If you are upset about the Obama Administration’s decision to bring al-Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed to New York for a federal civilian trial, and you are looking to blame someone, go straight to your bathroom and look into the mirror. You have no one to blame but yourself.
You sat passively by for years while President George W. Bush and conservatives in Congress (both Republican and Democrat) ginned up one unconstitutional set of military commission rules after another. You didn’t pay attention to the details of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 or the Military Commissions Act of 2006 or the major Supreme Court cases that told you the due process rules in place to try the terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba were unlawful. You wanted revenge and retribution, even at the cost of justice and fairness, and, so long as the men you were (falsely) told were the “worst of the worst” were on a foreign island and away from you, you were fine with it.
For years, you didn’t raise your voice and tell your elected officials that you welcomed a fair trial for the detainees under military rules. For years, you didn’t demand that the detainees have lawyers, or access to some of the evidence against them, or meaningful appellate review, or protection from abuse. Either you didn’t have confidence in the evidence against the men, or the application of the law, or you believed that America would somehow be rendered diminished and vulnerable by giving people like Mohammed more justice than they deserve. When the White House and the Congress reluctantly followed the letter but proudly not the spirit of the Supreme Court’s rulings in Hamdan or Hamdi or Boumediene you just changed the channel and moved on with your life.