You don’t have to be a mind reader to figure out the propaganda strategy of September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the four other terrorists who were arraigned Saturday in a 13-hour spectacle in Guantanamo Bay. The idea is to use the open military trial to promote jihad and discredit American institutions, including the military system of justice.
The point to keep in mind is that this would have happened no matter the trial venue, civilian or military. The critics who have never liked military tribunals and accused them of being a form of railroad justice are now blaming them for being so unruly that they give terrorists a chance to act out. Well, which is it?
The real fault lies with the terrorists, who hope to put American justice on trial instead of themselves. The defendants refused even to look at Judge James Pohl, much less to answer questions or wear headsets to hear the simultaneous translation into Arabic. There were unscheduled prayers and a paper airplane. Ramzi bin Al Shibh commented in English that “Maybe they will kill us and say we have committed suicide.” …
…At some point, the prosecution has to start treating this like the Nuremberg tribunal—as an opportunity to re-educate the world about what the terrorists did and why they are on trial. Among other things, KSM conspired to hijack airplanes and fly them into office towers to slaughter 3,000 Americans, most of them innocent civilians. That’s the “torture” General Martins should focus on.