Two video clips to peruse here. First is Gen. James Jones, the Obama administration’s National Security Advisor, attempting to deal with fallout from his subordinate John Brennan’s quote that a 20 percent recidivism rate among released Guantanamo terrorist detainees, on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace:
If Jones looks a bit uncomfortable in that clip discussing Brennan’s statement and attempting to cover for him, it’s understandable; he’s put in a position of saying that for legalese and public-relations reasons some percentage of jihadist terrorists are going to have to be inflicted on the public, and no serious professional national-security expert will stomach such a statement easily. Particularly when such a serious professional as Jones has to be the one making it.
But while Brennan is making Jones’ shorts too tight in the seat, he has a tall order unseating the administration’s lead gaffemeister. We bring you the weekend exploits of Vice President Joe Biden:
There are only two immediately obvious flaws in what Biden says in the above clip, so he’s actually above his average and certainly trending upward from his idiotic statement earlier last week that victory in Iraq would be a crowning achievement of the Obama administration. In this appearance, though, there is no blatantly offensive or laughable falsehood – merely a pair of dumb statements.
First, Biden is correct in saying that Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab was treated in a similar fashion to the way the federal government treated Zacharias Moussaoui, the would-be 20th hijacker on September 11, 2001, and shoe-bomber Richard Reid. Both were put into federal civilian custody, Mirandized and put through the civilian courts.
What Biden doesn’t mention is that the Moussaoui trial was a circus and a nightmare for the federal government, and but for the fact that he acted as his own lawyer and ultimately pleaded guilty he might have been acquitted. His laptop computer, the data on which proved beyond a doubt that he was set to engage in the horrors of 9/11 but for his capture, was barred in evidence from the trial, which lasted several years and cost a fortune. As for Reid, his situation wasn’t as problematic as Moussaoui’s; he was convicted in a federal court and packed off to the federal Supermax facility in Colorado.
But it was because of a bipartisan understanding that the federal courts were inadequate to the intelligence and logistical needs of the War On Terror arising from cases like Reid and Moussaoui that legislation was passed setting up military tribunals for captured terrorists. That legislation didn’t depart from U.S. tradition in dealing with irregular combatants; the case of the German saboteurs captured on the East Coast in 1942 is an excellent place to begin. Those saboteurs, caught on American soil, were put through military tribunals and subsequently executed; no showing has been made as to why jihadist terrorists should ever be treated differently – and the military tribunal system is the one the vast majority of Americans wish to see used in dealing with those captured enemies. Biden, not being a particularly astute or wise talking head, appears blissfully ignorant to that fact.
Biden’s other dumb statement was a categorical denial that waterboarding works. This is patent and provable nonsense, as the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad was the reason he transformed from a recalcitrant and defiant enemy to a fountain of intelligence on the inner workings of al-Qaeda; for Biden or anyone else in the Obama administration to deny this fact is not only irritatingly partisan but frightening, as it indicates they operate from a fantasyland perspective with respect to national security.
But is Biden dumber than Brennan this week? Seems like a tough call. The reader is welcome to weigh in…