France Getting Closer To Combat Deployment

Earlier this month, I wrote that Nicolas Sarkozy might consider showing some leadership in Europe by bolstering France’s combat participation in Afghanistan. Le Monde reported earlier today that Sarkozy has all but committed the troops to the front lines:

France may send hundreds of ground troops to east Afghanistan where NATO-led forces are fighting al Qaeda-backed insurgents, Le Monde newspaper reported on Tuesday.
It said the move would be part of a new Afghan policy being worked out by President Nicolas Sarkozy and his advisers.
France has about 1,900 soldiers under NATO’s Afghan command, most of them based in relatively calm Kabul, and Le Monde said the fresh troops would be deployed outside the capital.
“Their destination would be zones of potentially fierce fighting, preferably the eastern region of Afghanistan close to the tribal areas of Pakistan,” it said.
Early last year, France withdrew 200 special forces soldiers who had been operating under U.S. command in Afghanistan, but Le Monde said Paris was now expected to sanction the return of the special forces. About 50 remained to train Afghan commandos.

Washington will welcome this news. Previously, France had led the vacillation on Afghanistan, and the rest of Europe followed. Sarkozy has very publicly stated that NATO had to start fighting to win in Afghanistan, however, and seems ready to return France to the front lines in support of the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.
This could make other NATO members very uncomfortable, especially Germany. Angela Merkel has already rejected the idea of having German troops in heavy combat areas. The French move will put more strain on the relationship between the two countries, which were so sympatico under the previous leadership of Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder that they occasionally represented each other at international meetings. Sarkozy has taken a much more pro-America stance, and Germany has grown more isolated.
Canada will now have some leeway to remain in position in Afghanistan. They had threatened to withdraw unless more European troops started participating in combat roles. France’s role to shore up the coalition could help the Stephen Harper government argue for remaining on the lines.

‘We Welcome Being Terrorists’: 15 Years Ago

Andrew McCarthy has an excellent column today on the fifteenth anniversary of the radical Islamist declaration of war against the United States. In one hour or so, exactly fifteen years will have passed since the first attack on the World Trade Center, a truck bomb that intended to demolish the symbol and home of American economic power. It would take eight more years for the terrorists to finish the job, but their intent was clear from the beginning:

Only a few weeks before the bombing, the blind sheikh, who had been in constant communication with his co-conspirators, had attracted a crowd of followers at a Brooklyn rally. “God has obliged us to perform jihad,” he thundered. “The battalions of Islam and its divisions must be in a state of continuous readiness . . . to hit their enemies with strength and power.”
The “enemies at the foremost of the work against Islam,” he declared, were “America and the allies.” For them, he had a warning:

If those who have the right [to have something] are terrorists then we are terrorists. And we welcome being terrorists. And we do not deny this charge to ourselves. And the Qur’an makes it among the means to perform jihad for the sake of Allah, which is to terrorize the enemies of God and our enemies too. . . . Then we must be terrorists and we must terrorize the enemies of Islam and frighten them and disturb them and shake the earth under their feet.

Radical Islam had sought an Armageddon for its declaration of war. But the paltry number of deaths, an absolute miracle under the circumstances, denied the jihadists the monstrous “victory” they’d hoped for. Simultaneously, it confirmed us in our determination to regard them as mere criminals.
That they would learn from their errors faster than we from ours is now clear.

McCarthy prosecuted Omar Abdel Rahman and sent the “blind sheikh” and his cohorts to federal prisons for the rest of their lives. It did nothing to deter the terrorists. Indeed, as McCarthy points out, it motivated them to redouble their efforts to demolish the WTC or force us to capitulate to their demands.
WTC I was a failure, but what followed would not be. Unlike Americans, who calculate war success in minutes and days, radical Islamists calculate it in years. While we throw up our hands after a couple of weeks of tactical and strategic recalculation, al-Qaeda and its affiliates remain fixed on their mission.
After fifteen years, we should understand that the terrorists will not quit until we surrender. While they continue to make war on us, we cannot pretend that peace exists.

Mubarak To Assad: Lebanon Is Your Fault

Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak gave an indication that he may not attend next month’s Arab Summit due to the interference of Syria into Lebanon’s politics. In an interview broadcast initially in Bahrain, Mubarak said that the political crisis in Lebanon had its roots in Damascus, and that Bashar Assad needs to end his interference. Otherwise, the summit would be pointless:

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Syria was part of the problem in Lebanon, calling on Damascus to help resolve the 15-month crisis before hosting an Arab summit next month.
“The summit will be held in Syria and Syria is linked to the Lebanese problem. Therefore I hope that Syria would solve the problem,” Mubarak said in remarks aired on Al Arabiya television on Tuesday.
“We should not be (in Damascus) resolving a problem that Syria is a party to,” Mubarak said during a visit to Bahrain as part of tour of Gulf Arab countries aimed at unifying positions ahead of the annual Arab League summit. …
“I hope the Arab summit is held with full force (attendance). But there are problems such as the Lebanon problem which is a fundamental one,” said Mubarak, whose country and regional power Saudi Arabia have been leading mediation efforts to help Siniora’s government resolve the standoff.

Mubarak becomes the second Arab head of state to hint at his absence at the summit. Earlier, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has let it be known that he will not attend the event, either. The withdrawal of two key states will undermine any diplomatic efforts at the summit. Their absence will also humiliate Syria and Bashar Assad, who already has troubles with the other Arab states over his alliance with the Iranians.
Arab leaders usually use more subtle language in their dealings with each other than with outsiders. Mubarak’s blunt recrimination will sting all the more, and it could motivate other Arab states to skip the Damascus meeting. They have more ties to Saudi Arabia and Egypt than with Syria, and they also see the Iranian-Syrian terror client Hezbollah as a potential threat to their own power.
Assad may find it useful to expedite the presidential selection process in Lebanon after this interview got bounced around the region by al-Arabiya. We will shortly see how seriously Assad wants this summit to succeed, and to reflect a little pan-Arab brotherhood on his regime.

Can You Hear Me Now? Not In Afghanistan

The Taliban has made some strange demands before, but the latest has everyone scratching their heads. They now want cell-phone networks to go dark at night, and if they refuse, the Taliban will begin blowing up cell phone offices and masts:

The Taleban have threatened to blow up telephone masts across Afghanistan unless mobile phone companies agree to switch off their signals at night.
They say that US and other foreign troops are using the signals to track down insurgents.
The Taleban have warned the masts and offices of the mobile companies will be destroyed unless their demands are met.

The Taliban want the signals shut down between 5 pm and 3 am local time. Apparently, the Taliban does not like the lower rates during evening hours, or they just can’t find enough people to fill in their Friends & Neighbors plan. Maybe if they didn’t keep killing them, the jihadists could take full advantage of their options.
Their main objection is that the coalition forces in Afghanistan track the terrorists through the cell phone networks. However, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. If the Taliban worried about that, they could simply stop using the cell phones altogether. If the network goes down at night, they won’t be able to use it anyway. The US responded that the coalition has better tracking methods anyway.
The Taliban doesn’t really care about the security issue. They see the technology as the main offense. They want Afghanistan back in the dark, almost literally, and they will do whatever they can to return the country to the 7th-century living that they imposed on Afghanistan during their brief but bloody rule.

The Beginning Of Jihad On American Soil

When did radical Islamist terrorists first strike in the United States? Some may guess 9/11; others paying more attention would say 1993, in the first attack on the World Trade Center. The second guess comes closer, but in fact it began in Manhattan in 1990, with an assassination that has largely been forgotten. Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted the terrorists that conducted the 1993 attack, reminds us of the first Islamist terrorist attack in the US:

At the time, the most radical proponent of Jewish migration to Israel was Rabbi Meir Kahane, who in the late 1960’s had founded the Jewish Defense League (JDL) in New York. The JDL had been responsible for several terrorist attacks against Soviet targets in the United States, attacks ostensibly aimed at coercing the Soviets to free Russian Jews to move to Israel. After emigrating to Israel himself, Kahane was elected to the Knesset, occupying a seat until the late 1980’s when his party, Kach, was disbarred for anti-Arab racism. (Among other things, Kahane had called for the expulsion of non-Jews from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.)
During October and November 1990, Kahane embarked on a speaking tour of the United States. On the evening of November 5, he appeared in a ballroom at the Marriott Hotel in midtown Manhattan. Fifty or sixty people were in attendance for the two-hour lecture, including [Sayyid] Nosair and two associates: Mohammed Salameh and Bilal Alkasi.
At the conclusion of his speech, Kahane mingled with audience members near the podium. Nosair approached, concealing a .357 magnum Sturm Ruger revolver, fully loaded with hollow-point rounds, its barrel shortened, the sight filed down (to avoid inadvertent hooking on clothing at the moment of truth), and the serial number obliterated—the trademarks of an assassin. Worming his way into a small knot of people, Nosair suddenly drew from a distance of about seven feet, pumping two shots into Kahane and killing him instantly.

Who was Sayyid Nosair? He was no random nutcase or fanatic, as portrayed at the time, incensed by Kahane’s rhetoric. He helped build the radical Islamist terrorist cell run by Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the “blind sheikh” now serving a life sentence in Stillwater, thanks to McCarthy’s prosecution. At the time, Nosair worked in a Manhattan court as a maintenance technician, but joined an existing terror cell after hearing Abdel Rahman speak at his mosque in 1990.
The cell had already been identified as a problem by the FBI prior to Abdel Rahman’s arrival in the US in early 1990. Thanks to some inept work at the INS, the blind sheikh got a green card before they realized that his name appeared on their lists of exclusions. Afterwards, they couldn’t find cause to revoke his permanent-resident status. Abdel Rahman used this to his advantage, taking over control of the cell and telling its members that the time had arrived to wage war against the US.
If the FBI discovered this, it wouldn’t have surprised them. They already knew that the cell had something planned; they had been watching them for at least a year, and had already discovered in 1989 that the cell had turned the mosque into a weapons depot. They continued to watch the men, including Nosair, until July 23rd, 1990, when they openly challenged the surveillance agents and accused them of religious bigotry. The FBI ended the surveillance, and the men continued to train — and Kahane became their first victim.
After the assassination, one might have expected all of this evidence and surveillance to arouse deep suspicions of conspiracies and future terrorist attacks. However, authorities went out of their way to assure everyone that Nosair was just a “lone deranged gunman”, in the words of the NYPD. The FBI, which had plenty of evidence pointing in the opposite direction, ignored it completely. The Bush 41 administration did nothing to pursue a trove of evidence from Nosair that something larger could be afoot in Abdel Rahman’s cell, and surveillance apparently remained off-limits.
Be sure to read the entire essay from McCarthy. After doing so, ask yourself how much we have learned since Kahane’s assassination — and how much we have forgotten since 9/11.
UPDATE: Or did it come ten years earlier, almost to the day?

On the evening of July 21, 1980, in Washington, D.C., Dawud Salahuddin, a twenty-nine-year-old African-American convert to Islam who was born David Theodore Belfield, prepared to commit murder. In an empty office at the Iranian Interest Section of the Algerian Embassy, on Wisconsin Avenue, where he worked as a security guard, he loaded a Browning semi-automatic pistol, test-fired it out a window into an alleyway, and stashed it in a gym bag. Then he went to sleep on a couch. The Iranian Embassy had been closed down a few months earlier, as United States relations with Iran continued to deteriorate after the overthrow of the Shah, in early 1979, the installation of the repressive regime of Ayatollah Khomeini, and the ongoing hostage crisis at the American Embassy in Tehran.
The next morning, Salahuddin woke before dawn and prayed. He walked along Wisconsin Avenue to a designated spot, where a friend, also an African-American and a Muslim, met him in a rental car, and together they drove northwest, toward the Maryland border. In the passenger seat, Salahuddin changed into a mailman’s uniform and put on a pair of cotton gloves. He stuffed the pistol into a large Jiffy bag. On Idaho Avenue not far from the National Cathedral, another friend, a postal worker, was waiting with a mail-delivery jeep. Salahuddin drove the jeep by himself to Bethesda, Maryland. He stopped at a pay phone outside a diner to call the home of Ali Akbar Tabatabai, a former press attaché at the Iranian Embassy in Washington, who had become an outspoken opponent of Ayatollah Khomeini. When Tabatabai answered, Salahuddin hung up. Minutes later, at around eleven-forty, he parked the jeep in front of Tabatabai’s house, on a quiet cul-de-sac, and walked to the door carrying what looked like two special-delivery packages. He held one package, a decoy crammed with newspapers, in front; it obscured the second package, inside which Salahuddin held the pistol in his right hand, his finger on the trigger. The house was used as a meeting place for the Iran Freedom Foundation, a counter-revolutionary group, and one of Tabatabai’s associates answered the door. Salahuddin asked for Tabatabai—saying that the delivery required his signature—and when he appeared Salahuddin shot him three times in the abdomen and fled. Forty-five minutes later, at 12:34 P.M., Tabatabai was pronounced dead at Suburban Hospital.
Salahuddin had been keeping a high profile, associating publicly with known Muslim radicals, and the police and the F.B.I. had been aware of him for some time. The morning after the killing, the authorities in Montgomery County, Maryland, obtained a warrant for David Theodore Belfield’s arrest on a charge of murder. The plot, which involved many accomplices and dubious alibis, had unravelled quickly. The homicide report described the shooting as a “political assassination,” and noted that “the deceased was the founder of an organization whose goal was the overthrow of the present regime in Iran.” The killing fit into an over-all scheme of violence precipitated by political upheaval in the Muslim world. In a July 29, 1980, editorial, the Washington Post said the murder in Bethesda was “part of a wider pattern” in which insecure Persian Gulf governments “turn to the gun to rid themselves of their expatriate opponents.” Eleven days before Salahuddin murdered Tabatabai, gunmen in Paris, posing as reporters, had tried to kill Shahpur Bakhtiar, the last Prime Minister of Iran under the Shah (a later attempt, in 1991, succeeded), and, in December of 1979, a nephew of the Shah had been assassinated, also in Paris.

Salahuddin now lives in Iran, and has since a week after this assassination. He openly talks of attacking American targets if given the opportunity, and told New Yorker that he had tried to figure out how to “crater the White House” twenty-five years before al-Qaeda attempted it. His life ambition is to bring America to its knees. The question is whether he acted on his own, or whether Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered the hit. (via CapQ reader Shivan M)

Nothing To Fear But ….

Apparently, Benjamin Baines has a sense of historical irony. The man from Clearwater, Florida hollowed out a copy of the book Fear Itself, hid a boxcutter in it, and then attempted to get it onto a flight out of Tampa. He now faces ten years in prison:

A 21-year-old Clearwater man was arrested at Tampa International Airport this weekend after security personnel found a box cutter in a hollowed-out book, authorities said.
If convicted, Baines faces up to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine for a federal charge of attempting to board an airplane with a concealed dangerous weapon. He is currently serving a 30 day sentence after pleading guilty Monday to a state misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon.
About 7:30 a.m. Sunday, airport security ran Benjamin Baines Jr.’s backpack through an X-ray machine and saw the image of a box cutter, according to a report from the Transportation Security Administration.
When searching the backpack, a security officer found a book titled “Fear Itself.” The book was hollowed out, and the box cutter was inside.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself,” but I doubt he foresaw such a literal meaning in that warning.
Baines said at first that his cousin hollowed out the book, and then later changed his story to say that he used the book to hide his marijuana. He claims he forgot that the boxcutter was still in the book. However, one has to wonder for what purpose Baines would bother to hide a boxcutter in a hollowed-out book, if not to sneak it onto the plane. Boxcutters, after all, are only illegal to have on airplanes — after the 9/11 hijackers used them to kill the pilots and flight attendants in order to take control of their flights.
Interestingly, Baines had a few other tomes in the backpack as well. Titles such as Muhammed in the Bible, The Prophet’s Prayer, The Noble Qu’ran, and the Koran itself accompanied Baines on his flight. The juxtaposition of the boxcutter to these books seems a lot more than just mere coincidence.
Others blogging on this story: Michelle Malkin, James Lileks, Hugh Hewitt, Power Line.

The Reward For Courage: Homelessness

Last week, this blog stood in solidarity with Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and the rest of the newspapers in Denmark who reprinted his cartoon after police uncovered a conspiracy by radical Islamists to murder him. Now Westergaard has gained a reward for his courage in confronting radical Islam and demanding freedom of speech — homelessness. Der Spiegel tells the story:

Draw a picture offensive to Muslim extremists, and you might find yourself without a roof. Ask Kurt Westergaard, one of the twelve Danish cartoonists whose autumn 2005 Muhammad caricatures lead to violent protests throughout the Muslim world. He was booted from his police-protected hotel room on Feb. 15 for being “too much of a security risk.” And now the 73-year-old cartoonist and his wife are without a place to live.
Westergaard was forced to leave his actual residence in November after the Danish security and intelligence agency, PET, informed him of a “concrete” plan to murder him, according to the paper that originally published the cartoons, Jyllands-Posten. Westergaard and his wife have been living under police protection since.

DS reports that the Muslim community in Denmark has taken pains to keep their protests rational. While voices in Muslim nations demanded blood, Danish Muslims simply protested the decision to reprint the cartoons. Nevertheless, the hotelier evicted Westergaard anyway, and now he not only cannot return home, he has nowhere else to go.
Many of us work in the business of critical writing or punditry. In the US, that vocation or avocation rarely calls for any personal sacrifice, except for a little name-calling by Internet trolls now and again. We forget that the exercise of critical speech in other areas sometimes means risking everything — and Kurt Westergaard and his family are prime examples of this truth.
UPDATE: Forgot to hat-tip Allahpundit at Hot Air.

The Democratic Sell-Out

Robert Novak pulls together the politics of the Democratic refusal to call the Senate’s bipartisan FISA reform bill to the House floor last week. Instead of taking a vote that Blue Dog Democrats has assured her would pass on that bill, Pelosi tried embarrassing the White House by voting for a 21-day extension to the current reform bill — and that failed, with some Blue Dogs opposing it along with the Republicans, as well as some hard-Left Representatives that oppose FISA reform outright.
Why did Pelosi tube the bill that would have easily passed and therefore extended the protections passed by a Democratic Congress last year? Lots of reasons, and they’re all green:

The recess by House Democrats amounts to a judgment that losing the generous support of trial lawyers, the Democratic Party’s most important financial base, would be more dangerous than losing the anti-terrorist issue to Republicans. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the phone companies for giving individuals’ personal information to intelligence agencies without a warrant. Mike McConnell, the nonpartisan director of national intelligence, says delay in congressional action deters cooperation in detecting terrorism.
Big money is involved. Amanda Carpenter, a columnist, has prepared a spreadsheet showing that 66 trial lawyers representing plaintiffs in the telecommunications suits have contributed $1.5 million to Democratic senators and causes. Of the 29 Democratic senators who voted against the FISA bill last Tuesday, 24 took money from the trial lawyers (as did two absent senators, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama). Eric A. Isaacson of San Diego, one of the telecommunications plaintiffs’ lawyers, contributed to the recent unsuccessful presidential campaign of Sen. Chris Dodd, who led the Senate fight against the bill containing immunity.
The bill passed the Senate 68 to 29, with 19 Democrats voting aye. They included intelligence committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller and three senators who defeated Republican incumbents in the 2006 Democratic takeover of Congress: Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jim Webb of Virginia and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

Of course, people will claim that the Republicans supported telecom immunity for the same reasons — for the contributions. Unfortunately, two arguments work against that. The Senate bill passed with bipartisan support, with Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) leading the way for immunity. Second, the telecom industry contributes almost equally to both parties. Open Secrets shows that 53% of all 2008 contributions from the telecoms go to Republicans, and 47% to Democrats.
In contrast, lawyers contribute a much larger amount of money overall, and direct much more of it to the Democrats. While the telecoms only have sent $3.1 million in overall contributions anywhere, lawyers have already contributed over $82 million. Just in their PAC funding, lawyers have spend almost twice as much as the telecoms, $6.1 million. Over 77% of that money went to Democrats.
When people wonder who has the ear of the Democratic Party, the answer is quite clear. Trial lawyers want immunity stopped so that they can participate in big paydays, and they’re willing to invest in the Democrats now to preserve them.

Suicide Bomber Kills 80 At Afghan Dog Fight

The Taliban continues to step up its use of suicide bombings, and today they got more successful than they desired. The bomber killed the militia commander the Taliban targeted, but they also killed scores of civilians, which has them rattled enough to hesitate in taking credit for the attack:

A suicide bombing at an outdoor dog fighting competition killed 80 people and wounded scores more Sunday, a governor said, in what appeared to be the deadliest terror attack in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
Officials said the attack apparently targeted a prominent militia commander who had stood up against the Taliban. He died in the attack.
Several hundred people — including Afghan militia leaders — had gathered to watch the event on the western edge of the southern city of Kandahar. Witnesses reported gunfire from bodyguards after the blast; it was not immediately clear if the bullets killed anyone….
Khalid blamed the bombing on the “enemy of Afghanistan” — an apparent reference to the Taliban. A Taliban spokesman said he didn’t immediately know if the militants were responsible. The Taliban often claim responsibility immediately after major attacks against police and army forces — often naming the bombers — but shy away from claiming attacks with high civilian casualties.

The Taliban began relying more on suicide attacks after the US changed tactics last winter to a much more aggressive posture. Taliban ambushes had been met with proportional force prior to that, and a few ill-considered truces had allowed the Taliban to seize control of significant positions. The new American-driven NATO tactics made every attempted Taliban ambush a debacle and stopped their 2007 spring offensive before it could get started.
The move to suicide attacks also coincides with a return to Pakistan by al-Qaeda, especially after getting chased out of Iraq. Pakistan has seen an increase in suicide attacks as well, most notoriously with Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. Afghanistan and Pakistan have become the center of jihadist ambitions now that the Iraqis and the US have mostly defeated AQI. Their influence on Taliban tactics and strategy is unmistakable, but it also signals that at least in Afghanistan, the Taliban have been completely frustrated as a military force.
Killing scores of civilians will play as well in Afghanistan as it does in Iraq, though. Small wonder the Taliban don’t want to take credit for the kill in this case. The Afghans already know what living under the Taliban was like, and the mass murders only remind them of why they don’t want a return of Mullah Omar’s rule.
Addendum: Dog fighting? My sympathies are with the Afghan people, but that’s terrible.

The Final Atrocity

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed planned and helped execute the 9/11 attacks that killed 3,000 Americans. He also planned the 1993 World Trade Center Attack, the attacks in Bali and Kenya that killed hundreds more, and attacks that never had the chance to take place thanks to his capture and interrogation by American intelligence agents. We know this because KSM himself openly brags about his atrocities as a point of pride.
Now some have decided to help him commit his final atrocity — by painting himself as a victim:

On Monday, some six years after 9/11, military prosecutors filed charges against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, al Qaeda’s foreign-operations chief, along with five of his conspirators. They will stand before a military tribunal, and if convicted they could face execution. And as if to prove that the U.S. has lost its seriousness and every sense of proportion, now we are told not that KSM is a killer, but a victim.
The victim, supposedly, of President Bush. Opponents of military commissions (including Barack Obama) want KSM & Co. turned over to the regular civilian courts, or at least to military courts-martial; anything else is said to abridge American freedoms. This attitude is either disingenuous or naïve, or both, because it is tenable only by discounting the nature of the attacks and the enemies who carried them out. …
Purportedly the tribunals are illegitimate because they do not afford every last Miranda right or due-process safeguard of the civilian courts. The key and appropriate distinction is that foreign terrorists are not entitled to the protections of the U.S. Constitution. They also violated the laws of war — for example, by deliberately targeting civilians. International law has always held that such people deserve fewer legal protections, much less those of civilian defendants.

Allowing KSM access to civilian courts would provide one of the most foul ironies in American justice. KSM plotted from abroad to commit terrorist attacks on the US and its citizens, including the mass murder of thousands of civilians — and succeeded twice, although WTC I in 1993 didn’t collapse the Twin Towers as he had hoped. That isn’t a criminal act; it’s an act of war, one with precedent all the way back to the founding of this nation. He also helped attack the Pentagon, making 9/11 clearly an act of war. No one suggested arresting the Barbary Pirates and trying them in civilian courts during the first few decades of our existence — we formed a standing Navy and sent the Marines to kill them.
It should be remembered that KSM wanted to see the US collapse. His organization, al-Qaeda, wants to eliminate court systems based on the rule of law and have them replaced by shari’a courts based on the whims of radical Muslim imams. Given that and the fact that we didn’t arrest him in Hoboken but captured him abroad while plotting even more acts of war and terrorism against the US, the notion that he deserves a day in an American civilian court insults both our system of justice and the memory of the thousands of people KSM killed.
Nor does KSM deserve a court-martial. Only military personnel get courts-martial as befitting their standing. KSM conducted his war as an unlawful combatant, not in the uniform of any recognized military nor in the service of a legitimate government. Nuremberg, it should be recalled, was not a court-martial either; it was a tribune which tried both civilian and military leaders for their crimes against humanity.
Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court have all settled on the current military tribunal system, which gives KSM a lot more justice than he deserves. It has more protections and evidentiary restrictions than the International Criminal Court, as the WSJ notes. It beats what KSM really deserves as a consequence of his unlawful combatant status under the circumstances — a single pellet of lead in the brainpan.