As we celebrate the demise of Osama bin Laden it is very important for the Obama Administration to follow through on the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and continue the successful elements of the War on Terror. President Obama deserves much credit for making the difficult decision to OK the mission carried out by our heroic Navy Seals which ended in killing Osama bin Laden. However the political correctness displayed by this administration (which also decried Bush policies that helped to lead to the actual finding of bin Laden), is still prevalent in the trial of self confessed 9/11 mastermind KSM.
Very early in Mr. Obama’s Presidency he set out to appease his anti-war left base by trying to close Guantanamo Bay and limit the CIA to U.S military interrogation methods. Attorney General Eric Holder has persisted in his criminal investigation of CIA officers who had interrogated al Qaeda leaders. Some of these officers accessed information which possibly led to the capture of key terrorists, foiled terror attacks and may even have led to the pin pointing bin Laden’s whereabouts. However these officers are still facing prosecution by the country they risked their lives to protect. According to the Heritage Foundation, setting up Gitmo was one of the top six reasons we got Osama.
The Associated Press has reported that the name of the courier may have been attained from CIA interrogations of KSM and Abu Faraj al-Libi, who received harsh interrogation at CIA prisons in Poland and Romania. The trial of KSM was stalled in 2009 when military commissions were stopped by Obama who along with Eric Holder tried to pursue the more political correct civilian trials for Guantanamo detainees. After those efforts were nixed last year partly due to congressional pressure, the administration has rejected to continue the proceedings against KSM from where they were left off in Bush administration. A recent article in the New York Post by Richard Miniter highlights Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde, a Defense Department spokeswoman who confirmed that:
“The original charges against KSM and his co-defendants were withdrawn and dismissed. In the event charges are sworn and referred against these individuals, the process will start from the beginning, which will be the arraignment. Any charges sworn against KSM and his co-defendants and referred to a military commission will not be bound by any motions or rulings made in the previous commission.”
The success of killing bin Laden should not over shadow the need to serve justice in the trial of another mass murdering terrorist such as KSM. Apart from being the mastermind of 9/11, he has killed hundreds of Muslims himself in the East African embassy and the Bali bombings. He originally pleaded guilty to personally beheading Daniel Pearl, to the 9/11 attacks and 30 other mass murders, but then reversed his guilty plea because his co-defendants were not allowed to plead with him.
The mockery of our justice system by the likes of KSM should not be enabled by the reluctance of Attorney General to take action in completing their prosecutions. The Obama administration has not yet begun the process of re-charging KSM or even formally making the decision to do so. Due to strong opposition by the public and congress to civilian trials, Eric Holder has made it obvious that he was not pleased that he would have to resort back to military commissions.
Basking in the limelight of the demise of bin Laden should encourage President Obama to advise his Attorney General to move on with these trials and drop the prosecutions of CIA operatives. However today while visiting Ground Zero the president was questioned by the sister of an airline pilot who died on 9/11 about those issues , and President Obama indicated that he would not give his opinion to Eric Holder.
The true test of leadership on the War on Terror (words which were avoided by this administration) will come not from making a single decision such as permitting a mission which killed bin Laden. Rather the test is based on a series of decisions which recognize that we are at war with an unconventional enemy who follows no rules of engagement. In addition this test of leadership involves a series of decisions which takes precedence in securing victory and providing for the common defense over political ideology and personal political consequences.
President Bush made series of decisions sometimes unpopular which greatly aided in the capture and demise of terrorists such as bin Laden. Now as President Obama displayed leadership in permitting the bin Laden mission, his leadership will be judged in the series of decisions he makes in dealing with the War on Terror. Hopefully it will not be based on exerting political correctness, or will it?
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