Flashback: Obama pretty happy about KSM getting a “full military trial”
posted at 1:36 pm on November 14, 2009 by Allahpundit
The latest trip down memory lane from Naked Emperor News and a new entry in the database of things that Obama thought were a good idea before January 20 of this year (see also “winning in Afghanistan”). On a related note, and as a supplement to Ed’s post about The One’s weekly address this morning, JWF makes a good point: Did this guy actually have the brass balls to warn people about turning the Fort Hood trial into “political theater” the morning after he granted Khaled Sheikh Mohammed a jihadist megaphone in New York City?
Don’t think he won’t use that megaphone, either. Megaphones are kind of his thing:
By all accounts, the spotlight during what would be the biggest terrorism trial in U.S. history would provide Mohammed, a man of no small ego, with the kind of attention he craves. A showman, he has reveled in a number of appearances at Guantanamo Bay, tossing self-aggrandizing broadsides from his perch at the front of a courtroom and then retreating into self-satisfied smiles.
“I know him well, and if he gets his way in federal court, it will be a circus,” said Charles D. “Cully” Stimson, who was deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs in the Bush administration. “The court will have to rein in his speechifying and keep the focus on his criminal behavior.”…
Under Mohammed’s original plan for Sept. 11, 10 aircraft were to be hijacked. He was to have been aboard the only one not to crash, and after killing the male passengers he was to deliver a speech condemning U.S. support for Israel, as well as the Philippines and governments in the Arab world.
The 9/11 Commission Report notes: “This vision gives a better glimpse of his true ambitions. This is theater, a spectacle of destruction with KSM as the self-cast star — the superterrorist.”
After thinking more about it, I’m assuming that Obama’s Plan B in case he’s acquitted is to put him on trial in a military court for the attack on the Pentagon. Presumably the charges in Manhattan will be limited to the attack on the Trade Center in order to avoid double jeopardy, although whether that’ll work — i.e. whether the defense can somehow force them to dispose of all potential charges related to 9/11 in the NYC trial — is a question for criminal lawyers. One other possibility, as a potential Plan C: How ’bout a trial in The Hague for crimes against humanity? That’s loaded with risk, as a court of international judges is unlikely to be less favorably disposed to KSM than a Manhattan jury, but The One doubtless would appreciate the spectacle of enlightened transnational institutions dispensing justice where American ones couldn’t. Something to shoot for!
Update: There’s something else I meant to bring up yesterday. Remember when he and Cheney were tangling over Gitmo earlier this year and he gave that speech at the National Archives to make the case for his position? Remember the highly controversial part of that speech where he talked about indefinite detention without trial for some jihadis? Quote:
We are going to exhaust every avenue that we have to prosecute those at Guantanamo who pose a danger to our country. But even when this process is complete, there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States. Examples of that threat include people who have received extensive explosives training at al Qaeda training camps, commanded Taliban troops in battle, expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden, or otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans. These are people who, in effect, remain at war with the United States.
As I said, I am not going to release individuals who endanger the American people. Al Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates are at war with the United States, and those that we capture – like other prisoners of war – must be prevented from attacking us again.
He’s telling you right there, flat out, that some guys aren’t going free no matter what it might mean for due process. (He qualified it by saying he wants a “framework” of “oversight” in such cases, but the point remains: It’s constitutionally unprecedented.) In which case, once again: Why even prosecute KSM?