The score is Terroists 224, Obama 0, as former Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Ghailani skated on two hundred and twenty four murder charges in a New York courtroom Wednesday. He went too far in trashing government property, however, and was convicted on one count of conspiracy to destroy the buildings those 224 people happened to be sitting in.
Ghailani actually beat a total of 280 charges, as Fox News reports:
“Prosecutors had alleged Ghailani helped an Al Qaeda cell buy a truck and components for explosives used in a suicide bombing in his native Tanzania on Aug. 7, 1998. The attack in Dar es Salaam and a nearly simultaneous bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.
The day before the bombings, Ghailani boarded a one-way flight to Pakistan under an alias, prosecutors said. While on the run, he spent time in Afghanistan as a cook and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden and later as a document forger for Al Qaeda, authorities said.
He was captured in 2004 in Pakistan and held by the CIA at a secret overseas camp. In 2006, he was transferred to Guantanamo and held until the decision last year to bring him to New York.”
What sort of trial was this? Fox News again:
“The anonymous federal jury deliberated over seven days, with a juror writing a note to the judge saying she felt threatened by other jurors… The judge had earlier decided that a star witness would not be allowed to testify because the witness was identified while Ghailani was held at a secret CIA camp that used harsh interrogation techniques. It is unknown what effect this witness would have had on the case.”
Obviously, harshly interrogating a terrorist is much worse than murdering over two hundred people. The real threat to peace is us, my friends, and our foolish insistence on vigorously resisting terrorist operations. By fighting them, we have become worse than terrorists. Guantanamo is the real war crime! The defense succeeded in putting America on trial in that courtroom, instead of Ghailani. He didn’t even have to call any witnesses.
In addition to forging documents and whipping up falafels for Osama bin Laden, witnesses testified Ghailani bought gas tanks for the truck bomb used for the murderous 1998 terror attacks in Kenya and Tanzania. The defense portrayed him as a hapless boob who had no idea what al-Qaeda would do with those gas tanks, or the blasting cap the FBI found stashed in his hideout, or the energy bin Laden gained from eating those falafels. In the touching words of defense lawyer Peter Quijano: “Call him a fall guy. Call him a pawn. Just don’t call him guilty.”
This illustrates one of the absurdities of shifting an asymmetrical battlefield into the courtroom: the ridiculous standard of precision demanded for action. Professional soldiers do their best to minimize collateral damage. No army in the history of mankind has demonstrated more skill and commitment to this goal than the armed forces of the United States. However, soldiers defending their nation in a time of war can’t hold their fire until they’re absolutely certain they will only hit the most indisputably guilty members of the enemy leadership. “Sarge, that dude with the blasting caps looks like he might be a fry cook. Should I just pop one in his leg? I promise not to hit the kneecap!”
In a sense, military operations serve the same ultimate purposes as legal actions: protection, justice, and deterrence. Soldiers and cops both seek to protect the innocent, avenge crimes against them, and deter other perpetrators from committing future offenses. The methods required to achieve these goals are wildly different, in ways so obvious that describing them would be an insult to the common sense of anyone not connected to the Obama Administration. One of the key differences is that the military, including counterterrorism agents and national intelligence, are fighting an enemy outside our society, which has sworn to destroy it. Bringing them inside society, and affording them its protections, cripples our military’s ability to protect and deter.
We don’t have the kind of constant exposure to foreign terrorists necessary to use conventional criminal procedures against them. The feds can’t just let Ahmed Ghailani go, and see if he leads them back to Tony al-Soprano. The time and resources required to mount criminal prosecutions against terrorists leave our guys moving in slow motion against an enemy that hungers to slaughter civilians without warning, and can do it with some gas tanks and blasting caps. To call the end result a “deterrent” is laughable. Do you think any terrorists are quaking in their boots this morning at the prospect of ending up in a civilian court? Are any of their leaders are more inclined to call off the jihad? Are the hostile governments that enable international terrorism more worried about getting nailed by American intelligence experts?
The Obama Administration is said to be “pleased” by the outcome of the Ghailani trial, which is further evidence they are dangerous incompetents who should not be allowed anywhere near national security. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with them for two more years. It’s too bad the new Republican House can’t compel the White House to tap George W. Bush to manage security issues, since Obama keeps dragging us all through painful lessons that prove Bush was right all along. We can all look forward to the trial of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, which Attorney General Eric Holder promises us should be coming any day now. For the sake of our future, we can only hope Holder winds up under oath before a House committee first.