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Obama About To Back Down On Civil Trials For 9/11 Suspects ?

This report in today’s Washington Post seems to be laying the groundwork for some major backpedaling from the White House:

President Obama’s advisers are nearing a recommendation that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, be prosecuted in a military tribunal, administration officials said, a step that would reverse Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s plan to try him in civilian court in New York City.

The president’s advisers feel increasingly hemmed in by bipartisan opposition to a federal trial in New York and demands, mainly from Republicans, that Mohammed and his accused co-conspirators remain under military jurisdiction, officials said. While Obama has favored trying some terrorism suspects in civilian courts as a symbol of U.S. commitment to the rule of law, critics have said military tribunals are the appropriate venue for those accused of attacking the United States.

Of course, that’s going to upset some people:

A decision to reverse course on Mohammed is likely to dismay civil liberties groups and human rights groups who loudly cheered Obama’s election because they thought he would dismantle military tribunals developed during the Bush administration.

“If President Obama reverses Holder’s decision to try the 9/11 defendants in criminal court and retreats to using the Bush military commissions, he deals a death blow to his own Justice Department, breaks a clear campaign promise to restore the rule of law and demonstrates that the promises to his constituents are all up for grabs,” said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “The military commissions have not worked, they are doomed to failure, and Obama will invariably find himself running for office again while not achieving justice for the 9/11 attacks.”

Honestly, I can’t see how military commissions would be any worse than what was clearly going to be a show trial.

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