Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Khalid Sheik Mohammed: Constitutional Scholar

Riding the 2/3 on the way down to work this morning, I read a buried-on-page-17 blurb in the WSJ about the Klahid Sheik Mohammed's trial:
Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, who’s insisting on representing himself, told Col. Kohlmann, the military judge, that while he was an “expert in the gospel and the Koran,” he had no training in the common law system. Nonetheless, the alleged terrorist commander’s comments suggested he held sympathy for the 20th century American analytical movement known as legal realism.

A thought hit me on the train - this guy has a name right out of central casting. "Sheik Mohamed." What's with that?

Earlier news pieces on the Khalid Sheikh Mohamed (that's a lot to type - let's go with KSM from now on) trial mentioned KSM is looking forward to "martyrdom". Presumably, he understands that we tend to give the electric chair to folks found guilty of 2,973 counts of murder. So what KSM calls "martyrdom", we in the U.S.A. call "justice."

Of course, KSM is the guy whose original plans for the 9/11 attacks involved ten hijacked planes. From GlobalSecurity.Org:

Indeed, KSM describes a grandiose original plan: a total of ten aircraft to be hijacked, nine of which would crash into targets on both coasts—they included those eventually hit on September 11 plus CIA and FBI headquarters, nuclear power plants, and the tallest buildings in California and the state of Washington. KSM himself was to land the tenth plane at a U.S. airport and, after killing all adult male passengers on board and alerting the media, deliver a speech excoriating U.S. support for Israel, the Philippines, and repressive governments in the Arab world.

Got that? His original plan was to direct dozens of compatriots to kill themselves while murdering tens of thousands of civilians, only his plane would land safely. Boldly triumphant, KSM would step out onto the tarmac and deliver a speech. Wait, what?

Mohamed remarked on the judge’s brusque treatment of civilian attorneys, whom he repeatedly silenced before they could state their objections.“You tell [David Nevin, a volunteer civilian attorney], ‘Sit down! Sit down! Sit down Sit down!,’” said Mohamed. “It is inquisition, not trial.”

OK, low hanging fruit first. KSM is a sociopath, egomaniac, coward and hypocrite. A guy who planned the murder of thousands has no business whining that the judge keeps overruling his (court appointed, tax payer funded) lawyer's objections .

Then there's this choice nugget:

“I consider all American constitution” evil, he said, because it permits “same-sexual marriage and many other things that are very bad,” he told the military judge, Col. Ralph Kohlmann. “Do you understand?”

On the larger point, though, KSM gets it half-right. The American Constitution permits things that are very bad. That's the point of limited government by the people, for the people. The system is purposefully flawed for the simple reason that people are flawed. We don't have pretensions that the Constitution embodies a divinely inspired code of conduct. What KSM calls evil is a document that compels ordinary Americans to work through issues of morality and civil conduct to arrive at socially beneficial compromises (to whit: without resorting to political inspired murder). That's a beautiful thing in my book.

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