Drone Strikes Scaled Back in 2013

National Journal
Add to Briefcase
Dec. 8, 2013, 3:27 a.m.

The big news in the blo­go­sphere is AG Eric Hold­er’s an­nounce­ment that “Khal­id Shaikh Mo­hammed, the self-de­scribed mas­ter­mind of the ter­ror­ist at­tacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and four oth­er men ac­cused in the plot will be pro­sec­uted in fed­er­al court in New York City.” Con­ser­vat­ive blog­gers are, to put it mildly, out­raged. Er­ick Er­ick­son warns that “bring­ing these high pro­file ter­ror­ist lead­ers to New York will just put a tar­get on New York again.” Ed Mor­ris­sey com­plains: “In­stead of giv­ing these men the ob­li­vi­on they de­serve, we’re in­centiv­iz­ing fur­ther at­tacks on the US by giv­ing them the biggest pos­sible PR plat­form.” Michelle Malkin blasts “the reck­less, se­cur­ity-un­der­min­ing Obama 9/10 agenda.”

Mean­while, the re­ac­tion in the lefty blo­go­sphere is some­what mixed. Steve Ben­en praises the Obama ad­min. for “do[ing] the right thing” even when they know “that in­tense far-right blow­back is in­ev­it­able.” However, Glenn Gre­en­wald is dis­ap­poin­ted that the Obama ad­min. is cre­at­ing “a multi-tiered justice sys­tem” in which cer­tain de­tain­ees will be tried in a crim­in­al court while oth­ers will be tried in a mil­it­ary com­mis­sion.

What else is hap­pen­ing in the blo­go­sphere?

“¢ Lib­er­al blog­gers (Lange, Ben­en, Or­ton, Black, Ara­vos­is) are mock­ing the GOP fol­low­ing Politico’s re­port that the RNC’s health in­sur­ance plan has been cov­er­ing elect­ive abor­tions since ‘91. One con­ser­vat­ive blog­ger calls the news “a need­less polit­ic­al head­ache” and an­oth­er de­clares: “Someone at the RNC must be fired over this.”

“¢ Most lib­er­al blog­gers (Mc­Carter, Walk­er, Llorens) are pleased that Sen­ate Maj. Lead­er Harry Re­id (D-NV) “is con­sid­er­ing a plan for high­er payroll taxes on the up­per-in­come earners to help fin­ance health care le­gis­la­tion.” Ezra Klein hopes that Re­id’s pro­posed sur­tax “[isn’t] re­pla­cing rev­en­ues lost by weak­en­ing the ex­cise tax.”

“¢ Lib­er­al blog­gers (Wald­man, Black, Ben­en) are cri­ti­ciz­ing Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) for warn­ing pro-choice Dems that “there will be hell to pay” if they try to re­move his anti-abor­tion amend­ment from the health care re­form bill.

“¢ Con­ser­vat­ive blog­gers (Mor­ris­sey, Malkin, McLaugh­lin, Antle) are buzz­ing about the re­cent Quin­nipi­ac Univ. poll show­ing Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) trail­ing ex-Rep. Rob Sim­mons (R-CT) by 11 pts.


Con­ser­vat­ive blog­gers are furi­ous about Hold­er’s an­nounce­ment that five de­tain­ees ac­cused of be­ing 9/11 con­spir­at­ors will be pro­sec­uted in fed­er­al court:

“¢ Dan Riehl: “Thanks, Demo­crats, you dirt­bags. Every last one of you should be forced to be in the courtroom for however many years this azzhole gets to thumb his nose at Amer­ica. And when not there, we can find room for you ad­ja­cent to his cell. We’ll even give you hand hold­ing time.”

“¢ Red­State‘s Er­ick­son: “This is in­sane. There have been re­ports in the past month about an­oth­er po­ten­tial ter­ror­ist at­tack dis­rup­ted in New York City. Bring­ing these high pro­file ter­ror­ist lead­ers to New York will just put a tar­get on New York again. Even worse, the White House is go­ing to sub­ject these ter­ror­ists to crim­in­al tri­als in ci­vil­ian courts. They will get all the due pro­cess rights of cit­izens in court and po­ten­tially will be able to get ac­cess to ma­ter­i­al evid­ence in a ci­vil­ian court that could re­veal in­tel­li­gence we’d prefer them not to have.”

“¢ Malkin: “If this White House thought Tea Party act­iv­ists were an ‘angry mob,’ wait un­til they see the back­lash from 9/11 fam­ily mem­bers and their sup­port­ers na­tion­wide. We’re not go­ing to sit down and shut up about the reck­less, se­cur­ity-un­der­min­ing Obama 9/10 agenda and con­flict-of-in­terest-rid­den AG Eric Hold­er.”

“¢ Hot Air‘s Mor­ris­sey: “These ter­ror­ists be­long at a mil­it­ary tribunal, not the justice sys­tem em­ployed for Amer­ic­ans to judge oth­er Amer­ic­ans for civil crim­in­al con­duct. In­stead of giv­ing these men the ob­li­vi­on they de­serve, we’re in­centiv­iz­ing fur­ther at­tacks on the US by giv­ing them the biggest pos­sible PR plat­form. We may as well put them on TV and call it Dan­cing With the Ter­ror­ists, or So You Want To Be A Ji­hadist Mar­tyr.”

“¢ Power Line‘s John Hinderaker: “The po­ten­tial for these tri­als to turn in­to fias­coes is large; per­haps Pres­id­ent Obama and his At­tor­ney Gen­er­al have for­got­ten the ‘polit­ic­al’ tri­als of the 1960s and 70s. But they seem com­mit­ted to re­turn­ing to the pre-Septem­ber 11 mod­el of treat­ing ter­ror­ism as a law en­force­ment mat­ter, re­gard­less of the con­sequences. Ask your­self this ques­tion: sup­pose that Khal­id Sheikh Mo­hammed’s tri­al res­ults in an ac­quit­tal or a hung jury. Would the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion really let him go? If so, they are crazy. If not, why are they hold­ing the tri­al?”

“¢ Red­State‘s Dan McLaugh­lin: “I’m not ser­i­ously con­cerned that KSM stands any chance of be­ing ac­quit­ted, but a hung jury? It only takes one per­son with ex­treme polit­ic­al or re­li­gious views, one jur­or who just can’t abide the death pen­alty (even as­sum­ing Obama’s DOJ pur­sues it). Just ima­gine the con­tro­versy, if there are Muslims in the jury pool, over what ques­tions pro­sec­utors are per­mit­ted to ask them and wheth­er they can be chal­lenged. And of course, it sends the mes­sage to our en­emies that there’s noth­ing you can do to us that will get you sent through a pro­cess rough­er than the one we used on Mi­chael Vick or Martha Stew­art.”

KHAL­ID SHEIKH MO­HAMMED II: Trust­ing Our Ju­di­cial Sys­tem

Lib­er­al blog­gers are mock­ing their con­ser­vat­ive coun­ter­parts for re­act­ing so an­grily to Hold­er’s an­nounce­ment:

“¢ John Cole: “ZOMG! Ter­ror­ists On Amer­ic­an Soil! […] The wing­nut freak­out over this will be pre­dict­able and amus­ing, be­cause as we all know, real pat­ri­ots have no faith in our ju­di­cial sys­tem and law en­force­ment of­ficers.”

“¢ The Wash­ing­ton Monthly‘s Ben­en: “I’ve simply nev­er un­der­stood the right’s weak-kneed pan­ic over the U.S. justice sys­tem. From what I gath­er, the case against Khal­id Shaikh Mo­hammed should be pretty easy to make in court, and se­cur­ing a con­vic­tion is likely to be pretty easy. By giv­ing this sus­pec­ted mon­ster a fair tri­al, we can prove to the world the strength of Amer­ic­an val­ues and the in­teg­rity of the Amer­ic­an sys­tem. Shouldn’t [ex-VP Dick] Cheney, [ex-NYC May­or Rudy] Gi­uliani, and the rest of the mot­ley crew who’ll spend the day whin­ing on Fox News want a tri­al for KSM?”

Mean­while, Salon‘s Gre­en­wald cri­ti­cizes the Obama ad­min. for sim­ul­tan­eously nnoun­cing that oth­er de­tain­ees — such as Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a sus­pect in the bomb­ing of the U.S.S. Cole — will be tried in a mil­it­ary com­mis­sion in­stead of a crim­in­al court: “So what we have here is not an an­nounce­ment that all ter­ror­ism sus­pects are en­titled to real tri­als in a real Amer­ic­an court. In­stead, what we have is a multi-tiered justice sys­tem, where only cer­tain in­di­vidu­als are en­titled to real tri­als: namely, those whom the Gov­ern­ment is con­vinced ahead of time it can con­vict. Oth­ers for whom con­vic­tion is less cer­tain will be ac­cor­ded less­er due pro­cess: put in mil­it­ary com­mis­sions, to which most lead­ing Demo­crats vehe­mently ob­jec­ted when cre­ated un­der [George W.] Bush. […] A sys­tem of justice which ac­cords you vary­ing levels of due pro­cess based on the cer­tainty that you’ll get just enough to be con­victed isn’t a justice sys­tem at all. It’s a rigged game of show tri­als.”

THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Time For Dems To Pan­ic?

Fiv­eThirtyEight‘s Nate Sil­ver of­fers his thoughts on the re­cent Gal­lup poll giv­ing GOP­ers a 4-pt. lead on the House gen­er­ic bal­lot:

“My 30,000-foot view is that between the pres­sures of the jobs situ­ation and the health care de­bate, the Demo­crats are in fairly bad shape. But, there’s a long way to go be­fore next year, and their situ­ation does not seem to be quite as bad as it was in Au­gust. Cer­tainly, if I were the Demo­crats, I’d be ad­opt­ing a fairly de­fens­ive pos­ture, put­ting money in­to de­fend­ing seats — es­pe­cially those held by non-Blue Dog in­cum­bents — rather than get­ting cute and try­ing to pick off more than a hand­ful of po­ten­tially vul­ner­able Re­pub­lic­an seats. I’d also be think­ing about policies — like a jobs pack­age and fin­an­cial reg­u­la­tion — that tap a little bit in­to the pop­u­list spir­it and might res­ult in some­what awk­ward Re­pub­lic­an po­s­i­tion­ing.

So, should the Demo­crats be pan­ick­ing? Yeah, maybe a little. But the fun­da­ment­als — par­tic­u­larly the poor labor situ­ation and the Re­pub­lic­an en­thu­si­asm ad­vant­age — should be the reas­ons for their con­cern, rather than the res­ults of any one par­tic­u­lar poll.”

LEST WE FOR­GET: Let’s Cross That Bridge When We Come To It

From Over­heard in New York:

Little boy, about little broth­er: Daddy, he says that when the blood on his knee dries, he’s gonna pick it off and throw it at me! Daddy, tell him not to do that!

Dad: That scrape is fresh. We have plenty of time be­fore we need to worry about that.

To read the un­abridged edi­tion of the Blo­gomet­er, vis­it ht­tp://blo­gomet­er.na­tion­al­journ­al.com. Ques­tions, com­ments, re­ser­va­tions? Drop us a line at blo­gomet­er@na­tion­al­journ­al.com.

What We're Following See More »
Why Yes, Mueller Is Looking into Trump Businesses
3 hours ago

In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."

House Reauthorizes DHS
4 hours ago

"The House voted Thursday to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security. The bipartisan measure passed easily by a vote of 386-41, with nine Republicans and 32 Democrats voting in opposition. If the bill makes it through the Senate, it would be the first-ever reauthorization of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since it was created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks." Among the provisions it contains is a mandate that the Senate confirm the Secret Service director. It also boosts funding for the Urban Area Security Initiative by $195 million per year.

AFT’s Weingarten Likens Voucher Support to Segregation
4 hours ago

In remarks scheduled to be delivered today at the American Federation of Teachers' summer conference, President Randi Weingarten "likens U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to a climate-change denier" and "says the Trump administration's school choice plans are secretly intended to starve funding from public schools. She calls taxpayer-funded private school vouchers, tuition tax credits and the like 'only slightly more polite cousins of segregation.'" The pro-voucher Center for Education Reform said teachers should "consider inviting Weingarten’s resignation."

Trump Has Confidence in Sessions
5 hours ago

"President Trump has confidence in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, despite his criticism of the Justice Department head's decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe, the White House said Thursday. 'Clearly he has confidence in him or he would not be the attorney general,' spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at an off-camera briefing."

ACLU Suing Trump Administration for Planned Executive Order
7 hours ago

"The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Trump administration for records on an executive order President Trump reportedly planned to release targeting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday, ACLU claimed the departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, Labor, and Treasury violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to release the records it requested on the reported draft order."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.