Not a Requiem for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed:
In the specific, the Rude Pundit doesn't give a fuck about what happens to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. As far as he's concerned, if the t-shirted bastard did it, Mohammed deserves to spend eternity in Hell inside a burning tower, sucking pig cocks until both he and the pigs barbecue up real nice, and then healing up and getting to do it all over again. But all of us need to be concerned about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as an abstract concept, a symbol, an allegory of how we wish to see ourselves.

For, indeed, as the military tribunal hearing for Mohammed and other alleged planners gets under way, America once again gets to proudly see the result of its intentionally complicated and legalesed out torture program. Like poor Jose Padilla, guilty of thinking about shit and talking to the wrong people, left a barely coherent tangle of synapses that don't fire right anymore after eternities in solitary and a good torture session of two, testimony gained from waterboarding Mohammed will surely be used during the hearing before the dozen military officers, only two-thirds of whom have to say, "Yea" to the death penalty for it to be the sentence.

So right there at Gitmo, in the hysterically ironically-named "Camp Justice" (no, really), Mohammed will defend himself, hoping to be put to death, and wanting the United States to aid and abet his suicide and martyrdom. At his show trial, Mohammed will not be able to challenge statements he made because he was drowned or because the CIA held his seven and nine year old children for interrogation. He will not be able to challenge hearsay evidence that will be allowed because, well, that's the nature of hearsay. And chances are he'll be put to death.

This ain't about Mohammed, even as it is. It's the same argument: what the treatment of Mohammed is about is whether or not we actually abide by the bullshit we preach about things like justice and compassion. There's so many arguments against the Gitmo prisoners getting full trials in U.S. civil courts that are just fucked up denial of what's actually being done: they're not citizens, as if we're talking about whether or not they can vote instead of whether or not they can see all the evidence against them in a death penalty case; they wouldn't treat Americans half as well as we've treated them, as if we should measure ourselves based on the worst savagery you can imagine ("Well, George Bush may be bad, but at least he doesn't have rape rooms").

William F. Buckley, motherfucker though he may have been, had the guts to say that all the arguments pro-capital punishment supporters used were nonsense. Why not, he said, just admit that there's a human desire for vengeance? The same goes for this bullshit game, one that is losing pieces and being held together by duct tape and string, of proceeding with these military tribunals. Someone say, "You know what? We just wanna kill 'em. We fuckin' used 'em up and now we wanna kill 'em. Do you want them to live?" Then we cut through the bullshit and have a discussion about our American morality.

Again, again, again, this ain't about what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed "deserves." It's about us. And if we do just what our enemies expect us to do, then we will never achieve anything that resembles "victory."