Monday, February 15, 2010

For The Record: I Am Opposed To Death By Stoning

This morning's New York Times featured another article about Eric Holder's decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court. It's a nice companion to Jane Mayer's piece last week in the New Yorker. Both discuss at length the political tempest in which Mr. Holder now finds himself.

And yeah, duh, it's bad politics.* But I don't want to talk about that. What interests me is the totally crass and craven nature of the opposition to trying KSM in the Southern District of New York. As Mayer's comprehensive piece points out, Holder's investigators have been able to cobble together a much stronger and more compelling case than anything that been extracted by, uh, different means from KSM at Gitmo or elsewhere. And Mayer also describes the downright ineffectual nature of the military commissions that people like Lindsay Graham seem to love so much. You want to convict? You want a tough sentence? Yes? The same military commissions that just released Osama Bin Laden's driver and sent him to Yemen (yes, Yemen)? Okay. Who's soft on terror again?

I have not seen a single legal or tactical argument against a criminal trial for KSM that has any merit whatsoever. If you've seen one, send it to me.

One last thing. If the administration really wanted to play a smart game of politics,** they'd announce that there will be no trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. They'd call a press conference and announce that sometime this Spring they'll tie KSM up to a post at Ground Zero and let the 9/11 families stone him to death. That would be super popular.

I really hope that the next member of the press who interviews Lindsay Graham or Scott Brown or, heck, Rahm Emanuel asks a simple question:

Do you support death by stoning for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed without a trial?

*Which makes the administration's lack of political groundwork for the decision pretty disappointing.

**When I said I didn't want to talk about politics, I lied.

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