The Democrats claim they want to treat terrorism as a criminal law problem, but when we give them an American citizen convicted of aiding terrorists -- as happened this week -- a Democrat judge gives her a slap on the wrist. Or he was going to give her a wrist slap until someone told him that wrist-slapping was banned under the Geneva Conventions, so he let the wrist off with a warning.
Last year, a New York jury found Lynne Stewart guilty of helping her former client, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, communicate with his Egyptian-based group of murderous terrorists, appropriately known as "the Islamic Group."
The blind sheik needed to instruct his followers to abandon a truce and resume murdering innocents, but he couldn't get the message through because, by sheer coincidence, he was in prison for conspiring to murder innocents here in America by plotting the first World Trade Center bombing. So Stewart and a "translator" met with her former client in prison and took his messages for transmission to his followers in Egypt.
With the full constitutional protections Democrats want for terrorists in Guantanamo, Stewart was convicted by a New York jury last year.
This week, Judge John Koeltl -- appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton in 1994 -- spurned the prosecution's request for a 30-year sentence and gave Stewart 28 months for being a terrorist's mule. Now she'll clog up the criminal justice system with endless appeals for the next several years -- using procedures that liberals also want for Guantanamo detainees.
At Stewart's sentencing, the judge noted that the defendant's actions had not resulted in any deaths. I'll have to remember that in case I'm ever on trial for attempted murder. "Hey, your honor, did I mention that the guy lived? Yeah, the darn gun jammed on me. Go figure, huh?"
In rejecting a 30-year sentence in favor of a 28-month sentence, the judge commended Stewart for her "public service, not only to her clients, but to the nation" for representing members of the Black Panthers and the Weather Underground. In a sane world, that would have justified a longer sentence, not a shorter one.
If only Democrats could turn the entire war on terrorism over to the courts, they could release terrorists and terrorist sympathizers with wild abandon -- and Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton would never have to take a position.
When Americans are allowed to vote, a fireman's vote counts as much as George Soros' vote. But if liberals can just get terrorists into the judicial system, a Clinton-appointed judge can rule on a defense funded by George Soros -- precisely what happened in Stewart's case. Note that even in liberal New York City, average citizens on the jury voted to convict Stewart, despite her Soros-funded defense.
Democrats run apparently sane candidates for office, like James Webb in Virginia and Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, who can puff up their chests and pretend they want to pursue terrorists -- while carping about any and all military action in the terrorists' general direction. Instead, let's turn terrorists over to courts full of Clinton and Carter judges! Democratic candidates get to look tough, and the terrorists go scot-free.
It would be frightening enough to treat terrorism as a criminal law problem if it were Republicans saying it. But these are Democrats. Their idea of a major criminal case is Tom DeLay's campaign treasurer accidentally depositing a campaign contribution into a checking account rather than a savings account.
By contrast, terrorists imprisoned in Guantanamo for trying to kill Americans must be treated as innocent little lambs. Oh, to be there when Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman is exonerated due to previously unavailable "DNA evidence"!
After President Bush signed a law this week providing for military tribunals for terrorists being held at Guantanamo and prohibiting their torture, Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin said, "We will look back on this day as a stain on our nation's history." (Note to Democrats: It's still too soon to use "stain" as a metaphor for a White House brouhaha.)
Democrats stood outside the White House shouting "Torture is a crime!" and "Bush is the terrorist!" Yep, these are the people who claim they're going to keep us all safe, America. Everybody good with that?
Gen. George Washington tried Major John Andre, Benedict Arnold's British co-conspirator, by military tribunal and ordered Andre hanged within 10 days of his capture. Nazi saboteurs, including an American citizen, captured on U.S. soil during World War II were tried in secret by military commission and promptly executed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Nuremberg trials were a form of military tribunal.
But Democrats think military tribunals aren't good enough for the terrorists plotting to kill Americans today. Liberals are going to make the terrorists love us! What better way to start than with criminal trials in front of judges like John Koeltl?