At least Andrew Sullivan is honest that the main purpose of a civilian trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is not obtaining a conviction of KSM. A conviction could be obtained more efficiently and just as fairly in a military tribunal.
But what an open civilian case will also do – and it’s why a war criminal like John Yoo is so apoplectic – is reveal the extent to which the brutal torture of KSM was unnecessary, and led to the government’s inability to prosecute him to the full extent of the law.
It will be a civic lesson to America and the world. It will show the evil of terrorism and the futility and danger of torture. It will be a way in which Cheney’s torture regime can be revealed in all its grotesque excess at the same time as KSM’s vile religious extremism is exposed for its murderous nihilism. That all this will take place in New York – close to where the mass murder took place – is a particularly smart touch.
If only the Obama administration were as honest as to its motives.