November 18, 2009

Obama on KSM As A Criminal Defendant

This Boston Globe article takes a look at President Obama's defense of the decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as a criminal in federal court. Here's the money quote:

Obama said that critics won't find the decision "offensive at all when he's convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him."

If you believe that KSM and his cohorts should be treated like terrorists who committed acts of war - and here's an excellent Wall Street Journal article on that subject by UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo - the concept of treating them as criminal defendants is appalling. But if we're going to classify them as criminal defendants, aren't they entitled at the very least to a presumption of innocence and a fair trial? If the President has already determined the verdict and the sentence, what is the point of holding a trial?

The President apparently believes that objections to criminal trials for terrorists can be chalked up to simple bloodlust; he evidently either doesn't realize or can't believe that there are serious, legitimate concerns about the intelligence and security implications of this decision.

We've already seen what this approach to terrorism in the Clinton years got us. Has Obama really managed to miss the lessons of the 9/11 attacks?

Posted by benweasel at 09:56 AM