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Monday, June 21, 2010

KSM Decision After November

The decision on where to try KSM has been buried and that may be no accident.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the decision over where to hold the trial for alleged 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was “weeks away” — three months ago.

Now advocates on both sides of the issue say they expect the Obama administration to punt the decision until after the November midterm elections— when the controversial plan could do less damage to the political fortunes of endangered Democrats and might face less resistance on Capitol Hill.

Holder last week explicitly denied the midterms had anything to do with the timing but would only say discussions are continuing. The White House had no comment.

We, as a country, have a lot on our plates. So, it's not exactly clear how much people will notice this lack of action. There's no doubt, however, that it's entirely political. KSM was about not merely to be tried but to plead guilty and accept the death penalty at the beginning of the Obama administration. Instead, the president stopped that process and moved the trial to New York. Following outrage, that was stopped and KSM has been in legal limbo since. The administration has had more than enough time to make a decision. It simply has continued to punt.

Meanwhile, it's important to note that President Obama said once that KSM would face swift justice.

I think this notion that somehow we have to be fearful, that these terrorists possess some special powers that prevent us from presenting evidence against them, locking them up and exacting swift justice, I think that has been a fundamental mistake.

Meanwhile, KSM was on the verge of pleading guilty and accepting a death penalty when Obama stopped that about a year and a half ago. Now, it looks as though we'll be two years into the Obama administration before a decision is even made. Obama likely is concerned about the wrath from groups like Human Rights Watch, the ACLU, and Amnesty if he simply goes back to military tribunals. Meanwhile, he's finding that the logistics behind a civilian trial are nearly impossible.

Of course, it should be noted that as State Senator Obama didn't take a record number of votes. This was one of many overlooked criticisms while he ran for President. Obama is again voting present however he's no longer in a position to vote present.

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