But the Bush administration needs to do two things differently, starting now: First, it must stop heralding each of these trials as a determinative battle in the war on terror. It puts too much pressure on prosecutors to behave appallingly, as they apparently did in Michigan. And it bullies possibly innocent defendants into accepting guilty pleas by threatening to designate them as "enemy combatants." Second, the administration must try a real terrorist for real acts of terror. Either the Moussaoui trial should go forward, based on real terror charges, with Moussaoui given a meaningful opportunity to defend himself, or Padilla, Hamdi, or Binalshibh should be tried in open court. Reserving the courts for the small-fry sends the message that the Western legal system can only punish the pretty-bad. And treating each pretty-bad guy like he committed the crime of the century sends the message that justice was never really the point in the first place.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Irritating Confidante
John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.
My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s
Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee
Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?
Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?
Driving in Circles
The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.