By Cheri Jacobus - 11/19/09 10:15 PM EST
A jury of one’s peers is a guaranteed right of criminal defendants in the U.S. justice system. Shamefully, a jury of American “equals” is bestowed upon Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the al Qaeda mastermind of: the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks; the slaughter of 3,000 innocent Americans; and kneecapping the U.S. economy. His partners in terror are being gifted that same right.
Attorney General Eric Holder, with the counsel of, strangely, his wife and brother, exempted these foreign terrorists from military tribunals, and instead will treat them as American citizens granted the same rights and privileges afforded to us, including the presumption of innocence. While there certainly are those who’ve committed atrocities, it’s impossible to imagine a group of American citizens executing a 9/11. Timothy McVeigh and his accomplices who committed the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings, claiming 168 souls, could not have managed a 9/11-scale attack. Such horror required sophisticated war-room planning, an army of non-Americans in a well-organized network and buckets of foreign money to pull it off. Not even a sizable group of American citizens banding together could have done it — or would have. The 9/11 attacks were an act of war.
Many suspect the NYC terrorist trials will result in a politically driven referendum on waterboarding, the CIA and the George W. Bush administration. The trials will (coincidentally) occur around the time Barack Obama is running for reelection after what is already appearing to be a failed presidency with 10 percent unemployment, the failed stimulus plan, his deer-in-the-headlights non-response on Afghanistan and messy healthcare reform.
Obama will retread his “blame Bush” message to shift attention from his own failures. We will be implored to feel sympathy for al Qaeda after dramatic testimony of terrorists undergoing enhanced interrogation techniques. What we won’t hear are the far more horrific details of the deaths of thousands of Americans killed on Sept. 11, 2001. And, sadly, an American defense attorney will object to descriptions of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed putting his sword to the throat of Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl, slicing open his neck and beheading him, leaving his pregnant wife widowed and his unborn son fatherless. An American judge may be compelled to sustain the objection.
War crimes are uniquely brutal. They require a unique form of justice. Obama and Holder have confidence in war commissions for some terrorists, but not for others. Why? Is Obama preparing to exploit the deaths of 3,000 Americans killed by an act of war in order to score politically with yet more “anti-Bush” campaign camouflage? For a juror, will a guilty vote on an al Qaeda terrorist who was waterboarded seem like support for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney — and a vote against Obama?
We are at war. Holder acknowledged that fact at Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his fellow enemy combatants are war criminals, yet Obama and Holder have decided these terrorists are more like O.J. than Osama. Remember what happened to justice by a jury of peers with O.J. Simpson.
Jacobus, president of Capitol Strategies PR, has managed congressional campaigns, worked on Capitol Hill and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. She appears on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News as a GOP strategist.