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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Courting A Different Mistress

While this may be an over-simplification of how conservatives are viewing the prosecution of captured "terrorists", I still have to wonder why they have absolutely no faith in the American justice system.

With the recent civilian court trial of Ahmed Ghailani resulting in successfully rendering a sentence of no less than 20 years, conservatives are not pleased - at all.

And while all this noise from conservatives that Holder is an abject failure and is putting the country in danger each and every day, one has to wonder why military tribunals a) aren't used more often - even dating back to Bush's tenure in office and b) why conservatives would favor them over open trial in civilian court.

The first reason is one that is at the heart of every argument against Holder, the Obama DOJ, and civil trials in general

in the very few cases of captured terrorists being tried in tribunals, the defendants were given lighter sentences than comparable cases in the criminal justice system.


And that's exactly what conservatives are upset with - they feel that all charges against terrorists should stand without question and the maximum sentence be imposed. So if military tribunals often result in lighter sentences, if those on trial there have the right to an appeal - much like in civilian courts - why all the fuss?

I think this all comes down to a concept that I have spoken of at length before - perception vs. perspective.

Conservatives feel comfortable with the "perception" that military tribunals are something akin to this, when that's not even remotely the case. They believe that a tribunal, in general, is nothing more than a sentencing phase in which the prisoner is going to be given the harshest sentence possible. And that, most certainly, is NOT the case.

Despite the successes of civilian trials in relation to terrorism charges, the American legal system - despite the distractionary noise from conservatives - has been a success. Then again, success is measured quite differently dependent on where you sit on any given day. But, conservatives demand instant gratification to the fullest extent possible - and that is why they will never be pleased with the outcome of anything they don't have a hand in engineering.

And here's a final thought in regards to the complete disconnect in how conservatives want to fight terrorism and how they are approaching the prosecution of terrorists. After the rhetoric, the flag waving, and shouts of "smoke 'em out of their caves", "stay the course", and "no retreat, no surrender", conservatives are more than willing to hand those same people they are fighting a victory - and one that is none to small. Conservatives, with all their love of country and all that makes it so great, are simply afraid of bringing the terrorists to face trial in American because they might "say something nasty" or might "make a mockery of our legal process". That's the thinking here.

That's the crux of it - conservatives are simply afraid.

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