Sunday, November 15, 2009

Obama Doesn't Understand Terrorism

We learned two very important things about President Obama on Friday. The first, he has no understanding of terrorism. The second, he has no understanding of just how bad our deficit is.

Eric Holder announced that the five men accused of planning the September 11th attacks will be tried in civilian court in New York. This announcement was made while President Obama was in Asia, and unable to field questions about this decision. What Holder and Obama both fail to recognize is there is no good outcome that justifies bringing them to the United States to stand trial in a civilian court. I want to look at the best outcome Holder / Obama could hope for and why it shows a lack of understanding of terrorism and our deficit.

The "Best Case" Scenario

The best possible outcome from trying these terrorists in New York is that they will be found guilty, be sentenced to death and quickly executed. This is probably the exact same outcome if they were tried in a military tribunal. In the "best case" scenario, there will be no press coverage of the proceedings so there will be no live broadcasts of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed denouncing the United States and our "imperialist" invasion of the Middle East. This case also assumes that there will be no disruptions or attacks on the courthouse during the trial. We are told if this happens, our image will improve world wide. The same people who tell us this are the ones who told us electing Obama would improve our standing world wide. After almost ten months in office, Iran is closer than ever to getting a nuclear weapon, Chavez is expanding his influence into surrounding nations, we are belittling our allies in the press, abandoning them in Latin America and Eastern Europe (not to mention Israel), and our "new, better image" failed to land the Olympics for the President' s home town. I'm not sure this is going to help our international image.

A Lack of Understanding Terrorism

The New York Times Mark Mazzetti writes today:

Not long after he was rousted from bed and seized in a predawn raid in Pakistan in March 2003, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed gave his captors two demands: He wanted a lawyer, and he wanted to be taken to New York. After a nearly seven-year odyssey that took him to secret CIA jails in Europe and a U. S. military prison in Cuba, Mohammed is getting his wishes.

Who says we don't negotiate with terrorist? Captured on the battlefield? Wait out the administration, and maybe your dreams will come true.

The Obama Administration was accused of having a "pre-9/11 mentality" during the campaign. Their actions on Friday show this was an accurate charge. Civilian courts are not designed to try terrorist captured in the worlds hell-holes by our military. Our courts are use to miranda rights and constitutional protections. These are not guaranteed to military enemies. Al-Queda has declared a war against the United States since before 1996. Iran (acting through Hamas and Hezbollah) has been at war with us since at least 1979. These are self declared wars involving military actions against civilian and military targets. You do not defeat that by capturing a few of the enemies soldiers and trying them in court.

In a court of law, KSM and his co-conspirators will be allowed to speak, and may make sudden outbursts just to get attention. They may be allowed to cross examine their accusers, their lawyers will probably challenge the way they were handled since their capture. Their lawyers are almost certain to move for a dismissal of charges based solely on the reported torture in the media. To avoid this, the Bush Administration, working with Congress and the Supreme Court, created a legal military tribunal system to deal with terrorist captured in foreign lands.

During these trials, how much testimony or evidence will be discussed that might provide intelligence to our enemies? If these trials are covered in court, do we really think the Amerian audience will be the only one watching? What might be revealed in an open court that might jeopardize soldiers and agents in the field?

KSM and at least one other of the terrorists Holder and Obama want to try in New York have admitted guilt and have asked to be executed. Eric Holder says he hopes to seek the death penalty. Why should we waste the money a New York trial will cost when we can arrive at the same verdict with a military tribunal. Which brings up...

A Lack of Understanding of Our Debt

The President seems to have no idea of the cost a trial in New York for the masterminds of the September 11th attacks will cost. The O.J. Simpson circus cost an estimated $9 Million in the 1990's. I expect by the end of the day, the trails for these five will total $100's of Millions. How long will a trial of this nature go on? months? years? This would represent a great target for terrorists like the one from Fort Hood, or Al-Queda. During the entire time, the courthouse, judge, prosecutor, jurors, and defendants will need security. Is there anyone that thinks this will be free?

The defense lawyers are likely to seek any sort of delay or extra trail they can get. How long can this trail be delayed? Anyone associated with any of these special sessions or pre-trail events will need security. Any location will need extra security. What if the defense lawyers successfully lobby to put the soldiers that captured these men on the stand. How much will it cost to get them to and from New York?

Finally, A Worst Case Scenario.

What if the worst happens. Michael Goodwin writes today"

The worst-case outcome is frightening. The beasts who helped kill nearly 3,000 Americans could walk free, while the brave agents who protected the country get locked up.

What if our courts declare some sort of mistrial and order these men set free? Forget whether they would be freed here in the United States or flown back to other countries. If any one of these five is set free by a civilian court, we will give a terrorist who helped plan the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil his freedom. Could any political stunt by the President really be worth this possibility? Could you imagine a photo op with KSM walking around Ground Zero? What about a terrorist being set free while an agent or soldier is locked up pending a trial on their techniques for capturing these terrorists?

There is a real chance that future generations will look back at this decision as Obama's biggest mistake. I am afraid the President and his Attorney General just took one giant step towards making us much more vulnerable to other terrorist attacks. And they did it to what is going to be a huge tax payer burden.


Seattle Dave said...

I think you're entirely wrong, and by saying these things, railing against the basic fundamentals of our justice system.

And apparently, these 3 extremely prominent conservatives agree:

pack04 said...

Just to say I see things from a different point of view, not one that I agree with, but it still must be said.
I understand the want to show that we are above everybody else and better than everybody else, this decision shows that even our most hated enemies are still afforded the rights that we as Americans demand, expect and have. I think it is a political stunt, "President Bush wanted to have secret trials and I am better and more American than him so they [our enemies] will be treated like Americans." Even though it is a political stunt I still see the "nobility" behind it. Additionally, I do think that not treating them as war criminals could have the mental effect of showing that they [terrorist] are not legitimate soldiers fighting in a true war. The problem with that is no matter what we think as to legitimate war or not they still think it is. Talk about repeating history, think of the American revolution, the British did not respect our battle because we did not fight or act traditionally for wars and they thought our cause was pointless and wrong. That did not work out so well for the British.

The ultra conspiracy person in me says this is nothing more than an end around to get President Bush. The US will have to turn over all sorts of information to actually have proof and show that this guy did what they are accusing him of doing. They will have to because they don't want this guy to go free. All of this will then become public knowledge due to the sixth amendment guaranteeing a speedy and PUBLIC trial. I think President Obama wants this information to be public so that he can see what is there and go after the previous administration, if not in a judicial court, then in the court of public opinion.

pack04 said...

I don't think Andy or myself for that matter is against the basic fundamentals of our justice system. I believe that these people should not be in our justice system. They committed a war crime. There are courts that are set up to deal with that. Just like there are traffic courts and civil courts.

Andy D said...


From the statement released by Keene/Norquist/ Barr:

"Over the last two decades, federal courts constituted under Article III of the U.S. Constitution have proven capable of trying a wide array of terrorism cases, without sacrificing either national security or fair trial standards."

I can site one case off the top of my head where this isn't true: Omar Abdel Rahman, aka, "The Blind Sheik". I will write more on this later, but in a nutshell: the defense attorney was convicted of acting as a go between for the Blind Sheik to other terrorists, and the prosecutor in the case believes much of the information released in the trial was available to other terrorists within days of it appearing in court. The three you site may be conservative, but they are wrong on this issue.

Andy D said...


I appreciate you playing the devils advocate, but we aren't talking about underestimating tactics or battlefield ability. We are talking about trying enemy combatants captured in foreign locations, usually by our soldiers. Military tribunals are a) legal, and b) the appropriate place to try enemy combatants for a host of security reasons.

pack04 said...

Let me explain a little bit better. I think this is an awful idea. I do not agree with the decision to try this person. I was not even trying to play devils advocate. I was saying I see the President and the AG's point of view. So this is not one those I am disagreeing with him because he is a democrat. I am disagreeing with him because I have looked at his argument and found it to be dumb.

Can I also mentioned the lack of courage that Mr. Obama has shown in this? Drops this news and then runs to Asia for 8 days. Why not Thursday or the day he gets back.

Andy D said...

I am starting to think it wasn't a dumb idea, but a very calculated one. Tune in to my next post for more info...

Seattle Dave said...

Here comes the conspiracy theory from the right?

Andy D said...

Not a conspiracy theory, just a reading of Obama and Holder's logic.