Thursday, November 18, 2010


The editorial board of the New York Post is outraged at the Ahmed Ghailani verdict:

Is there any better proof that Team Obama's preferred approach to fighting terror -- through civilian courts -- is dangerously misguided than yesterday's acquittal of one of the 1998 US embassy bombers on all but one of 285 charges?

Ahmed Ghailani, the first Guantanamo Bay detainee to be tried in a civilian court, was convicted of only a single count of conspiracy to destroy government property and buildings using explosives.

Murder? No.

Terrorism? No.

He was up to his ears in a plot that took 224 lives, and he's not a


He might as well have blown up an empty phone booth in some desert.

Oh, and the typical sentence for blowing up an empty phone booth in the desert would be what exactly?

... Yes, Ghailani is facing 20 years to life -- but that's only about a month for each of the 224 people he helped kill.

Hmmm, let's see: Ghailani is 36 years old. If the sentence were straight life without the possibility of parole and he were to live to the age of, say, 76, that would be ... um, two months for each of the 224 people he helped kill. Much better!

And of course, there's no reason to assume he'll be sentenced to the minimum:

Ghailani could be sentenced to life in prison and faces a minimum of 20 years, according to the Justice Department....

Ghailani's sentence will be imposed by Kaplan, and prosecutors in New York said they would seek life in prison.

And even if he gets 20 years, he still might never be released:

The judge himself ... said in his ruling that Mr. Ghailani's status of "enemy combatant" probably would permit his detention as something akin "to a prisoner of war until hostilities between the United States and Al Qaeda and the Taliban end, even if he were found not guilty."

Which I think also happens if you blow up an empty phone booth in the desert -- right? (I'm not an international-law expert -- I'll get back to you on that.)

Really, wingnuts? We can't try these people in civilian courts even after we've given ourselves permission to continue detaining any of them who are completely acquitted?

But, of course, this isn't about America's safety -- this is about anger and politics. In order to feed their anger, wingnuts want two things from the justice system for terrorist suspects:

1. They want the suspects to be punished by Republican presidents exclusively, and
2. They want the suspects to be mistreated in a way that angers liberals.

Point #2 means, of course, illegal prisons, torture, and then court proceedings that make a mockery of due process. If we're not complaining, they're never going to be happy.

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