Monday, July 18, 2011

Nashiri Cole Bombing Trial

Abd al Rahim al Nashiri faces a military trial accused of bombing the U.S.S. Cole back in 2008. This case illustrates the difficulty inherent in trying to use normal legal rules -- even military court -- to deal with foreign terrorist enemies. Nashiri was waterboarded, held in a secret prison, and subjected to other harsh interrogation techniques, so naturally his lawyers say the case is "tainted." They know he isn't going free, but they argue to spare him the death penalty. Under normal legal rules the case is definitely tainted, as long as you forget that this man isn't an American citizen or a legal resident, but a foreign enemy that attacked a U.S. warship that wasn't even engaging in any warfare at the time. I give him credit for striking a military target instead of the usual preferred soft targets, but summary execution was still warranted for what he did.

Ideally Nashiri should have been quietly executed years ago, after we extracted all useful information, preferably by using rendition to send him someplace that would do it for us. But now, years later, putting him on trial is a farce.. After three years we are going to charge him with crimes and ask for the death penalty? There's no purpose to this trial. He's been sitting in jail since we captured him, and should continue to sit until he dies. The trial gives a veneer of legalism to our continued confinement of a dangerous Al Qaeda member. But it fools no one. People like me see it as unnecessary, and people who think Nashiri has rights are going to view it as a kangaroo court rubber-stamping a preordained outcome.

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