Monday, February 1, 2010
“The only time [the Obama] administration ever cites the previous administration for a precedent is to mention that there were some terrorists tried in U.S. courts,” Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Sunday on State of the Union.
“We now know that was a mistake,” declared McConnell. “That was a mistake by the previous administration. The other mistake they made that shouldn’t be replicated by this administration is letting too many people go from Guantanamo.”
Instead of giving alleged terrorists civilian trials in federal court, McConnell said the administration should use the system of military commissions set up by Congress “for the specific purpose of trying foreigners captured on the battlefield.”
“They ought to be tried in these military commissions. They also ought to be detained at Guantanamo,” the Senate Minority Leader said.
The Obama administration has missed its own self-imposed one-year deadline for closing the U.S. military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba were a number of suspected terrorists have been held after being captured. Last week, the White House also began to signal that it was rethinking its plans to hold a high-profile trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 terrorists attacks, in Manhattan federal court not far from Ground Zero. The turnabout on the Obama administration’s part regarding the trial came after elected officials and business people in New York City raised concerns about security and the high costs of protecting the city during such a large-scale event.
“What we need to do is to deny these people a show trial,” McConnell also said Sunday in a reference to what some observers believe would be a media circus if Mohammed is tried in an open civilian court. “We need to proceed to interrogate them,” McConnell added.
“This is really dangerous nonsense,” McConnell said of the Obama administration’s policies regarding treatment of alleged terrorists. “We have a way to do it, John,” McConnell told CNN’s John King. “Interrogate them. Detain them and try them in military commissions offshore at Guantanamo from which no one has ever escaped.”
My question for McConnell and anyone who agrees with him is, why? He has an awful lot of "ought" statements in his argument. We ought to interrogate them. We ought to try them in a military court. Why? Says who?
If a person from another country were to steal something, I imagine we would try them for the crime of theft. If a person from another country killed someone, we would try them for the crime of murder.
Why are these attempts by individuals (or even groups of individuals) different? Who says we ought not just treat their crimes as the crimes they are? Attempted terrorism. Murder.
The only reason McConnell cites is that it makes it (in his opinion) a "show trial." What does that mean? I think SHOWING the world that the US is a nation of laws and that we abide by laws would be a good thing to show.
I don't think I've ever heard of any good reason why terrorism ought not be treated as any other crime, just that it "ought" to be. Says who?
The only reason I can think of would be in relation to possible "military secrets" (whatever that may mean) that we don't want released to the world at large. But, if I'm not mistaken, that kind of information - if it exists - can be kept from public airing, even in a civilian trial.
I'm sorry, but McConnell simply saying it "ought" to be done a certain way is not enough for me. Does anyone know of any real reasons?