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Civilian Trials Vindicate Our True Values, Etc.


As a candidate, Barack Obama relentlessly demagogued the previous administration's decision to use military tribunals to dispense justice to terrorists captured on the battlefield.  Civilian trials were more than adequate, we were told (finger wagging in the air), and, more importantly, kept us "faithful to our values"  --  although "faithful" seemed to be more than a stretch, since the largely jury-rigged Nuremburg trials were themselves military commissions, originally set in motion by such pikers as FDR and Winston Churchill.

The problem was that Mr. Obama's political allies in New York wanted none of the civilian trial of KSM that was originally to be held there.  Thus today, seemingly more out of politics than any hard thinking, comes this bulletin from Fox News:

The alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the U.S. will be referred to the Defense Department for trial, two sources familiar with the case told Fox News on Monday. 

Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, who has been incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 2006, after being captured in Pakistan in 2003, and his alleged Sept. 11 co-conspirators will face prosecution by a military commission, the source said. 

An announcement is expected by Attorney General Eric Holder later in the day. The decision is a turn-around after Holder said in November 2009 that he had decided the conspirators should be prosecuted in civilian court.

I won't even go into the governing law, since from Mr. Holder's perspective there doesn't seem to be any.  I'll settle just to observe that this back-and-forth incompetence is mind-boggling.  I can only pray the administration doesn't blow the case in the military tribunal, but I'm making no bets.

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