A GOP-heavy bloc nearly succeeds in scrapping 200 years of civil tradition
On the one hand, you have centuries-worth of successful terror trials within the federal civilian court system. You have Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid and Ramzi Yousef and, just a few weeks ago, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called "Underwear Bomber." Save for Abdulmutallab, all the rest are serving life sentences without parole in a federal penitentiary, locked away forever from the rest of the world. Soon, the "Dude, your pants are on fire" guy will be, too. We've heard the last of him.
On the other hand, you have a decade (and counting) of utter failure in the military tribunal system for foreign-born terror suspects. You have four Supreme Court decisions chiding the Bush Administration and Congress for failing to provide detainees with sufficient due process protections. And, accordingly, you have an already-unacceptable logjam of unprosecuted men at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Khalid Sheik Mohammed, for example, was captured eight-and-a-half years ago and he still hasn't been tried.
So, naturally, 47 U.S. senators early Friday voted to reject the successful program and endorse the option that so far has failed. These paragons of logic voted to ban terror trials for foreign-born terror suspects in federal court. They failed, fortunately, but the vote was crazy close. Only one Democrat, the DINO Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), voted for the measure. So did the eternally wrong statesman, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). Two Republicans voted against it-- Sen. Rand Paul (Kentucky) and Sen. Mark Kirk (Illinois).