Trials for Terrorists

“The weight of evidence [in Guantanamo] has got to be that we've got to adjudicate these people's cases, and...if it means releasing some of them, you'll have to release them. Look, even Adolf Eichmann got a trial.”
John McCain to Tim Russert on Meet the Press, 6/19/2005.

    The current debate over our treatment of the 500 or so terrorists that are presently detained at “Gitmo” is only possible because of the time and memories that have lapsed since September 11, 2001.
    Mr. McCain, the Democrats and other Liberals may think they appear magnanimous by demanding that we grant “rights” to terrorists, whatever they think those may be, but isn’t it a gesture of thanklessness to the brave passengers and crew of United flight 93? But for their actions, Mr. McCain and many of his senate friends might now be nothing but names waiting to be engraved on a Ground Zero monument.
    Below is an excerpt from the 911 Commission Report. It is served up here to refresh memories that may have been dimmed somewhat by the intervening time.


    At 9:57, the passenger assault began. Several passengers had terminated phone calls with loved ones in order to join the revolt. One of the callers ended her message as follows: "Everyone's running up to first class. I've got to go. Bye."85
    The cockpit voice recorder captured the sounds of the passenger assault muffled by the intervening cockpit door. Some family members who listened to the recording report that they can hear the voice of a loved one among the din. We cannot identify whose voices can be heard. But the assault was sustained. 86
    In response, Jarrah immediately began to roll the airplane to the left and right, attempting to knock the passengers off balance. At 9:58:57, Jarrah told another hijacker in the cockpit to block the door. Jarrah continued to roll the airplane sharply left and right, but the assault continued. At 9:59:52, Jarrah changed tactics and pitched the nose of the airplane up and down to disrupt the assault. The recorder captured the sounds of loud thumps, crashes, shouts, and breaking glasses and plates. At 10:00:03, Jarrah stabilized the airplane.87
    Five seconds later, Jarrah asked, "Is that it? Shall we finish it off?" A hijacker responded, "No. Not yet. When they all come, we finish it off." The sounds of fighting continued outside the cockpit. Again, Jarrah pitched the nose of the aircraft up and down. At 10:00:26, a passenger in the background said, "In the cockpit. If we don't we'll die!" Sixteen seconds later, a passenger yelled, "Roll it!" Jarrah stopped the violent maneuvers at about 10:01:00 and said, "Allah is the greatest! Allah is the greatest!" He then asked another hijacker in the cockpit," Is that it? I mean, shall we put it down?" to which the other replied, "Yes, put it in it, and pull it down."88
    The passengers continued their assault and at 10:02:23, a hijacker said, "Pull it down! Pull it down! "The hijackers remained at the controls but must have judged that the passengers were only seconds from overcoming them. The airplane headed down; the control wheel was turned hard to the right. The airplane rolled onto its back, and one of the hijackers began shouting "Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest. "With the sounds of the passenger counterattack continuing, the aircraft plowed into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 580 miles per hour, about 20 minutes' flying time from Washington,D.C.89


    The passengers on that flight probably saved the lives of people who are now comparing the Guantanamo detention center to a Russian Gulag or Pol Pot’s killing fields. This is only the most recent example of the lengths to which Richard Durbin and others will go to undermine our President. They don’t seem to care if the cost is also to undermine our country by giving aid and comfort directly to our terrorist enemy in the form of ready-made propaganda. But even that is not enough. They would like to hobble America by applying the rules and procedures of the 1949 Geneva Convention to terrorists who recognize no such restraint and, by their conduct, do not qualify for its protections.

    “…even Adolf Eichmann got a trial.” We might expect such from a Senator Durbin, but we deserve better from Senator McCain.