Prosecuting Evil

“Resolved, That General Washington shall be, and he is hereby vested with full, ample, and complete powers to . . . arrest and confine persons . . . who are disaffected to the American cause.”

– Resolution of the Continental Congress, 1776

In a dramatic about face, the Obama Administration has announced that September 11th mastermind Khalid

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, looking dapper

Sheik Mohammed will be brought before a military commission in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Captured in Pakistan in 2003, Mohammed was the “principal architect of the 9/11 attacks” according to the 9/11 Commission. When the Obama Administration sought to try Mohammed and his four accomplices in a civilian court in Manhattan, the President faced a bipartisan barrage of criticism. Americans were infuriated by this original plan to bring Mohammed back to the scene of his heinous crime, where he would enjoy the privileges and protections of an American citizen. And so, in a reversal, the Administration has changed course.

As discussed, George Washington set a precedent for utilizing military commissions against our nation’s enemies. Military commissions were historically held according to the Commander’s discretion and did not necessarily provide any protections whatsoever. The procedures of the proceeding were largely left to the whims of the Commander. Unlike civilian trials, these war courts provided the defendant with few – if any – protections and typically ended with a prompt hanging.

While Washington typically referred enemies of the nation to other trials held under rules passed by Congress, he utilized commissions to dole out punishment when need be. And with yesterday’s announcement, President Obama appears to be following suit.

The families of the September 11th victims have been waiting for nearly a decade for justice. When do you think they will receive it?

One thought on “Prosecuting Evil

  1. Katrina

    Is it wrong to think that the families of the victims can only find said justice with in themselves? 9/11 is infamously labeled the “unforgivable tragedy,” is it ignorant to say that the label leads to the parties responsible being unforgivable, even if “justice” is served? I can understand the need for closure (on a personal and national level) so seeing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed tried and inevitable sentences will indeed indeed serve some closure. However, families receiving justice just seems unattainable (ironically separating justice from the very place it should be found, in trial). So I reiterate the thought that if they want justice they might need to seek it out with in themselves thus leading to even more closure with the decisions of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial…..

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