Sunday, November 22, 2009

When Terrorists Get Acquitted, Do We Still Win?

This morning’s Detroit Free Press features this the headline over Brian Dickerson’s column, “When terrorists get equal justice, we win”.

This captures perfectly the failure to tell any difference between jihadist terrorism as a war against us, or terrorism as a criminal act, like mortgage fraud or burglary or assault.

His headline is wrong. We don’t win when terrorists get equal justice--we win when they die, or give up. (And these guys don’t give up). We win when they lose. That’s how wars work.

Dickerson thinks Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is entitled to Bill of Rights protections for criminal defendants just for being one of God’s children.

Except he isn’t entitled. KSM isn’t an American, for one thing, nor was he arrested on U.S. soil. And until a week ago Friday he was generally recognized as a foreign enemy combatant captured making war on us in violation of the laws of war. As far as the laws of war are concerned, we can detain him indefinitely until the war is over.

But Dickerson’s fighting the good fight, along with Obama and Holder, protecting our civil liberties from us, from the “masses,” especially from “critics, mostly on the right,” who would probably vote against the Bill of Rights if anyone was dumb enough to give us the chance.

Why is KSM coming to New York? For your own good.

Thus, Dickerson:
Take, for instance, the notion that any person, no matter how heinous the crime he or she is accused of, should enjoy certain fundamental legal protections, such as the right to a public trial by a jury of ordinary Americans, or the right to cross-examine hostile witnesses.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and his boss, President Barack Obama, are currently under attack for defending this very proposition.
Is that why they’re under attack, for defending the proposition that “any person” is entitled to a public jury trial? And here I thought most of us were upset because Holder and Obama are trying to fight a war as if it's a criminal investigation.

As to those “fundamental legal protections,” I don't get why Dickerson isn’t defending that proposition on behalf of the other detainees, the ones who aren’t getting civil trials, but instead are being sent, by Holder, to military commissions, the same ones Dickerson sneers at as “secret military tribunals.” Don’t these terrorists qualify as “any person,” too?

Aren’t the bombers of the U.S.S. Cole entitled to their “fundamental legal protections,” too?

Didn’t Washington and his men freeze at Valley Forge to ensure all of our most deadly enemies get all of their rights, too?

Holder told the Senate hearing Wednesday that “those who attacked a civilian target on U.S. soil were being sent to a civilian federal court and those who attacked or plotted against military targets abroad were going before tribunals.”

Good luck making sense of that. Regardless, the fact of Holder and his boss endorsing the military tribunals for anyone ought to shut down for good the argument that, compared with criminal courtrooms, they’re little better than legal “black holes.” Dickerson recognizes only the false choice between KSM getting a jury trial in a civilian court, or being denied his Constitutional rights while America abandons her highest principles. The simple solution that he could stay, (or better yet, could have been allowed to complete his plea of guilty and gone off to execution), is never credited to us. Liberals prefer false choices. That way, if you don't support KSM’s “I’ll Take Manhattan” trial, you’re as good as saying you don’t want justice done at all.

Why can’t Dickerson recognize the contradicition of the other detainees going to military courts?

Because he doesn’t know there’s a war. In his mind KSM is a criminal. What has the armed forces got to do with it? Those military tribunals are just something Bush thought up to deprive criminal defendants of their rights.

Dickerson has no clue.

Dickerson is a smart guy who’s commented well on legal issues in the past. I almost never agree with him, but I used to be able to see his point. Lately, he’s drifted over the horizon. I wonder if this isn’t how “cognitive dissonance” affects your thinking after a while?

1 comment:

ghir-liz said...

west dearborn business is dead.