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  • Morning Bell: A Historically Bad Decision

    Last Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five other terrorists would be tried in a civilian court in New York City rather than before a military tribunal. Pressing Holder on this decision at yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee Oversight hearing of the U.S. Department of Justice, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked: “Can you give me a case in United States history where a (sic) enemy combatant caught on a battlefield was tried in civilian court?”

    Holder responded: “I don’t know. I’d have to look at that. I think that, you know, the determination I’ve made…” At which point Graham interjected: “We’re making history here, Mr. Attorney General. I’ll answer it for you. The answer is no.” Holder’s decision does make history. And not in a good way. Edwin Meese III, the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy and Chairman of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation as well as the United States Attorney General between 1985 and 1988 released the following statement yesterday on Holder’s unprecedented decision:

    It is clear that foreign terrorists and terrorist groups have committed acts of war against the United States, and that our national security requires that we respond accordingly. This means that President Bush’s prudent actions and the military response which he led should continue as our answer to these attacks.

    Congress overwhelmingly reaffirmed their commitment to military commissions in 2006, which have historically been the way that we respond to acts of war. To abandon our two centuries of tradition and to substitute some new civilian procedure as a response to such attacks endangers the security of our country and our national interest.

    It was a tragic mistake to decide to abandon the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, which was designed physically and legally to handle these types of cases. It is a further tragic mistake to now bring the detained war combatants into the United States and to employ civilian criminal procedures which were never intended for this type of situation.

    The U.S. Constitution protects American citizens and visitors from the moment they are suspected of criminal wrongdoing through a potential trial. These same protections are not, have never, and should not be granted to enemy combatants in war, since it is clear that regardless of the outcome of the trial, these detainees will likely remain in the custody of the United States.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    64 Responses to Morning Bell: A Historically Bad Decision

    1. matthew queens, ny says:

      As angry as I am with how I feel about all the policy decisions this administration has taken. To me this one crosses the line. It borders on treason. To give the 9-11 terrorists access to intelligence, a platform to speak their hatered, and the possibility of escaping the death penalty or worse; has made question the administrations commitment to safeguard this country. This is a really dangerous, unnesessary and heartbreaking decision they have made. I pray God looks after this country because I'm not sure Obama is.

    2. Frank Muretich St. says:

      Here here Honorable Meese! Pick 'em up, put 'em down.

    3. Millie says:

      Don't expect anyone in the Obama administration to do what is basic common sense. Have you not noticed that in every action they have taken from the beginning, we are responding with, "How can they do that?" Read my lips: THEY DO NOT CARE WHAT YOU THINK, JOE CITIZEN. They are marching to a different drummer, one that is distinctly unAmerican, distinctly globalist, distinctly MARXIST. They should all be fired; Obama should be impeached; and Pelosi & Reid and the rest of the gang voted out of office in less than a year from now. VIVA NOVEMBER 2010.

    4. Ozzy6900, CT says:

      It is deplorable that the Attorney General has no clue as to the ramifications of his actions — or does he?

      If we put these people on trial and apply Our Constitutional Rights, these people could be acquitted for lack of Miranda, torture and a number of other things. That's bad enough.

      Worse yet, if these people are convicted without Miranda, does that mean we don't need Miranda Rights any longer for Our Citizens? If these people are convicted being tortured, does that open the door for torture for Our Citizens? These are the questions we are facing in "breaking new ground" by putting war criminals in Civilian Court.

      Add to this, President Obama CLEARLY stated that the reason these people are being sent to civilian court is to show the world how well our Justice System works "when we convict and execute these people". Does this mean that in the future, it will be possible for the Government to assume guilt on a party and assume the sentence even before he or she is brought to trial?

      People, these are shades of the Third Reich, and we hare heading straight for it!

    5. david5300 akron ohio says:

      This act of huberous defines this administration.

      The act of tring the terrorists as commen criminals will be overturned as

      1 no miranda rights were given

      2 they were not given a speedy trial

      3 the president has stated they are guilty so he has predjiced

      The attourny general has no authority over the military so this decision can only come from obama. The community organizer strikes again!

      It would almost appear that obama is in colusion with ksm so he can be us using our own legal system, a venue he he no right to be in.

      My message to erik holder, your personel legal views do not pre-empt the consitution or our laws, you will share the responsibility when you lose this for obama, he will blame you and your incopetance for his totaly incopetant decision. We will see you under the bus with the rest of the America.

    6. Jo Anne Florida says:

      Did you know Holder's law firm represents 17 Gitmo detainees? http://tinyurl.com/bfv4n4
      Holder has a clear conflict of interest and should not be in charge of making decisions about Gitmo or the detainees.

      Imagine the revenue his decisions are generating, both directly and indirectly, to his law firm.

    7. Wm. J. &Mary E. says:

      Holder should have recused himself. If he involves

      his partners in his law firm,he could be impeached.

      They think we are idiots out here.They all make me sick! I'm very old but my mind and mouth still

      work…. May God still bless us all !

      Mary E. Miller

    8. Nancy McElwee says:

      Does the attorney general have the authority to transfer the terrorist from military custody to civilian custody? Since they are currently under military custody, what allows for the transfer? I would think only the Commander in Chief by an executive order would allow this. Is there any legal way to challenge this? Where are the check and balances here? Does Congress need to endorse this decision? How does this work? What about the military? Do they have no recourse against a decision made by the Commander in Chief?

      Why isn't Obama out front on this issue?

    9. Danny/Fla says:

      Dear Morning Bell: Something smells? If our enemies commit crimes against a country should they be given special treatment within the confines of that country by the very legal system we have to protect American? Buy recieving Our Constitutional rights they end up fighting us for the many lives they have taken. They should be sent to trial under military guidlines ,and prosecuted outside of the country, and left outside of the United States Of America- to recieve their fate- in accord with the severity of the act upon human life!.

    10. Richard Cancemi, Arl says:

      It should be clear to everyone that Obama is a believer in a One World government. He is doing his best to deliver the USA as a subordinate member of a One World State.

      He is not a believer or upholder of the US Constitution and is on record saying it. Yet, he stood before us all and took the Oath to be faithful in all respects to that Constitution!

      Perhaps this is one reason why he and his cohort of similar believers, will treat terrorists the same as US citizens. We are all members of the 'same' One World Government in their eyes.

      Perhaps he and his administration want to attack the CIA, FBI Military and President Bush through such a trial?

      This current Administration has put forth nothing of the truth in any shape or form. They have been devious, cunning and outrightly dishonest to the American People! They don't seem to have any sense of decency or logic. There is no consideration of consequences in their decisions. Like children, they leap before they look!

      However, if one allows oneself to view all their efforts as steps to Marxism and doing away with the Constitution and our Bill of Rights, their efforts make sense. Yet most of the Far Left's followers still refuse to look beyond the shield of the word "Democrat", that they hide behind!

      Obama is a 'committed' Marxist-Socialist. Of that there is no doubt! He and his bunch belong in another country but, definitely not in the USA!

      Maybe we should apply the label "political terrorist" to him and his gang of thugs?

    11. Ben C, Ann Arbor says:

      On another subject – the following says it all:

      'It's only fitting that the White House would claim to create jobs in districts that don't exist, since they funded the stimulus bill with money that doesn't exist,' said Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson.

    12. J. Thompson, Virgini says:

      We need to change our Armed Forces Code of Conduct. After name rank and serial number we need our soldiers to demand a lawyer and refuse to talk. Silly us, we could have not only saved our Vietnam, Korea, WWII, etc. POWs alot of pain we could have brought our enemies legal system to their knees.

    13. Marcia Dunbar, Houst says:


      I'm sure that brighter minds than mine are, or I hope are, working on indicting Mr. Holder for treason. If the case is heard, and intel is exposed, Americans become even more unprotected from radical Islam terrorist attacks. Mr. Holder and other similar minded individuals currently in power are putting us all at risk. It's an abomination.

    14. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      Eric Holder and Obama are not "making a mistake". This is yet another calculated, deliberate move by this administration. The really scary question is what is the end result? Why are they bringing this terrorist (and perhaps others) into the United States? Every decision Obama has, and will make, is to reach his final result for the destruction of our American way of life. Nothing he is doing is a mistake! It's all part of his grand plan.

    15. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Winston Churchill was right. We should give the 9/11 conspirators summary executions and save the cost of a trial.

    16. George, Tiger ,Ga. 3 says:

      Who holds the purse strings for these zars, and how do they get their moneyu?

    17. Jose, Dallas says:

      The incompetence exhibited is this so-called "accounting" is typical of having the Federal Government in charge of anything. It simply cannot do it. There are too many opportunities for corruption and fraud.

      When we allow the president to stand before the nation and lie to the American people about nearly everything, why would one be surprised at a little error in accounting? Deficit neutral? Give me a break!

    18. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      The Obama administration is blinded by their own arrogance. They know not what they are doing. My guess is that if an aggressor is not a physical state or nation, then Obama's team considers such matters as falling under law enforcement, not the military. So my question to these Beltway egotists, how does one handle state supported and/or sponsored terrorism? How is America to address a massive radicalized middle eastern jihad sworn to the destruction of western nations. I'm curious to hear their stupid response.

    19. John Weems, Crestone says:

      Mr. Holder's rationale for preferring a civilian/Article III venue for the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was, in part, that (1) the rules of procedure would make a conviction more likely, and (2) would make an appeal from a conviction less likely. His rationale seemed to be jurisprudential, not political. I believe that he should get the benefit of doubt, for now, because the office he holds entitles him to respect.

    20. Publius Huldah, Cook says:

      With the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, warfare was recognized as the exclusive province of nation states. But warfare has since changed: No longer is it the exclusive province of nation states. Now, it is waged by trans-national groups: e.g., international communism and militant Islam. William Lind, a military historian with the Free Congress Foundation, has described this new form of warfare, which he calls "Fourth Generation Warfare".

      People who do not understand Fourth Generation Warfare think that since KSM & the 5 are not in the uniformed military of a nation state, they must be treated as "civilians". Rubbish!

      KSM and the 5 are at war with us. They are enemy combatants. Under the Hague & Geneva Conventions (which may need updating to recognize the new form of warfare!) we can hold them FOR THE DURATION OF THE HOSTILITIES! We don't have to charge them, we don't have to try them. Just hold them – and interrogate them – for the duration. We must feed them & provide minimal medical care & let the Red Cross or whatever make visits, etc.; but we can hold them without trial for "the duration"!

      And even though the Hague & Geneva Conventions may not technically apply because we are now in Fourth Generation Warfare, they provide a good protocol which we may follow.

    21. Bob Veigel, Arlingto says:

      When a person's mindset is the destruction of a viable and healthy program why would anyone expect an intelligent and common sense decision? It is my belief than Obama and the members of his gang are not capable of making sound and wise decisions.

    22. JSP, Bethesda, MD. says:

      I have been listening to C-Span this morning. Joe Lieberman is holding a hearing about investigating the terrorist attack at Fort Hood. He's doing this against Obama's request that Congress should "wait". For what!? The info being discussed is absolutly terrifying…..home grown terrorists are multiplying rapidly. Apparently there are 4 stages in becoming a true jhadist and one of the witnesses today described each step and how these young men then act out through a group or as lone wolves, like Hasan did. Lieberman is brave to buck the administration and I pray these hearings will wake people up as to the very real and immediate threat within our own country. I believe the decision to try the terrorists here is linked somehow to Obama's indifference and arrogance toward our military.Is that too big a stretch? We really need to pay attention.

    23. Dean-Texas/Alaska says:

      Obama is accurately representing the wishes and dreams of his mentors, Bill Ayers who wished they had done more damage to this country with bombs, Jeramiah Wright who damns America, and Louis B Farrakhan who called Obama the "Messiah," of the Nation of Islam. Our Constitutional Republic hasn't been in this much danger since the Civil War, or maybe never before.

    24. Dennis A. Social Cir says:

      This is just another case of where obama has shown his utter stupidy and lack of common sence. These people are enemies of this country and should never be tried in a civilian court. the dems are so determined to show how weak we are that they want to go over the world and tell everyone how wrong we are and have been. They have no desire to protect this country or our people from those that seek to destroy us. We must turn out and vote in 2010 to stop this BS.

    25. Christopher Popham S says:

      How does one comment on a politically inspired and

      outrageous decision such as this?

      Thank you, Mr. Meese and Mr. Queens of N.Y.

      You summed it up very well.

      Although this may sound far-fetched, I have been

      recommending for a long time that since we

      (the U.S.) will always be holding these terrorists,

      then why not simply deposit them on one of the many Marshall islands in the Pacific, over which we have dominion. The costs of the N.Y. trials; 'housing',

      security and public defenders will likely run into

      the tens, if not hundreds of million of dollars.

      The dangers and angst it will bring to New Yorkers

      will be nothing less than egregious.

      The cost of placing the terrorists on an island in the Pacific would be minimal by comparison. The U.S.

      Navy would be responsible for 'delivering' them to

      their new and permanent home. We provide them with

      basic tools, medical supplies and food. Most islands have very adequate fresh water and in many cases natural food growth. Every six months the Navy returns with needed supplies.

      Out of sight, out of mind? Yes.

      These terrorists committed horrendous acts of war

      aginst America. It is a foregone conclusion that they will never be released; therefor, to subject

      the American people to what is likely to be a very

      expensive, drawn out, and convoluted legal process

      appears to me to be reckless and totally unnecessary. Send these terrorists (all 200+) from

      Guantanomo to a secluded, secure Pacific island.

      Let them fend for themselves.

      This, in my humble opinion, is a viable option and

      remedy for the disposition of these prisoners.

      In fact, I have often recommended this solution for

      imprisoned lifers in U.S. prisons, which again cost

      taxpayers hundreds of millions of dolllars per year. Thank you for reading.

    26. Mike Rapkoch, Billin says:

      The decision to try enemy soldiers in civilian courts is, quite frankly, beyond stupid. Two things to bear in mind. First, these men are prisoners of war–a war, the Jihad, their leaders declared and they supported by taking up arms as combatants. This being true they are not, in this sense, held as criminals at all but as captured soldiers who have always been held without charges of any kind. They are simply captives of battle and properly held in POW camps until hostilities cease. If there is a case of, say, a german POW captured at Bastogne being tried simply for being an enemy soldier I am certainly unaware of it. He, like similar POWs, was repatriated when the war ended. So, logically, is the appropriate action to be taken with the POWs of the Jihad.

      If, however, an Jihadist soldier's conduct during the war rises to the level of a war crime then military courts are the only competent, sensible, and established venue for prosecution which, by the way, is generally done after hostilities end. A war crime is NOT a violation of American law but of the Geneva Convention and similar quasi statutes. Since the alleged crime was committed in war there can be no subject matter jurisdiction for a civilian court to assume power over the case. Without subject matter jurisdiction a case is subject to summary dismissal even by the court without motion by either side.

      While I am not an expert in this area of law it still seems to me that there may be an underlying intent by the Obama Administration to twist the strategy so that either on motion by the defendant, or sui sponte action by the trial or appellate courts, the cases will be dismissed and the spin will be that there is no place to try the war crime. Given the lefts weak stomach for actually fighting this, and other wars (e.g. Vietnam), I suspect something is afoot to avoid what the left most hates to do–defend the nation.

    27. Christopher Popham S says:

      Hey there, Mr. Cancemi. As always, your commentary

      is right on track.

      Please read mine, when you get a chance.


    28. Mary Cole Massey, says:

      You said we give citizens of the USA rights. Well Obama believes these people are citizens because he is????

    29. Liz, Maryland says:

      Problem No.1: the presumption of innocence.

    30. Don, Michigan says:

      To my fellow Americans Ozzy 6900 and Richard Cancemi. I agree with both of you 100%. Obama and his gang are treacherous and I fear we are headed for something none of us dreamed would happen here in the USA.

    31. Sandy, Philadephia says:

      It all began with the Air Force One fly by, over New York City. Ignorance or an act of terror? Mr. Holder's actions is yet another assault on New Yorkers. Why would anyone live there, do business there or vacation there? Get out while you still can, 'escape from New York'!

    32. Freedom of Speech, T says:

      It's been said that the AG tried to block creation of military tribunals for terrorists in the early 1990s.

      Anyone know if this is true?

    33. JSP, Bethesda, MD. says:

      My comment is being moderated, which is fine, but please tell me what I did incorrectly so I won't do it again. (this is my first time posting)

      Thanks very much.

      Jan Pillsbury


    34. matt says:

      The decision by Holder and his boss, Obama is either reckless or just another of their anti-American ploys. The KSM case is a legal can of worms all the way from the due process aspect to granting the defendants the world's largest soapbox.

      blogged it at http://oceanaris.wordpress.com

    35. O. Marshall Little, says:

      Thousands of American Citizens voted for NOBAMA, now, all of us are going to suffer more than anyone can realize.Someway this regime has to be removed from their offices, immediately.

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    37. Alan, Michigan says:

      56% of 80 ambassador appointments is only meaningful when compared to the previous presidents. By the way, how many US District Attournies have been replaced by Holder?

    38. George Kitchens says:

      Since the civilian court process will not work, I am guessing that president intends to pardon the terrorists as a good will gesture to the Middle East.

    39. John, Vancouver WA says:

      Let's ask O.J. whether or not he thinks the terrorists will receive a decent and just reward for their actions.



    41. Wallyblu, Zion, IL says:

      Just because we have not declared war against the Jihadist doesn't mean that war has not been declared against us by the Jehadists. Therefore civilian courts have no jurisdiction.

      I hope that the terorists are found not guilty in the civilian courts and freed because that should end forever the leftest control of our Government!

    42. brian vianale, state says:


      simply put, the attny. general has zero

      authority re:KSM, and the military holding

      him have no authority to release KSM to the

      attny. general or any one else, for it is a

      matter of law that a military commission try

      KSM for the crimes which he is held.

    43. mike new jersey says:

      How can the Supreme Court of this land,sit by and let these people in DC trample our rights,guaranteed us by the Constitution??

      Where does it say in the Constitution,that the Government has the right to regulate and finance Healthcare??

      Why is the news media so against reporting anything negative about this unAmerican administration

      Why do I feel as if I don't matter any more?/

      It seems as if the AG and the Obama admin is hell bent on giving these murdering dogs all the protections of the Constitution but none of the punishments of being an attacker of the USA

    44. Robert Camerlinck says:

      Thanka to the stupidity of the last congress and the socialisum if this congress we are in this mess.

      Until WE the people clean up our mess(we elected them WE can unelect them)the things will stay the same

      Call and write your congressmen and demand they listen to you. fill up there voicemail and email,

      let them know that you will not let them off the hook. That they will pay on election day, if they don't listen

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    47. Judith in Michigan says:

      What Mr. O and Mr. Holder are doing is perfectly logical if you look at what the desired goals are. The United States of America, our military, "torture", officials of the Bush administration, including President Bush himself, and every other conceivable "enemy" of the current administration are the real targets and must be put on trial. KSM is only the means to this end and will be used in any manner, including possible acquittal of terrorist charges to achieve this goal.

      What needs to be investigated is who is actually behind the scenes directing this. I have my suspicions. George Soros, Andy Stern & Co come to mind.

      Since the actual trial is probably years away, (as the meter for our tax dollars keeps running to pay for this) I hope Republicans and Independants use this as a major pounding point to defeat all of those liberal members of Congress who are going along with this obscene, treasonous action. If we can take back Congress in 2010, perhaps we could overturn this travesty.

    48. sherry - massachuset says:

      I bet you 10 to 1 that these terrorists were just misunderstood and they had a bad childhood. Am I getting close? So someone probably didn't read them their rights, they will get off scott free and maybe obama can have them reside at his big white house and they can talk politics, like how they can wipe out the american population over a glass of wine.

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    50. Anita, VaBch,Va says:

      another notch for the liberals, in my eyes and heart, all of this is part of the never ending list of treasons this administration has been imposing on the American people, why are so many Americans so passive? when is someone going to do something about it? safety in numbers works, we must come together as a nation and protect our country, we are not safe anymore!

    51. t kulcsar says:

      Holder did'nt make this decision,Every body knows it was Holder's boss,and it is just one of many this guy has made.

    52. jim toledo says:

      Everything these guys do turns into a disaster; treating these terrorists as citizens is a big mistake and will have lots of unintended consequences. I guess the only good news in all of this is that they are doing this stuff in the open so everybody can clearly see how stupid and inept they are. It's sad that we are being forced to watch it.

    53. Bob Schwartz, Vermil says:

      A trial by his peers, may require that moslims be seated on the jury. This greatly increases the chance for a hung jury.

      Treating terrorists as common criminals in civilian courts may result in putting overseas military personnel in subject to arrested and trial as criminals in their local courts. Holders decision sets a bad precedent.

    54. Eric Forbriger, Cin says:


    55. Robert Camerlinck says:

      Everyone want's to do something But Nebraska's senator Ben Nelson wouldn't even take calls on the healthcare bill. Shut down his phone. So as not to get a desenting opinion.

    56. paul collins.the vil says:

      Has anybody given thoughtto what may be te real reason for this trial?Obama hates the constitution.If something happens,what better way to destroy it than declaring martial law to protect us.

    57. Micki-Tamarac, FL says:

      the congress and senators that i have emialed either do not respond or i get a form letter telling me that they know better what is good for me than i do.


    58. Sandy, Philadephia says:

      Conservatives in 2010! Win one for the Gipper!

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    63. bigdave, ocala fl says:

      you are posting comments too quickly while our country is being taken over by communists, you fools!

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