So, when is it time to remove the question mark and rearrange the words of the title?
Please click here for an exchange between the President and NBC’s Chuck Todd and determine for yourself whether or not the President is “pre-judging” or simply expressing confidence in the prosecution team regarding the trial of KSM.
Bear in mind that the President is on record as saying he won’t let any Al Qaeda terrorists free on U.S. soil and that his own Deputy Solicitor General has flirted openly with the concept of an extra-legal system to handle any unsavory civilian trial outcomes of any unsavory individuals.
Don’t get us wrong – though we take nothing for granted these days, we’re glad the President sounds committed to keeping our streets safe from terrorists. That’s a great start. But please just drop the sanctimonious bullcrap regarding the Constitution and civil rights when KSM’s ultimate disposition is fait accompli as it just makes a complete mockery of the same Constitution and civil rights.
P.S. We did some inadvertent guest blogging on the 2006 trial of Zacarias Moussaoui and the lessons learned from that here at B-Daddy's place.
(UPDATE #1): On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings with Attorney General, Eric Holder. The video of the exchange between him and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) can be found here but below are two of the sweet spots in the exchange
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R-S.C): Can you give me a case in United States history where a enemy combatant caught on a battlefield was tried in civilian court?
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I don't know. I'd have to look at that. I think that, you know, the determination I've made --
GRAHAM: We're making history here, Mr. Attorney General. I'll answer it for you. The answer is no.
One would think that basic knowledge would be known to the man who is, you know, making history.
And with respect to mirandizing enemy combatants on the field of battle:
GRAHAM: If bin Laden were caught tomorrow, would it be the position of this administration that he would be brought to justice?
HOLDER: He would certainly be brought to justice, absolutely.
GRAHAM: Where would you try him?
HOLDER: Well, we'd go through our protocol. And we'd make the determination about where he should appropriately be tried. [...]
GRAHAM: If we captured bin Laden tomorrow, would he be entitled to Miranda warnings at the moment of capture?
HOLDER: Again I'm not -- that all depends. I mean, the notion that we --
GRAHAM: Well, it does not depend. If you're going to prosecute anybody in civilian court, our law is clear that the moment custodial interrogation occurs the defendant, the criminal defendant, is entitled to a lawyer and to be informed of their right to remain silent.
The big problem I have is that you're criminalizing the war, that if we caught bin Laden tomorrow, we'd have mixed theories and we couldn't turn him over -- to the CIA, the FBI or military intelligence -- for an interrogation on the battlefield, because now we're saying that he is subject to criminal court in the United States. And you're confusing the people fighting this war.
Isn't that just wonderful? The top cop in the land when asked to articulate the ground rules for fighting the war on terror that he himself is now writing with the civilian trial of KSM renders a policy so haphazard and incoherent it defies description.
Exit question: Is this a question of Holder's hubris or monumental incompetence?