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Opening Arguments

Terror on trial

If you're not worried yet about the implications of trying terror suspects in a civil criminal court, maybe this will help:

The greatest danger posed in the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) isn't that he will go free. The greatest danger is that he will be convicted and that during his appeals the courts will ratify all of the extraordinary measures used to capture and convict him. The great danger is that the courts will ratify the rough, inaccurate and ambiguous norms of martial law as applying to all civil criminal trials.

After a couple of decades of these court decisions reverberating throughout the legal system, we could end up living under de facto martial law.

[. . .]

For over two hundred years we were careful to keep a firewall between civil and martial law. We did so because civil and martial law are polar opposites. Civil law is focused on protecting the rights of the accused against the overwhelming power of the state. When there is doubt, the accused walks free. Martial law is focused on imposing a minimal order on bloody chaos. It was focused on allowing the military to complete its mission and win wars. When there is doubt, the accused is presumed guilty.

Now, Obama wants to bring martial law into a civil court room in Manhattan. In order to let a civil conviction of KSM stand, the higher courts will have to overturn almost all the current constitutional protections of the accused.

[. . .]

As the author notes, "Nothing good will come of this trial" and the biggest danger is not that


tim zank
Tue, 11/17/2009 - 10:33pm

There is absolutely noooooo upside to this trial. It was all handled and damn near complete last January until Barry tossed that bone he promised to the left.

This is gonna cost Barry a lot more than he ever thought.

Kevin Knuth
Wed, 11/18/2009 - 9:57am

From Rudy Giuliani in 1994 when the first World Trade Center bombing was prosecuted in federal court, "I think it shows you put terrorism on one side, you put our legal system on the other and our legal system comes out ahead."

Odd- a TERRORIST was tried in Federal Court- and no one complained about it.

tim zank
Wed, 11/18/2009 - 3:48pm

Spin it any way you want, cite any 15 year old case, hell make something up, it doesn't matter it is all moot.

The only "reason" these morons keep falling back on is the "perception in the world community" meme.

Billions of dollars and God knows how many lives ripped apart again, just so our cheerleader in chief can pat himself on the back?

What a frickin joke. This guy seriously has no soul but he sure can give a speech.

Kevin Knuth
Wed, 11/18/2009 - 5:24pm

So trying the FIRST terrorist was wrong?

Why are we afraid of our legal system?

And Tim, to say Obama has no soul....well, coming from you, it means NOTHING!

Wed, 11/18/2009 - 6:39pm

I see that Chuck Schumer wants the feds to give NYC $75 million for extra security costs for the KSM trial.

tim zank
Wed, 11/18/2009 - 9:23pm

Kevin, don't make circular arguments. Trying the first terrorist here was fine, it worked. That couldn't be farther from the point.

The point is, this guys' trial was underway already in an approved military tribunal without the fanfare, the risk, the enormous costs, and the intolerable pain to victims families.
This move may make you, Obama, George Soros and MSNBC feel good, but it's pissing off about 75% (so far) of the American public. It is completely unnecessary save for the self flagulation of the lunatic left.

In a stunningly stupid move to excoriate the previous administration, they will have instead succeeded in only stepping on their own crank, and hurting an enormous amount of people in the process.

That's why I said he has no soul. To rip open the wounds of so many, in such close proximity to the worst terrorist attack (or should I say man-caused disaster) in U.S. history, for absolutely no frickin reason other than to "toot" his own horn is in my opinion "soul-less". It's just plain frickin' cold hearted. Period.

Kevin Knuth
Thu, 11/19/2009 - 10:05am

Tim, I disagree 100%

This guy SHOULD face the citizens of New York. There is no "circular" argument here.

Forget the bombing trial. How about 9-11 CONSPIRATOR conspirator Zacarious Moussaoui? Tried in NEW YORK. What did Giuliani say about that trial?

"What Comes Out Of It Is A Very, Very Dramatic Demonstration That America Is Dedicated To The Rule Of Law."

So now you have a 9-11 Conspirator TRIED IN NEW YORK...and the GOP did not bitch about it at all.

tim zank
Thu, 11/19/2009 - 11:12am

Just answer me this Kevin, honestly. What is the benefit of this?

Seriously, what good will it do? We all know it doesn't HAVE to be done, it's clearly optional and a choice to do this in New York, so list for us all, please, the upside of doing this?

Kevin Knuth
Thu, 11/19/2009 - 11:38am


I think the benefit is that we show the WORLD that these people answer to the PEOPLE of the United States for what they did.

Our legal system is sound, and the best in the world. I have faith in that system.

Here is another option- why have ANY trial. Why not just shoot the guy? Clearly there is agreement that is wrong, and that a trial must take place.

tim zank
Thu, 11/19/2009 - 1:27pm

Uh...ok...so thanks for clarifying the only benefit of this excercise in jackassery is to make the rest of the world "feel good" about us.

Certainly does sum up the importance of stopping his first trial mid-point, spending millions of taxpayer dollars, risking life and limb all over New York City, shoving a stick in the eye of the victims families, and of course giving KSM another bite at the apple. It's all worth it as long as the world "feels better" about us.

This, far and above all the other bone-headed moves by this administration illustrates without a doubt the glaring difference between liberals and normal people. Liberals make all their decisions based upon feelings, not laws, rights, or especially common sense.

Frickin' hilarious.

Kevin Knuth
Thu, 11/19/2009 - 1:57pm

Tim- you are so out of touch with reality, it is amazing you can function.

Thu, 11/19/2009 - 3:01pm

The judicial system that I have faith in is going to be a little concerned about POTUS declaring that KSM is guilty and will be executed. What's Obama doing, showing the world we can beat KSM with one arm tied behind our back?

I'm giving even odds KSM walks, which will be OK if we can blame it on Bush/Cheney.

Kevin Knuth
Thu, 11/19/2009 - 3:32pm

You think there is a jury in New York that will let him walk?

Thu, 11/19/2009 - 4:17pm

No, I think a judge, charged with protecting the constitutional rights that we have granted to KSMm will let him walk. Obama's ill-considered statements simply add another small arrow to the quiver that we gave KSM.

tim zank
Fri, 11/20/2009 - 8:07am

Kind of begs the question "What do we do if we capture Bin Laden?" doesn't it?