The stench of hypocrisy rising from the gut of conservatives over the weekend is overwhelming. You see, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM for short) and four other 9/11 terrorists would be tried in the Southern District of New York Federal court. Now we know the GOP is all for good old-fashioned American justice. Perhaps if a Republican administration had made this decision, we’d be hearing about what a proud moment it will be when these thugs get their just deserts in the city they tried to bring down. But alas, the Attorney General in a Democratic administration made the decision and now it is damn near treason!
The folks who want to impeach Obama just for breathing, list a bunch of imaginary horribles for why a federal trial is a bad idea. It makes New York vulnerable. That’s the claim of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (“America’s Mayor”, cough, cough). Of course he didn’t feel that way when the original World Trade Center bombers were brought to justice in New York. Giuliani was all for it then. Rudy also conveniently ignores that Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th 9/11 hijacker was tried and convicted in Virginia and Virginia still stands today, never remotely in danger of any terrorist strike.
Conservatives who are the first to scream and shout about the beauty of our constitution and criminal justice system seem to have suddenly lost all faith in it. What if KSM gets off on a technicality? Well let’s face a practical reality here folks. KSM has so many pending charges against him that if he beats the first charge (not likely), he’ll go right back into custody awaiting trial on the next charge. You won’t see KSM enjoying soul food at Sylvia’s any time in the near future.
So what is really bothering our conservative brothers? What is the “technicality” that really has them apoplectic? Well you see, our country which prides itself on the rule of law, shouted most loudly from the rooftops by chest beating right-wingers, was a baaaaaaad boy over the past eight years. We did nasty things to our prisoners during that time. Some call it torture but just about everyone can agree it was nasty. Now under the rule of law any evidence obtained from a prisoner who suffered under your watch, usually gets tossed out during a trial. As luck would have it, these fanatical thugs left an evidence trail so long and so obvious that convictions will be easy even with the smell of torture in the air. But nevertheless, just the thought that our behavior may be on trial has conservatives in an uproar.
The truth is any public scrutiny of what we did to these defendants while in custody will be an unintended but completely deserved consequence of a federal trial. Dick Cheney and his band of 24 devotees acted with such blatant disregard for international law, that their supporters are now crapping in their pants at the thought that we may have rendered KSM and other Gitmo detainees un-prosecutable. I believe Eric Holder has found a path toward conviction that detours around Cheney’s shenanigans.
There is satisfaction and dare I say justice in watching conservatives squirm right now. What they have claimed was perfectly legal treatment of detainees suddenly has them worried about how legal it will appear in a real court. Richard Nixon once told David Frost (I paraphrase here) that nothing the President does can be illegal. That was the arrogance that informed the Bush administration. Over the next couple of years of prosecutions, we liberals will show the world how our criminal justice system is supposed to work and in so doing, we will atone for the sins of the past eight years.
We will walk it like conservatives talk it. That is poetic justice indeed!