Mark Ellis
A shark in the water
By Mark Ellis
September 12, 2011

The way I was raised you give a new president a chance even if you didn't vote for him. But I jumped the shark on Barack Obama when he allowed Attorney General Eric Holder to make disconcerting noises about adjudicating the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad as if the terror mastermind's offence was tantamount to a Bed, Bath & Beyond knock-over job.

The episode offered a glimpse into a worldview entrenched at the highest echelons of our new President's administration. Did the attempted criminalization of this clear enemy combatant scarily presage a day when decisions about enemies who seek to attack the homeland could be made by foreign entities?

While the possible disposition of the KSM case was the catalyst for my epiphany about Obama and the shark, the new administration had already done much to bring that shark into the vicinity of my water skis. I boggled at the stimulus package, but the man I'd voted for in two previous elections had green-lighted TARP just prior to exiting the Oval Office.

I correctly interpreted Obama-Care as a progressive power grab, but at least at the bottom of it, the very bottom it turns out, was the germ of the idea that health care is intrinsically a good thing. I didn't buy this package either, but my man Mitt had passed Romney-Care, so again, it wasn't like I could get on too high a horse.

Then the Attorney General showed his hand. My misgivings about Holder's bizarre proposal weren't simply a response to Islamic radicalism. It became more about what message that choice sent about the possible erosion of our national sovereignty.

Some who populate Obama's inner sanctum doubtless believe that treating terrorists as criminals entitled to rights afforded citizens is an effective way to show the world that we are not waging a military war on any religion or its believers. Unfortunately, making the leap from that mode of thinking to acceptance of globalized jurisprudence absent a scintilla of nationalistic self-interest seems plausible, especially given the ideological predispositions of many of those closest to Barack Obama.

It is important to multi-track our foreign policies with belligerent nations in the hopes of reaching accord. I give the President credit if he honestly believes that legal recourse freed the imprimatur of Uncle Sam's military retribution would make the world a safer place. Obama did get Osama bin Laden, and he did so in a way that proscribed any possibility of the mass murderer getting his day in a Manhattan criminal court.

But the fact remains that the Obama Administration presented itself as being fine with the idea of taking military justice off the table when meting out judgments against a bloodthirsty cause our military branches have engaged with and held at bay for over a decade.

Some narratives had it that Obama took Holder to the proverbial woodshed after the PR disaster, and we've heard little about trying terrorists as criminals since. But give this administration another term freed the need to get reelected and all bets are off.

Bush 43, in his recent National Geographic Channel retrospective on 9/11, revealed that what was most on the minds of the first responders and rescuers the day he visited Ground Zero was whether or not he planned to go after the perpetrators. Bush's ear was anything but tin that day, and it earned him another term.

Holder's ear isn't made of tin either; he actually believes in what he was proposing. That's when I made like Fonzi and jumped.

I am not blind to the ways that Bush 41, Bush 43, and Clinton moved our country toward globalization, nor am I opposed to confronting the realities of the global marketplace. But home-grown justice for those who would do us harm is not part of any marketplace. Trial-lawyer defense of terrorists has no place in our courts. And God forbid such adjudication should ever fall in to the hands of the international social justice crowd.

© Mark Ellis


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