November 13, 2009

Michael "Miss-the-Point" Medved Strikes Again

Hatched by Dafydd

In the first hour of his show today, Michael Medved was objecting to the staggeringly stupid decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to put Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, Walid bin Attash, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, each accused of planning the September 11th attacks, on trial in a civilian court in New York City. (Of coruse, the policy could only have been announced had it been enthusiastically approved by President Barack H. Obama; so let's not blame Holder... blame Holder's boss.)

Well of course Medved opposes the scheme; he is (generally) a conservative, and what conservative could possibly support such an asinine policy?

But I was driven to distraction when Medved explained why he was against it. Because of the danger it would provoke another terrorist attack against New York? Because of likely attempts by terrorists to free the Gitmo Five? Because of the horrible risk that they might be acquitted, simply because we would be hamstrung by threats to national security?

Why no: Michael Medved's main argument, which he repeated over and over, was that such a trial would cost too much money.

"This could cost as much as a hundred million dollars!" he hyperventilated -- which, by the way, is less than one one-millionth of the cost of ObamaCare. Several callers took their cue from Medved, calling to complain about wasting all that taxpayer money.

Where to begin? Talk about missing the dead cow on the tennis court. The reason the Holder decision is utterly insane is not the money; and it's not that it would give a "platform" for the terrorists to spout their anti-American propaganda, which Medved also mentioned en passante. I'm sure the courtroom will be closed; and even if there is a TV feed, it will be court controlled, which the judge can order shut down if the defendants begin ranting. (Not that a raging Khalid Sheikh Mohammed screaming "God damn America!" would be a good recruiting tool to convert Americans to jihadist Islam anyway.)

The real danger is twofold:

  1. It establishes a precedent that such terrorist attacks, launched from a foreign country by foreign nationals, with the aid and support of other foreign nations, are simply criminal acts that should be tried in civilian court, alongside carjacking and check kiting cases.

We must understand that such attacks are the future of warfare. We're not going to be subject to a missile barrage directly from Iran; when Iran attacks us in future, it will be through the agency of another KSM and Ramzi Binalshibh.

  1. It carries the distinct risk that terrorist attorneys can "game the system" to get all five terrorist detainees acquitted... on grounds that demonstrate once again why we need to try these terrorists via military tribunals, not the civilian justice system (which was never set up to prosecute unlawful enemy combatants).

The defendants' attorneys, probably supplied by CAIR or some other terrorist-linked organization, can use a peculiar tactic to practically force an acquittal: They can claim that they cannot possibly defend against the charges without knowing exactly how they were found, how they were captured, what intelligence led them there, who were the sources for that intel (so they can be subpoenaed into court), what methods were used to collect it, and so forth. Thus, they will demand all such documents -- probably more than a million pages of heavily, heavily classified material -- during discovery.

Obviously, we cannot possibly hand that over to the defendants' attorneys. Even if the attorneys are Americans, how do we know we're not putting such vital intelligence data into the hands of another Lynne Stewart? Even the incompetocracy of Obama will be bright enough to realize it cannot release such intel... which will give the attorneys the perfect opening to demand all charges be dismissed.

In addition, they're sure to move to dismiss charges against KSM on the grounds that Mohammed was "tortured," i.e., waterboarded. This will give the federal courts yet another crack at formally declaring waterboarding to be torture -- which would make it much easier for Team Obama to prosecute our anti-terrorist interrogators... and once again blame George W. Bush for all the woes afflicting America.

At that point, all will be in the hands of a federal judge, then an appellate court panel, then the Supreme Court, where it will ultimately be decided by how Justice Anthony Kennedy feels that day. If he woke up grumpy, we could find all five of them (or perhaps just the most well-known terrorist, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed) acquitted, out on the streets, and quickly back in Iran or Pakistan or Indonesia, receiving a hero's welcome -- and returned once again to the terrorist fold.

(Medved did mention one other problem: That the civilian trial itself, no matter how carefully managed, would almost certainly compromise American intelligence gathering. But he presented it only as a quote from somebody else, at the very end of the hour.)

Honestly, the hundred-million dollar cost is the least of the perils to which such jackassery exposes us.

Queerly enough, the Justice Department also announced that other terrorists from the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility will be tried -- by military tribunals!

But the administration will prosecute another set of high-profile detainees now being held at the military prison at Guant√°namo Bay, Cuba -- Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is accused of planning the 2000 bombing of the Navy destroyer Cole in Yemen, and four other detainees -- before a military commission.

Why the difference? Because Nashiri attacked a military target, the U.S.S. Cole? But the 9/11 plotters attacked the Pentagon -- which is also a military target, I would reckon. Both KSM and and Nashiri were captured abroad, in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, respectively. Both are foreign nationals: KSM is a Kuwaiti, Nashiri is Saudi Arabian. Both planned their crimes abroad.

The only difference appears to be that Nashiri's target was an American ship sitting at anchor in Yemen, while Mohammed's targets were all in the United States; but this hardly seems such an important distinction that we couldn't have tried Mohammed and his five pals in a military tribunal as well, where we could much more securely control the circulation of any discovery documents that could compromise American national security.

I just don't understand what's so hard to understand about the insanity of this grandstanding move -- whose real purpose, I suspect, is to find yet another way to blame everything on Bush. But evidently, it's too subtle a point for Michael Medved to grasp. Yes, I agree, we spend too much federal and state money; we should significantly reduce spending and dramatically drop the tax rates.

But for heaven's sake, that's not the big problem in this case.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 13, 2009, at the time of 2:12 PM

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In the first hour of his show today, Michael Medved was objecting to the staggeringly stupid decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to put Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, Walid bin Attash, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi,... [Read More]

Tracked on November 13, 2009 1:49 PM

Comments

The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael

In a civil trial, all KINDS of things can cause the case to be thrown out. The simplest: The defendants were not in the US when they committed their crimes. These guys weren't on the planes... they didn't plan their terrorist acts while on vacation in Las Vegas.

As much as I want these evil men convicted in a Military Trial, I can't stop wondering what Constitutional authority we are applying which allows us to try Foreign Nationals for activities they engaged in on Foreign soil?!? Militarily we have the Right and the Precedent to try and convict them for Acts of War against our Country. I don't think we have the Right to try them as criminals for breaking our laws in foreign lands. Otherwise we can expect the European Courts to start arresting Americans for things we do in New York and putting us on trial in the Hague. Is THAT where we are going with this?!

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 13, 2009 5:36 PM

The following hissed in response by: BlueNight

You and Medved are both missing the big picture here. Let me lead up to it:

They are extending state and federal law to include foreign nationals who never set foot in the jurisdiction they allegedly attacked using suicidal surrogates.

(And get used to hearing "allegedly" a lot more.)

They are prosecuting this not as a matter of state, not as a matter of national security, but of the individuals whose security these laws defend. Whatever the outcome, a matter of nations and organizations will have been ignored for the personal justice of the individuals involved.

Because when they've turned a case of international law into a federal or state court matter, and eliminated from consideration all question of rank or standing in an institution, they'll have precedent to deal with the other guy who caused the deaths of over three thousand American citizens.

George W. Bush.

It may sound ludicrous. It may sound like a bad political intrigue movie. But so has everything our President has done since Jan 20, 2009, and he seems to be just warming up.

Go ahead; tell me I'm wrong. Tell me you can say you can't see them trying it. I know I want to, but I can't.

The above hissed in response by: BlueNight [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 13, 2009 10:41 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

BlueNight:

Go ahead; tell me I'm wrong. Tell me you can say you can't see them trying it. I know I want to, but I can't.

All right: You're wrong; I can't see them trying it. Obama is not that stupid; even most Democrats would rise up against him if he tried something so... so Argentine.

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 14, 2009 12:13 AM

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