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Slate: Military Trials are 'Cowardly' and 'Stupid' Except When They're Not

4:05 PM, Apr 5, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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As one might expect, Slate's reliably liberal legal analyst Dhalia Lithwick has a lengthy jeremiad today: "Cowardly, Stupid, and Tragically Wrong: The Obama administration's appalling decision to give Khalid Sheikh Mohammed a military trial."

Hmm. So how does she really feel? In any event, a friend on twitter zeroes in on the key passage:

Every argument advanced to scuttle the Manhattan trial for KSM was false or feeble: Open trials are too dangerous; major trials are too expensive; too many secrets will be spilled; public trials will radicalize the enemy; the public doesn't want it.

Of course, exactly the same unpersuasive claims could have been made about every major criminal trial in Western history, from the first World Trade Center prosecution to the Rosenberg trial to the Scopes Monkey trial to Nuremburg. Each of those trials could have been moved to some dark cave for everyone's comfort and well-being. Each of those defendants could have been tried using some handy choose-your-own-ending legal system to ensure a conviction. But the principle that you don't tailor justice to the accused won out, and, time after time, the world benefited.

Emphasis added. Is Lithwick really unaware that Nuremburg was a military trial?

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