The federal prosecution of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers in our civilian court system demonstrated the pitfalls of prosecuting the War on Terror like an episode of the TV show "Ally McBeal" -- a pathetic courtroom comedy. The trials gave the bin Laden network a multi-million-dollar, tax-subsidized defense team, free translation services, personal dry-cleaning services, and access to information that was allegedly used by Islamists "to become more adept at eluding surveillance."
All of the convicted World Trade Center bombers received life sentences behind bars, where they rejoiced when they heard the news that the Twin Towers had fallen. Two had faced the death penalty but were spared by a minority-dominated jury that swallowed the race-baiting of traitorous defense witness Ramsey Clark (the former U.S. attorney general under Lyndon Johnson). Clark testified that no member of a racial minority group -- African-American, Arab or otherwise -- could expect a fair trial in the United States. He also blamed the Gulf War and U.S. sanctions on Iraq for creating the psychological "suffering" that led to the embassy attacks.
On another front, convicted mastermind Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman may have exploited his right to counsel in order to establish a terrorist message pipeline from behind bars. His radical lawyer, Lynne Stewart, faces trial this spring on charges of providing material support to terrorists; she is accused of aiding a plot to kidnap and kill people to help win the release of Rahman and making false statements regarding her efforts to pass messages between Rahman and his followers around the world.
The Bush administration has moved beyond reactively serving terrorists with their legal papers to proactively busting sleeper cells, detaining enemy combatants before they set off their bombs, setting up military tribunals, and deporting Arab and Muslim illegal alien suspects. What is John Kerry's plan?
Buying more walkie-talkies and playing "People's Court" with Islamic mass murderers.
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