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I have only one question

about the people who oppose a civilian trial in federal court for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other four 9/11 conspirators.

Why do they hate America?

I have a sneaking feeling that they hate us for our freedoms.

Besides, over at America’s slowest-loading website, Adam Serwer explains why this wingnut frenzy is even more farcical than their outrage at Obama’s overweening arrogance servile bowing and scraping.

Posted by on 11/18 at 08:12 AM
  1. If only the craziness were confined to wingnuttia. Unfortunately, like so much that bubbles up from that quarter, it is contagious and rapidly infects the Very Serious Conglomerate Media.

    So there I was last Friday afternoon strolling up 10th Avenue, when a fellow with a microphone wants to ask me a couple of questions for CBS radio. Uh, ok:

    “Do you think KSM should be tried in civilian courts”? You mean, as opposed to some tricked-up tribunal thingy?

    “Do you think KSM should be brought to NYC”? You mean, instead of French Lick, Indiana?

    “Do you think an unbiased jury can be seated for the trial”? You mean, unlike the one for Bernie Madoff?

    The drift of the questions wasn’t difficult to detect. Neither were my responses. I guess that’s why he left without asking my name.

    Posted by  on  11/18  at  10:35 AM
  2. Hey, Ken, thanks for stopping by.  But you know—Drudge (still) rules their world.

    Posted by Michael  on  11/18  at  10:37 AM
  3. Sheesh, overweening arrogance to white Americans, servile bowing and scraping to foreigners. You academics have no feel for nuance.

    It is a bit of a sad day, however, when our defense of bringing someone to trial is, ‘Don’t worry it’s a show trial.” And, yeah, I realize that is a rather unfair characterization, but the sheer inanity of rhetoric on the other side has left me a bit unhinged.

    Posted by  on  11/18  at  10:37 AM
  4. Obama should just explain that he was trying to do something about that narcissism problem that so many unbiased, chin-rubbing political observers have helpfully pointed out to him.

    Posted by  on  11/18  at  11:24 AM
  5. A civilian trial in a federal court likely involves a jury. Juries are charged with finding fact. Fact finding runs contrary to our official unwritten policy of fact suppression for all matters related to 9/11. Secrets lose their fizz in open court.

    Captcha: found. —ing fathers. Lost &.

    Posted by  on  11/18  at  11:27 AM
  6. It must be because I just finished devouring my newly remastered stero edition of The Beatles that I feel like a need a damn good whacking, so here it goes:

    The rhetoric on both sides of this debate is strikingly banal.  Many of the public personalities defending this decision are saying things like: “Now we will demonstrate to the world why our judicial system is the best there is.” (Haven’t we [attempted to] do this countless times before with other high profile trials?); Or “Mohammed needs to be tried in NY, in the shadow of the valley of death he created.” (Because that--not days and days of waterboarding--will surely make him repent for his sins.); Or--and usually--"Critics of this decision needn’t worry, because we’ll still kill this sumbitch.” (What was that about a free, just society?)

    So I ask: If the end result of this is still going to be that we’re going to fry the bastard, what, exactly, is the point of this charade?  Oh sure, we might all discuss such grand notions like freedom, justice, etc., but if, at the end of the day, the AMERICAN PEOPLE (I’d do the little superscript TM here if I only knew how) can rest soundly knowing that Mohammed will still be killed, what is the nature of the message that is being transmitted?

    Posted by J. Fisher  on  11/18  at  12:34 PM
  7. Oh come on, people, it’s a show trial we can believe in.

    Posted by Michael  on  11/18  at  12:57 PM
  8. C’mon Folks.

    Obama can’t give his Muslim brother a presidential pardon, until he has actually been convicted.

    Posted by  on  11/18  at  02:18 PM
  9. WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!!!!!!

    Also, J. Fisher has a point - but this point has been made, for example by G. Greenwald, and by the ACLU. The usual media suspects and political hacks of course just blow hot air, what else is new?

    Here’s how the show trial might turn out to be a good thing: it can be used as an opportunity to (a) expose the US torture regime (something the 9/11 9/11 9/11 crowd are really afraid of) (b) highlight the motivation of the 9/11 terrorists (hint: it’s not “we hate them for their freedoms") and (c) posed the question, if it’s all right for KSM, how come we insist that people rounded up as kids in Afghanistan for being in the wrong place or fighting against an invasion be kept locked up indefinitely in some hellhole in Illinois (and believe me, downstate IL is much worse than Cuba)?

    Meaning, with this trial we have a better opportunity to push back against the permanent warfare state than without - it’s “trial without illusions”, if you will.

    Posted by  on  11/18  at  03:06 PM
  10. what, exactly, is the point of this charade?

    Upholding the constitution?  After all, everybody cares about that.  Oh, wait.wait

    Posted by Lance  on  11/18  at  03:11 PM
  11. wait wait wait some more, too.

    Posted by Lance  on  11/18  at  03:12 PM
  12. it’s a show trial we can believe in.

    Yes, my negative response was overstated given how much of an improvement I view this development over the government’s previous stance. But of course we are attempting to unshit the bed, and as unattractive and problematic *any* approach to that task is, anything constructive needs to start with admitting that the bed was indeed shat. And this approach at least does that implicitly. Hence the piteous whimpers of outrage from the “torture for fun and profit” crowd.

    Posted by  on  11/18  at  04:08 PM
  13. Well, I heard that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is capable of taking out three-quarters of Manhattan with nothing more than a tooth-brush bristle and a couple of dust mites.

    Posted by  on  11/18  at  04:17 PM
  14. "But you know—Drudge (still) rules their world.”

    All too true, and a point that can’t be made too often or too loudly.

    Still, one can hope that somewhere in America, perhaps in a Washington suburb, a young guy or gal is just scooting by at the bottom of his/her class, or maybe is already putting in some serious slaker time at the counter of a 7-11, or, later yet, has risen to gift-shop manager at a media company. And that this young person is enormously lucky, decidedly liberal and is endowed with mad self-promotion skills and a less Dickinsian name.

    Captcha: ideas. Sorry, man, fresh out.

    Posted by  on  11/18  at  05:00 PM
  15. I’m pretty sure Mohammed needs to be tried in NYC by default because that’s where the crime was committed.  But “in the shadow of the valley of death he created” might also be a valid reason under some more obscure provision of the US Code.

    And I’m with christian h. (with the exception of the blanket generalization about downstate Illinois).  We’ve reached the point where even a civilian show trial, as opposed to a military kangaroo court, or simply detaining the accused forever by presidential whim, is a major improvement.  If nothing else, any defense attorney worth vis salt is going to bring up torture, even if it doesn’t get vis client off.  (I suspect that there’s enough evidence that isn’t tainted by torture to convict, since torture isn’t actually a good way to obtain solid evidence.  Yes, it’s also completely immoral.  But that wasn’t enough to stop us.)

    Besides, it allows the usual suspects to publicly soil themselves as they shriek out their cowardice, which might eventually sufficiently discredit them.  Oh, hi, Rudy.  Please, lecture us about public safety some more, preferably using one of the broken radio systems you ignored before 9/11, you bloodstained prima donna.

    Posted by  on  11/18  at  05:19 PM
  16. We’ve reached the point where even a civilian show trial, as opposed to a military kangaroo court, or simply detaining the accused forever by presidential whim, is a major improvement.

    I can’t believe mds and Christian are spouting this liberal claptrap.  You two keep it up, and before you know it you’ll be sounding like me.

    My new slogan for the era is:  incremental change you can just barely believe in.

    Posted by Michael  on  11/18  at  06:54 PM
  17. It does occur to me that there is a ready classification for the objections to this development:

    1. those that belong in the trash bin of history,
    2. embalmed ones,
    3. those that are presented by trained liars,
    4. suckling pigs,
    5. mermaids,
    6. fatuous ones,
    7. stray dogs,
    8. those included in the present classification,
    9. those voiced by those who tremble as if they were mad,
    10. inexcusable ones,
    11. those drawn with very fine but deeply flawed logic,
    12. others,
    13. those that have just broken a flower vase,
    14. those that from a long way off look like beautifully sculpted piles of dogshit.

    Posted by  on  11/18  at  07:06 PM
  18. I’d ask Michael to take back his outrageous insinuation that I’m an incrementalist. “Liberal claptrap” would be to applaud the administration for doing this. I don’t. I merely suggest that it gives us an opening. If Michael wants to agree with this clearly revolutionary analysis of the situation based on the irrefutable tenets of the Dialectic, he’s welcome to repent.

    Posted by  on  11/18  at  08:06 PM
  19. You should stop trying to browse the web in a MIG-25 over Alaska. Prospect.org runs perfectly well in redcoat country.

    Posted by Naadir Jeewa  on  11/18  at  08:39 PM
  20. Seems to me the best possible solution is to hold the show trial here in American Airspace (from coast to coast across the planet).  We have history and mucho experience on our side.  We have already been decried by reichwingnuttery as everything that is LEFT; thus we can seat a fine jury of true KSM peers.  And the judicial hierarchy already exists for the trial. 

    This way the larger than incremental incrementalist can prosecute the case for #9 (yes, and a Beatles referent too). Bill Benson can provide fine artistic renditions of the trial as it moves forward.  JP clearly has a knack for collecting and classifying evidence.  Our one true Supreme Judge is as fair as any commie-socialist-radical-Chavezian-Orwellian-terroist-fascist can possibly be.  And by the time they actually sit down in NYC, we will have provided a solution for change of venue.

    Of course, i am not at all sure who this “we” is, Kemosabe?

    Posted by  on  11/18  at  08:47 PM
  21. incremental change you can just barely believe in

    Appropriate but not very snappy, as a motto. Maybe try it in Latin?

    Posted by  on  11/18  at  09:59 PM
  22. I’d ask Michael to take back his outrageous insinuation that I’m an incrementalist.

    And I’d ask the Professor to take back his outrageous insinuation that I’m in the same non-incrementalist class as christian “Four-and-a-halfth International” h.  In fact, I tend towards democratic socialism, which is about as incrementalist and ineffectual as one can get without being a Democratic member of Congress.  Sheesh, you write a mere half-dozen comments expressing ambivalence with our Afghan mission, and the next thing you know, people are Photoshopping(TM) you into the storming of the Bastille.

    spyder has a good point, though.  If there’s going to be a show trial, it should be done with style.  Which is to say, by us.

    Posted by  on  11/18  at  10:03 PM
  23. Show Trial??? Here??? I volunteer. My law degree has been doing nothing but collecting dust since 1978. (the year it was obtained) My mom would be really happy if I actually did something with it.

    captcha “certain” With me helping on the prosecution/defense team, the outcome would be all but certain.

    Posted by  on  11/19  at  12:00 AM
  24. I agree with mds. Putting me in the same category as his reformist ass is low even for you, Michael. This is what happens when a reactionary looks at people to his left. We all look the same to him.

    As an aside, our regents may be liberals, but they are not incrementalist: they are about to vote to raise “fees” (CA for “tuition") by a whopping 32% - which will destroy the UC as a public university.

    One solution - revolution.

    Posted by  on  11/19  at  01:01 AM
  25. My new slogan for the era is: incremental change you can just barely believe in.

    The only thing that kept me from laughing harder was that it made me cry. Here’s the corollary: Incremental change you can believe will put the Rethuglicans back in charge.

    Christian - we have to raise fees for the UC system. The only other option would be to ask the rich to once again pay at least a modicum of their fair share of taxes, and as everyone knows that has to be completely off the table. Sweet Lord Astaroth - we’re not Cuba, for Gojira’s sake!

    Posted by  on  11/19  at  03:18 AM
  26. I was just getting to read that story christian, and i am both shocked and outraged.  They didn’t fully break it out in the paper, but if it is across the board, as it seems, that is a staggering amount of money to come up with for many families with eligible kids. The UC system was never designed to be a $100,000 undergraduate education (just counting tuition/books/lab fees); and the professional schools increase of nearly $6000 is beyond the pale.  As an alum, and as a parent of one past and one future student, i have always supported the UC system.  Now i shudder to think how these increases will depreciate the diversity of student populations at all the campuses, as well as turning away those from out of the state. 

    2.1 After we try KSM, we should try the UC. 

    3.1.2 Oaktown Girl, i was thinking of your leadership of previous incarnations of our show trials, and failed to make mention of that fact in the previous post.

    Posted by  on  11/19  at  07:27 AM
  27. I agree with mds. Putting me in the same category as his reformist ass is low even for you, Michael. This is what happens when a reactionary looks at people to his left. We all look the same to him.

    Right, and you both smell of patchouli.  Look, saying you’re actually anti-mds isn’t going to do you any good at this point.  I don’t care what kind of mds you are.

    I have voted unanimously to raise your blog fees by 32 percent.  Love me, I’m a liberal.

    Posted by  on  11/19  at  08:24 AM
  28. Right, and you both smell of patchouli.

    [SNIFF] Actually, that’s lemongrass.  Sheesh, you take a mere half-dozen baths using soothing natural bath oils, and the next thing you know, your blurb is on the dustjacket of Enver Hoxha’s The Superpowers.

    Anyway, what is to be done about the University of California situation?  It’s just another symptom of the underlying disease.  The regents can’t actually raise taxes, repeal Proposition 13, legally kill every single Republican in the state legislature, or rewrite the completely batshit state constitution.  Perhaps the administration could pawn their solid gold bathtubs, but that presumably still wouldn’t cover the shortfall.  I suppose it would be dramatic if there were mass walkouts of UC faculty, a march on Sacramento, etc.  But the Orange County crew would just spin that as another reason to eliminate tenure.  You need to expound further upon your “revolution” plans, christian h.

    Posted by  on  11/19  at  11:02 AM
  29. ...incremental change you can just barely believe in ‘cause you sure can’t see it.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/19  at  11:21 AM
  30. Well, the Regents voted to approve the capital budget. That capital budget is financed by bonds, and the collateral for those bonds is… student fees. UC promised to Wall Street in 2004 (long before the current crisis) they would keep raising fees - otherwise their bond rating suffers.

    Now what is the capital budget paying for? It ain’t renovations of class rooms, or indeed anything directly related to instruction. Instead there’s hundreds of millions to overhaul our basketball arena [aside: the UCLA football coach is the highest paid public official in CA - and the team keeps losing]; money for further administration buildings (last year, for each tenured/tt faculty member, there were 0.9 upper management and executive administrators - people with salaries of 95K+ - in the UC system, they need space), and new laboratory buildings (I’m all for research, but this is NOT the time).

    This fee increase will undermine our supporters in Sacramento, and will give an excuse for further cuts. Rinse, repeat.

    In know the UC is in a tough situation. But a line needs to be drawn. Social realities are not laws of nature, and we’ll have to create a situation where any talk of fees for public education is seen as unrealistic, instead of the current situation, which is the opposite. If it takes playing a game of chicken with the state, so be it.

    Bored yet? This rant isn’t over as I’ve decided to occupy this blog in response to Michael’s unilateral fee hike.

    As for the Dems in the legislature, same deal. There will have to be a blow-up at some point. Just shut down the state, and in particular the parts rich people take for granted - like the fire fighters protecting their nice hillside homes, and the cops protecting their shiny property. Empty the prisons and send all the inmates to half-way houses in Republican districts. Close the universities - I’m sure you’ll have loads of students and a few politically conscious faculty camping out in Sacramento. The bosses aren’t taking shit lying down - they just blackmail the people with threats of moving to Nevada or whatever. Time the rest of us took a page out of their play book. 

    Okay sorry, I’m just incredibly pissed off right now. And yes I know there won’t be a revolution anytime soon [captcha]. But remember: revolutionaries are the better reformists, too.

    Posted by  on  11/19  at  11:44 AM
  31. I’m gonna agree with Christian again (don’t worry, it won’t last—we’ll get back to Afghanistan eventually).  The UC situation really calls for drastic measures.  Play chicken.  Walk out.  Close the universities.  Just don’t rally behind some silly neo-Situationist slogan like “demand nothing, occupy everything.” Because power cedes nothing without a demand.

    Posted by  on  11/19  at  11:55 AM
  32. Another great post by Greenwald highlights what has been said here about the KSM trial.

    Posted by  on  11/19  at  11:55 AM
  33. Just don’t rally behind some silly neo-Situationist slogan like “demand nothing, occupy everything.”

    Absolutely. That stuff gives ultra-leftism a bad name.

    And: in case it isn’t clear, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to agree on some stuff, and not on other stuff. I’m sometimes frustrated by what I see (quite possibly incorrectly) as Michael’s tendency to concentrate on the small number of comrades (even among the tiny total of us) who take, say, a person’s wrong (in our view) position on Afghanistan and conclude the person holding it must be wrong on everything and where that person shares their views, it must be for some secret evil reason - eg, the person must be “pro-war” on Iraq even though they sneakily say they are opposed in public etc. That’s obvious bs, and I along with many many comrades argue against it.

    Posted by  on  11/19  at  12:09 PM
  34. Just shut down the state, and in particular the parts rich people take for granted - like the fire fighters protecting their nice hillside homes, and the cops protecting their shiny property.

    Uh, well, the actual rich people have private versions of both already.  Remember the brouhaha over private firefighters during wildfire season?  But it’s true that there are plenty of middle-class folks who might wonder why the guy in the diamond house is the only one with police protection.  If history is any guide, they’ll initially blame undocumented immigrants, gay marriage, and high taxes.  As time passes ... ?

    Empty the prisons and send all the inmates to half-way houses in Republican districts.

    This would be a genuinely good idea, and might even fly if you assured the prison guard union that all existing positions would carry over to the half-way houses.

    Close the universities - I’m sure you’ll have loads of students and a few politically conscious faculty camping out in Sacramento.

    Well, it worked to get the US out of Vietnam, after all.  Meanwhile, California’s extremist right-wing cadre, aka the state GOP, would be popping corks in celebration, and move on to completely shutting down public primary and secondary education, which they’ve always hated.  Again, though, there would be middle-class families that would find themselves missing an affordable public university, and perhaps it would finally sink in that stuff that costs money has to be paid for.

    Posted by  on  11/19  at  01:34 PM
  35. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to agree on some stuff, and not on other stuff. I’m sometimes frustrated by what I see (quite possibly incorrectly) as Michael’s tendency to concentrate on the small number of comrades (even among the tiny total of us) who take, say, a person’s wrong (in our view) position on Afghanistan and conclude the person holding it must be wrong on everything and where that person shares their views, it must be for some secret evil reason

    A third meta-agreement in one thread.  Here’s to disagreeing on some stuff and not other stuff, and not making disagreements the grounds for demonization.  What I’m trying to work out—still!—is how we agree substantially on “US foreign policy should change radically” but disagree about the best way for the US to have responded to 9/11.

    In the meantime, smash neo-Situationism!  Be realistic—demand things.

    Posted by Michael  on  11/19  at  01:41 PM
  36. spyder @26 - thanks!

    In the meantime, smash neo-Situationism!

    The Kang and Kodos campaign speech from Treehouse of Horror VII:

    Kang: Abortions for all.
    [crowd boos]
    Kang: Very well, no abortions for anyone.
    [crowd boos]
    Kang: Hmm… Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others.
    [crowd cheers and waves miniature flags]

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0779678/quotes

    Posted by  on  11/19  at  03:56 PM
  37. Well, just taking a break from raising some hell.

    mds, I did admit my post was a rant, right? So take the advice on action with a grain of salt. Not too large a grain though - you sound overly pessimistic to me.

    I do think, anyway, that you are misjudging the balance of forces. Without corporate support, the crazy GOPers would be toothless. And while corporations want to change universities, they wouldn’t be happy if it was shut down. 

    Michael: it’s quite clear there’s simply a fundamental disagreement about the nature of US foreign policy, and the basis on which it is decided. It may even be one of your incommensurable (or whatever you call them, I’m adapting a math term here) debates where the same speech acts mean completely different things to us. Nothing to be done but debate on and try to be as clear as possible.

    Posted by  on  11/19  at  04:27 PM
  38. Not too large a grain though - you sound overly pessimistic to me.

    I think I might have just achieved nirvana.

    I do think, anyway, that you are misjudging the balance of forces.

    Gad, I hope so.  And it’s not as if legislature Dems actually tried anything other than capitulation.  Isn’t there precedent for the Governator to receive pushback when unilaterally going after, e.g., nurses?  Because I’m fairly sure most people have some sense that nurses are somewhat useful.  But how to make the link between revenue and services more clear, when it should be painfully obvious right now?

    And sociologists have been known to throw around the term “incorrigible proposition,” but incommensurability is also used in philosophy.

    Posted by  on  11/19  at  05:19 PM
  39. Oh dear. Of course the guys who occupied one of our campus buildings… demand nothing. According to their statement.

    Posted by  on  11/19  at  06:29 PM
  40. Of course the guys who occupied one of our campus buildings… demand nothing

    Neo-Situationism and the sort of extreme incrementalism we can’t believe in at all. 

    As for possible demands: legalize and tax the marijuana growing in CA (crops values are in the billions now)to help fund education across the board.

    Posted by  on  11/20  at  07:19 AM
  41. "We demand rigidly-defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!”

    Posted by  on  11/20  at  10:15 AM
  42. What? No one liked my Simpsons quote? Damn… tough crowd. Either that or too male a crowd.

    captcha: felt, as in, I guess nobody was feeling that.

    Posted by  on  11/21  at  11:38 PM
  43. O-Girl, I hearted your Simpsons quote.  It was funny because it was true.  What can I say?  I’ve been in a meeting in a windowless room all day, with only five-minute breaks for laughing out loud at great comments....

    Posted by Michael  on  11/22  at  01:06 AM
  44. What? No one liked my Simpsons quote? Damn… tough crowd. Either that or too male a crowd.

    Oh, you did not just travel to that location.  Some sort of snapping noise resulted, followed by burns.

    Anyway, for some of us, it’s simply too soon for your quote.

    Kang: Abortions for all.
    [crowd boos]
    Kang: Very well, no abortions for anyone.
    [crowd boos]
    [US House of Representatives votes in favor]

    Posted by  on  11/22  at  09:57 AM
  45. Michael, mds - OK, cool. I was just checking because I was becoming a little paranoid that perhaps the intelligentsia here did not approve of my interpretation of neo-Situationism or something.

    Posted by  on  11/22  at  12:19 PM
  46. I have got apologize for insufficient appreciation, Oaktown Girl. It is a good line (of course I’m not a regular Simpsons watcher, so I don’t know who “Kang” is...). Michael says it’s funny because it’s true, but I have to disagree with him on something on this thread, so I’m going to say it’s disturbing because it’s true. As it should be! It’s from a Halloween episode.

    Posted by  on  11/22  at  01:03 PM
  47. christian - Kang and Kodos info here (mandatory reading, of course, since they are such great characters!) The quoted Kang reference is from one of the greatest Treehouse of Horror segments ever, which you can read about here (Citizen Kang).  I tried to find it for you online, but alas, no luck.

    Double plus good bonus: Kang and Kodos wallpaper here.

    Posted by  on  11/22  at  03:24 PM
  48. Kang: Healthcare for all.
    [Beltway media boos]
    Kang: Very well, no healthcare for anyone.
    [crowd boos]
    Kang: Hmm… Healthcare for some, miniature American flags for others.
    [Joe Lieberman cheers and waves a miniature flag]

    Posted by  on  11/22  at  03:38 PM

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