Sentence First, Verdict Afterwards: Obama Assures Public KSM Will Be Convicted and Executed

It was the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland that declared “Sentence first! Verdict afterwards.” However, President Barack Obama appears to have taken a lesson our two from her majesty. Today, President Obama assured Americans that they should not be offended by trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in federal court because he will be convicted and executed. I will be discussing this story tonight on MSNBC Countdown.

In an interview with NBC News, Obama said those offended by the trial will not find it “offensive at all when he’s convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.” He then appeared to recognize the impropriety of those remarks and said that he was “not going to be in that courtroom. That’s the job of the prosecutors, the judge and the jury.”

It is highly ironic that, in defending the noble decision to grant a fair trial to these men, Obama may have crossed the line in contributing to the prejudicial atmosphere against them. It is always a bad idea for a politician to comment on cases pre-trial. However, the greater damage may have been caused by Attorney General Eric Holder in his original press conference on the decision. The only thing missing from that transcript is a case caption to make it a formal motion for venue change. Holder specifically states that he wanted KSM tried a couple blocks from ground zero and wanted to give New Yorkers the satisfaction of trying one of the villains of 9-11.

I am not certain that such a trial will occur. If there is a case to be made for a venue change, this is it. Holder only magnified the need for such a motion.

For the full story, click here.

50 thoughts on “Sentence First, Verdict Afterwards: Obama Assures Public KSM Will Be Convicted and Executed”

  1. What did you expect. I wonder if Al Queda and the Teliban is not the ememy of President Obama in his mind. His ememy is the Bush Adminstration and those who toutured those “brave freedom fighters” for Islam and the oppression from the the evil Europeans and Americans. His other ememies are any of the Americans who would stand in his way in tranforming the country into a Socialist State. He would rather try and convict men like Lt Col Chessani and the Navy Seals who go in harms way to protect you. He does not propose to do this with violence, but subversion via the Fabian Socialist/Communitarian model. President Obama has no commitment to the American Nation State. He is a citizen of the world. I am a citizen of the United States. I will defend the Republic and I expect my president to do the same! What will he do when we have the next large scale attack on the Homeland? It will come and I am sure the intrepid Rham Emanuel will figure out a way to exploit the crisis via the Helgian Dialectic. I am not really big on conspirancy theroies, such as 9/11, NWO, and other far fetched crazy ideas. However, sometimes I wonder? Ultimately it is really about money, power, ego and the arogance that goes with it. As Cicero said: “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts, absolutely”!

  2. I am not a lawyer, and I am not a New Yorker, but is it possible that maybe New York is more disgusted with the damage we’ve done to ourselves than the damage any terrorist has done to us? That a jury of New Yorkers may find a way to put the War on Terror on trial, the way the OJ jury put the Los Angeles police on trial?

    I’m also wondering if the jury will be screened for 9/11 truthers, as 80,000 New Yorkers recently signed a petition to reopen the investigation into 9/11, by putting it on the November ballot. They had well over the number of signatures required, but a judge squelched it by saying citizens can’t order investigations. Maybe frustrated justice will out. I remember part of the spectacle of the Libby trial was finding jurors who weren’t so prejudiced against the Bush administration that they could actually serve. That took quite a while. Wouldn’t it be something to find most or many New Yorkers doubting the official story of 9/11 and thus being dismissed?

    3,000 people died on 9/11. Our illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have killed by some estimates more than a million, not to mention the countless number of orphaned and widowed and maimed and displaced and those who now hate us. Our Constitution is in a shambles. Good luck, jury.

  3. Gyges,

    We aren’t going to agree about this, you don’t understand what my point is, so I’m dropping out of this conversation. I wish you the best.

  4. Jill,

    I’d have hoped by now that repeating yourself doesn’t do a single thing to convince me that you’re in the right.
    What Obama said was stupid, and may require a change of venue. I’ll ask again, do you honestly think that statement changed a single person’s mind, after how KSM has been portrayed in the media for the past few years?
    There are two choices here. One: the courts are still an independent branch of government, capable of serving out justice free from the influence of the other branches of Government and mob rule. Two: they’re not. Either way, this one comment has no effect on the over all result of the trial.
    The very fact that we’re having this discussion versus “these people need to go to trial” is a step forward. The fact that we have to have it is a sign as how far we have to go.
    Our disagreement on this is mainly one of strategy and outlook. I’d rather concentrate on policy that Obama needs to change rather than possible slip ups that he can’t. Let’s start by treating the gaping chest wound, and work our way out to putting neosporin on the scrapes.

  5. I think its silly to claim that the President’s statement made any difference to the already “charged” atmosphere around this guy and this case. But … now that Obama has said that he wants KSM convicted and executed, are Beck/O’Reiley/Whats-her-toes-with-the-Adams-apple now going to start defending KSM? We should be seeing some tragi-comedy out of that cesspool pretty soon…

    It’s also silly to compare Obama to a mentally ill woman – he’s f*@%ing up, but he’s not crazy.

    Folks here are pointing out that Obama was a lawyer – but why has no one mentioned that he was on the faculty of the University of Chicago School of Law from 1992 to 2004 … teaching Constitutional Law!?!? That’s the thing that really irks me about his positions on issues like telecom immunity and failure to prosecute the people who ordered/allowed torture. Well, unlike the kooks who think he’s a Socialist Black Panther, I knew I was voting for a centrist – I just didn’t realize that he was going to occupy the center by standing mostly on the right and “hanging two” over the line on the left.

    I may just be betraying my legal ignorance, but the only thing I can think of in the change of venue issue would be that Holder is planning on defending it by saying “where else would you hold the trial? Everywhere in the US will have similar prejudices, so there’s no advantage to moving the trial elsewhere.”

  6. Gyges,

    I would count this as an accident if it wasn’t exactly on message with what everyone else in his administration is saying/doing and it is on message with Obama’s own actions. That’s why I don’t think it should be discarded as an accident. Can Obama have an accident? Certainly yes. This isn’t one of them. I’ll say this again: The denial of due process isn’t an aberration for Obama, it is his SOP. This statement was all a piece of that denial.

  7. The President’s statement was the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen him do and I wonder if he “poisoned” the ability of KSM to get even the semblance of a fair trial? To see it as a harbinger of the man’s evil is a bit overdone, given that we have been living through 8 years now of politicians making the same type of stupid statement on bothe the Right and the Left.

    While I was aghast at the interview with Todd, I was not surprised by it. Since 9/11 the national dialogue has made that kind of statement viable. We are living in a age, media supported, where the meme has become that we are “fighting a war” against a strategic concept. The arbiters of the parameters of national discussion have brought in bounds in service of this, concepts that are legally unthinkable. It has polluted the whole discussion of the issue and made all politicians fearful of being considered “not tough enough on terror.” I blame the President for lending his voice to this fear of reality and presume that intellectually he knows better, but is talking out of political expediency and fear. However, if you really want to use evil as an adjective in discussing this man’s politics, then I suggest that you have literally hundreds of people that rank above him on the evil scale.

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