From a recent Onion article, “U.S. Finally Gets Around To Prosecuting Mastermind Behind 9/11“:
The Justice Department announced Monday that it had finally found enough time in its busy schedule to squeeze in the prosecution of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, more than six years after the high-profile suspect was captured and eight years after the worst-ever terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
That’s really the issue here–why hasn’t this happened much, much sooner? All of the concerns voiced by those opposed to, uh, the rule of law (not sure how better to phrase that) trot out the same old canards that a trial will make us vulnerable to attack (c/o Mitch McConnell, who seems to have forgotten that we are always targets for attack) or the unbelievably tired “pre-9/11 mindset” arguments (this time c/o Michael Mukasey):
Michael Mukasey…said criminal courts were a bad choice for trying the alleged 9/11 plotters. He said the decision represented a turn from the Bush administration’s war footing to a “Sept. 10, 2001″ mentality.
“The plan seems to abandon the view that we are involved in a war,” said Mr. Mukasey.
Of course, the Congressional Republicans themselves display a shocking lack of any noticeable sense of irony in addressing how trying Mohammed now would only delay justice:
Delayed Justice: In New York, KSM will enjoy the legal rights and benefits of U.S. citizens and resident aliens under the Constitution. A criminal trial will force the government to reveal all of its intelligence on KSM and how it obtained it. Additionally, treating the 9/11 attacks as a simple criminal matter rather than an act of war will hinder U.S. efforts to fight terrorism and sends the wrong signal to U.S. enemies abroad. A costly civilian court trial for KSM will also likely take years. The trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, for example, was tied up in court for more than four years by his lawyers and ended only when Moussaoui pleaded guilty.
Anyway, I’ve noted before that it is conceivably possible to prosecute unspeakable and unconscionable war crimes in a civilized manner, that most Republicans turn into pants-wetting sissies at the very thought of civilian trials, and that The Onion has a disquietingly prescient sense of humor.