Obama Advisers to Recommend 9/11 Military Tribunal Trials

The Washington Post reports President Obama's advisers are ready to kow-tow to Republicans and reverse course on the 9/11 defendants, recommending trials by military commissions instead of in federal criminal courts.

The recommendation follows Obama's advisers' negotiations with Republican Senator Lindsay Graham

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    THIS is what REAL Democrats (5.00 / 8) (#11)
    by txpolitico67 on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 01:43:13 AM EST
    should be saying.  Jeralyn is speaking the truth about Obama.  This core value about being true to liberal stances is what drew me to TL during the primaries.

    Give 'em hell JM!  You ROCK!

    Leadership (5.00 / 6) (#13)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 07:04:19 AM EST
    Leadership requires principles and courage. If bipartisanship requires that you abandon both, then I want no part of it.

    Obama caved  to the right on the stimulus bill and now we're living with the consequences. Obama and the Democrats caved on HCR and who knows what(if anything) we'll end up with.

    This recent episode is an instant replay of the FISA bill. Obama was adament that he wouldn't give the telecoms immunity until it came to a vote.

    As much as I throughly disliked GWB, I will give him credit that he stood his ground. He told Congress what he expected in a bill and they delivered it.

    I cannot ever vote for Obama again (5.00 / 7) (#16)
    by BobTinKY on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 07:29:36 AM EST
    Hopefully there will be a progressive choice in 2012 Democratic primary (Grayson, Dean please), if not I will vote Green or socialist.  This issue may be the final straw for Jeralyn and understandably so.  For me supporting the wholesale firing of teachers in one of the most impoverished, socio-economically challenged, and the most densely populated city in the US as "accountability" after handing over hundreds of billions to Wall Street criminals is it.  

    The only issue that divides the "two parties" apepars to be choice, and with Stupak and Co. even that is questionable.

    For the record (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 08:44:03 AM EST
    I've been pretty surprised at the shrinking support of the American voter and citizen on this issue.  It isn't just the administration bailing on this, it seems that a majority of Americans have also.

    This will just reinforce the need for (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by MO Blue on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 11:56:00 AM EST
    not adhering to the rule of law. Good point made by David Kurtz at TPM

    Let me just make one point on the politics of this decision, since politics is clearly what's driving it. If the White House retreats from a civilian trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and the others, not only is it terribly weak optics in the short run, but it cements in the public mind for the long term all the worst fears Republicans have not just been able to sow, but will continue to sow.

    Think of the worst possible scenario for what would have happened to New York City, no matter how remote, then insert that into a campaign ad. There's no way to disprove what might have been. Human nature will be to focus on the bullet that we supposedly dodged. Whereas if you actually suck it up and proceed with the trial, it takes all the wind of out that sail. People still go to work, buildings don't fall down, the ground doesn't open up and swallow Manhattan. Democrats show they're strong and resolute and the issue goes away.

    Glenn, as always, has some biting words (5.00 / 7) (#40)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 12:51:13 PM EST
    for the administration on this topic.

    Two sections that resonated with me:

    First, although they will try, it will be extremely difficult even for his most devoted loyalists to deny the fundamental cowardice of Barack Obama.  Think about how many times this will have happened:

    During the primary campaign, Obama unequivocally vowed to filibuster any FISA bill that contained telecom immunity, only to turn around -- once the nomination was secure -- and vote against a Democratic filibuster of such a bill, and then in favor of the underlying bill itself; in other words, he blatantly violated his own unequivocal vow in order to avoid being called Soft on Terror (but did so assuring his believing supporters that, once in office, he'd fix the surveilllance excesses he helped enact; don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen).  Then, last May, Obama announced that he would comply with two court decisions by releasing photographs of detainee abuses in the Pentagon's custody, only to turn around two weeks later and completely reverse himself after Liz Cheney and friends accused him of Endangering the Troops and Helping Terrorists.  If, in the face of "GOP demands" that Mohamed be denied a civilian trial, he again reverses himself -- this time on the highest-profile civil liberties decision of his administration -- he will unmistakably reveal himself, even to his most enamored admirers, as someone so utterly devoid not only of principle but also of resolve:  you just blow on him a little and he falls down and shatters into little pieces.

    Even just as a political matter, is there any better way to ensure that Americans will view him as weak than by abandoning one key decision after the next as a result of the slightest pressure?  What kind of person could possibly admire a "leader" who does this?


    Third, remember all the loud, righteous Democratic complaints about how Alberto Gonzales had "politicized" the DOJ and allowed the White House to intervene for political reasons in prosecutorial decisions?  That's exactly what this would be.  They're not even trying to hide the fact that it is the White House that will intervene and reverse the prosecution decision of the Attorney General and his career prosecutors for purely political reasons.  There are no words in the English language sufficient to describe the intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy of those who objected to Alberto Gonzales and Karl Rove's "politicization" of the DOJ yet who would refuse to voice the same complaints here.  And that's to say nothing of the glaring hypocrisy of Democrats' having spent years railing against military commissions generally, only now to turn around and embrace them.

    And, from the conclusion:

    For years, Democrats have failed to grasp the fact that they are perceived as "weak" not because of any specific policies, but because they are perceived -- rightly -- to believe in nothing (or at least nothing that they claim to believe).  It is hard to imagine any act that could more strongly bolster that perception than to watch Barack Obama -- yet again -- scamper away from his own claimed principles all because the GOP is saying some mean things about him.

    Not much I can add to that.


    I'm even more shocked at the lack of support (none / 0) (#32)
    by steviez314 on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 09:47:02 AM EST
    the original decision got from Democrats (Webb, Schumer, Bloomberg, etc.).

    Did veryone think that one paragraph of praise from Glen was enough to make this popular?

    Obama was left out the ledge on this one, and EVERYONE closed the window behind him.  


    That's why it required leadership (none / 0) (#37)
    by ruffian on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 11:00:27 AM EST
    The people can be scared into just about anything, as we have seen.

    I am not .. (none / 0) (#45)
    by nyrias on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 01:38:27 PM EST
    Think about it. For an average American, there is little difference between a federal court, and a military tribunal. A court is a court (yes, yes, they are not the same, rule of evidence is not the same, decision process is not the same .. i know .. but not everyone knows or cares).

    Plus, most people will think that these guys whom the govt are going to put on trial would be guilty anyway .. one way or another (presumed innocent works well in Perry Mason movies, but probably not very well in public for terrorists).

    Plus, the American people have other more important things to worry about. Do you think people will care about how some small number of terrorists will be tried when they have to worry their jobs?


    Don't you mean ALLEGED "terrorists"? (none / 0) (#59)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 07:43:48 PM EST
    BTW, I'm sure most of us don't feel overly burdened by the dual task of worrying about our jobs while also upholding the rule of law.

    yes .. alleged terrorists (none / 0) (#71)
    by nyrias on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 07:57:49 PM EST
    You are kidding if you think most American has a deep understanding of the difference between a military tribunal, which in cases like after ww2, is legal, and federal court.

    Their idea of upholding the law is not to drink & drive, and wearing a seat belt when they are in the car.


    I have to admit (none / 0) (#50)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 03:06:14 PM EST
    I'm pretty disappointed about this, but you have a point- my god there was little to no support for this at all among Democrats- some people would give it a half nod, but the primary reaction was either silence or outrage that he would even attempt to try them in NY.  it was almost as bad as when Obama was first proposing the closure of Gitmo and Congressman after Congressman- including those who had rightly decried Gitmo- stood up to bravely say that they could not take the detainees (this was probably where I broke with congress in favor of Obama- it was disgusting the guy was doing what we had all asked for and Congressional Response was virtually unanimous Nimbyism and Cowardice).

    Oh, poor poor Obama (none / 0) (#57)
    by Spamlet on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 04:47:14 PM EST
    Beholden as he is to the will of Congress, since the presidency, as everyone knows, is a department within the legislative branch.

    Everybody just leave Obama alone!


    Public Opinion (none / 0) (#54)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 04:18:38 PM EST
    Of course they want blood. I wouldn't doubt that if you conducted a poll you'd find that a public lynching without a trial would win. That's not waht we're supposed to represent. It's up to our leaders to make it clear that we stand on our principles.

    Public Opinion is what it is (none / 0) (#60)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 08:01:41 PM EST
    because there is no one of note standing up to correct the misinformation.  I guess we have to leave all of this to Jon Stewart.

    Of course (none / 0) (#61)
    by christinep on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 10:00:03 PM EST
    I too wish that our leaders were brave. And--in respect of public opinion and powerful sentiment--SocraticSilence makes a good point (not to defend, but to understand.) I'm reminded of how one of my favorite Supreme Court justices responded to public sentiment during WWII: Justice William O Douglas wrote for the majority in upholding the detention camps for Japanese-American citizens. (My memory is that he later wished his position had been otherwise.) Assuming that a number of you recognize the superb humanitarian and progressive credentials of Justice Douglas, I assume as well that we all recognize that each of us is fallible.  

    why? (none / 0) (#72)
    by nyrias on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 07:59:39 PM EST
    aren't the government supposed to represent the people?

    If the people want blood, shouldn't the government be giving it to them?

    Whose principles, I have to ask? There is no principle of not shedding blood. Otherwise, the capital punishment would not be so popular.


    Out the window.... (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by kdog on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 09:12:21 AM EST
    with one of the few bones we were gonna get outta a Dem presidency...more evidence that is makes no difference which party is in charge, both are rotten to the core.

    NYT editorial page (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by KeysDan on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 09:31:24 AM EST
    says "the stakes for President Obama start with the need to bring the mass murderers of Sept ll, 200l, to justice in credible proceedings in American courts. ...if Mr. Obama does not stop Mr. Graham's assault on the courts and prosecutorial discretion, his ability to make national security policy will be compromised."  An understatement, in my view, but still advise to be heeded.

    they blew it (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Yando on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 10:16:45 AM EST
      Let's be honest.
    A  big  part of why the Right does not want to
    have open trials here  is because they
    waterboarded/tortured this guy countless times.
    They compromised their own case.
    Next time maybe they'll think twice.
    KSM  was the mastermind?
    OBL ws the  mastermind?
    Three masterminds?
    Sounds  weird to me. That's what open trials
    are for. But they blew it.

    The three masterminds (none / 0) (#65)
    by lentinel on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 07:03:23 AM EST
    The mastermind, the master-mastermind, and the master-master-mastermind.

    Now we have a trial for one of them. KSM. The mastermind designate.

    But you just don't understand.

    We are in Afghanistan because they "attacked us from there".
    Another mastermind was in Saudi Arabia and some mastermind was in Florida. OBL was the mastermind for a while. Now he's not the mastermind. KSM is the mastermind. One of them is the master-mastermind, but which one is not clear at the moment.
    The important thing to remember is that we are against the Taliban  and also against Al Qaeda for whom the Taliban has some degree of contempt. Sometimes we cooperate with the Taliban, but not usually.

    But back to the trial of KSM.

    He was subject to an early form of Alzheimers. He didn't remember much. After he was treated with a mixture of water and rags and his windpipe was carefully realigned, his memory returned. He confessed to many things.

    The sad part is, some of this evidence, so carefully and compassionately brought to the surface by skilled practitioners of cranial science, might be thrown out by unscrupulous attorneys who stubbornly insist on putting the rule of law and an antiquated sense of American values above the need to get something, or someone, done.

    The best way to go is to have a trial that is as private as possible with a judge from the Saddam Hussein School of Jurisprudence.
    That is where we are headed and it is a wondrous triumph for progressive sensibilities everywhere.


    I am more interested (5.00 / 6) (#39)
    by TeresaInPa on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 12:07:09 PM EST
    in the rights of citizens to have their votes counted in a meaningful way... even in a primary.  That is where my pink slip came from.  I don't even care that much about liberal red meat anymore.  I care about a functional democracy above all things.  Everything stems from that.

    As for those people who are disappointed by one action or another, RI teachers fired.... this is your "new way of doing business in DC" at work.
    Post partisan Rah rah rah.

    please stay on topic (none / 0) (#42)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    of the 9/11 defendant trials. Thank you.

    Okay. (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 12:56:16 PM EST
    More PPUS at work. We had preisdent collins for the stimulus. we've had president baucus for the healthcare debacle and now we apparently have lindsay graham as president when it comes to tribunals. Maybe it would be better if the Obama administration just went ahead and told us who is president of what so we can go ahead and figure out what to expect.

    Don't forget Presidents Rahm, Summers and Geithner (none / 0) (#44)
    by Yman on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 01:34:17 PM EST
    After all, they usually get the blame whenever Obama makes bad decisions.

    Might as well get the title, too.


    What what I do? (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by mcl on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 06:22:08 AM EST
    Here's what I would do:

    If the evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty as charged, then the defendant gets convicted.  If the evidence does not support the charges, then the defendant gets acquitted and set free.

    That's how it works.

    Let's be clear about this. It doesn't matter what "you believe."  The sixth amendment of the constitution of the united states of America does not mandate "right to a trial by a jury of his peers, except if you believe he's guilty as sin."

    The due process clause of the Bill of Rights does not say "the right to due process, except if we're really really really scared."

    Let me double down on this so you understand it...

    If the defendant openly proclaims that he has a vial of "Twelve Monkeys"-style bacteriological weapons that he will use to kill everyone on earth if he's acquitted, then if the evidence fails to support the charges, you acquit the defendant and release him.

    If the defendant boasts that he can and will press a secret switch that will blow the entire world up the moment he's released from custody, then if the evidence fails to support the charge, you acquit the defendant and release him.

    If the defendant laughs in court about how he has a vial of Kurt Vonnegut's Ice-9 that he's going to drop in the ocean and use to destroy all living creatures on earth the moment he beats the chrage, then if the evidence fails to support the charges, you acquit the defendant and release him.

    It doesn't matter whether you like the defendant. It doesn't matter what you think the defendant did or didn't do. It doesn't matter whether you are secretly convinced that the defendant will rape and murder and torture and kill and bite the heads off puppies and beat baby seals to death with a baseball bat if acquitted.

    If the evidence fails to support the charges, you acquit the defendant.

    That's how it works.

    If you don't approve of that system of jurisprudence, emigrate to North Korea, where they do things differently. This is America, not Tadjikistan, where the local generalissimo boils people alive if he doesn't like their haircut.

    The Democrats in Washington DC (2.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Chuck0 on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 08:59:20 AM EST
    have proven themselves to be spineless cowards. Hope this considered a personal attack.

    Why? (none / 0) (#1)
    by ricosuave on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 10:43:59 PM EST
    Abandon what you stand for, cave to the republicans, and get nothing for it.  Not to mention the fact that it is wrong and unamerican.

    There is no reason for military tribunals here.  Any argument I have heard for military over civilian trials sounds more like "I want a showtrial with a guaranteed conviction."  We are better than that, stronger than that, and we should be braver than that.

    And they have the gall to (none / 0) (#43)
    by mg7505 on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 01:22:19 PM EST
    call it "negotiations." Negotiations? Last I checked negotiation means reaching an agreement - this was more like giving up.

    At this point, ... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Yman on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 10:47:15 PM EST
    ... does this really surprise anyone?


    While I have a bit of a prob (none / 0) (#3)
    by nycstray on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 10:53:52 PM EST
    with the location of the trials* (I wouldn't mind if they were in other boroughs), not happy with the ready to kow-tow news. And sorry, I have a serious dislike of Graham, so it rubs me even more . . .

    * just the nature of the area and what it would entail.

    You realize (none / 0) (#4)
    by kidneystones on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 10:58:40 PM EST
    this pink slip is going to win some serious criticism from all the so much more brighter and highly-principled.

    Well done!

    it's issue driven (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 11:16:30 PM EST
    and I am all about issues. Criminal defense ones, to be specific. It's not a personal attack nor will those be allowed.

    I know that (none / 0) (#6)
    by kidneystones on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 11:29:19 PM EST
    and you're one of the few folks around who takes principles seriously. I disagree with you on some points, but I've read enough of your work to get a sense of just how angry and disappointed you are.

    You know how little I think of the recipient. I've always been in favor of military tribunals. I posted elsewhere on the question of support for removing some protections of the accused.

    I don't expect you to jump to my side of the issue. It's the cynicism of this individual I find so repellent. The decision is entirely poll-driven.

    Thanks, again, for allowing me to post.


    You are aware of (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 12:19:05 AM EST
    the monumentally better record of civilian trials in putting these guys away over the results of the military tribunals?

    It is not necessary to violate all our principles as Americans to deal appropriately with actual terrorists, so I suspect the lust to do so has little to do with actual pragmatic concerns.


    I'm not (none / 0) (#9)
    by kidneystones on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 12:32:23 AM EST
    arguing against or for tribunals here. I'm arguing that principles count, or should.

    Coercion does work in almost every case. That's what fines and all deterrent forms of punishment are supposed to do. The perception that offering cake and coffee works in all cases is as fallacious as the notion that all good interrogators need to do is bring in the yellow-pages.

    I'm generally in favor of a much more robust policy of accountability for countries like Yemen or Saudi Arabia that permit terrorists to recruit. As I noted elsewhere, one of the smart things Bush and Blair did post 9/11 was to end US citizen funded terror in the UK. Clinton did much of the heavy-lifting during the nineties.

    Course, that kind of hard diplomatic work is unthinkable these days.


    Who's suggesting "cake and coffee" ... (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by Yman on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 06:58:23 AM EST
    ... work in all cases, or even any case?  Of course it's a fallacious concept ... you just made it up.

    Opposing torture, adherence to basic constitutional principles and /or favoring federal trials are not "offering cake and coffee" to terrorists.  Moreover, no one has suggested "coercion"(in the general sense) doesn't work. There's a wide and powerful range of coercive tools in the hands of the government when it prosecutes someone, which is precisely why there is a need for adequate protections for those accused of crimes, including those accused of terrorism.  Suggesting that those who advocate civilian trials and protecting constitutional principles are "offering cake and coffee" to terror suspects is not only insulting, ...

    ... it's ridiculous.


    Thanks for the insult (none / 0) (#17)
    by kidneystones on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 08:08:17 AM EST
    Just to show you the respect you clearly feel no need to show the rest of us, I'll take a moment to check whether my knowledge of the interrogation techniques and prison food is as 'insulting' as you claim. One of us is clearly wrong and if it turns out prisoners are not offered coffee and cake or that some security experts do not suggest terrorist suspects not be treated with all the respect regular innocent until proven guilty suspects enjoy, I can assure you a full apology will follow.

    I'll do this while I eat my dinner. Should take me about five minutes to come up with some fact and about the same amount of time to double source and then type up a reply.

    See you in minute or so.


    One of us is clearly uninformed (1.00 / 1) (#18)
    by kidneystones on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 08:36:39 AM EST
    Google search this string cake and dessert in prison diets yields 1 million plus hits. Not only are the home baked cakes and cookies at some US jails and prisons pretty good, prisoners can also share recipes to ease the boredom and stress of long incarceration. No snark here at all. So if those suspected of terrorism go through the regular court systems they are indeed going to be offered cake and coffee as standard fare and as incentive for good behavior. In one jail, the 'threat' is a steady menu finished with the killer monotony of oatmeal cookies. I happen to love oatmeal cookies and can't frankly imagine of ever tiring of them.

    How about at Guantanamo Bay?

    Camp 4 also has small, common recreational areas for playing board games and team sports. The most requested games include chess, checkers, and playing cards. Detainees are allowed out into the exercise areas attached to their living areas for about seven to nine hours a day. These areas include covered picnic tables and a ping-pong table. They also have access to a soccer area and a volleyball court. Detainees eat together in their cell block. The food is brought by food-service personnel and the detainees are allowed to serve themselves. A guard watches to make sure that each detainee obtains an equal portion of food. Detainees are given ice cream every Sunday. They are allowed to have supplemental food items, such as yellow cheese, cream cheese, Fig Newtons, pound cake, figs, honey, peanut butter, single-serving cereal boxes, Kool-Aid and fruit cocktail. Detainees are also responsible for keeping their own area clean.

    A librarian periodically visits the detainees and gives them access to reading materials. Many request copies of National Geographic. They can also, occasionally, watch some Arabic family TV shows, and soccer highlights.

    Nobody I know would want to spend one second inside any jail no matter how good or bad the food may be. Prisoners commit suicide and engage in all manner of self-destructive and anti-social behavior even in the 'best' maintained facilities.

    The fact is that if KSM and the rest are innocent until proven guilty and they're in the regular system, they're going to enjoy all of the same privilages other suspects enjoy, including a fair trial with complete constitutional protections.

    And cake and coffee.  

    Attach your own apology if you have the parts


    That's IT?!?! (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Yman on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 09:27:27 AM EST

    Not even a decent attempt.

    Go back and read your original post, then read my response ...... sloooooowly.  Did you notice a few things?  For one thing, the entire discussion centered on the use of civilian/military trials and the use of coercion on terror suspects, not generic prisoners.  More importantly, I never claimed prisoners (even those in Guantanamo) were not given cake or coffee, nor would I.  To be honest, I could care less whether terror suspects are given cake and coffee, particularly since it is only given to those prisoners who are cooperating:  "Admission to the facility will be conditional on each detainee's good behavior and cooperation with the interrogation process."

    Finally, and most importantly, your original claim was not merely that the terror suspects (or even generic prisoners) are given cake and coffee (but hey, .... congratulations on documenting that).  You claimed that there was a "fallacious notion" that "offering cake and coffee works in all cases".  

    The perception that offering cake and coffee works in all cases is as fallacious as the notion that all good interrogators need to do is bring in the yellow-pages.

    My response was that you're the only one making that ridiculous claim.  See, that's the problem with straw arguments.  They're just so easy to dismantle.

    But you are right in one respect.  One of us clearly is uninformed.

    Just not the one you think.


    What advisers? (none / 0) (#8)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 12:22:08 AM EST
    The article doesn't say, doesn't even hint.

    Is this another Rahmbo "leak"?  Sounds like it to me.

    sounds like it to me too (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 12:48:46 AM EST
    He's the one who has been meeting with Lindsay Graham.

    What is wrong with these people? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 07:06:02 AM EST
    It's disturbing how much Obama seems to like the authoritarian approach, and I'm beginning to understand why he has not been more outspoken - if he has said anything at all - about the egregious authoritarian acts of the prior administration: he's liking the flexing of that powerful authoritarian muscle more than he appreciates and reveres the quiet principles of the Constitution.  

    If this report is true, I don't see him as reluctantly abandoning the decision to try the 9/11 defendants in federal court - I see him as regretting not taking the military tribunal course to begin with.

    The federal trial decision was a sop to liberals; going back on that decision is a return to where he really wants to be.

    Not a good sign, in my opinion.

    Doubt it (none / 0) (#21)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 09:05:36 AM EST
    I think the evidence is pretty clear he doesn't much care one way or the other-- which is much more of a problem, IMHO.  If the original decision was a "sop" to anybody, it would have been to Eric Holder.  It's prefectly clear Obama doesn't give a twig for what liberals think and has no interest in giving them sops.

    yea (none / 0) (#23)
    by CST on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 09:23:35 AM EST
    and now even Holder is backing off in his public statements.

    Seems like it's a done deal.


    I bet the IRS bomber gets a civilian trial.


    He would (none / 0) (#25)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 09:27:32 AM EST
    If he was alive

    wow (none / 0) (#27)
    by CST on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 09:33:18 AM EST
    how did i miss that?

    duh, he crashed a plane.

    I'm having a slow day.


    must be that exciting night (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Dr Molly on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 09:34:50 AM EST
    of The Floods. :)

    I'm hoping (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 09:36:36 AM EST
    It's because being a vibrant 20-something, were out on the town partying last night and living it up. (i'm living vicariously, you know, as I was asleep on the couch by 9:30 last night)  :)

    Gov't needs to keep lid on covert intel actions (none / 0) (#30)
    by Yes2Truth on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 09:40:36 AM EST

    The gov't isn't concerned about the IRS defendant spilling the beans about false flag operations using patsies who must be tortured into maintaining

    The gov't is still in 9/11 cover-up mode and will be
    in perpetuity.  Just like with PHarbor1, JFK, G. of Tonkin, RFK, MLK, Anthrax, and on and on and on.


    Does anyone think (none / 0) (#31)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 09:42:06 AM EST
    (and yes, this may be tinfoil hat territory) that this was the plan all along?  Remember, Holder has publicly stated that KSM is guilty and should die.  And then Gibbs said things  like KSM  "is going to meet justice and he's going to meet his maker," and "He will be brought to justice and he is likely to be executed for the heinous crimes that he committed in killing - in masterminding the killing of 3,000 Americans. That you can be sure of."

    Seems to me that when the administration is foretelling a verdict (see Nixon and Manson), that the jury pool might be a a bit prejudiced and a federal judge would be within his/her rights to dismiss the case. (Not that I disagree with the statements themselves).  

    Was the adminisration poisoning the well, so to speak?  Throw a bone to the left by declaring it will try KM et al in civilian courts, then say stuff like what Gibbs said, ensuring that it would never happen, then say, "Hey, we tried, but I guess it has to be a military tribunal after all?"

    Welcome to the class of 2010, Jeralyn (none / 0) (#33)
    by lambert on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 09:48:51 AM EST
    Impressive concept. (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 06:40:51 PM EST
    "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

    I might as well weep in my cups. This craven aquiescence makes a mockery of what I swore to uphold and defend.


    A comment reprinting a (none / 0) (#35)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 10:37:27 AM EST
    right wing screed has been deleted. You may quote a short paragraph or two to make a point, but not reprint the works of others in comments. Especially right wing garbage.

    I agree and hope (none / 0) (#36)
    by someTV on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 10:37:42 AM EST
    you sent this message to the President.

    I agree that the trials (none / 0) (#46)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 01:54:03 PM EST
    should be in civilian court but do not feel as strongly as does Jeralyn.

    Clearly, someone committing a crime on U.S. soil should be tried in a U.S. court.  I suppose one could classify the terrorists as enemy soldiers that should be handled outside the civilian courts...

    The key is to have a public trial based on evidence (not hearsay rumors) with the defendants represented by able counsel.  The Nuremberg trials are an example of that.   But that was a unique case where we had to step in because the German criminal justice system had bascially ceased to function.  Yet, if Obama had originally advocated a Nuremberg type process, I could have gone along with that even though that would not have been my first choice.

    The more troubling aspect to this is that the decision is clearly political.  Scott Brown won by in part campaigning on this issue, the GOP was making a big deal about it, and public opinion was strongly on the GOP's side.

    Hooray for Jeralyn! (none / 0) (#62)
    by McKinless on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 10:24:01 PM EST
     Thank you.

    Troll-rated, eh? (none / 0) (#63)
    by Trickster on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 10:25:59 PM EST
    Pretty revealing IMO.  I thought that was a civil comment.  Maybe you disagree with it, but . . . .

    it was deleted as (none / 0) (#64)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:31:36 AM EST
    an attempt to hijack the thread. Take those tricks elsewhere, trickster.

    Hijack? (none / 0) (#69)
    by Trickster on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 11:22:40 AM EST
    OK, you're the mod and you have the right to consider a hijack to be whatever you consider a hijack.  I disagree, but that doesn't really matter.

    The "tricks" comment, however, was (1) personal, (2) BS, and (3) uncalled-for.  I'm doing my best to begin and engage in civil conversation.  Please look over my comments history before you accuse me of being here to hijack threads through "tricks."


    I wish Jeralyn had included the background (none / 0) (#66)
    by mcl on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 08:02:51 AM EST
    The military commissions are so atrociously rigged, such obvious show-trial scams, that the military's own chief prosecutor resigned in protest over the unfairness of the Guantanamo trials.

    "...A key official has told The Nation that the trials have been rigged from the start. According to Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor for Guantánamo's military commissions, the process has been manipulated by Administration appointees to foreclose the possibility of acquittal.

    "Colonel Davis's criticism of the commissions has been escalating since he resigned in October, telling the Washington Post that he had been pressured by politically appointed senior Defense officials to pursue cases deemed `sexy' and of `high interest' (such as the 9/11 cases now being pursued) in the run-up to the 2008 elections. Davis, once a staunch defender of the commissions process, elaborated on his reasons in a December 10, 2007, Los Angeles Times op-ed. `I concluded that full, fair and open trials were not possible under the current system,' he wrote. `I felt that the system had become deeply politicized and that I could no longer do my job effectively.'"

    Source here.

    Man...when your own chief prosecutor resigns in protest because the so-called "impartial tribunals" are so outrageously rigged and so grotesquely unfair...at that point, you've got a real problem.

    The other issue?

    No one ever seems to mention the overwhelming evidence that most of the kidnap victims being held without charges in Guantanamo are innocent. There's now no question about it. Most of these people were innocent bystanders sold by corrupt Afghan warlords to make a quick scam buck off the American army. The Afghan warlords pointed to innocent cabdrivers and said, "Yeah, that guy, he's an Al Qaeda terrorist, now gimme my fifty thousand dollars."

    And despite the overwhelming evidence that most of the people in Guantanamo are innocent bystanders like Dilawar the cab driver, some schmuck who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and got sold to the U.S. army by a greedy Afghan warlord who lied out his ass to grab the reward money and run...these innocent bystanders continue to languish in prison. Forever. No charges. No possibility of getting a parole hearing. Nothing.

    It's unbelievable. We're back to the star chamber in 16th century England, where innocent people got dragged off the streets and hurled into a cell without charges, held and tortured until they confess whatever the prosecutor wanted them to confess to, and then at the secret trial, the only "evidence" was the confession elicited under torture.

    What the hell has happened to America?

    Just for fun (none / 0) (#67)
    by jbindc on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 12:20:21 PM EST
    If it was deemed that trials should be held in NY, and a federal judge deems KSM et al were tortured, ergo the evidence obtained from them should be thrown out - what happens next?  We can proudly say we stood to our principles, but then what? When KSM goes back to whatever hole he crawled out of, and plots another attack and is successful - what then?

    Would anyone here be willing to make that decision if you were in charge?

    I admit that I wouldn't, because while I believe we need to return our reputation to show that we are a country of laws, I also happen to believe they are guilty as sin and should never see the light of day again. I certainly wouldn't want to be responsible for what happens after they are freed and another few thousand people die, or worse.

    What would you do?

    Sometimes military commissions are appropriate (none / 0) (#70)
    by mcl on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 05:00:56 PM EST
    MKS above mentions: "Clearly someone committing a crime on U.S. soil should be tried in a U.S. court."

    No, not necessarily.  There are circumstances under which military commissions are appropriate.

    Let's take a specific factual example: during WW II, some German soldiers snuck onto American soil after being left ashore via a raft from a German submarine. Their mission was to commit sabotage. One of the German prisoners turned the others in.

    The Supreme Court ruled that U.S. civilian courts had no jurisdiction and that the German soldiers should be tried in a military tribunal. That seems sensible.

    There is a place for military commissions and military tribunals.

    Howeer, we cannot and should not dump trials into the military JAG system merely because Americans are too frightened that the defendants might get acquitted, or because some bloc of gutless voters are so terrified of what allegedly heinous acts the defendants might have committed had they not been captured.

    The military commission system has its place. It primarily serves to deal with enemy soldiers in uniform or enemy soldiers in a conventional war who are out of uniform and trying to commit espionage or sabotage on American soil, or American soldiers who commit gross war crimes or violations of orders. In all other cases, the civilian court system has proven entirely adequate throughout all of American history, including a civil war, a war of independence, a world war against existential enemies (the Nazi Third Reich and Imperial Japan) who posed a genuine threat to the existence of the United States of America, and a cold war against a hostile superpower armed with 3,000 nuclear weapons capable of obliterating the United States from the face of the earth.

    The idea that we must abandon the civilian system of jurisprudence which has served us well in the face of these kinds of momentous threats merely because we're scared of what some guys armed with box cutters might do is, in all honesty, too bizarre and too ludicrous to deserve serious consideration.