Friday, March 16, 2007

The Crocodile Tears of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

If you have not read the transcript of the Combatant Status Review Tribunal hearing for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed at Guantanamo Bay, you should. You can find it here: It's long and, in places, boring, but it offers a look at two versions of the world: that of the West, and that of those like Mr Mohammed who hate the West and what it represents.

Civil libertarians will object to the nature of the hearing and the allegation (fact, probably) that Mr Mohammed was tortured while in US custody. Many well-meaning but naive people will be concerned that Mr Mohammed's rights have been violated by his arrest, detention, and interrogation. They will point to his long, rambling statement to the Tribunal as evidence that Mr Mohammed is a man with legitimate grievances and a fighter against an oppressive and imperialistic America. They will point to his statement that "...I'm not happy that three thousand been killed in America. I feel sorry, even. I don't like to kill children and the kids...I don't like to kill people. I feel very sorry they been killed kids in 9/11."

My mother would have said that Mr Mohammed is crying crocodile tears. He is very sorry that children were killed on 9/11...but not sorry enough to keep him from murdering more than three thousand people, at least some of whom were certain to be children. Of course he is sorry. He has been captured and called to account for his crime.

Mr Mohammed brags of the acts of violence and terrorism he planned, and claims responsibility for the gruesome murder of New York Times reporter Daniel Pearl. What kind of man proudly claims responsibility for murder?

We can - and will - argue for many years about responsibility for 9/11. We can - and will - argue about whether or not the detention of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere is legal and fair. We can - and will - argue about whether the trial of these persons in front of military tribunals is proper. My personal view is this: Mr Mohammed coldly planned the murder of thousands of people and proudly claimed responsibility for the beheading of Daniel Pearl. He did not offer any of these victims the opportunity to make statements in front of a tribunal. He did not ask any of them if they opposed the actions of their government or supported his twisted views of the world. He murdered them in cold blood to make a political statement.

Let Khalid Sheikh Mohammed cry his crocodile tears today. I look forward to the day he cries for mercy as he faces the judgement of the God he claims to serve - the mercy he wouldn't show to children. He has Hell to look forward to, and I hope he enjoys it.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


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