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April 6, 2011

Gitmo and military commissions as sentencing law and policy

I do not do too much Gitmo/"war on terror" blogging because the key legal issues involved in these high-profile matters are rarely about sentencing and often well covered by many others both in the MSM and in the blogosphere.  Nevertheless, especially in a week in with the Obama Administration has decided to embrace military commissions, spotlighting some of the MSM coverage of the latest developments seems worthwhile.  Specifically, these two headlines really caught my attention over at How Appealing:

Though the AP story is mostly focused on the politics of Gitmo, I am not eager to engender or engage in the political debate over where and how terror suspects should be tried.  But, inspired in part by the LATimes piece, I am eager to hear just how (and with what sentencing purposes most in mind) folks think terror offenders should be punished.

April 6, 2011 at 08:20 AM | Permalink


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I'll just say what I said on Crime & Consequences:

Now that the Attorney General has decided -- or, to hear him tell it, has been forced -- to defer to military tribunals to try the hundreds of capital murder charges against KSM, we must seize the opportunity to have a national teaching moment about the death penalty.

In the McVeigh case, abolitionists were prudent enough, for the most part, to hunker down. They're wrong but they're not stupid, and they knew that the Oklahoma City atrocity was poison to their "never-no-matter-what" position. A Gallup poll conducted shortly before McVeigh's execution found that:

...the vast majority of Americans -- including a majority of those who generally oppose the death penalty -- believe McVeigh should be executed....According to the poll, 81% of Americans believe McVeigh should be executed, while 16% think he should not. A majority of people who say they generally oppose the death penalty, 58%, believes McVeigh should be executed, while 42% do not. The latest Gallup poll figures show that 67% of Americans favor the death penalty in general, while 25% are opposed.

McVeigh killed fewer than seven percent of the number of people KSM slaughtered. And, unlike the Murrah Building catastrophe, on 9-11 all of us saw the horrifying spectacle of human beings jumping to their final fate from a hundred stories up to avoid the terror and agony of being burned to death.

McVeigh was, as it were, a quasi-lethal injection to the abolitionist movement. KSM gives us a drug ten times the strength. The absurdity of the "never-no-matter-what" position is about to be writ large, and this time, we shouldn't let the abolitionists hide out. ###

I'll add just one more thought. The idea that a person who engineered the horrifying murders of three thousand people should get a sentence qualitatively identical to the sentence you'd give a guy who knocked over the gas station is beyond preposterous. No normal person could believe that a jail term, no matter what its length, is a just response to murder on this scale.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 6, 2011 10:18:18 AM

C'mon claudio, peter, John K, etc., etc., here's your chance to kill two birds with one stone: Trash that right-wing zealot Eric Holder for being a bloodlusting "barbarian" for having filed capital charges, and make the case that the beleagured KSM should get nothing more than a jail sentence 'cause, ya know, he's a victim of discrimination, and Amerika had it coming anyway. Dontcha think?

C'mon guys, don't get shy on me now. You go on and on about what you think are "sympathetic" cases for killers -- you know, one phony Mr. Innocent case after the next. But I'm just not hearing a lot about this one.

Not too eager to discuss the DP against the backdrop of KSM's playday on 9-11?? Well, my goodness!!!

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 6, 2011 11:39:29 PM

Thank you for sharing,it is very helpful and I really like it!

Posted by: Big pony | Apr 11, 2011 6:04:47 AM

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