Presumed Guilty

by Peter A Collier
2009 NOVEMBER 15

On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace gave Jack Reed, Democratic Senator from Rhode Island, an opportunity to defend the decision to give KSM a civilian trial in New York. After enumerating the many injuries this could cause the country, Wallace asked Reed for one advantage Attorney General Holder’s decision might bring. Reed, well known as a talking head for the White House, said that such a trial will “stand as a symbol in the world of something different than what the terrorists represents.”

That this comment comes shortly after the President bowed deeply to the Japanese emperor (an obeisance even more groveling than the one he lied about having offered Saudi King Abdullah this past spring) is, as my former Marxist friends used to say, no accident. This administration is obsessed with American guilt–so ambivalent about our country’s intrinsic meaning that it feels it must invent a new symbolism to convince the rest of the world that we are a good and decent nation. Other countries may be on the fence about whether we’re all that different from the terrorists, the logic of Reed’s comment seemed to suggest, so we must have a show trial to convince them that we are.

But while Reed smugly congratulates the administration for setting up a global civics lesson, KSM must be licking his chops and thanking Allah that nobody listened to him when he demanded to be put to death. Here he has an opportunity, courtesy of the chief law enforcement officer of the U.S., no less, to further the destruction he caused on 9/11. That attack hit buildings and bodies; the one he will soon be able to launch from a New York courtroom could affect American security even more profoundly since it will be directed at all the safeguards put into effect in the eight years since the first attack. In this regard, Holder has given KSM the opportunity to use one of the time honored techniques of the homicide bomber: set off one explosion, and then, when responders rush in to deal with the carnage, set off another that will claim an even larger number of victims.

Sen. Reed, one of those for whom 9/10 appears to be Groundhog Day, blithely dismissed the downside, but it will surely be America, as much or more than KSM himself, that will be on trial when this legal circus opens its big tent. Sources and methods of intelligence gathering, cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies, rendition, cruel and unusual incarceration, and most of all TORTURE will dominate the proceedings. The rest of the world will not get a lesson about America’s constitutional glories, but a confirmation of its worst suspicions that we are and always have been a black ops nation.

KSM will get a chance to show the blood on the Great Satan’s hands. And Eric Holder and his President will get the Truth Commission they have wanted since the election but were afraid to seek through the normal political process. In this regard, at least, the trial will be win/win.

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