[StBernard] Travesty in New York
Westley at da-parish.com
Tue Nov 24 13:43:34 EST 2009
THE CONSERVATIVE REVIEW - November 24, 2009
Travesty in New York
by Charles Krauthammer
WASHINGTON - For late-19th-century anarchists, terrorism
was the "propaganda of the deed." And the most successful
propaganda-by-deed in history was 9/11 -- not just the
most destructive, but the most spectacular and telegenic.
And now its self-proclaimed architect, Khalid Sheik
Mohammed, has been given by the Obama administration a
civilian trial in New York. Just as the memory fades,
9/11 has been granted a second life -- and KSM, a second
act: "9/11, The Director's Cut," narration by KSM.
September 11, 2001 had to speak for itself. A decade later,
the deed will be given voice. KSM has gratuitously been
presented with the greatest propaganda platform imaginable
-- a civilian trial in the media capital of the world --
from which to proclaim the glory of jihad and the criminal-
ity of infidel America.
So why is Attorney General Eric Holder doing this?
Ostensibly, to demonstrate to the world the superiority
of our system where the rule of law and the fair trial
Really? What happens if KSM (and his co-defendants) "do
not get convicted," asked Senate Judiciary Committee
member Herb Kohl. "Failure is not an option," replied
Holder. Not an option? Doesn't the presumption of
innocence, er, presume that prosecutorial failure --
acquittal, hung jury -- is an option? By undermining
that presumption, Holder is undermining the fairness of
the trial, the demonstration of which is the alleged
rationale for putting on this show in the first place.
Moreover, everyone knows that whatever the outcome of the
trial, KSM will never walk free. He will spend the rest of
his natural life in U.S. custody. Which makes the proceed-
ings a farcical show trial from the very beginning.
Apart from the fact that any such trial will be a security
nightmare and a terror threat to New York -- what better
propaganda-by-deed than blowing up the entire courtroom,
making KSM a martyr and making the judge, jury and
spectators into fresh victims? -- it will endanger U.S.
security. Civilian courts with broad rights of cross-
examination and discovery give terrorists access to crucial
information about intelligence sources and methods.
That's precisely what happened during the civilian New
York trial of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers. The
prosecution was forced to turn over to the defense a list
of two hundred unindicted co-conspirators, including the
name Osama bin Laden. "Within ten days, a copy of that
list reached bin Laden in Khartoum," wrote former Attorney
General Michael Mukasey, the presiding judge at that trial,
"letting him know that his connection to that case had
Finally, there's the moral logic. It's not as if Holder
opposes military commissions on principle. On the same
day he sent KSM to a civilian trial in New York, Holder
announced he was sending Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri,
mastermind of the attack on the USS Cole, to a military
By what logic? In his congressional testimony Wednesday,
Holder was utterly incoherent in trying to explain. In his
Nov. 13 news conference, he seemed to be saying that if you
attack a civilian target, as in 9/11, you get a civilian
trial; a military target like the Cole, and you get a
What a perverse moral calculus. Which is the war crime --
an attack on defenseless civilians or an attack on a
military target such as a warship, an accepted act of war
which the U.S. itself has engaged in countless times?
By what possible moral reasoning, then, does KSM, who
perpetrates the obvious and egregious war crime, receive
the special protections and constitutional niceties of a
civilian courtroom, while he who attacked a warship is
relegated to a military tribunal?
Moreover, the incentive offered any jihadi is as irresist-
ible as it is perverse: Kill as many civilians as possible
on American soil and Holder will give you Miranda rights,
a lawyer, a propaganda platform -- everything but your own
Alternatively, Holder tried to make the case that he chose
a civilian New York trial as a more likely venue for
securing a conviction. An absurdity: By the time Obama
came to office, KSM was ready to go before a military
commission, plead guilty and be executed. It's Obama who
blocked a process that would have yielded the swiftest and
most certain justice.
Indeed, the perfect justice. Whenever a jihadist volunteers
for martyrdom, we should grant his wish. Instead, this one,
the most murderous and unrepentant of all, gets to dance
and declaim at the scene of his crime.
Holder himself told The Washington Post that the coming
New York trial will be "the trial of the century." The
last such was the trial of O.J. Simpson.
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