Friday, August 17, 2007

The Padilla Lesson

Aspiring dirty-bomber and American defector to al Qaeda Jose Padilla was swiftly convicted on terrorism conspiracy charges by a federal jury yesterday - a result that even the New York Times was grudgingly forced to concede was a "victory" for the Bush Administration. Of course, that result will be appealed, particularly in light of the admission of one of the jurors that she "had all but made up her mind before deliberations began." But at least we can bask in the glory of the moment.

Especially so given that the Bushophobes have long charged that the Administration "had no case" against Padilla and that's why he was classified as an "illegal enemy combatant" and "locked away" in a Navy brig for three years and "tortured," accusations that Padilla's competence at trial rendered predictably ludicrous.

Equally as predictable is the fall-back left-wing meme that has already inevitably emerged, namely, that the Padilla conviction "proves" that he should have been fed through the civilian criminal justice system from the beginning because "our federal courts are perfectly capable of dealing with terrorism cases" - an assertion dismayingly, if not entirely unpredictably, echoed by Admiral Ed, who does so even while appearing to (almost) know better.

Once again the Powerline gents come to Mr. Morrissey's rescue. Brother Hinderaker reminds us of the intelligence factor....:

This illustrates the difference between war-fighting, the Administration's primary approach to terrorism, and criminal prosecution, the Democrats' predominant if not exclusive method. In a war-fighting model, you're trying to get information about terrorist plots before they mature, so you can prevent them from taking place. In a criminal prosecution model, you're trying to punish terrorists for acts they've already committed. In Padilla's case, the government was able to achieve both ends. But the Administration's priority was correct: first, do what it takes to learn the facts, so that if there are plots that may be carried out imminently, they can be foiled.

....and Brother Meringoff points out the logical destination of the "try him first" argument:

Moreover, to say that our federal courts can deal with terrorism cases is not to say that they should. This particular terrorist is an American citizen who was taken into custody on American soil, so I'm not troubled by the fact that he got a trial, though I'm not thrilled that the trial lasted five months. But it would be a travesty to grant such process (or indeed anything more than the most cursory hearing) to foreign terrorists captured, for example, on the battlefield.
Jose Padilla was a walking gray area because he was an American jihadi captured on American soil. That's why he was so useful to the jihadi-symps. And if the issue went no further than his case, I'd buy Ed's position on it. But libs want ALL Islamist terrorists handled the same way they insist Padilla should have been: as "criminals" in civilian "law enforcement actions" rather than declared enemies in a war of annihilation against the United States, who may be in possession of knowledge critical to the preservation of countless American lives.

Such a mindset would doubtless have garnered the White House nominally better PR, but it's the same mindset that left the nation wide open to the 9/11 attacks as well. Given the choice between the two, between my family and I remaining alive and unharmed and being irradiated, gassed, plagued, incinerated, or just plain blowed up real good, I choose the former. And I'm damned glad the President did as well.