Michael Mukasey, the last Attorney General to serve under George W. Bush, has an essential essay in The Wall Street Journal today. It’s called “Civilian Courts Are No Place to Try Terrorists,” and its caption explains something very important that I hope Eric Holder, the current Attorney General, will take on board as he contemplates cleansing Guantanamo Bay of its prisoners and turning its inmates over to the more tender mercies of the U.S. Justice system. “We tried the first World Trade Center bombers in civilian courts,” the caption begins. “In return we got 9/11 and the murder of nearly 3,000 innocents.”
That is a fact that the transnational, multicultural progressives who are now running America really need to understand. I know that the default mode in Washington now is to apologize for America, to believe that accommodation and capitulation are the new, improved fashion in patriotism. But please tell me that they also understand that the world is a dangerous place, that there are many people — and many regimes — that wish us ill, that the threat of Islamism has not dissipated in the wake of 9/11 but has merely gone underground where it is plotting, planning, bidding its time. In New York, the FBI foiled a major plot just a few weeks ago. In London, hundreds of Muslims have taken to the streets, braying for the head of visiting Dutch politician and Geert Wilders — the “dog” Geert Wilders as one protester denominated him in this video, which should have been aired on every major outlet, but has not been.
My greatest fear about the Obama administration at the moment is that its principals do not understand evil. They are, at bottom, followers of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, even if they’ve never read a word of that misguided sage. They believe that man everywhere was born good and does bad things because of a faulty upbringing, poverty, or a lack of the right sort of community organization in his life.
It’s a child’s, or, rather, a spoiled adolescent’s view of the world. Mr. Mukasey is an adult:
critics of Guantanamo seem to believe that if we put our vaunted civilian justice system on display in these cases, then we will reap benefits in the coin of world opinion, and perhaps even in that part of the world that wishes us ill. Of course, we did just that after the first World Trade Center bombing, after the plot to blow up airliners over the Pacific, and after the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
In return, we got the 9/11 attacks and the murder of nearly 3,000 innocents. True, this won us a great deal of goodwill abroad-people around the globe lined up for blocks outside our embassies to sign the condolence books. That is the kind of goodwill we can do without.
Amen to that.