The Obama Doctrine of Due Process

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 24, 2009 | Go to article overview

The Obama Doctrine of Due Process


Byline: Wesley Pruden, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Willing student or not, reality continues to give Barack Obama a late education in how the world - including the United States - actually works. The president and his attorney general are giving the rest of us an Ivy League tutorial in constitutional law.

When Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. awarded the Islamic radicals the opportunity to take their rhetorical carnival of murder and mayhem to New York City for the trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 assault on America, Mr. Holder insisted that he was only acting in the American judicial tradition of due process. A military tribunal is OK for a GI in Afghanistan but not for a criminal the GI captures there. His prescription is actually more in the tradition of Rules for Radicals, the manual of civic disorder and troublemaking written by Saul Alinsky, Mr. Obama's revered mentor in all the things not in the province of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright or Bill Ayers. The president and the attorney general have had interesting instructors.

Neither the president nor the attorney general were quite prepared for the overwhelming, bipartisan, transracial outrage over their remarkable doctrine of due process. Mr. Obama, questioned by reporters in Asia, insisted that the noose was ready for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (or KSM in the helpful shorthand applied to unpronounceable names). The legal niceties were necessary, but the wait for the hangman - or the needler, or electrician or whomever - would make the anticipation all the merrier.

The president said anyone offended by the unprecedented legal privileges afforded KSM in a civilian trial, instead of submission to the usual military tribunal for criminals captured on the battlefield, won't find it offensive at all when he's convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.

The attorney general, sharply questioned by several senators at a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee, said, with more than a hint of prosecutorial smugness, that failure is not an option. The 72 virgins waiting for KSM in Islamic paradise might as well start filling their lamps with oil in anticipation of their bridegroom. Sen. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, a Democrat, was nevertheless not impressed. Well, he said, that's an interesting point of view. …

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