George W. Bush must be enjoying his book tour. It seems as though every day brings another headline vindicating one aspect or another of his presidency; or, at least, indicating how intractable were the issues with which his administration grappled. Today the Washington Post headlines: “Opposition to U.S. trial likely to keep mastermind of 9/11 attacks in detention.”
Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, will probably remain in military detention without trial for the foreseeable future, according to Obama administration officials.
The administration has concluded that it cannot put Mohammed on trial in federal court because of the opposition of lawmakers in Congress and in New York. There is also little internal support for resurrecting a military prosecution at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The latter option would alienate liberal supporters.
Remember the “rule of law” that demanded captured terrorists be given civilian jury trials? Apparently Chuck Schumer had a veto. Personally, I’d be fine with just shooting KSM, but the Obama administration prefers to echo the Bush administration’s position on detention of terrorists:
The administration asserts that it can hold Mohammed and other al-Qaeda operatives under the laws of war, a principle that has been upheld by the courts when Guantanamo Bay detainees have challenged their detention.
I’m feeling too lazy to go back and research Times editorials to see what the paper had to say about those court decisions at the time, but in any event, they now come in handy for the Times’s guy Barack. Somewhere, GWB is smiling.