Yet another example of Obama trying to do the right thing, but not one Democrat had his back:
The accused mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, may remain behind bars without trial indefinitely because of disagreement over his trial location, according to the Washington Post.
The Obama administration has concluded it can’t go ahead with its original plan to have the trial in federal court in New York because of opposition from lawmakers and local officials, the Post said. There is little support for reviving an effort to hold a military trial at Guantanamo Bay, according to the Post.
Obama administration officials said Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators can be held under laws of war, until a trial location is agreed on, the newspaper reported.
The latest coward to run like hell was none other than the Governor-elect Cuomo. Why? Who knows. He would have had four years for the issue to die down, but he caved prematurely. And the rule of law is even on Cuomo’s side!
And it has been like this on any number of issues. Remember the Senate vote on Gitmo? Appropriating funds for the Supermax prison? And on and on. The White House gets a rep in certain circles for not fighting, yet every single time they try to fight, our cowardly, sniveling Democratic congress undercuts him. Yet rest assured, Obama will receive all the blame.
It really is disgraceful what a bunch of wimps Democrats are. Such a shame that Grayson lost. At least one Democrat would say the right things.
*** Update ***
Greenwald responds that I am wrong:
John Cole argues that this is the fault of Congressional Democrats, not Obama, because this is “yet another example of Obama trying to do the right thing, but not one Democrat had his back.” No. First, there’s no indication that Obama — as opposed to Holder — ever cared about or even was in favor of civilian trials; shortly after Holder made his announcement, numerous reports indicated that Rahm Emanuel was furious and the Obama White House quickly took away the power to decide from Holder. Second, Cole is definitely right that there was (as usual) ample amounts of Democratic cowardice to go around, but it’s just not true that “not one Democrat had his back.” As but one of many examples, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) “‘applauded’ Holder  for ‘the decision to bring those individuals responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center to New York’.” Pat Leahy and Russ Feingold did the same. And 45% of New Yorkers favored having the trial there, compared to only 41% opposed.
I’ll defer to Glenn’s superior knowledge about the decision-making process and agree that this is solely the WH and DOJ’s call regarding KSM. I will, however, argue that there were “many examples” of congressmen and other political figures rushing to support the decision to try KSM in NY. Gerald Nadler and the soon to be former Senator Feingold do not a quorum make. On the other hand, there are multiple examples of members of Congress who, the moment the decision was made to hold the trial in NYC, immediately undercut and OPENLY attacked the administration’s decision. I think Glenn and I both trust the judgment of Jane Mayer, so I’ll defer to her version of events in the days after the Christmas Day Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted attack:
After the Christmas Day incident, conservative pundits lambasted the Justice Department’s handling of Abdulmutallab, who had concealed in his underwear a bomb that ignited but failed to explode. When the plane landed, Abdulmutallab was taken to a hospital for treatment; at Holder’s directive, he was arrested as a criminal suspect. (The F.B.I., the C.I.A., and the Pentagon signed off on Holder’s decision.) F.B.I. agents questioned Abdulmutallab for some fifty minutes, under what is known as the “public-safety exception” to the right to remain silent. He divulged time-sensitive intelligence: he had been trained in Yemen, by affiliates of Al Qaeda, and had obtained explosives from them. After he received medical treatment, a Justice Department source said, he started to “act like a jihadi and recite the Koran.” He stopped coöperating and demanded a lawyer, at which point authorities read him his rights. On “Inside Washington,” Charles Krauthammer declared that it was “almost criminal” that Holder had allowed Abdulmutallab access to an attorney. Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, appeared on ABC, saying, “Why in God’s name would you stop questioning a terrorist?”
Joseph Lieberman, the Independent senator from Connecticut, released a statement declaring that Abdulmutallab was “an enemy combatant and should be detained, interrogated, and ultimately charged as such.” Then, to the dismay of Justice Department officials, the Obama Administration’s top intelligence official, Dennis Blair, the director of National Intelligence, appeared at a Senate hearing and, under harsh questioning from Republicans, second-guessed Holder’s decision to turn Abdulmutallab over to the F.B.I. (Blair later said that his remarks had been “misconstrued.”) Soon, even Democrats were attacking Holder’s decisions. In a letter to Obama, Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, suggested that holding a trial in New York was dangerous. “New York City has been a high-priority target since at least the first World Trade Center bombing,” she wrote. “The trial of the most significant terrorist in custody would add to the threat.”
The death blow was struck by New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who had previously pledged his support to Holder. On January 27th, Bloomberg distanced himself from the Justice Department, saying that a trial in New York would be too expensive. For months, companies with downtown real-estate interests had been lobbying to stop the trial. Raymond Kelly, the commissioner of the New York Police Department, had fortified their arguments by providing upwardly spiralling estimates of the costs, which the federal government had promised to cover. In a matter of weeks, in what an Obama Administration official called a “classic City Hall jam job,” the police department’s projection of the trial costs went from a few hundred million dollars to a billion dollars.
Senator Charles Schumer, of New York, quickly released a statement echoing Bloomberg; the wisdom of moving the trial away from lower Manhattan, he said, was “obvious.” Then, on February 1st, Schumer told the Daily News that he opposed the idea of a 9/11 trial taking place anywhere in New York State. Officials in Pennsylvania and Virginia—the two other states where the 9/11 attacks occurred—began declaring their opposition to hosting the trials, too.
Obama and Holder have never had the support of the Democratic caucus, and usually, the caucus has worked to undercut him. Again, Glenn is right that the ultimate decision may rest with Holder and Obama, but he is ignoring every piece of evidence that shows what an uphill battle they face. Again, I’ll refer to little things like the Senate voting 98-0 to screw Obama regarding his plans for Gitmo, or the removal of all funding to purchase a Supermax jail, and on and on.
Usually around now, someone somewhere will bring up the old canard of “Bush would have done whatever he wanted.” And sure enough, Bush would have probably done what he wanted. But there is a key difference- If Bush had said “We’re going to try KSM in NYC because we aren’t afraid of the terrorists and this is the American way,” every single Republican would have trampled Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube in a rush to get to a microphone to agree with Bush. Chuck Schumer and most Democrats would have been right behind them. And that was the point of this post, and what Glenn seems to really be missing. This wasn’t an attempt to defend Obama from bad decisions, this post was an attack on the Democratic party for being a bunch of craven, cowardly pushovers who talk a good game but cower every time the Republicans say anything. And like I said, Obama will always be on the receiving end of the blame, even though he bucked his own party and attempted to do the right thing.
In fact, Obama framed the issue just as I stated above- that we have nothing to be afraid of. From the comments:
Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday fought back against criticism that trying accused Sept. 11 terrorists in New York City poses a risk, saying that U.S. courts have safely tried terrorists, and that Americans should not “cower” in anticipation of the trials.
Speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Holder said terrorists — including those responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing — have been prosecuted in the federal courts for years. He also said more than 300 convicted international and domestic terrorists remain in the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
“We need not cower in the face of this enemy,” Holder said. “Our institutions are strong, our infrastructure is sturdy, our resolve is firm, and our people are ready.” He added that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and police Commissioner Ray Kelly believe the upcoming trials can be held safely.
Also from the comments:
Americans should not be “fearful” of the prospect that five men accused of masterminding the September 11 attacks will go on trial in New York City, President Barack Obama said Wednesday.
“I think this notion that somehow we have to be fearful, that these terrorists possess some special powers that prevent us from presenting evidence against them, locking them up and exacting swift justice, I think that has been a fundamental mistake,” he told CNN, according to early excerpts of an interview released Wednesday.
And just for clarity’s sake, let’s remember that Bush never did try to do the right thing and hold trials. To the contrary, Bush was the one who opened Gitmo, tortured KSM, and created this whole god damned mess. Obama and Holder are trying to do the right thing, and are getting no help whatsoever.