The decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to bring Khalid Sheik Mohammed to justice in a New York courtroom has occasioned all manner of comments, most of them absurd. Finally, today, an op-ed in the Washington Post attains the sublime. Jim Comey and Jack Goldsmith, both former Bush administration officials point out better than I can why Holder’s decision is defensible.
The most salient arguments they make are that the military tribunals are no panacea and the civilian courts have already handled these kinds of cases. Under the military tribunals erected by President Bush, a grand total of three prosecutions have been achieved in eight years. Conversely, Zacarias Moussaoui, a co-conspirator with Khalid Sheik Mohammed, was successfully prosecuted in a federal court as were other terrorists from the infamous “shoe bomber” Richard Reid to the “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh.