Cutting Through The Crap

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tough Guys


Here's one of those pesky little fact-filled tracts, in response to the RWS™ decrying President Obama's approach to the underpants guy. Seems like Dick Cheney's tougherness-on-terrorness left much to be desired. Included:

The Bush administration -- in which Liz Cheney's papa held a fairly high position, you might recall -- prosecuted, after 9-11, 828 people on terrorism charges in civilian courts. At the time of publication of this excellent report from the Center on Law and Security, NYU School of Law last year, trials were still pending against 235 of those folks. That leaves 593 resolved indictments, of which 523 were convicted of some crime, for a conviction rate of 88%.

With regard to military tribunals, the Bush administration inaugurated
20 such cases. So far just three convictions have been won. The highest-profile is the conviction of Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's driver. The Hamdan legal saga, rehearsed here, doesn't exactly suggest that military tribunals provide swifter and surer and tougher justice. In the end, he was convicted all right, but sentenced -- not by a bunch of New York City Democrats, but by a military jury! -- to five and half years.

Then, the tribunal judge, a US Navy captain, gave Hamdan credit for time served, which was five years. So he served six months after conviction. Today he's back in -- guess where? -- Yemen.


So there you go. Make of it what you will. And, by all means, don't let the facts stand in your way.

Oh, there's this, too, if anyone cares.

And here's a really good question, from Fareed Zakaria, which repeats a frequent theme of mine:
As for the calls to treat the would-be bomber as an enemy combatant, torture him and toss him into Guantanamo, God knows he deserves it. But keep in mind that the crucial intelligence we received was from the boy's father. If that father had believed that the United States was a rogue superpower that would torture and abuse his child without any sense of decency, would he have turned him in? To keep this country safe, we need many more fathers, uncles, friends and colleagues to have enough trust in America that they, too, would turn in the terrorist next door.

Exactly.
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