If Military Tribunals don't work for terror trials, why keep supporting them?
Trying terrorist in Military Tribunals may be a popular idea with the right. No question that we all feel a desire for revenge. There’s something internally satisfying about cutting such people no slack, even about torturing them. But is that the best way to get results?
Since 9/11, we have tried and convicted 195 people in “criminal cases arising from terrorism that is associated—organizationally, financially, or ideologically—with self-described ‘jihadist’ or Islamic-extremist groups like al-Qaida.” This is per non-partisan Human Rights First. The Bush administration tried only three people in Military Commissions and those convictions were subject to a series of appeals that handed Bush setback after setback all the way to the US Supreme Court. Because of legal challenges, two of the three men convicted were later released by Bush. One went to Yemen, where he became a top operative of Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and trained and armed the Christmas Day underwear bomber.
With such a dramatic difference in success rates, why must we politicize the fight against terror? Why not use what works instead of insisting on ideology even when it runs head-on into facts?