Don’t get me wrong here. I’m fine with prosecuting the terrorists we capture. But prosecution should treat them as the war criminals they are, not criminals of the drug gang variety. Cole is arguing in that 2002 op-ed for the latter, and that 9-11 was not an act of war.
Osama bin Laden issued his fatwa to kill Americans in 1996 and re-iterated it in 1998. Both of those were issued, obviously, long before anyone could claim that the Gitmo facility was “al-Qaeda’s number one recruitment tool,” and long before 9-11. While al-Qaeda’s aims have been out in full view from the 1996 fatwa, from the day of the 9-11 attacks forward, any serious person who was not steeped in leftist or other fringe ideology saw al-Qaeda for what it was: an enemy intent on destroying us to impose its radical Islamist vision everywhere they could. Many on the left (and a very few on the right) did not see al-Qaeda for what it is, and among them were Senator Barack Obama and the man who would become his attorney general, Eric Holder. Cole’s appointment is conclusive evidence that Obama and his closest advisers have learned nothing about the nature of the terrorist enemy we face, in the two years they have been in charge of conducting the war. The strong public opposition to trying 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad in civilian court in the very city he attacked has taught this administration precisely nothing. Seeing the daily intelligence on what the enemy plans and what its goals continue to be has taught them nothing. Al-Qaeda’s globe-spanning campaign of mass murder has taught them nothing. Mr. Cole joins a long train of absolutely awful appointments by this president, from Van Jones to Anita Dunn to Eric Holder to Janet Napolitano. But Mr. Cole may be the worst of the lot.
Well, the worst of the appointments. The worst of the lot remains the man who appointed them all.