As Scott Johnson writes in today’s NY Post:
Obama attacked the Bush approach on fighting terror. He claimed that, in the case of “the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in US prisons, incapacitated.”……In a National Review Online piece, McCarthy notes: “While the government managed to prosecute many people responsible for the 1993 WTC bombing, many also escaped prosecution because of the limits on civilian criminal prosecution. “Some who contributed to the attack, like Khalid Sheik Mohammed, continued to operate freely because they were beyond the system’s capacity to apprehend. Abdul Rahman Yasin was released prematurely because there was not sufficient evidence to hold him – he fled to Iraq, where he was harbored for a decade (and has never been apprehended).” Pointing to the later terrorist attacks on Americans and US assets, culminating in 9/11, McCarthy concludes that the law-enforcement approach to combating terrorism was futile.
But that’s not all that Obama got wrong:
The convicted spiritual mentor of the 1993 WTC bombers is Omar Abdel-Rahman (“the blind sheik”). By Obama’s logic, the blind sheik was “incapacitated” and therefore rendered harmless by his conviction and imprisonment. In fact, Abdel-Rahman continued to wage jihad from behind bars, issuing instructions to his followers in Egypt……Lynne Stewart was convicted in February 2005 of conspiracy and providing and concealing material support of terrorism for her actions in smuggling messages from Abdel-Rahman to his followers in the terrorist group Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group). The jihadist activities of Abdel-Rahman from behind bars, plus the collaboration of his attorney, illustrate the challenges President Bush sought to confront fairly with the arrangements for the detention and isolation of captured enemy combatants in Guantanamo.
Obama also got his “historical” Law wrong:
“I mean, you remember during the Nuremberg trials, part of what made us different was even after these Nazis had performed atrocities that no one had ever seen before, we still gave them a day in court and that taught the entire world about who we are, but also the basic principles of rule of law. Now the Supreme Court upheld that principle.”
“..the….Nazi war criminals had no access to US courts. The fair-trial provision of the charter governing the trial was relatively skimpy – and the provision on appeal rights was even shorter and sweeter: The defendants had no right to appeal. The procedures the court found deficient in Boumediene, by contrast, provided for appeal rights to the DC Circuit, the most prominent US bench below the Supreme Court. ….In short, the procedural protections for Gitmo ..exceed those accorded the Nuremberg defendants. Obama’s unfavorable comparison of the legal treatment at Gitmo with that at Nuremberg suggests either that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about – or that he feels free to exploit the ignorance of audiences that don’t know the truth of the matter.