I have been overwhelmed by the dozens of responses to my last posting. I have also been very impressed with the level of discourse. This reinforces what I’ve noticed at dozens of RFC events I’ve attended over the years – the RFC has attracted a great community of support, and it is a pleasure to know you!
I have one comment about the discussion that I’d like people to consider. I believe that many who commented saw this as a conversation between them and me. No one is addressing other’s responses. I welcome the development of a community-wide conversation and hope you will consider this in the future.
I’ll spend the rest of this blog responding to a few of your comments.
Four people felt I missed the point because 9/11 was an inside job. I’m not going to address this issue. Four more felt it was wrong to prosecute KSM while war criminals Bush and Cheney remain free. I agree. One person wrote that this was really just a small part of the much bigger question of how to clean up the Bush mess. I agree. A dozen supported the idea of an international tribunal for KSM as a better solution than a trial in the US. Most agreed that this would never happen, but one person asked how we could promote this idea. Our government does not accept the jurisdiction of the World Court, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t raise this question with our friends and in our community.
I also feel compelled to answer several points raised by the remaining 15 or so respondents. One person wrote that he/she thought KSM planned to plead guilty making everything I wrote moot. I’m not sure that’s what he plans to do, but even if he does, how do we know that he is capable of making that judgment rationally after being water boarded 183 times? Another wrote that I was “too idealistic,” that Obama’s plan was the only way to do something in the name of justice. I fail to see how you can apply justice if you have to ignore injustice in order to do so.
A third person, quite thoughtfully and practically, stated that the best we could do was provide KSM with an excellent energetic defense that would fight everything to the Supreme Court. Another wrote in a similar vein that a trial might expose the travesty of what happened. I agree this might produce some good results, particularly if the defense can to some degree at least, turn the tables and put the government on trial. But even if this happens, won’t our courts by allowing the trial and sentencing of KSM to go forward be letting the government get away with its treatment of KSM without suffering any adverse consequences for doing so? Wouldn’t that amount to judicial tolerance of torture? Someone else wrote that “I seem to hold some faith in the legal system.” I can see that a reader of my blog could conclude that I believed to some degree in the theoretical basis behind our legal system, but not that I had much faith in the way the system actually works.
Finally, I laughed out loud at the comment from the Australian who wrote that Americans should “stop being so in awe of your leaders; kick their asses.”
I hope that all who have engaged this topic won’t let it drop. Let’s talk this up with family and friends, maybe write a few letters to newspapers. Perhaps we can get a progressive buzz going about it, and who knows, we might even have some influence on the tone of the national debate.
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