Debra J. Saunders

I'm scared that, according to the New York Times, Justice Department officials have said that even if "Mohammed is acquitted, the Obama administration will keep him locked up forever as a 'combatant'" under the laws of war. It's clear the Justice Department hasn't thought this through.

I'm scared at what the next legal Dream Team will try to get others to say to deflect attention from the murder of 2,973 individuals. "Are we going to allow discovery of classified information so that we can get a fair trial?" asked John Eastman, law school dean at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. Are we going to depose past Bush Department of Justice and Pentagon officials?

Eastman fears a scenario in which, "It's not so much Khalid Shaikh Mohammed who's on trial, but the Bush administration." (Eastman believes Congress should pass a bill "to withdraw jurisdiction from the civilian courts for enemy combatants." Good idea.)

I'm scared at what the international and self-styled human-rights communities might say to undermine the credibility of a trial that in any way falls short of perfection.

Today, everyone knows that KSM is guilty. But in the age of the Internet, the guiltiest perpetrator can be modeled as a victim.

In 2001, a Scottish court found Libyan intelligence agent Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi guilty for the 1988 Pan 103 Lockerbie bombings that left 270 dead. Al-Megrahi was convicted under a unanimous verdict passed by three Scottish (not American) judges (not jurors) based in The Netherlands. The (barbaric American) death penalty was off the table and the other defendant was acquitted. The Scottish justice minister recently issued a "compassionate" release for al-Megrahi. Still, the likes of Noam Chomsky argue it was an unfair trial, and have called for a U.N. inquiry.

Check out Slobodan Milosevic on the Internet. The former Serbian leader died while on trial for torture, murder and genocide at the U.N. International Criminal Court/Yugoslavia in The Hague. Serving as his own attorney, Slobo managed to prolong a trial that was supposed to last 14 months for a grueling four years -- and then it only ended because he died of a heart attack.

What thanks did the ICC get for accommodating Milosevic's delaying antics? Scurrilous rumors that it was responsible for his death.

So I'm not scared about what Mohammed might say about jihad in court. I'm scared about what he did -- and what a judge might say if he wants to serve as his own attorney.

Debra J. Saunders

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