Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Why We Should Put Jihad on Trial

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Steve Simon in the NY Times:

THE Justice Department’s decision to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, in a federal court in New York City has elicited several criticisms. Most are pointless, but one — the idea that it will give a terrorist a platform from which he could stir up support in the Muslim world for his radical views — is well taken.

First, let’s dispose of the straw men. John Boehner, the Republican leader in the House, accused the Obama administration of “treating terrorism as a law enforcement issue” — as though “law enforcement” is an epithet. In truth, the White House’s counterterrorism team is composed largely of the same professionals who battled terrorists under President George W. Bush. They are generally in sync with the White House’s insistence on a strategy that uses law enforcement where appropriate and military force in places, like Afghanistan, where conspirators can’t be arrested by federal agents driving Fords.

Others complain that Mr. Mohammed might take advantage of quirks of the criminal justice system and go free. That’s highly unlikely. First, he has already confessed to the crime; and, given the zero acquittal rate for terrorists in New York previously, any anxiety about a “not guilty” verdict seems unwarranted.

John Yoo, a former Bush administration lawyer, argues that the trial would be an “intelligence bonanza” for our enemies. Also unlikely. Our prosecutors are certain that there is enough unclassified evidence to make their case. Moreover, the most prized intelligence is recent, specific and actionable. Al Qaeda today is most concerned with discovering when and where the next drone missile attack will take place in Pakistan, information not likely to be disclosed during a trial about a conspiracy hatched more than a decade ago.

Which brings us to the idea that allowing Mr. Mohammed to take the stand will give him a soapbox. The truth is, if the trial provides a propaganda platform for anybody, it will be for our side…

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 November 2009 at 10:15 am

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