On Fox News Sunday, Liz Cheney laid into the president and Eric Holder for the decision to move KSM to New York for trial:
You know, I think it is absolutely unconscionable that we are a nation at war and that the president of the United States simultaneously is denying our troops on the ground in Afghanistan the resources that they need to prevail to win that war while he ushers terrorists onto the homeland.
He’s going to put these terrorists in a courthouse that is six blocks from where over 2,000 Americans were killed on the worst attack in history on the American homeland.
He’s going to give them a public platform where they can spew venom, where they can preach jihad, where they can reach out and recruit other terrorists. And it is totally unnecessary.
When the attorney general says that he’s bringing them to justice, he’s ignoring the fact that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed asked 11 months ago to be executed for Allah. He asked to plead guilty and be executed. We should have said, “All right, you’ve got it.” Instead, we’re bringing him and his cohorts to America. We’re giving them the constitutional rights of American citizens. And the attorney general throughout the day on Friday talked about this as a crime.
This, in powerful terms, is the argument against reverting to the 9/11 mentality and treating the attack on America as a mere crime. On the other side is some fuzzy notion, unsubstantiated by any experience or evidence, that we’re going to get “credit” with some groups or individuals or countries, which in turn will make us safer. But not from the U.S.S. Cole terrorists, who aren’t getting a trial. Go figure. As Rudy Giuliani wryly observed on the same program: “Problem is the terrorists aren’t listening to him. They’re continuing to make war on us.”
Alongside the argument against treating this as a criminal proceeding is a brew of misunderstanding and distortion of what is required and what may transpire in a legal forum. As Juan Williams did on Fox News Sunday, the Left likes to throw around lofty phrases (the “rule of law”) and straw men arguments (“If you believe in the Constitution …”). But “the law” and the “Constitution” have real meaning, and nothing in statute or the Constitution requires us to take KSM to New York, douse him with ACLU pixie dust, and give him all the procedural rights and constitutional protections that a domestic criminal would receive. It is poppycock on stilts to argue that the Obama team is simply “following the law.” They are making it up and departing from statute and 200 years of legal tradition.
There are good reasons to deplore a trial in New York. One of which, as Bill Kristol pointed out, is that we might lose. No Miranda rights, no subpoenas, and lots and lots of coercion. Chain of evidence? Good luck with that. And if the jury doesn’t give KSM the death penalty, what then? Holder seems to think he has all the angles covered, but it’s impossible for him to guarantee an outcome in an Article III court with an independent judge and 12 jurors.
The bottom line: the decision is practically unintelligible, and the results may be disastrous.