Yesterday was my first day back at work following an extended weekend spent house-hunting in the Charleston, SC area. While I spent little time over the past five days or so in front of a television or computer, it was difficult to escape the news of Attorney Gen. Eric Holder’s decision to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammad to New York City for criminal trial in federal court. In fact, it was one of the few things I actually had the chance to write about here at America’s Right while I was out of town.
The practical reality of Holder’s decision didn’t quite hit me completely, however, until yesterday afternoon when in the course of my daily schedule as a legal writer I found myself thinking of KSM and the other 9/11 co-conspirators as I walked into the federal courthouse here in Philadelphia.
Of course, my own outrage at the Justice Department’s decision–which Holder testified today was made independently of the president (anyone believe him?)–has hovered around the security threat brought upon New York City, the disconnect between Holder and those devastated by the 9/11 attacks, and the overall indication that this administration is ignorant with regard to the threat from radical Islam and seems to have trouble discerning good from evil in general, but walking into the courthouse yesterday afternoon brought things down to a personal level.
What if it were the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and not the Southern District of New York in which the Justice Department deemed it appropriate to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and his murderous cohorts? What if it were my building? Would I really want to go to work each day in the global epicenter of the international conflict formerly known as the Global War on Terror?
On Tuesday, Arizona Congressman John Shadegg felt it necessary to apologize for comments he made Monday night while addressing, on the House floor, security concerns in the Big Apple as a result of such a trial in Manhattan.
“Well, mayor,” Shadegg said, addressing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg rhetorically, “how are you going to feel when it is your daughter that is kidnapped at school by a terrorist?”
As a father of a young daughter, my goodness — Shadegg’s statement hits right square in the gut. Thinking about my daughter’s life in jeopardy makes my stomach turn, causes my blood pressure to perceptibly rise, and brings tears to my eyes. It’s a horrible thing to endure the loss of a child, and terrible to even consider it, especially when put into the context of something as senseless as a terrorist attack. Yet I don’t believe that Shadegg should have apologized, and I absolutely applaud him for standing fast when it came to reminding us of the threat that is radical Islam in the course of doing so.
The fact is, my gut wrenches when I think of what happened at Comintern Street School Number One on September 1, 2004 when nearly 800 children were taken hostage by Muslim terrorists. One hundred and eighty-six children were murdered that day in what has come to be known as the Beslan school massacre.
Think about that for a moment. Think about that, and then consider that the New York City Department of Education comprises the largest system of schools in the United States of America so hated by radical Muslims the world over. Think about the more than one million children attending public school in the New York City area that will be unnecessarily put at risk by an unfathomable and unforgivable decision based completely on politics and an ideological bent completely incapable of drawing the line between right and wrong and good and evil.
Was John Shadegg so wrong to try, desperately and for the sake of those 1.1 million schoolchildren in the more than 1,600 area schools, to get through the thick skull of Michael Bloomberg? Was he really? I don’t think so. Not at all.
Furthermore, I cannot help but wonder out loud whether Bloomberg would have offered the same support for the Justice Department decision should it have come prior to his re-election at the beginning of this month. My guess is that Bloomberg would have employed common sense and done what so many New York City area first responders are doing — protest Holder’s disgustingly expansive disconnect with reality.
On that front, it should be noted that Attorney Gen. Eric Holder’s law firm, Covington & Burling, volunteered its services to at least 18 terrorist detainees, sworn enemies of America, in connection with lawsuits brought against the American government and American people. During 2007 alone, Covington & Burling contributed more than three-thousand hours of free, top-flight legal assistance to radical Islamic jihadists captured in the act of plotting or carrying out attacks against Americans. As one conservative law school acquaintance of mine says: “Meet your Attorney General, America.”
Now, in an effort surely intended to engender warm feelings from our enemies across the globe, and in an attempt to show that this post-George W. Bush America has embarked on a new path toward human rights for all, and constitutional rights for everyone, the Obama Justice Department is risking the chance that Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and his cohorts will be acquitted on a procedural or evidentiary technicality, and that KSM’s supports in the caves and spiderholes back home will glean invaluable information about American intelligence operations and other measures from materials made available for trial.
Sure, President Obama and Attorney General Holder insist that neither will happen, but their track record for honesty is about as thin as Khalid Sheikh Mohammad’s tendency for compassion. The fact is, information leaked during previous such trials following the 1993 World Trade Center bombing led to the September 11, 2001 attacks. Furthermore, the stronger and more vigorously Obama and Holder maintain that KSM, et al. will be tried, found guilty and executed, the more the enemies this administration holds in such high esteem will characterize this trial as a complete sham. And in that, they will be right. On oh-so-many levels.
Congressman Shadegg was absolutely right to be outraged. After all, it was he and other House Republicans who authored the Democrat-spurned Keep Terrorists Out of America Act, which would ensure that Guantanamo Bay detainees would remain off American soil and out of the American court system. And, the fact remains that the facility in Cuba was designed for this specific purpose, and since 2002 has held in more than acceptable conditions some of the world’s most dangerous radical Islamic jihadists, including but certainly not limited to those who assisted in planning and facilitating the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It was President Obama who, in January, signed an executive order to close the detention facility without his promised plan for dealing with the detainees, and it is President Obama from whom, ten months later, the American people are still waiting to hear a plan.
It has been in the face of clear, unambiguous opposition from the American people that the president continues his push to transfer jihadists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammad to U.S. soil, and now his administration is working overtime to ignore the will of the people and pave the way for those terrorists to have access to our American legal system, where they will look to and possibly succeed in manipulating, for their own use, the rights provided by the very Constitution which protects and preserves the rights of those people they would murder in a minute if given the chance.
According to reports from the Washington Post and other outlets, one out of every seven Guantanamo Bay detainees deemed “safe” and released from custody by this administration and the previous one have returned to the battlefield. Some have taken American lives once again.
When President Obama took his Oath of Office, he swore to protect and defend the United States Constitution. How does this accomplish that goal? How does this make America any more safe? How does this make New York City any less of a target? How does this project strength from America as we fight against radical Islam?
In short, it doesn’t. Congressman Shadegg understands this, while Mayor Bloomberg does not. The thing is, I get the feeling that Eric Holder and Barack Obama understand it as well — they just don’t care.