Should Obama stick to his campaign promises and try 9/11 detainees as criminal defendents or should he use military tribunals? Is the abandonment of the constitution a necessity in fighting the “war” on terror? These two questions have serious consequences for the Obama administration – and the subject, unlike health care reform, may not have an obvious political upside.
“’It would be the biggest mistake we could possibly make, in my view, since 9/11,’ Graham has said about a civilian trial. ‘We would be giving constitutional rights to the mastermind of 9/11, as if he were any average, everyday criminal American citizen. We would be basically saying to the mastermind of 9/11, and to the world at large, that 9/11 was a criminal act, not an act of war.’ “(see politico.com source below)
An act of war? How about, instead, we think of it as an act of terrorism, which hopes that we abandon our principles of constitutional government in our response? Who wins then? Eric Holder has said “that trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a courtroom as ‘the defining event of my time as attorney general,’ and [failinng to do that] would open the president to claims that he’s forsaking his principles for the sake of political convenience.” See more here.
This won’t be a pretty fight. What should the president do?