Sounds bad, but it’s not. I think.

The remarks drew criticism from some Democratic rivals and later in the day, Thompson adopted a tougher line, saying bin Laden “ought to be caught and killed.”

On Monday, Thompson said he wasn’t suggesting that bin Laden’s death would happen immediately after his capture.

“No, no, no, we’ve got due process to go through” depending on the circumstances, he said. “I’m not suggesting those things happen simultaneously.”

Later, a Thompson spokesman explained that Thompson meant “the same rules ought to apply to him as to everyone at Guantanamo Bay, and there ought to be due process thru a special military court or commission.”

I think he means he’d rather catch Osama than send a missile down the chimney so that we can squeeze him for intelligence. But once we’ve got him, we’ve got to give him some kind of hearing a la Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi Binalshibh, etc. You don’t get to take him up to the top of the Empire State Building after you’re done questioning him and let him “taste the adventure” firsthand that the 9/11 jumpers had to endure.

Politico’s comparing it to what Howard Dean said four years ago but Dean-o specifically mentioned a jury trial, suggesting he wanted Bin Laden to get the same amount of due process as a common criminal. And that’s not all. Politico conveniently neglects to include the context of something else he said a few weeks before that in 2003 on a radio show:

Diane Rehm, WAMU (public) radio: Why do you think [Bush is] suppressing that [9/11] report?

Dean: I don’t know. There are many theories about it. The most interesting theory that I’ve heard so far, which is nothing more than a theory, I can’t—think it can’t be proved, is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis. Now, who knows what the real situation is, but the trouble is that by suppressing that kind of information, you lead to those kinds of theories, whether they have any truth to them or not, and then eventually they get repeated as fact. So I think the president is taking a great risk by suppressing the clear, the key information that needs to go to the Kean commission.

Put that together with his later statement about how we shouldn’t “prejudge” Osama’s guilt by denying him a trial and you’re just over the border into Trutherville. When Fred gets there, let me know.