To the Editor:
The Obama administration is to be commended for its decision to try the alleged 9/11 plotters in federal court — an approach that should be followed with respect to all terrorism suspects, however, including the U.S.S. Cole suspects.
And it is troubling that administration officials “also suggested that they could continue to detain anyone deemed to be a ‘combatant’ under Congress’s authorization to use military force” — thereby indicating an intention to continue to hold the suspects regardless of the outcome of the trial.
I have not been professionally involved in these deliberations, and I am expressing my personal opinion based solely on the public record. But unless the United States is prepared to release these men if they are acquitted — or in the perhaps more likely event that the charges against them are dismissed on due-process grounds, because they have been subjected to procedures that “shock the conscience” — it is arguably merely conducting a show trial. The government cannot have it both ways.
John S. Koppel
Bethesda, Md., Nov. 14, 2009
The writer is a career appellate attorney with the Justice Department.
SBD would bet his bottom dollar that Mr. Koppel and his thousands of sympathetic clones throughout the Washington bureaucracy can't hardly wait for KSM and friends to be acquitted and let go. But Mr. Koppel is being entirely disingenuous. The entire purpose behind the Obama administration sending these admitted mass murderers to New York is to conduct a show trial - a show trial where the Bush administration, specifically, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, are in the defendant's seat. Obama would love to see KSM acquitted as it would be the final indictment of the War on Terror and the methods used by the Bush administration to protect this country. And Mr. Koppel just loves the drama this presents. It's a Watergate and Iran Contra Hearings redux wet dream; the hearings those pussy Dems in Congress wouldn't pursue because they knew Americans with torches and pitchforks would drive them into the Potomac. Mr. Koppel, after living in the shadows for eight horrible years under the Bush hunta, now crawls from under his laminated government-issued desk and cries "J'Accuse!" on the pages of his heroic chronicle of the oppressed and abused. It's rare to see a career government attorney put himself out this way, even on the letters page of the hallowed NYT, and it's clear message to Obama that his leftist base isn't yet convinced he is their savior. For the Mr. Koppels of this country, only when the perpetrators of 9/11 are freed into the world will the United States have adequately paid the price for not turning the other cheek on September 12, 2001.
If on some sad, outrageous day, KSM and friends are to be released, then they should be released to their freedom at the building site of the WTC at noon or so when all the hardhats are standing around the lunch wagons.
But SBD doesn't believe that day will come. He thinks KSM will be found guilty by a New York jury. He thinks he will be sentenced to death. He thinks the Supreme Court will eventually overturn his execution order on the grounds that he was "tortured." He will then be sent to ADX Florence for the rest of his life and be interviewed every ten years by Geraldo Rivera.