toady today published an editorial entitled Old-fashioned: Regular courts can handle terrorism.
The title says it all. Our continuing encarceration of jihadists captured in Afghanistan and Iraq is wrong because it violates their Constitutional rights. We don’t need no steenkin’ Guantanamo when civil liberties there are being threatened by DoD personnel manipulating the thermostat.
The right of life is apparently not among the delineated liberties, because the LSJ is fawning over a judge who let an Islamist bomber off easy.
Contrary to the LSJ opinion, this is the problem rather than the solution.
The LSJ believes that the “insurgents” ensconsed at Gitmo deserve full advantage of our “living” Constitution, though said “insurgents” spit upon its very concept.
The exemplar “why do they hate us” boys must also be granted a complete panoply of criminal-law protection – as if they’d been arrested for pimping in front of 120 E. Lenawee instead of captured trying to kill American soldiers in Fallujah.
Reality check. When did we move from “they don’t have rights under the Geneva Conventions” to “they have the same rights as American citizens?”
“Catch and release” has previously only applied to illegal immigrants. Maybe that’s how the LSJ views our Guantanamo guests: as involuntary illegal immigrants.
The basis of the State Journal’s argument is this:
In late December 2000 (Clinton administration), an alert Border Patrol agent arrested a terrorist thug crossing in from al-Qaeda-Haven-North, with a trunk full of high explosives. (How did he get that in a country that bans private ownership of firearms, anyway?).
Wait 5 years. The would be mass murderer gets a light sentence.
To the LSJ, the rights of prisoners in Guantanamo and a mainland criminal trial of this premature-jihaculate are connected. The LSJ doesn’t think we’re in a war and they can’t parse the words “handle terrorism.” They think that 5 years between bomb plot and sentencing is quite quick enough, thanks, for prosecuting mass assassination attempts.
Their headline flatly says that this is a good way to handle the war with Islamofascism. They even point out – as some sort of revelation – and apparently seriously, that they can’t tell 1-Jan-00 from 12-Sep-2001:
A man accused of terrorism was tried and convicted (pre-9/11) and sentenced (post-9/11) through the normal judicial process in this country
They get the chronology. They just don’t get 9/11. This same chronology applies to Zacarias Moussaoui – the “20th hijacker”; a point to which we will return.
I have sent this letter to the LSJ Editor:
Al-Qaeda-trained Ahmed Ressam was recently sentenced for attempting to bomb Los Angeles International airport – 5 years ago. The LSJ (Aug-1) contends this demonstrates – constitutionally – that all terrorists should have their day in “standard courts”, despite the fact that the implied routine evidentiary publication would constitute an al-Qaeda counter-intelligence bonanza.
Constitutionally, Mr. Ressam differs from Guantanamo detainees: a-we weren’t at war when he was arrested, b-he was arrested on American soil, c-he was “arrested.”
A 22-year sentence for conspiracy to commit mass-murder might even work out to 3 months for each stranger he plotted to kill, but he’s eligible for release in 14 years. Prosecutors wanted a longer sentence to help obtain Ressam’s testimony against 2 alleged co-conspirators. That won’t happen now.
Let’s hope Judge John Coughenour’s fit of petty sanctimony is not as comforting to “20th hijacker” Zacarias Moussaoui as it is to the LSJ.
We do need to discuss Moussaoui, another murderous fanatic being given access to “standard courts”. The contents of Moussaoui’s computer hard disk, if not for PC BS in DC, might have mitigated 9/11.
Moussaoui started his US apprenticship with al-Qaeda in 1998. He was arrested on August 16th, 2001. He’s been handled as a criminal rather than an “enemy combatant”. His “trial” has been a farce, with many months being spent determining if he was competant to be his own lawyer. There has also been a lot of jockeying to keep secret prosecution documents out of al-Qaeda’s public scrutiny.
The lesson the LSJ has missed is this: Regular courts consistently demonstrate they can’t handle terrorism. Period.
For more insight into the judicial theory the LSJ is promoting, read some of Judge John Coughenour’s comments here, they are truly amazing in their arrogance, ignorance and elitism.
The LSJ wastes some of its precious editorial space making the point that this guy is a Reagan appointee (so what?), apparently to claim that if ideologies are “balanced out” we’ll get a fair decision.
There is no better argument for reining in an out-of-control judiciary, though that wasn’t the LSJ point.