pre-determined outcome, in civilian, criminal court?
We have been lucky thus far. Despite having suffered, during the first two years of the Obama era, multiple successful terrorist attacks and attempts on our soil, the body count has been blessedly low. Mr, Obama has also recently observed that America can “absorb another 9-11,” and one might be forgiven for believing that his policies are designed to ensure that we’ll have the opportunity to demonstrate the American resilience he seems to prize so greatly. After all, when the underwear bomber was thwarted by dumb luck and hands-on fellow flyers, Janet Napolitano, our hapless DHS chief, proclaimed that the system worked. That's the kind of success we can't afford.
Our current government cannot bring itself to identify our enemy, cannot admit that some people are more likely than others to commit acts of terror, cannot even admit that we are fighting a global war, a war being dictated by our enemies. We are on the defensive and depending on luck and the occasional alert, lucky officer fortuitously in exactly the right place at exactly the right time to protect us against people who are willing to give their own lives to take ours, and our government thinks that making nice in civilian court will impress them.
And so we have the bizarre spectacle of forcing people least likely to jaywalk, to say nothing of commit acts of terror, subjected to nude imaging, intrusive searches and interminable delays when we know that the Israeli method which focuses on the reality that certain kinds of people are terrorists and most are not, has a perfect record of performance. And we try mass murderers in civilian court when any rational person would know that so doing is the virtual definition of insanity and incompetence.
And how is all of this working in terms of international relations? Mr. Obama’s recent trip to Asia is instructive. Even democrats are admitting that he accomplished nothing at all, that he was seen as a weak, pathetic figure to whom few foreign leaders pay attention and fewer respect. Even the Palestinians have publicly admitted that his anti-Israeli interference in the Peace Process has forced them to adopt positions they did not want to adopt and has harmed, probably fatally, the potential for any meaningful talks and for peace.
When common sense and human nature are ignored, there is a price to pay. There is always a price to pay. Pray gentle readers, that the price won’t be too high, that absorbing the next attack won’t involve you or those you love. And remember that Mr. Obama, Mr. Holder, and anyone who thinks even remotely like them cannot be trusted with the lives of Americans and with American national or domestic security, and act accordingly.