March 11, 2009

"9/11 Shura Council" - should we get the needles ready?

Guantanamo Bay (Camp Delta) detention facility

There has been a lot of debate over what rights should be afforded to the terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay. The arguments between the Bush administration and human rights groups was taken all the way to the Supreme Court. After a few cases and changes in the law, it was determined that the detainees had the right to due process in the American federal justice system.

The focus of this commentary is not whether the detainees have rights. I maintain that they are illegal combatants and have none. If I was in charge, it would be a moot point since most of the current detainees would have been left dead on battlefields in Afghanistan.

Yesterday, the five detainees who have been charged with planning the attacks of September 11, 2001 filed a document basically pleading guilty to plotting and assisting the operation that killed over 3,000 people. Although this might disappoint the defense lawyers lined up to defend the accused, it will be hard to find additional ways to hinder a successful prosecution of these terrorists.

The five include self-claimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammud and so-called "20th hijacker" Ramzi bin al-Shibh. Now they have confessed to the crime, these are two men who deserve to be put to death more than anyone.

Ordinarily, this would be good news for the government and the executioner could get the needles ready. Unfortunately, neither the Supreme Court nor the administration can figure out how to do it. President Obama has ordered a freeze on the war crimes tribunals at Guantanamo, but has made no provisions to try the accused in other venues. Hopefully he will not drop the charges as he did in the case of the suspected bomber of the USS Cole in Aden in 2000. These murderers need to be brought to justice.

If the five are allowed access to U.S. federal courts and the same appeals process as American prison inmates, they'll die of old age.