Home National Politics Webb: Military Commissions “Most Appropriate Venue” for Khalid Sheikh Mohammad

Webb: Military Commissions “Most Appropriate Venue” for Khalid Sheikh Mohammad


I strongly disagree with Senator Webb on this one. In my view, the Obama administration had this right the first time, when Attorney General Eric Holder proposed trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and other 9/11 conspirators in civilian court in New York City, close to where the crime was committed (and also in accordance with that quaint notion called “the rule of law”). Unfortunately, strong opposition from Republicans, and also some weak-kneed Democrats (including Jim Webb), cratered that plan, leading to the outcome we see here. Why Jim Webb sees this as a good thing is beyond me, but here’s his press release for your edification.

Washington, DC-Senator Jim Webb issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement that the Obama administration will try alleged co-conspirators of the 9/11 attacks, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, in  military commissions:

“Today’s announcement affirms what I have consistently argued for several years: that military commissions, with the additional procedural rules added by Congress and enacted by President Obama, are the most appropriate venue for trying terrorist detainees. Those charged with crimes of war and those who have been determined to be dangerous law-of-war detainees do not belong in our courts, our prisons or our country.

“The new commission system is consistent with international standards. Moreover, it balances robust procedural and substantive rights for the defendants, including prohibiting the introduction of evidence obtained through torture, against the reality that these are not common criminals but violators of the law of war.”

  • Catzmaw

    with Senator Webb.  I understand his point of view, but as a criminal defense attorney and someone who has watched for decades as our federal justice system tackled and resolved many difficult cases, I not only see no reason why we shouldn’t have brought these people to trial in our federal system but believe it does us harm not to do so.  To take these cases away from the federal system tells people the world over that we do not trust our own court system to deal with difficult criminal cases. What kind of message does that send?  

    No, I wish President Obama had been able to get past the obstinate opposition of not only the Republicans but even many Democrats such as Senator Webb and brought these cases where they belonged, in federal court.  

  • Say What

    Try them … here there anywhere. They’re very likely to be convicted and locked away.

    But let’s get it over with … along with the draining war(s) we’ve been so stupid about.

  • Catzmaw

    Another problem with bringing these cases in military tribunals rather than the courts is that it imbues these vile criminals with a warrior’s aura.  Instead of facing justice as the disgusting criminals they are, they become in such a system quasi-military opponents who are at war with us and who may have gone too far. This imparts far more respectability to their actions than they deserve.

  • NWVirginian

    Try them as such – just like we’ve done repeatedly in New York, Michigan, and other criminal courts across the country.