Prosecute the torture.

November 22, 2009

Jack Kelly Sunday

Now THIS is interesting.

This week's column, by Jack Kelly, seems to be in two versions. There's the first published over at the Toledo Blade and a second edited version published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Here's the opening in Toledo:
WHAT were President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder thinking when they decided to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the chief architect of the 9/11 attacks, and four other al-Qaeda bigwigs in a civilian court in New York City?

From the standpoint of politics, this decision makes no sense. According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Monday, only 34 percent of Americans support the decision to try the al-Qaeda leaders in a federal district court. Sixty-four percent say they should be tried by a military commission, as the Bush administration planned to do.

“The decision to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in front of a civilian court is universally unpopular — even a majority of Democrats and liberals say that he should be tried by military authorities,” said CNN polling director Keating Holland.

The decision is unlikely to grow more popular with time. At a minimum, a highly publicized trial will remind Americans of the 9/11 attacks, something Democrats have been encouraging us to forget.
And the opening in Pittsburgh:
From the standpoint of politics, this decision makes no sense. According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Monday, only 34 percent of Americans support the decision to try the al-Qaida leaders in a federal district court. Sixty-four percent said they should be tried by a military commission, as the Bush administration planned to do.

The decision is unlikely to grow more popular with time. At a minimum, a highly publicized trial will remind Americans of the 9/11 attacks, something Democrats have been encouraging us to forget.
This can't be a simple cut-and-paste error - the first and third paragraphs from the Toledo version are gone from the P-G. So something about the content of those paragraphs must've triggered an erasure (two, actually). But it gets odder from there. The first and third paragraphs are found in the version, published on November 17, at Jewish World Review but NOT in the version, published November 22, at RealClearPolitics. So unless RealClearPolitics just republishes the content published at the P-G, we can't assume the editing came from Jack's editors on the Boulevard of the Allies.

NOW I gotta ask myself, why the erasures of some of the references to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? They didn't erase him entirely and it leads some clumsy sentences later. For example:
To fail to turn over intelligence sought through discovery is to run the risk that KSM and his co-conspirators might be acquitted on a technicality.
Because Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's name is edited out from the opening, I guess we have to guess that KSM = Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It's a pretty safe guess but not one newspapers usually force you to make.

But let's get back to KSM and Jack. I do want to note that in his first paragraph (at the P-G) Jack is spinning already:
From the standpoint of politics, this decision makes no sense. According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Monday, only 34 percent of Americans support the decision to try the al-Qaida leaders in a federal district court. Sixty-four percent said they should be tried by a military commission, as the Bush administration planned to do.
Now let's look at that poll. The question at hand reads:
Now here are some questions about Khalid Sheik Mohammed who may be responsible for planning the 9/11 attacks and who is now in custody at a U.S. military prison in another country: If you had to choose, would you rather see Khalid Sheik Mohammed brought to trial in a criminal court run by the civilian judicial system, or would you rather see him tried by a military court run by the U.S. armed forces?
It's Jack's last phrase that's the spin because the next question reads:
And regardless of which court system you think he should be tried in, if you had to choose, would you rather see Khalid Sheik Mohammed brought to the U.S. to stand trial or would you rather see him tried in a U.S. facility in another country?
And you know what? 60% said they like to see KSM "brought to the U.S. to stand trial" and 37% saying they'd like to see him tried in another country. Put the two together and you've got a sizable chunk of those asked saying yes to a military commission - as long as it's in the US.

But what did the Bush Administration plan to do? Try them at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

See Jack spin. Spin, Jack, spin.

Considering some of the other stuff Jack's gotten through the filter and onto the pages of the P-G, I can't imagine that's the only reason for the editing.

3 comments:

Conservative Mountaineer said...

KSM should be returned to his home Country on a C-130.. from 30,000 feet. End of discussion.

GeneW said...

Mr. Mountaineer, why do you hate America? Seriously, I'm not joking. Our country was very literally founded on the principals of due process and justice for all. It doesn't matter who you are or what you did (or are accused of doing); in America you get a trial and a chance to plead your case.

If our second president were alive, he'd be in New York acting as Mr. Mohammed's lawyer, the same way that he did for the British after the Boston massacre. If we don't follow our own rules and principles, then there's no real point to being America because that's who we are. We're better than the terrorists and we have a great chance to demonstrate that to the world.

EdHeath said...

To pick up and waddle with what GeneW said, Kelly's major points seem to be that a civilian trial will reveal intelligence that will damage or destroy our ability to fight Al Qaeda, and that he guesses that Obama’s motivation for having a civilian trial is so that KSM’s attorneys can attack Bush. There may be validity to the first point, but that needs to be balanced against the notion that a civilian trial will be the United States finally demonstrating the values we claim to hold so dear, finally showing that we trust the notion that we can extend to those accused the rights we extend to American citizens. If, as Kelly claims, the Zacarias Moussaoui trial was a “propaganda fest” and the trial of KSM will be the same, the underlying message will be that we have enough faith in our system to allow people to use their own trial as a forum for their issues.

I find Kelly’s second point ludicrous. I think that Obama is pushing for a civilian trial because as a lawyer, legal professor and constitutional scholar, he feels our legal system is the perfect place to contrast our values against the Islamic fundamentalists. If we are giving them rights they would not extend to us, so much the better. We need to show that we deserve to be called the land of the free, especially after keeping people in “detention” for years. We need to give people something else to think about besides how we decided it was ok to torture people.