I’m trying to understand US Attorney General Holder’s decision to try 9/11 “mastermind,” Khalid Sheik Muhammed, in a domestic court of law. Proponents state that KSM will be given a more fair trial in a federal court than what he might receive via a military tribunal. Of course given the fact that this summons will have him facing a jury of New York City residents I’m going to tip-toe out on a limb and suggest that impartiality within the jury pool will be about as helpful in getting him a fair trial as his awesome hairdo upon capture would have been in getting him a GQ cover. I suspect this move of KSM and three other Guantanamo detainees is the Obama administration’s “yeah, well it’s going to happen anyway” move against the overwhelming legislative backlash against his closing of Gitmo. The Republicans completely against it, the Democrats completely for the <i>idea</i> but against the reality that with the base closed those being held don’t simply vanish into thin air.
In either case, whether it’s by military tribunal or federal trial the outcome is almost certainly going to be the not so speedy execution of KSM. Which I think is a bad idea. A dead KSM becomes a martyr. A locked in solitary confinement for the rest of his life KSM becomes impotent and a more effective symbol of American retaliation. In short, if we catch you you lose your martyrdom card and the 72 virgins along with it. What’s the worst fate for an Islamic extremist? Certainly not a violent death. How about death by old age or disease, locked up like cattle and long forgotten by your cause?