Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Remember when Obama promised to restore those civil liberties that Bush took away?

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Keeping Our Heads

The Mauthausen Trial: American Military Justice in Germany By Tomaz Jardim (Harvard University Press, 276 pp., $29.95) Conscience on Trial: The Fate of Fourteen Pacifists in Stalin’s Ukraine, 1952–1953 By Hiroaki Kuromiya (University of Toronto Press, 212 pp., $60) All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals By David Scheffer (Princeton University Press, 533 pp., $35) Justice and the Enemy: Nuremberg, 9/11, and the Trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed By William Shawcross (PublicAffairs, 257 pp., $26.99)    IN 1952, FOURTEEN peasants, owning little more than a few religio

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The other day Will Wilkinson had a nice, albeit somewhat overwrought, summary of the right-wing culture war mentality: What Bloomberg has said reveals the utter zaniness of right identity politics. The sanctity of private property and religious liberty are of course essential elements of the traditional American creed. But to actually apply these principles misses the point.

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It’s roughly two weeks shy of the September 12 march on Washington, and Glenn Beck is distraught. Behind him on the cavernous Fox News set is Beck’s familiar dry-erase board, upon which various insults are written in Beck’s looping print. “This is what people have said about me just this week ... the blogs and everything else,” Beck says, before proceeding to tick off a few: hysterical, cult leader, shameless opportunist. There’s a quaver in Beck’s voice and a familiar dewiness in his eyes when the host finally sits down next to Dr.

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The Chief

You think it’s so great being Rahm Emanuel?

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Poor Eric Holder. The fact is that he is none too smart ... and none too versed in constitutional issues. Although Ronald Reagan did appoint him Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia! Ah, those were the days when Republican presidents appointed Democrats to judicial office and Democratic presidents appointed Republicans to same. Actually, aside from his graduation from Stuyvesant High School in New York City, "second rate" is what comes to mind when you hear Holder's name. Hey, Janet Reno wasn't so brainy either. Holder's mental equipment matters now more than ever.

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The Bush Defense

Last night at a Cambridge dinner party, someone posited that the country would soon witness what she called “a Bush revival.” Another person at the table suggested that it had already begun. Now, 02138 would be just about the last zip code where such a phenomenon might be noticed. So I take this postulate seriously, very seriously. But, frankly, I haven’t seen a single poll confirming this--although there may have been some.

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Can anyone, and Eric Holder in particular, "find 12 [random] Americans who would vote to convict an American citizen for threatening the life of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?" I doubt it. Not even on the Upper West Side. (The question has been posed by Michael Goldfarb on the Weekly Standard web site.) But not even that fact can dispose of the problem. Which suggests that Attorney General Holder, by foraging into what is by contemporary standards ancient history, has put himself outside the matrix of democratic standards.

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In today's Washington Post article about the start of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's trial before a military commission at Guant

War of Error

Omar bin Laden, the fourth son of the Al Qaeda leader, cuts a striking figure. In one photo, he stares out from beneath an Adidas baseball cap, his beard closely trimmed--an entirely different look from his father's seventh-century aesthetic. He wears jeans and sits next to his much older wife, a pale-faced British woman with pig tails, whom he divorced a mere five months into their marriage. While his father would not approve of his lifestyle choices, few men know the terrorist mastermind so well.

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