Saturday, March 14, 2009

"Terrorists to the Bone"

The Smoking Gun has posted a declassified six-page court filing by five of the 9/11 defendants currently being detained at Guantanamo Bay, which they (the defendants) titled "The Islamic Response to the Government's Nine Accusations." Read it here.

The Smoking Gun's summary of the document is as follows:

MARCH 10--Proclaiming themselves "terrorists to the bone," five Guantanamo Bay detainees defend their roles in the September 11 terror attacks in a war crimes court filing released today by the Pentagon. The document, a copy of which you'll find below, is labeled "The Islamic Response" to nine charges filed against the suspected al-Qaeda members, a group including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the attack's masterminds. Describing the charges as "badges of honor, which we carry with pride" the men contend that "killing you and fighting you, destroying you and terrorizing you...are all considered to be great legitimate duty in our religion." Along with relishing the death of thousands, the men mock the U.S. government's inability to detect the terror plot. "Your intelligence apparatus, with all its abilities, human and logistical, had failed to discover our military attack plans before the blessed 11 September operation. They were unable to foil our attack." The detailed screed was released today over the objections of lawyers for two of the defendants. Mohammed and two other men are serving as their own lawyers.

I really wonder what will finally be done with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his cohort. A couple of generations ago, the U.S. military meted out justice to war criminals swiftly and unapologetically (and even filmed it for the historical record), but that was in an age much less squeamish than ours. Most likely, KSM will spend many years watching cable TV in a cell at the Federal supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. If so, he'll be right next to several of his peers: Omar "the Blind Sheik" Abdel-Rahman, Ramzi Yousef, Zacarias Moussaoui, Wadih el-Hage, Richard "the Shoe Bomber" Reid, José Padilla, and Mahmud Abouhalima.

Our government seems to have no clear idea of what to do with those miscreants, despite much agonizing over the matter. Sixty years ago, two Military Police sergeants with a noose would have dispatched the whole lot of them in under an hour.

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