Andrew McCarthy from the National Review:
The decision to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other top al-Qaeda terrorists to New York City for a civilian trial is one of the most irresponsible ever made by a presidential administration. That it is motivated by politics could not be more obvious. That it spells unprecedented danger for our security will soon become obvious.
I couldn’t disagree more. It’s shameful that Mr. McCarthy is so disingenuous in his argument. Nothing spells hypocrisy more than false indignation and fear-mongering about an issue that conservatives have tried to own for the past eight years. In 2006, President Bush and his administration tried and convicted co-conspirator Zaccarias Moussaoui in a civilian court outside of Washington D.C. Ramzi Yusef was tried during the Clinton administration for his complicity in the 1993 World Trade Center attacks. This false, self-serving notion that this idea is “unprecedented” goes beyond the pale. Do these talking pinheads ever do any research before writing this crap?
There is one point in Mr. McCarthy’s argument I agree with: President Obama is driven by a political motivation. But I happen to think it is a good one. Why not showcase the power and majesty of the American judicial system? Why not prove to the world that America is more than political hawks, hell bent on exacting righteous vengeance by any means necessary?
Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ):
“I saw the Mayor of New York said today, “We’re tough. We can do it.” Well, Mayor, how are you going to feel when it’s your daughter that’s kidnapped at school by a terrorist? How are you going to feel when it’s some clerk — some innocent clerk of the court — whose daughter or son is kidnapped? Or the jailer’s little brother or little sister? This is political correctness run amok.”
It is precisely this fear — not capitulating to party loyalty — that has terrified conservatives into retreating from what makes America, America. We have cowered and genuflected to paranoia so much that we’ve created our own twisted version of Neverland. Gitmo is an ever present reminder of us twisting and corrupting our ideals — the very things that make us unlike everyone else on Earth. We have subjugated our own values and laws in order to establish our new bully mentality, forever casting our credibility as a superpower and beacon of light in doubt to the rest of the world. This is what fear — irrational, irresponsible fear — can do to the mind. Here’s more fear and worry from James Joyner:
[T]hese men are not citizens of the United States. Second, they’re accused war criminals. They simply should not be tried in U.S. civilian courts. Rather, they should either be held accountable in a Nuremberg-style international forum or treated as war criminals by a U.S. military tribunal under the mechanisms provided by Congress and approved by the Supreme Court.
Aside from the virtual certainty that the trial will devolve into a media circus, there’s an incredibly good chance that Mohammed and his comrades will go free. The fact that KSM was repeatedly waterboarded would seem to taint any subsequent evidence, including his own confession.
How utterly preposterous and naive. What purpose did waterboarding serve then, if information obtained from it was unreliable and tainted? This is the reaffirmation of the previous administration’s folly and inadequate intelligence and foresight. As to the notion that you are empowering those that wish to destroy you, I say nonsense. You’re not giving any terrorist a platform they didn’t already have. This is no mockery or circus. This will be real American justice, played out for all the world to see. No amount of political spin on the subject can shield the fact that. in this instance, the justice department will bring a mountain of evidence to convict Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. No half-thought idea will supplant what will take place before our very eyes — the religious extremism of KSM and his ilk will be exposed for what it is. And it will remind the world, after years of feet dragging, just how barbaric the ideology of these cowards is.
And what better place for all of this to occur but in our greatest, grandest city? The city where fellow Americans burned, and lives were changed forever? Let us provide swift, exacting justice the American way. Let us lead the way as we’ve always done, and show the world just how special our way of life is.