How fitting it would have been to put the plot’s architect on trial a few blocks from the site of the World Trade Center, to force him to submit to the justice of a dozen chosen New Yorkers, to demonstrate to the world that we will not allow fear of terrorism to alter our rule of law.It would demonstrate to the world that we are stupid enough to provide a huge forum for an orgy of anti-Americanism under the guise of the so-called "rule of law." I've found as a general rule, whenever anyone makes serious use of the phrase "rule of law," the odds are that it will be preceded or followed by utter nonsense.
But, apparently, there are many who continue to cower, who view terrorists as much more fearsome than homegrown American mass murderers and the American civilian jury system as too “soft” to impose needed justice.This assertion, and just about the entire op-ed is a typical strawman. The primary reason people oppose civilian trials for foreign terrorists is that foreign terrorists are not entitled to the protections of U.S. civil law. In my opinion, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed does not require a trial of any kind. KSM is a leader of an enemy terrorist organization with which we are still at war. He was captured back in 2003. The last I checked it is now 2011. He hasn't had a trial, and he still doesn't need one. We can hold him forever if we so choose. Al Qaeda as an organization, and its members are completely outside the law [unless they happen to be U.S. citizens, in which case they should be treated as such]. They follow no rules, haven't signed any international agreements, and there are no clear guidelines for how to deal with captured members. Rather than tying our own hands, and providing our enemies with unearned and undeserved rights, we should retain as wide a latitude as possible in dealing with foreign terrorists.
Even going through the motions of a military trial for KSM is a gigantic waste of time. There's no question about his identity, his leadership role in Al Qaeda, and his involvement in 9/11. Even former administration spokesman Robert Gibbs talked about KSM's conviction and execution as a foregone conclusion. The U.S. isn't going to release him under any circumstances, regardless of what happens at a trial, civilian or military. He is essentially under a suspended death sentence already -- as he should be. Ideally he should already be dead. After we extracted all useful information, he should have faced summary execution. But since we didn't do that, and he's now been sitting in prison for eight years, it might be more appropriate to just let him rot.
As I've argued many times on this blog, the blind legalism of terrorist rights supporters, and their attempt to debase the rights of U.S. citizens by awarding them to foreign enemies, is far more dangerous to the U.S. than any treatment we might meet out to someone like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Rather than extending this post further, I'll just link to my two part post "No Rights for Hostile Aliens."