Thursday, June 5, 2008
Tempting fate at Guantanamo
Sure, it's tempting to favor the death penalty for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused Sept. 11 mastermind, particularly since he asked for it himself today. But we are too smart and too committed to the rule of law to agree to such a travesty. Mohammed, one of three Guantanamo detainees that the United States admitted using 'enhanced' interrogation techniques on, has not been convicted of anything and may never be even with his outrageous statements. If he was tortured, he probably is entitled to have all the charges against him dismissed. So why would he request the death penalty? "This is what I wish, to be martyred," he told the war crimes court at Guantanamo, according to the Associated Press. Obviously, he's still trying to make the United States look bad in the eyes of the world. No doubt he's been infuriated by the failure of most countries and people to join his crusade against the United States, which make his calling the United States "crusaders" even more ridiculous. His refusal to cooperate with U.S.-provided attorneys appears misguided, even though he has alluded to principle. Fine. Let him have the representation he wants. As long as the United Staets behaves in accordance with legal principles that evolved in the centuries before George W. Bush became president, this country has nothing more to apologize for. But Mohammed appears to have miscalculated here. Why does he think he needs to make the United States look bad to the world when Bush and his appointees do such a good job on their own?