On the same day that Barack Obama announced his re-election campaign–you know, the one that promises us four more years of Hope and Change–we see that once again, the Obama Administration has been forced to admit that when it comes to the trial of terrorist suspects, the Bush Administration knew what it was doing:
The Obama administration admitted defeat in its efforts to prosecute the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks before a civilian jury in New York City, announcing that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four others would be tried by a military commission at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The decision, announced Monday by Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., marks a sharp political setback for President Obama, who had repeatedly pledged to use civilian courts to try “high-value” terrorism suspects. It also creates fresh uncertainty about the legal road ahead for senior Al Qaeda suspects now in custody.
A federal judge in Manhattan promptly dismissed a sealed grand jury indictment from December 2009 against Mohammed and the four others pending transfer of the case to the military tribunal. The existence of the 10-count, 81-page federal indictment against the five men was not previously known.
Several hours later, Navy Capt. John Murphy, chief prosecutor in the Pentagon’s Office of Military Commissions, announced that charges would be filed “in the near future” to try the case at Guantanamo. Mohammed and his codefendants are among about 170 detainees at the military prison there.
“I intend to recommend the charges be sent to a military commission for a joint trial,” Murphy said, adding that his office already was preparing its case.
No reminders are needed that for the longest time, Democrats castigated the Bush Administration for relying on the prison at Guantanamo Bay to house terrorist suspects, and for relying on military commissions to conduct any and all trials. No reminders are needed that back in 2008, Senator Obama pledged to close Guantanamo Bay, pledged to hold civilian trials for terrorist suspects, and pledged to roll back the scope of executive power embraced by the Bush Administration. And no reminders are needed that the Obama Administration has now fully embraced the Bush Administration’s notion of executive power–going above and beyond it when it comes to conducting the war in Libya–has kept the prison at Guantanamo Bay open, has embraced the concept of indefinite detention promulgated by the Bush Administration, and has come to the realization that military commissions are the best way to try terrorist suspects.
If this isn’t still more vindication for Donald Rumsfeld, I don’t know what is.