My article this morning discusses the announcement that military prosecutors have decided to seek the death penalty against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five others complicit in the 9/11 attacks. It raises the key issue of what kind of enforcement paradigm we are going to have: Do we go back to the September 10th approach of treating foreign jihadists as if they were ordinary criminal defendants entitled to all the rights and privileges of the civilian justice system? Or should we treat the enemy as a war criminal in a conflict in which it’s vital that we protect the intelligence we depend on to save American lives?
It’s a real opportunity for Sen. McCain to separate himself from Sens. Obama and Clinton. We still have the military commission option because Congress passed the Military Commissions Act in 2006. McCain voted for it; Obama and Clinton voted against it. The next commander-in-chief will surely have an opportunity to end military commissions and order that the terrorists held at Gitmo — including the 9/11 Six — be transferred to the civilian justice system. What do our three plausible candidates think should be done with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? This one is a gift … and McCain should grab it.