I hate to be churlish but my rights as a U.S. citizen should not be extended to a Somali terrorist. Yes, that is just the kind of selfish person I am. The administration is more generous with our hard-won rights as Americans. As the Washington Times observes:
President Obama is extending full constitutional due-process rights to a Somali terrorist. This sets a troubling precedent. Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame was captured sometime in April on a boat traveling between Yemen and Somalia. He was detained on board a U.S. warship for two months and interrogated by intelligence officials. He reportedly revealed a great deal of valuable information regarding his connections to the Somalia-based al-Shabab militant group and the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. So far, so good.
But later developments are not so good: FBI agents have read Warsame his rights-rights I would insist he doesn’t have. The Times speculates that the administration has taken this step with Warsame, who is not a major figure and conducted no operations on American soil, to set a precedent. I think we just saw in the Casey Anthony trial that our system of justice is set up to protect the accused (as Anna rightly points out in a dissent from Julie and me on the Casey verdict).
Most Americans see no reason to give terrorists (or should I say alleged terrorists?) the right to trial in an American court. While endowning Warsame with rights he doesn’t possess, the indictment ignores the authority that Congress does possess:
The Warsame indictment is an end run around Congress, which last year voted to bar the transfer of terrorist detainees to the United States for trial or any other purpose. The 2011 National Defense Authorization Act stipulated that no Department of Defense funds “may be used to transfer, release, or assist in the transfer or release to or within the United States, its territories, or possessions” any detainee who “is not a United States citizen or a member of the Armed Forces of the United States” and was held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Mr. Warsame is small fry. I wouldn’t like to see him get off, but he’s not a very important figure in the terrorist world. On the other hand, if somebody of the evil stature of Khalid Sheik Mohammed got Casey Anthony-ed, it would matter a great deal.