They woulda coulda shoulda had a slam dunk against Mohammed in federal court but that darned legislative branch just won’t cooperate.
In that context, Holder took to the podium on Monday not only to announce the new decision — that KSM will be tried in a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay — but to blast those who criticized the notion of a federal, civilian trial.
“Those unwise and unwarranted restrictions undermine our counterterrorism efforts and could undermine our national security,” Holder said of the ban imposed by Congress.
Congress, in essence, doesn’t know what it’s talking about, he went on to say…
“Sadly, this case has been marked by needless controversy since the beginning, but despite all the arguments and debate that it has engendered, the prosecution of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators should never have been about settling ideological arguments or scoring political points,” Holder said.
In other words: Shame on you.
And so, with a heavy heart, it’s back to Gitmo, which is convenient for a bunch of reasons. For one thing, there may yet be new cases of jihadi kingpins getting captured abroad and handed over to the U.S. The One needs somewhere to hold them and prisons in the continental U.S. are a political nonstarter. By affirming Gitmo’s legitimacy as a place to try masterminds like KSM, the White House will soften political opposition to the idea of sending new captives there. Beyond that, there’s no sense in delaying KSM’s trial any longer since the dynamics in Congress are bound to get less, not more, favorable towards civilian trials for detainees. The GOP’s a lock to pick up seats in the Senate next year and stands a good chance of picking up more in 2014 thanks to the huge number of vulnerable Democrats who are up for reelection in the next two cycles. It’ll be a long, loooong time before the left has its next filibuster-proof majority, and since the last one decided to waste all of its political capital on passing ObamaCare, Holder might as well make peace with reality now. Besides, the sooner they start proceedings at Gitmo, the greater the (admittedly slim) chance that they’ll get a conviction — and a national security bounce in the polls — before election day 2012.
A thought that occurred to me while watching Holder shatter one of Obama’s core campaign promises to his base: What exactly does The One have to run on next year? We’re still neck-deep in Afghanistan and already ankle-deep in our new war in Libya. Gitmo not only remains open but will soon host military tribunals for mega-terrorists. Iran’s rolling on towards nuclear breakout capacity despite a Stuxnet-related hiccup, and with Mubarak gone and U.S. allies in Yemen and Bahrain teetering, the Middle East could soon be a much more dangerous place for American interests. Domestically, we’re straining under record deficits, thanks in part to our $800 billion stimulus. Cap-and-trade is dead and ObamaCare is so politically toxic, especially to seniors, that Democrats will certainly mention it only in passing next year. As unlikely as it may seem, then, the core of the Obama campaign might actually be … the economy, especially if unemployment continues to tick down towards eight percent or lower. We’ll hear a lot about how “the jobs are coming back!”, a lot about what a likable guy Obama is (i.e. “character”), and a whole, whole lot about how Republicans bent on entitlement reform want your grandma to end up eating cat food and living in a refrigerator box on the sidewalk. That’s why Obama so cravenly ducked the issue of Social Security and Medicare in his new budget proposal, of course. But then, you already knew that.