Showtime, Pete King

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 18 2010 11:18 AM

Showtime, Pete King

The Obama administration's ambitions of trying suspected terrorists in civilian courts had only stopped being a liability, really, because there was too much going on for anyone to focus on it. The Ahmed Ghailani verdict changes that, and it's not just because Ghailani was only convicted on one count. Glenn Greenwald puts it well :

[T]he most important point here is that one either believes in the American system of justice or one does not.  When a reviled defendant is acquitted in court, and torture-obtained evidence is excluded, that isn't proof that the justice system is broken; it's proof that it works .  A "justice system" which guarantees convictions -- or which allows the Government to rely on evidence extracted from torture -- isn't a justice system at all, by definition.

Advertisement

Critics of the Obama administration are confident that this isn't how people want to view these trials. They're also confident that people don't really understand the stakes. Ghailani's aquittals don't mean that he's going to walk out into the sunlight. He was in captivity, somewhere; he will go into captivity, somewhere; if he had gotten off, he would have remained in captivity, somewhere. The Obama administration's position here is one of its most politically untenable on any issue. Does anyone think the administration, and Eric Holder in particular, is ready to defend and explain all of this once Peter King -- who was hardly invisible from 2009 to 2010 -- runs the Homeland Security committee again?

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

There Are New Abuse Allegations Against Adrian Peterson

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

John Oliver Pleads for Scotland to Stay With the U.K.

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Jurisprudence

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 

The Juice

Ford’s Big Gamble

It’s completely transforming America’s best-selling vehicle.

I Tried to Write an Honest Profile of One of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars. It Didn’t Go Well.

Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police

The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 1:51 PM Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.