The Ghailani Verdict and the Anti-Anti-Terrorist Left

I was looking forward to this, from Andrew McCarthy, “A Compromise Verdict, and No Winners” (via RCP):

The Ghailani verdict was irrational, but no more so than the decision to try him as a civilian in the first place.


A federal jury in Manhattan has returned what is transparently a compromise verdict in the terrorism trial of Ahmed Ghailani.

The case centered on al-Qaeda’s bombing of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998. There were 285 counts, including separate murder charges for each of the 224 people killed. Ghailani was acquitted on 284 of them and convicted on a single charge of conspiracy to destroy government buildings.

That sounds like a great victory for Ghailani, but it is nothing of the kind. On the one count of conviction, Ghailani faces a sentence of up to life imprisonment, and there is a mandatory minimum term of 20 years in jail. In that sense, it is a victory for the government: The object of a terrorism trial is to neutralize the terrorist, and one count will do the trick.

But beyond that, the Justice Department walks away from the case as a big loser. That’s because the Obama administration made this much more than a terrorism trial. It cherry-picked the case to be a demonstration that the civilian criminal-justice system is up to the task of trying terrorists. This was to be the “turn the clock back” moment – specifically, back to the Clinton years, when Eric Holder was deputy attorney general and when prosecution in civilian courts was the U.S. government’s principal response to the jihadist onslaught that began with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing…

More at the link.

RELATED: From Steven Givler, “What Nobody Else Will Tell You About the Ghailani Trial.”


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