The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From last night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On President Obama’s trip to Asia:

Well, that was definitely a world-class bow in Tokyo. [Obama’s] apologists will say it was protocol or politeness, but I have looked at pictures of other presidents, vice presidents, and others, and they haven’t gone halfway to the emperor’s toes on a bow.

I have seen pictures of MacArthur with Hirohito and he never bowed — and MacArthur wasn’t even a president, although at times he thought he was.

But there was a second incident that I found interesting, when the president declared himself the First Pacific President. That’s because, presumably, he grew up and spent some of his childhood in Hawaii, and in Indonesia, and his mom took him on a visit to Japan, although all he remembers of that, as he says, was the ice cream.

The First Pacific President?

Well, Teddy Roosevelt — he built the Panama Canal in order to make the United States a Pacific power and he did. William Howard Taft, his successor, was the governor of the Philippines. And John Kennedy and George Bush Sr. were in the Pacific [theater] in the Second World War and spent some time in the Pacific Ocean itself — Bush, after having been shot down from his airplane; and Kennedy, after having his ship cut in half by a Japanese patrol boat.

So these people actually spend time in the Pacific, but in Obama’s mind, it doesn’t in any way match the experience of the baby Jesus — excuse me, the baby Obama — growing up on some Pacific island.

… The narcissism of the man is rather unbounded.

On the decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a New York civilian court:

What is so hard to understand is Holder’s argument, the logic of his argument.

Now, I want to look only at a single aspect of it. … If [Holder] opposed the military commissions on principle, you could say his decision on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was wrong, but at least it was logical.

But he doesn’t. On the day he sent KSM to a civilian trial in New York, he announced he would send five of the miscreants who attacked the Cole, a warship, to a military trial in Guantanamo or perhaps elsewhere.

Now, what is the logic here? Holder was asked about this, and to the extent that he was coherent, which is only to a small extent, he said: Well, if you attack a civilian target, as in 9/11, then you go to a civilian court; a military target like the Cole, to a military [court].

First of all, the Pentagon was hit on 9/11, so it wasn’t exclusively a civilian attack. But perhaps Holder forgot about that.

But secondly, even if [9/11] were exclusively an attack on civilians — which is a worse act of war criminality, attacking defenseless civilians or attacking a military target, like a warship? We have attacked warships in our history, Japan and Germany in the Second World War and elsewhere. That is an accepted act of war.

Why does a person [like] Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who attacked civilians — the more obvious and egregious war crime — get the extra protections, the extra constitutional niceties that you get in a civilian courtroom, as opposed to someone who attacks a military target? The logic here is perverse.

And the incentive is [perverse]: If you are a terrorist overseas thinking — am I going to attack a well-protected military installation? [No,] I will hit a civilian [target]. I will be in a cozy cell with a lawyer, Miranda rights and perhaps even a blog. Why wouldn’t I attack innocent civilians?

On whether, if by technicality or hung jury, one of these cases went the other way, they would be let free:

They will be rearrested in the courtroom. A second charge will be filed, and it will be endless. And in the end, if they are acquitted on all charges endlessly, they will end up in indefinite detention.

We will not let them out. Everyone knows that. That’s what makes it such a farce.

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