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Democratic Senator Criticizes Obama, Holder On Criminal Trials For 9/11 Plotters

by @ 1:42 pm on November 14, 2009. Filed under Al Qaeda, Barack Obama, Homeland Security, Politics, September 11th, War On Terror

And it happens to be one of my Senators, Jim Webb:

I have never disputed the constitutional authority of the President to convene Article III courts in cases of international terrorism. However, I remain very concerned about the wisdom of doing so. Those who have committed acts of international terrorism are enemy combatants, just as certainly as the Japanese pilots who killed thousands of Americans at Pearl Harbor. It will be disruptive, costly, and potentially counterproductive to try them as criminals in our civilian courts.

The precedent set by this decision deserves careful scrutiny as we consider proper venues for trying those now held at Guantanamo who were apprehended outside of this country for acts that occurred outside of the country. And we must be especially careful with any decisions to bring onto American soil any of those prisoners who remain a threat to our country but whose cases have been adjudged as inappropriate for trial at all. They do not belong in our country, they do not belong in our courts, and they do not belong in our prisons.

I have consistently argued that military commissions, with the additional procedural rules added by Congress and enacted by President Obama, are the most appropriate venue for trying individuals adjudged to be enemy combatants.

Ed Morrissey points out why Webb’s dissent is significant:

Webb’s dissent is remarkable for a couple of different reasons.  First, he’s the best the Democrats have in the Senate for national security.  He served in the Reagan administration and had built a great deal of credibility on the subject, which is why Virginians felt comfortable narrowly electing him over George Allen in 2006 — with the help of the Washington Post and the “macaca” meme.  His dissent on this topic will sting, and it should.

It won’t change the trajectory of this case, unfortunately.  After making such a public show of announcing the trials, there’s almost no chance that the White House will change its mind and return to the military tribunals for KSM and the other four “defendants.”  Webb does demonstrate, though, just how far outside the mainstream on national-security thought Obama is now, and sets up a big I-told-you-so if something goes terribly wrong at the trial.  No one can say that Obama didn’t get warned, even by his own side.

And good for Senator Webb.

2 Responses to “Democratic Senator Criticizes Obama, Holder On Criminal Trials For 9/11 Plotters”

  1. James Young says:

    Even a stopped clock is right twice a day….

  2. J. Schmidt says:

    What is Obama thinking?

    I hope terrorists get sent to the same kind of American prison where Jeffrey Dahmer got killed. If the terrorists get killed in a civilian prison, by common civilian prisoners, does it ruin their chances of getting into the Islam heaven?

    Maybe Obama is thinking a military prison is too good for them?

    A Jeffrey Dahmer ending is the only way to salvage Obama’s strange decision. I would get more satisfaction from that than a firing squad, which in their terrorist minds might allow them into the Islam heaven.

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