A reader writes:
Let us consider the likely outcome of the civilian trial. There is no disputing the fact that he was carrying the explosives on the plane or that he was aware that he was carrying them or that he attempted to ignite them. He was arrested immediately in circumstances that give no possibility of a mistaken identity defense. A guilty plea is highly likely, a guilty verdict all but certain. Given the known facts there is no The almost certain outcome of a civilian trial therefore is a guilty verdict and a sentence of lifetime imprisonment without parole.
Compare that to the consequences of attempting to use the Bush administration’s military tribunals. Here a guilty verdict is not certain, not because there is any doubt as to his guilt but because there is considerable doubt as to the constitutionality of the process, a doubt that will continue as long as there are any prisoners left in custody who were tried by military tribunal. Contrary to the claims of the Republicans, there is absolutely no reason to be sure that their Rube Goldberg trial procedure will withstand constitutional scrutiny in the future. Which means that there is a very real probability that at some date in the future, all the verdicts of the military tribunals will become void. While the prospects for a civilian trial now are pretty good, the prospects for a civilian trial following a failed military tribunal are much less good.
Now consider the effect that raising the possibility of a military tribunal has. At the moment the crotchbomber has an expectation of a civilian trial, a guilty verdict and an ignominious life sentence in club fed. He has every incentive to talk. But if DeMint has his way then there is a very real possibility that he could hope to achieve political prisoner status. Stupid talk from the likes of DeMint is not just stupid, it actively damages US national security.
Good point. If he goes to Gitmo he could end up doing “art therapy” in Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, if he goes to federal prison, he’s going to experience a uniquely American twist on the 70 virgins concept.