KSM Inquiry: Party Before Citizenry

Assigned Reading: Eric Holder’s Baffling KSM Decision
(FROM: The Wall Street Journal)

I missed this one on Friday. If you missed it as well, it was an op-ed piece written for the Wall Street Journal by David Beamer. If his last name rings a bell it’s because his son, Todd, was killed on September 11, 2001 after standing up and fighting back on United Flight 93. Nearly all of us have heard his story, remember his defiance, and understand what happened that day; from what David Beamer writes, however, it’s apparent that some on Capitol Hill have forgotten.

Beamer had a chance to sit in on Senate Judiciary Committee hearings last week held in order to question Attorney General Eric Holder on his decision to bring 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad to New York City for civilian trial. I’ll probably push the limit on what I can properly excerpt here, but I know many folks don’t make that linked jump, and want Mr. Beamer’s message to get across.

The committee, chaired by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.), displayed the division in our country not only visually—the Democrats were seated on the left and the Republicans on the right—but in every aspect of the proceedings. I expected that some members would agree with Mr. Holder and that others would have challenging questions about his decision. What I did not anticipate was the level of partisanship showed by the majority party. It seemed clear to me and other family members of victims that party loyalty is trumping concern for America’s security interests.

In his opening remarks, Attorney General Holder acknowledged that these defendants could have been brought to trial in civilian court or before military tribunals. But he made the argument that trying them in our criminal courts would restore the integrity of our judicial system. He assured us that the trials would be quick, that the safety of New Yorkers would be paramount, that classified information would not be revealed, that the evidence was overwhelming, and that justice would be served.

Then he said that the USS Cole attackers would be tried in military courts since they attacked our military. So how does Mr. Holder categorize the Pentagon? Inexplicably, he offered up the body count of 9/11, the fact that civilian deaths outnumbered military ones, as a rationale for his decision.

Then the Republican members proceeded to ask Mr. Holder thoughtful questions. Some examples:

How can we be assured that these enemies will be found guilty? Given that criminal courts are now the presumed venue for those captured on the battlefield, will soldiers need to read them their rights at the time of capture? Since you wish to make exceptions on a case-by-case basis to the presumed civil venue, don’t all those captured need to be read their rights and have the opportunity to remain silent? Won’t this venue expose intelligence to our enemies? Can our classified information really be secured? Can we in fact predict how the judge will rule? If these people are brought into the country will they get additional rights under immigration law? What if they claim asylum?

The attorney general seemed bewildered in the face of these inquiries. Recurring themes in his responses included “I think,” and “I can’t imagine,” and “I am not an expert in immigration.”

Has our attorney general not considered these issues, or imagined the possible unintended consequences that will arise from his historic decision? It certainly seemed that way. If he had, he would have had better answers.

The Democrats used much of their questioning time to heap praise upon Mr. Holder. They all repeated the same trope: We’ll show the world that America can conduct these trials openly in criminal courts. And we’ll be successful, even as we convey rights to the defendants that are not warranted.

Since when has “show the world” been a primary objective?

No thoughtful questions from the majority party regarding this decision were forthcoming. Their questions mostly addressed other matters. They discussed overcrowding in our prisons (too many drug criminals being sentenced), asked why none of the $500 million in appropriations have helped the rape-kit processing backlog, and inquired about when recommendations for additional staff would be presented for confirmation. Their lack of attention to the pressing matter at hand suggested apathy.



  1. Anonymous says:

    This has to be the most arrogant administration I have ever witnessed. They care nothing about what the American people or families of the 9/11 victims want. I have felt all along this is just another way to "bash Bush" so Obama can make the world "respect" America again. It is totally disgusting. Verum Serum has a post about this and what the "terrorists" want out of this trial. If this trial is botched and these murderers are allowed to voice their idiotic opinions I foresee an uprising in civil unrest here in the States. I pray that God will keep us all safe


  2. Walt says:

    We observe the arrogance at every turn in the road. It is frightful that in all senate deliberations the outcome is 60 to 40. Does this so called President wield so much power that these so called educated idiots can not see the errors in their responsibility. We are fast approaching a civil unrest that will pit the populous against law enforcement/military with the political idiots standing to the side smiling.

  3. T.I.M. says:

    Since the defendants are now going to plead "not guilty" (despite one already confessing and being on the way to a military execution) and use this trial to air their beliefs, it's a perfect venue for Obama to let someone else bash Bush's America (not his!) for the rest of the world to see. The AG is merely the "holder" as this trial can tee off on the last eight years of bad management, and kick our country down the road — to who knows what…

  4. Claudia says:

    This was posted at theobamafile.com and I really think that everyone here should read and digest it, for it is a very onmious sign that our country MAY not be sovereign much longer, cause Obama will give it away to the highest terrorist/rebel cause without oversidght as to what the people who actually own and live in that country want:

    Obama Offers Taliban 25% Of Afghanistan

    ThreatsWatch.org is reporting that the MEMRI Blog highlights an article from the Saudi al-Watan in Arabic that, according to an Afghan source, the United States is talking to the Taliban seeking to trade control of five provinces in exchange for the cessation of attacks on US bases. MEMRI summarizes:

    An Afghan source in Kabul reports that U.S. Ambassador in Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry is holding secret talks with Taliban elements headed by the movement's foreign minister, Ahmad Mutawakil, at a secret location in Kabul. According to the source, the U.S. has offered the Taliban control of the Kandahar, Helmand, Oruzgan, Kunar and Nuristan provinces in return for a halt to the Taliban missile attacks on U.S. bases.

    Kunar province borders the Khyber Pass region where the majority of US and NATO supplies pass en route from Pakistan. And the remaining four provinces constitute fully the southern 25% of Afghanistan's territory.

    This, if true, is a disturbing development.

    I have tried to come up with scenarios of why someone would lie about it in a leak. What would be to gain? Who would gain, and what would they gain? Without sleeping on it, the options for such appear narrow at best.

    What does seem logical is that an Afghan privy to the negotiations could have become (rightly) spooked that they might just pull it off, and leaked word in hopes that it might so anger American public opinion that the entire endeavor might be scrapped. That's the most logical explanation for motivation I see at the moment.

    It would also fit in consistently with Ambassador Eikenberry's leaked cables recently railing against a "surge" in forces in Afghanistan. He wouldn't voice such without thinking he has his hands on something else. Could this be it? The surrender of 25% of Afghan territory in exchange for some form of ceasefire?

    These negotiations might explain Obama's delay in responding to Gen. McChrystal's request for reinforcements.

  5. Boston Blackie says:

    This travesty is being held to put the Bush administration on trial more than the terrorist, who I fear may just get off on a technicality. Holder is doing this so he can then appoint a special prosecutor to file charges against Bush, Cheney, CIA and FBI et al.
    May God help us all. Welcome back to 9/10.

  6. Patrick says:

    I don't think that we need to worry about the terrorists getting off on a technicality or being freed. This administration can barely handle protests against their healthcare ideas and cap and trade. They'd never in a million years be able to live down anything less than a death penalty sentence for the masterminds of 9/11.

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