If The Military Trial Is This Bad
Notably absent in the wake of Saturday's fiasco was any pushback from the Obama Administration, which has had a long and gnarled relationship with how to bring KSM and other conspirators to justice. Most of these defendants were first arraigned in late 2008 during the Bush Administration. At the time KSM pleaded guilty and professed his desire to die as a martyr.
But then the Obama Administration took power, scrapped those commissions and tried to move the terrorists to civilian court in New York. That plan foundered on bipartisan political opposition, including from New York Democrat Chuck Schumer, who pointedly called it a "wrong-headed idea."
Last spring, the White House reversed course and announced the plan to try KSM in the military tribunal at Guantanamo, albeit with half-hearted support. Attorney General Eric Holder grumbled that he had been prepared to "make a powerful case in federal court" and he was only going the military route because Congress was making him.
That spirit is no doubt guiding the Administration's low profile after the weekend spectacle, but at some point President Obama owes it to the 9/11 victims, their relatives, and the military service members handling the trial to defend the American institution he leads.