Friday, July 30, 2004

John Kerry -- not qualified to be commander in chief

John Kerry disqualified himself from the presidency today. He stated that he wants Osama bin Laden tried in one of the three states where the 19 murderers landed the 9-11 airplanes: Virginia, Pennsylvania, or New York. This is the stupidest suggestion by a presidential candidate since Walter Mondale promised higher taxes in 1984.

Here is why Kerry's statement is inexcusable:

1. Precedent: By holding a trial of OBL in the United States with a full jury and the protections of the United States legal system, Kerry would be rewarding the most notorious illegal enemy combatant of the last 25 years. The Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions on the law of war are designed to protect LAWFUL combatants who: have uniforms or identifiable insignia, have responsible officers, fight in declared wars against other armed forces (not civilians), fight for or under the auspices of a nation, fight openly as soldiers and do not seek to hide within civilian populations. OBL and his sycophants adhere to none of those principles, yet Kerry would allow them the full rights of criminal defendants in the US.

2. The Geneva Conventions -- the requirements of the Geneva Conventions apply only to lawful combatants; therefore, extending their procedural/substantive protections and supplying protection above the level required by the Conventions to unlawful combatants such as OBL and al-Qaeda defeats the purpose of the Geneva Conventions to bring war into the open, protect civilians and hold states responsible for their military's actions. Unlawful combatants can be shot on sight. Bush should call for that as the remedy to bin Laden's presence.

3. U.S. Security -- OBL would be able to confront every witness against him under the Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause, therefore he could force the government to reveal information and intelligence it has kept (and wishes to keep) secret.

Andy McCarthy adds to the list. From his column excoriating Dean when the screaming midget suggested a trial of OBL in January:

Assuming we have not already annihilated [bin Laden], Americans . . . know and expect that his fate, should he emerge from the catacombs, is death, either in battle or by execution at the conclusion of the most summary of military tribunals — the just dessert of unlawful combatants who commit crimes against humanity.

Are the Democrats so deeply in the thrall of a fringe that they would nominate, to be president and the face of their party, a person who does not get that? Are they telling Americans that their return to power will mark the end of — and a surrender in — the war on terror? Are they advertising a return to the proven national-suicide approach of cherry-picking a handful of the thousands of terrorists committed to our destruction, bringing these non-Americans whose only connection to our country is to make war on it to the United States, granting them the benefits enumerated in our Bill of Rights, providing them lavish discovery that will be used by their confederates to decipher our intelligence methods and sources, and rolling the dice with jury trials that take years to begin and go on for months after that?

And for problems with the trial-by-jury approach, just look at the idiocies in the trial of the mastermind of the 1998 embassy bombings, as McCarthy notes:

. . . in 2001, a federal judge in Manhattan initially suppressed the embassy bombing confession of al Qaeda terrorist Mohamed Daoud al-Owhali (directly responsible for over 200 murders) upon reasoning that American agents had not given him technically proper Miranda warnings. In fact, al-Owhali was not in the custody of the Americans but of the government of Kenya, which does not provide for counsel at public expense during custodial interrogation. Had the U.S. agents advised al-Owhali that he had the full run of Miranda rights, they'd have been lying to him. Eventually, the judge eventually reversed himself, but only after issuing an opinion holding that foreign terrorists held overseas by foreign sovereigns enjoy many American constitutional rights. The jury, rendering a verdict fully three years after the bombings, ultimately convicted the terrorists but declined to impose the death penalty.

That is no way to run a war against terrorists. John Kerry should know better; because he does not, he is unqualified to be commander in chief.

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