Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dumbest Short Post I've Seen on the Ghailani Case

Over at the misnamed "Moderate Voice," there is a post up titled, "This Just In: Torture Still Doesn't Work. The System Still Does." Before get to the post itself, the title is an example of why I regularly post examples of torture working to extract accurate information. There are far too many ignoramuses like the author, Shaun Mullen, who not only believe that torture doesn't work but actually pretend that their uninformed belief is an established fact.

Mullen's main point is that the civilian criminal justice system worked just fine for trying a terrorist, because the government managed to get a conviction on a single count -- despite the horrible use of torture that damaged the case. As you might anticipate, this conclusion shows minimal logical reasoning ability.
Much of the crucial evidence against the U.S. embassy bomber had been thrown out because it was coerced through torture, a salient fact lost of Liz Cheney and other Bush Torture Regime apologists
How clueless do you have to be to even write this passage? First of all, there was no such thing as a "Bush Torture Regime," except in the minds of anti-American propagandists, Bush Derangement Syndrome sufferers and their enablers. But more importantly, those opposing the use of civilian courts do so exactly because they oppose giving the rights of American citizens, including applying civilian evidentiary rules, to foreign enemies of the U.S. The fact that a known terrorist might have escaped conviction because evidence had to be excluded, strongly supports the arguments of those who oppose granting civilian trials to those for whom they were never intended, and who do not deserve the rights of American citizens. But Mullen is apparently just too clueless to grasp that concept.
Senator Lindsay Graham spoke for the torch-and-pitchfork brigade in bemoaning the Ghailani trial

“We put our nation at risk by criminalizing the war,” he said without a hint of irony.

That's because what he said wasn't at all ironic unless you choose to deliberately misinterpret his words. Pretending that foreign enemies of the U.S. are the same as common criminals, giving them the rights of U.S. citizens, and trying them in civilian court does indeed put our nation at risk. It creates the very real possibility that we will either have to let a known terrorist walk free, or utilize some sort of extra-legal procedures to keep an acquitted individual confined. For some reason that possibility doesn't seem to bother terrorist rights supporters.
The irony, of course is that the justice system isn’t broken, as the Grahams and Cheneys believe. Rather, the trial is proof that it works.
This is a strawman and a particularly dumb one at that. No one is claiming that the American legal system is broken. The argument is that the civilian legal system is not an appropriate venue for dealing with foreign terrorists. This trial proves nothing one way or the other. But the fact that the government was able to get a conviction on only a single count, is evidence that using the civilian court system might not be such a great idea. Just because we got lucky this time, and didn't have an acquittal based on thrown-out evidence, doesn't mean it couldn't happen.

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