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Eviatar: Military Commissions Are ‘a Terrorist’s Best Bet’

Our old colleague Daphne Eviatar, now with Human Rights First, takes to Firedoglake’s Seminal diaries to make the case toward which Eric Holder is inching

Mariella Blankenship
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Feb 12, 2010

Our old colleague Daphne Eviatar, now with Human Rights First, takes to Firedoglake’s Seminal diaries to make the case toward which Eric Holder is inching ever-so-gingerly. Basically, not only are the federal courts better equipped to prosecute terrorists, but their political opponents know better than to launch such dubious arguments. This deserves to be quoted at length:

[T]he federal courts are no bed of roses for terrorists. They have convicted many more terrorists than military commissions have. And following the only contested military commission trial since the start of the “war on terror,” Osama bin Laden’s driver, who the government claimed was a key player in the global jihadist’s murderous efforts, was sentenced to only five and a half years in prison – just six months more than the time he’d already served.

Back then, the National Review’s Andy McCarthy, the former prosecutor who now argues for military interrogation, trial and detention for all terrorism suspects, wrote a piece titled: “Disgraceful Hamdan Sentence Calls Military Commissions Into Question.”

That was 2008.

Just last week, McCarthy wrote that “Like most Americans, I think it is a terrible idea to give alien enemy combatants civilian trials.” Our usual procedures for handling criminal terrorism cases no longer need to be followed, because now we are at war, he says, so anything goes. Although the same critics making this argument today never pressed that position during the Bush administration, it’s now become accepted wisdom among those eager both to discredit the Obama administration and to appear tough on terror that terrorism suspects belong nowhere near the civilian justice system.

It’s an odd position for these critics to take, given the track record of the military commissions. Military commissions have convicted only three terrorists since they were created. Two of them have already been released from prison. The other didn’t even present a defense at his trial.

Full disclosure: My personal blog is hosted at FDL.

Mariella Blankenship | Mariella is an SEO writer who helps companies improve their Google search rankings. Her work has appeared in a variety of e-zine publications. She writes articles for site-reference newletter.com on a daily basis about SEO techniques. Her articles strive to strike a balance between being insightful and meeting SEO requirements–but never at the cost of being enjoyable to read.


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