Bad timing for David Rivkin, who used Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal for one of his monthly attacks on some Obama policy. This time it was about the Christmas Day bomber, with Rivkin saying that not immediately sending the bomber into military detention was “an intelligence failure of massive proportions.” Too bad that the very next day, today, the exact same newspaper reported that the Christmas bomber is again talking to the FBI, providing “valuable intelligence.” This also damages the arguments of this guy and this woman. Look, there are valid reasons to say that terrorists should be viewed as wartime combatants rather than criminals. But claiming that we won’t get good information from terrorists held in the civilian legal system is clearly not a valid reason. And there is at least one good reason not to throw them in military brigs: it creates an appearance of the US being at war with Islam, which appearance seems to generate more terrorists. Finally, I would like to note, again, that George W. Bush also tried terrorists in civilian courts. For Republicans to now claim that this approach is terribly weak is to be hypocrites of the worst sort. Which is, I supposed, to be expected from politicians.
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Wasn’t the shoe bomber tried in a civilian court? I agree, we need to find sensible venues to try these guys, but a military court is not the only option.
What I don’t like about the military court system being used (I’m not against this being used at all, however I’m expressing a concern) is that these terrorists are not warriors, they are terrorists. To afford them that status of something other than lowly, violent highwaymen and bandits seems wrongheaded. They don’t deserve the status of some kind of soldier/partisan fighter anymore than the late and unlamented Timothy McVeigh.
Seems to be a special relationship between the Christmas Bomber and U.S. intelligence: On January 27, State Department Under-Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy testified that US intelligence agencies made a deliberate decision to allow Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to board flight 253 without any special airport screening.
Furthermore, this revelation has been buried in the media. As of February 5th, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times have published no articles on the subject. Nor have the broadcast or cable media reported on it.