Mar 082010
Authors: Josh Phillips, Ian Bezek

Send Mohammed to Tribunal
By Josh Phillips

Last November, the Obama administration suggested it would try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court rather than a military tribunal.

Naturally, I disagreed with this overtly soft and lenient decision. Now Obama’s advisors think it may be best to send the man to military court.

This is a no-brainer. Since he belonged to no transparent chain of command and conspired to murder civilians, Mohammed is clearly an unlawful combatant. He must be prosecuted to the full extent of military law. Anything less would make America’s “War on Terror” seem more like a “disagreement with terror.”

Supposedly, Obama’s reputation may be at stake if he decides to pull a U-turn. I wholeheartedly disagree. This move will show that Obama can admit he makes mistakes, and he’ll portray himself as a no-nonsense enemy of terrorism.

He may lose the “humanitarian” aspect of the trial if he places Mohammed in front of a military commission, but I honestly can’t see a problem with that.

If the charges of conspiring to murder 3,000 non-combatants on Sept. 11, 2001 are true, then Mohammed is as far from “human” as a man can possibly get. He should consider himself lucky that he faces a country so honorable and forgiving that it offers him a chance to defend himself.

If Obama sends Mohammed to military tribunal, he will be one step closer in achieving his dream of claiming the War on Terror as his own personal victory. He must make it clear that he fully intends to destroy America’s enemies rather than pussyfoot around foreign opinion and the notion of playing nicely with terrorists.

Josh Phillips is a senior business administration major. His column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

Bbama’s U-turn a Bad Move
By Ian Bezek

It’s very easy to be drawn to the idea that we must harshly punish our enemies. The idea of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is very appealing. But we should take the humanitarian high road and give Mohammed a fair trial in a civilian court.

The Obama administration originally realized this. Attorney General Eric Holder said, “I have every confidence that the nation and the world will see him for the coward that he is (…) I’m not scared of what Khalid Sheik Mohammed has to say at trial — and no one else needs to be either.”

But now we’ll never get to see that trial if it occurs behind closed doors at a military tribunal.

Why should we deny him access to a fair trial? He’s already confessed to numerous crimes and is likely to be found guilty of almost 3,000 counts of murder, one for every person who died on September 11. Why should we deprive him of his right to at least try to defend himself?

Sending Mohammed to a kangaroo military court will strip the United States of credibility and infuriate the Muslim world further.

The upside of this outcome is that it appears that in return for agreeing to a military tribunal, the Republicans will finally agree to close the despicable Guantanamo Bay internment camp, ending one terrible blotch against our foreign policy record.

Still, this decision is another terrible lapse in judgment for President Obama, who has broken his word yet again by stripping Mohammed of a fair trial.
Editorials Editor Ian Bezek is a senior economics major. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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