We have a clueless ideologue, or, more likely, a hopelessly dishonest ideologue, as commander-in-chief. There can’t be any other explanation.
The Hill reports that President Obama has said he would have had Osama bin Laden sent to a civilian U.S. court for a criminal trial if the Navy SEALs had captured him, as opposed to killing him. The report is based on a Vanity Fair article derived from Mark Bowden’s new book, The Finish. Using the constitutional term “Article III” as lawyers often do in referring to the civilian federal courts, the report quotes Obama as explaining,
We worked through the legal and political issues that would have been involved, and Congress and the desire to send him to Guantánamo, and to not try him, and Article III…. I mean, we had worked through a whole bunch of those scenarios. But, frankly, my belief was if we had captured him, that I would be in a pretty strong position, politically, here, to argue that displaying due process and rule of law would be our best weapon against al-Qaeda, in preventing him from appearing as a martyr.
It is hard to know where to begin with anything this foolish. Let’s start with dishonesty. Thanks to the train wreck Obama’s demagoguery against Bush counterterrorism has made out of terrorist detention, our forces have killed in several situations — including the bin Laden raid — when it might well have been possible to capture terrorists. A president who actually believed the fantasy that Muslim populations are swayed by how much “due process and rule of law” we give to jihadist terrorists would never have adopted a kill-over-capture preference. For all his agitation against Bush’s war-paradigm for confronting our terrorist enemies, Obama has made liberal use of it in killing terrorists without any judicial warrants or trials. As he well knows, the law of war is the rule of law in wartime, and he has obviously not wasted much time fretting over due process.