Archive for November 13th, 2009

Five Sept. 11 Suspects to Face Trial in New York

Friday, November 13th, 2009

What a travesty. These terrorist thugs, who were captured on a battlefield, are to be tried in a U.S. civilian court. Simply unbelievable.

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers and victims’ families expressed outrage Friday that President Obama has approved a recommendation to try self-proclaimed Sept. 11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other Guantanamo Bay to New York to face trial in a civilian federal court.

“These terrorists planned and executed the mass murder of thousands of innocent Americans. Treating them like common criminals is unconscionable,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in a statement.

“This, I think, will go down as one of the worst decisions any president has ever made,” said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.

“The only thing they are going to do is give them a stage to mock us … and this makes me sick to my stomach,” said Tim Brown, a former New York City firefighter and founder of Thebravest.com, a group that is petitioning the administration not to bring terrorists to civilian courts.

President Obama, speaking in Tokyo, said he will insist that Mohammed be subject to “the most exacting demands of justice” and called the move both a prosecutorial and a national security decision.

“I’m absolutely convinced that Khalid Sheik Mohammad will be subject to the most exacting demands of justice. The American people insist on it. My administration will insist on it,” he said.

Mohammed and the four others — Waleed bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi and Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali — are accused of orchestrating the attacks that killed 2,973 people on Sept. 11, 2001. They will now stand trial in a courtroom down the street from the World Trade Center buildings that Mohammad takes credit for demolishing that day.

Bringing such notorious suspects to U.S. soil to face trial is a key step in Obama’s plan to close the terror suspect detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Obama initially planned to close the detention center by Jan. 22, but the administration is no longer expected to meet that deadline.

It is also a major legal and political test of Obama’s overall approach to terrorism. If the case suffers legal setbacks, the administration will face second-guessing from those who never wanted it in a civilian courtroom. And if lawmakers get upset about notorious terrorists being brought to their home regions, they may fight back against other parts of Obama’s agenda.

The New York case may also force the court system to confront a host of difficult legal issues surrounding counterterrorism programs begun after the 2001 attacks, including the harsh interrogation techniques once used on some of the suspects while in CIA custody. The most severe method — waterboarding, or simulated drowning — was used on Mohammed 183 times in 2003, before the practice was banned.

But some supporters said they have confidence that the U.S. courts could successfully try enemy combatants.

“The transfer of cases to federal court is a huge victory for restoring due process and the rule of law, as well as repairing America’s international standing, an essential part of ensuring our national security,” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “However, it’s disappointing that the administration has chosen to prosecute some Guantanamo detainees in the unsalvageable military commissions system. … Justice can only be served in our tried and true courts.”

Holder will also announce that a major suspect in the bombing of the USS Cole, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, will face justice before a military commission, as will a handful of other detainees to be identified at the same announcement, the official said.

It was not immediately clear where commission-bound detainees like al-Nashiri might be sent, but a Navy brig in South Carolina has been high on the list of considered sites.

The actual transfer of the detainees from Guantanamo to New York isn’t expected to happen for many more weeks because formal charges have not been filed against most of them.

The attorney general has decided the case of the five Sept. 11 suspects should be handled by prosecutors working in the Southern District of New York, which has held a number of major terrorism trials in recent decades at a courthouse in lower Manhattan, just blocks from where the World Trade Center towers once stood.

Original Link.

“Medicalizing Mass Murder” by Charles Krauthammer

Friday, November 13th, 2009

WASHINGTON — What a surprise — that someone who shouts “Allahu Akbar” (the “God is great” jihadist battle cry) as he is shooting up a room of American soldiers might have Islamist motives. It certainly was a surprise to the mainstream media, which spent the weekend after the Fort Hood massacre downplaying Nidal Hasan’s religious beliefs.

“I cringe that he’s a Muslim. … I think he’s probably just a nut case,” said Newsweek’s Evan Thomas. Some were more adamant. Time’s Joe Klein decried “odious attempts by Jewish extremists … to argue that the massacre perpetrated by Nidal Hasan was somehow a direct consequence of his Islamic beliefs.” While none could match Klein’s peculiar cherchez-le-juif motif, the popular story line was of an Army psychiatrist driven over the edge by terrible stories he had heard from soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

They suffered. He listened. He snapped.

Really? What about the doctors and nurses, the counselors and physical therapists at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who every day hear and live with the pain and the suffering of returning soldiers? How many of them then picked up a gun and shot 51 innocents?

And what about civilian psychiatrists — not the Upper West Side therapist treating Woody Allen neurotics, but the thousands of doctors working with hospitalized psychotics — who every day hear not just tales but cries of the most excruciating anguish, of the most unimaginable torment? How many of those doctors commit mass murder?

It’s been decades since I practiced psychiatry. Perhaps I missed the epidemic.

But, of course, if the shooter is named Nidal Hasan, whom National Public Radio reported had been trying to proselytize doctors and patients, then something must be found. Presto! Secondary post-traumatic stress disorder, a handy invention to allow one to ignore the obvious.

And the perfect moral finesse. Medicalizing mass murder not only exonerates. It turns the murderer into a victim, indeed a sympathetic one. After all, secondary PTSD, for those who believe in it (you won’t find it in DSM-IV-TR, psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), is known as “compassion fatigue.” The poor man — pushed over the edge by an excess of sensitivity.

Have we totally lost our moral bearings? Nidal Hasan (allegedly) cold-bloodedly killed 13 innocent people. In such cases, political correctness is not just an abomination. It’s a danger, clear and present.

Consider the Army’s treatment of Hasan’s previous behavior. NPR’s Daniel Zwerdling interviewed a Hasan colleague at Walter Reed about a hair-raising Grand Rounds that Hasan had apparently given. Grand Rounds are the most serious academic event at a teaching hospital — attending physicians, residents and students gather for a lecture on an instructive case history or therapeutic finding.

Read the rest of the article here.

“The Politics of Fort Hood” by Jonah Goldberg

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Let me say up front, I don’t think President Obama is to blame for the Fort Hood shootings, and I don’t think it’s fair to say otherwise.

But (you knew there had to be a “but”), that doesn’t mean Obama won’t pay a political price for Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s rampage.

At first blush, it seems distasteful to take a political yardstick to the pain suffered at Fort Hood. But if we are to consider this incident part of the bloody tapestry of the larger war on terror, there’s no way to separate it from politics. After all, the war on terror has been driving politics in America for the better part of a decade now.

And that might offer insight into why so many are eager to make the massacre a story about the psychological breakdown of a man who just happened to be a Muslim.

If this is just another incident where a deranged man went “postal” at his office, then there’s no reason to second-guess the Obama administration’s fairly relentless effort to dismantle the war on terror.

That effort stems from what Obama believes to be a sweeping mandate to be Not George Bush. In pursuit of that mandate, the White House has already purged the phrase “war on terror” from its lexicon, preferring “overseas contingency operations.” Obama is hell-bent on closing Guantanamo Bay, is making progress on the White House project to treat terrorists as mere criminals, and has kowtowed to the United Nations as no president has. Meanwhile, his secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, says that Islamic terrorism like we saw on 9/11 should now be referred to as “man-caused disasters.” But she adds that American right-wingers must be scrutinized as potential terrorists.

All of these moves seemed politically palatable for a war-weary country that felt, rightly or wrongly, as if we’d made it through the worst of it. It was time for a makeover of our political house. The problem is that, rather than merely throw on a fresh coat of paint and lay down some new carpeting, Obama is going after load-bearing walls and structural beams. And if the war on terror refuses to go away as easily as the phrase we use for it did, the whole edifice of the Obama administration could come crashing down.

Read the rest of the article here.

U.S. to Seize Mosques, Skyscraper Linked to Iran

Friday, November 13th, 2009

NEW YORK — Federal prosecutors have taken steps to seize four U.S. mosques and a Manhattan skyscraper owned by a nonprofit Muslim organization long suspected of being secretly controlled by the Iranian government.

In what could prove to be one of the biggest counterterrorism seizures in U.S. history, prosecutors filed a civil complaint Thursday in federal court against the Alavi Foundation, seeking the forfeiture of more than $500 million in assets.

The assets include bank accounts; Islamic centers consisting of schools and mosques in New York City, Maryland, California and Houston; more than 100 acres in Virginia; and a 36-story glass office tower in New York.

Confiscating the properties would be a sharp blow against Iran, which has been accused by the U.S. government of bankrolling terrorism and trying to build a nuclear bomb.

Original Link.

The Ant and Grasshopper – The Old and the New

Friday, November 13th, 2009

I got this email and wanted to share it with you.

OLD VERSION

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away..
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY:
Be responsible for yourself!

MODERN VERSION

The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.
CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.
America is stunned by the sharp contrast.
How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green.’
Acorn stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group singing, ‘We shall overcome.’
Rev. Jeremiah Wright then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper’s sake.
President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper’s plight.
Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.
Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-GrasshopperAct retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his
retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.
The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn’t maintain it.
The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.
The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and once peaceful, neighborhood.
The entire Nation collapses bringing the rest of the free world with it.

“Pelosi Okay With Uninsured Americans in Jail” by Jeff Schreiber

Friday, November 13th, 2009

As questions go, asking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi if she’s fine with the idea of people serving prison time for failing to procure health coverage is a pretty good one. However, the one question I’d like to ask Ms. Pelosi simply is not being asked. Somebody, please:

Speaker Pelosi, forget the threat of prison time — where in the United States Constitution is Congress or anybody else granted the authority to mandate that Americans acquire health insurance coverage?

Both the General Welfare Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause, the two traditional provisions cited by liberals to constitutionally justify expansive entitlement programs, were designed to operate only within the enumerated powers granted to Congress by the document itself, specifically Article I, Section 8. Neither is a blank check for the federal government to do whatever it sees fit.

Furthermore, aside from the blanket unconstitutionality of her legislation, Pelosi’s underlying arguments are all wrong. The cost of so-called “uncompensated care,” incurred by the rest of us for services provided by hospital emergency rooms and such to those without insurance, only accounted for less than 2.5 percent of all health care costs during 2008. That’s it. But never let those little things called “facts” stand in the way of idealism and the Democrats’ bloodlust for governmental control. Heck, if they wanted to look at facts, perhaps they could start with the not-so-astronomical 2.2 percent profit margin enjoyed by those evil insurance companies.

Also, does anyone else find it even slightly ironic how Pelosi says that those people living free off the health care system at paying taxpayer expense simply is unacceptable? How is that any different than every other byproduct of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty? How is that any different than the unwed mother of six buying Snickers bars with her food stamp card while chatting with her friend on a new Blackberry? Perhaps Pelosi’s repeated facial surgeries have left her completely unable to smell the fecal matter she’s shoveling. Or, perhaps she just doesn’t care.

Original Link.