The current administration announced with great fanfare that it will try Shiek Mohammed and his cohorts on criminal charges in Manhattan. This is for his part in plotting the 9/11 attacks that killed 3,000 Americans in a matter of a couple of hours. It was a military type operation and designed to inflict the maximum civilian casualty rate and cause the most harm to our economy. It was carried out with cold bloodied and maniacal precision. By any historical or common sense definition it was an act of war against the US. This is not the first war our nation has fought. It is the first time however that we have chosen to treat our enemies like common street criminals with the rights and protections afforded by our Constitution.
I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised once the current gang in the white house decided we were no longer fighting a “war” but engaged in some type of vigorous diplomatic strategy to win the hearts and minds of the Muslim world. It is reminiscent of the “police action” that Truman used to refer to our battles in Korea. You can give a duck another name, call it something different but if it quacks, flies, and has feathers it is still a duck. We are at war. We have an enemy. That enemy tries to hide within populations and remote regions but their like of overt presence does not make them any less an enemy.
You don’t give an enemy during a war a trial. You kill or capture them. If you win the war you decide later what you will do with the prisoners. Just as after WWII we had a decision to make regarding the hundreds of thousands of German prisoners in the US. We decided eventually to let them return home. Some of them did commit crimes while they were captives and they were tried by military courts. They weren’t take to the local state or federal court for trial like an American who had committed murder or rape or arson. They were not entitled to a trial in our courts. If we had been fortunate enough to capture the Jap officers responsible for the Bataan Death March in 1943 would we have brought them to Los Angeles for a trial? The question itself reveals the answer.
The first and most obvious problem with a trial is picking a jury. As you know only those who have no preconceived ideas or notions about an alleged crime can be on the jury panel in a criminal trial. In New York City I would think that would be very hard to do. How could a New Yorker not have str0ng feelings about 9/11? Who wouldn’t already have made up their mind about the guilt of those responsible. Yes, I know they are qualified even if they have strong feelings as long as they can examine the evidence fairly and without prior convictions of opinion but that would be next to impossible. If you can find 12 people plus Lord knows how many alternates jurors who have really no idea about the “crime” or established feelings about how it occurred and who is responsible then can you imagine what can of people they would be? They would be zombies who have taken the concept of “hermit” to the outer limits of society.
They truly would be the weirdest people you can conjure up in your mind. For 3000 good reasons every American should have strong feelings about 9/11. We had pretty strong feelings about Stalin, Hitler and all their cronies during our wars both hot and cold with them. These people are beyond or laws and protections. That is why we hunt them down and fight with them. We don’t send the FBI to Afghanistan or Iraq to capture Al-Queada suspects for good reasons.
To argue that a trial in our courts somehow enhances respect for American values is entirely beside the point and of no relevance during a war. This trial will last for months at a minimum, it will cost millions to prosecute and will endanger our citizens during its course. When we fought WWII, we did so without trials for our enemies and that was a war to protect and project our values in the world. Those boys on D-Day fought for American values. This decision is for domestic and international politics pure and simple. I pray that saner and more American heads will prevail at some point and call off this sideshow. Our values are secure as long as we honor our Constitution for our citizens. That is what all our military personnel pledge to defend, our Constitution and to fight against our enemies foreign and domestic. They didn’t sign up to be police officers.
Where is General Patton when we need him? Can you just imagine old “blood and guts” taking a German captive and then shipping him to Washington for a trial for shooting American soldiers? www.olcranky.wordpress.com