Drone Strikes Scaled Back in 2013

National Journal
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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.

KHAL­ID SHEIKH MO­HAMMED: Worst Idea Ever!

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.

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