(Author’s Note: The statement below is in response to an April 9, 2012, editorial in the Long Island, New York newspaper, Newsday, which can be found at http://www.newsday.com/opinion/9-11-terror-trials-it-s-about-time-1.3647063 )
The delay you mention in “On al-Qaida trials, it’s about time” [Editorials, April 9], regarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s (KSM) prosecution was due largely to first, a two year wait for the Supreme Court to rule on legal challenges from the left, and second, a re-writing of the Military Commission’s Act (MCA) of 2006, due to extended political and legal challenges from the left. Our current MCA of 2009 is governing the proceedings, not the aforementioned as you state in your editorial. You also fail to mention what “due process” means in the context of the Commissions. The newest MCA gives unlawful combatants unprecedented extra legal privileges, and these new privileges include “presumption of innocence until convicted beyond a reasonable doubt.” A quick visit to http://www.mc.mil allows a fingertip study of U.S. military commissions, their origins, history, and current application. It’s worth a look to see that there is virtually NO DIFFERENCE between a U.S. Courts-Martial, U.S. Federal Court proceedings, and a Military Commission, to the advantage of our enemies; how could this not be, in your words, “optimal?” And optimal for whom, us or KSM? By the way, the Nuremberg trials of World War II lasted about four years (1945-1949), and suffered no delay due to attempts to extend extra legal privileges to Nazis, and took place AFTER the end of hostilities. May I remind Newsday we are still very much in armed violent struggle with Islamist extremists, like KSM, who want to kill us.