Giving Military Combatants a Civilian Trial: Liberalism at Its Finest

terrorist on trial

Since Mr. Obama won the presidency last November, there have been some questionable decisions made from the White House that do not make much sense.  Why pass a second stimulus bill when the first one didn't work?  Why address a health care crisis of skyrocketing premiums by extending more health care coverage to uninsured people?  Why pass a Cap and Trade bill that punishes businesses with fines and penalties during the worst national recession since the Great Depression?  And why send in 30,000 more troops into a war with undefined goals just after you won the Nobel Peace Prize?

Many of these decisions were highly questionable, and yet, President Obama has exceeded all of them with his decision to allow a civilian trial of 9-11 terrorists in New York.  This last decision will undoubtedly be the biggest blunder of Obama's Administration.

Pros to Trying Terrorists in New York Argued by Democrats

1.  Our justice system is fair, therefore terrorists will get justice.

2.  Using Military Tribunals contradicts the principle that we are a nation grounded in the rule of law.

3.  Granting terrorists a Military Tribunal will give them what they want, which is the more honor than being a common criminal.

4.  Trying terrorists in New York will yield a greater chance of a conviction.

Cons to Trying Terrorists in New York Argued by Republicans

1.  Trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammad before a Military Tribunal will do better than a "greater chance of a conviction" since he has already requested a guilty plea and the death penalty.

2.  In a civilian trial, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad could be acquitted on a technicality.  Then what?

3.  Using civilian courts contradicts the principle that we are a nation grounded in the rule of law since military combatants, according to Congress, are supposed to be tried before a military tribunal.

4.  Granting terrorists a trial in civilian court will give them what they want, which is using the media capital of the world as a platform to broadcast their Jihad ideology and anti-American hatred.

5.  Granting a military tribunal will give Americans what they want, which is keeping our Classified Intelligence classified.  This will be a problem because civilian defense lawyers have the right to full disclosure and the right to cross-examine their accusers.

6.  Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was not entitled protection from unreasonable search and seizure, which is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

7.  Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was never read his Miranda rights, which unfortunately is a violation of the Fifth Amendment.

8.  President Obama expressed that Khalid Sheikh Mohammad would get the death penalty if tried in New York.  Good job Mr. President, now Khalid Sheikh Mohammad can't get a fair trial, which violates the Sixth Amendment.

9. Providing Khalid Sheikh Mohammad the protections of due process tells terrorists that they are better off attacking us at home rather than on the battle field.

10.  Conducting a 9-11 trial in New York will cost taxpayers millions of dollars in beefed up security and increased risk of being a perfect target for a terrorist attack.

11.  If we grant military combatants Constitutional rights, then what will we do when we find Osama Bin Laden in the mountains of Afghanistan?

Conducting a civilian trial of enemy combatants is something nations do when they are not at war.  Interestingly, the New York Times said that Bush Administration chose special military tribunals to send a symbolic message that the fight against Islamic extremism is comparable to the war against Nazi Germany in WWII.  If this is the case (which it is), then Obama's reluctance to use military tribunals for the 9-11 terrorist attacks sends a symbolic message that our war against terrorism isn't really a war, but more like a campaign against domestic felonies.

If this trial takes place in a civilian court, it will be the first time in American history that a military combatant, caught during a war, will receive a civilian trial.  What are Obama's motives?  Some believe Obama wants to invalidate Bush's war against terrorism.  I think it's more likely he wants to use Khalid Sheikh Mohammad as a mouthpiece to put the Bush Administration on an international trial.

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