During the presidential campaign, I wrote a column saying that if Barack Obama is elected president, he would leave the country unprotected.
The June 23, 2008, Newsmax piece cited Obama’s statement in an ABC interview that the government can crack down on terrorists “within the constraints of the Constitution.”
Obama said then, “What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks — for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center — we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated.”
Now Eric Holder Jr., Obama’s attorney general, has turned that column’s prediction into reality. By deciding to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-confessed mastermind of the 9/11 plot, in civilian court in New York, the administration has turned back the clock to the same feeble approach that enabled Mohammed to carry out the 9/11 attacks.
As former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has said, by holding the trial of Mohammed in New York, the Obama administration sets up New Yorkers for a devastating attack by al-Qaida. While New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly have expressed confidence that they can handle the security, the fact is they would be powerless if al-Qaida unleashed a radiological “dirty bomb” or biological attack there.
In giving an enemy combatant who is not entitled to them the same constitutional protections Americans have, the administration is risking the possibility he will be set free. During the campaign, Obama made much of the fact that the Bush administration had failed to capture Osama bin Laden. By taking a chance that Mohammed will be acquitted because civilian courts offer more protections to defendants than a military tribunal would, the administration is recklessly risking the possibility that a man just as dangerous as bin Laden will go free and continue to plot to kill innocent Americans.
In citing the prosecutions after the first World Trade Center bombing, Obama showed that he had learned nothing from the 9/11 attacks. Unlike the rest of us, he apparently missed the fact that in the second World Trade Center bombing, the hijackers were dead and could not be prosecuted. He apparently missed the fact that in the first World Trade bombing, some key plotters were never indicted because of insufficient evidence that could be used in a civilian proceeding.
Likewise, Obama apparently missed the 9/11 commission hearings and report, which excoriated both presidents Clinton and Bush for a lack of imagination in pursuing terrorists after the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Africa and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole. In particular, the commission said that before 9/11, “Military measures failed or were not applied.”
Citing the military invasion of Afghanistan, the 9/11 commission said, “The president and Congress deserve praise for their efforts in Afghanistan so far.” The commission recommended that in the future, the government must identify potential or actual terrorist sanctuaries and use “all elements of national power” to “keep possible terrorists insecure and on the run.”
To its credit, that is what the Obama administration is doing in Pakistan’s tribal areas, regularly using Predator drone aircraft to kill al-Qaida members with missiles. In contrast to that approach, Holder defended his decision to try Mohammed in U.S. District Court in New York by saying that his alleged crimes occurred on American soil. Holder suggested that trying Mohammed in a civilian court instead of before a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay would demonstrate that the U.S. operates under the rule of law.
If Obama were really concerned about showing the world that this is a great country, he would stop apologizing for its imagined failings. By Holder’s flawed logic, since the Japanese targeted Pearl Harbor, we should have tried Japanese officials in courts in Hawaii rather than defend ourselves against a ruthless enemy during World War II.
Finally, Obama seems to have missed seeing young children on television, tears streaming down their faces, holding up photos of their mothers or fathers, hoping that someone would say they had survived the 9/11 attack. Having seen that, no responsible person would defile the memories of the 3,000 Americans who died that day by giving Mohammed a platform in Manhattan.
For Obama, there will be a silver lining. Mohammed’s defense will attack the Bush administration over its use of the same waterboarding technique we use on our own soldiers in training. Thus, as is his usual practice, Obama will be able once again to portray Bush to the world as the devil and appeal to his left-wing base.
Obama doesn’t get that we are in a war for our survival. As FBI Director Robert S. Mueller has told me, al-Qaida’s intent is to wipe us out with a nuclear device. Rather than being a model of how to prevent terrorist attacks, the civilian prosecution of those responsible for the first World Trade Center bombing remains a reminder of our government’s failure to defend us.
The administration’s decision to try Mohammed in New York marks the end of the Bush administration’s successful war on terror and underscores just how unprotected America has indeed become under President Obama.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
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