Raised in small-town Oklahoma, I continue to live its values. I am fiercely patriotic, making national security of paramount importance to me. I served in the military for more than a decade, and my friends still deploy in harm’s way. I am also the mother of young children. What mother doesn’t want a safe world for her kids?
Perhaps because of my love of history, I have been more than a little surprised at the vociferous opposition of my fellow conservatives to treating these foreign terrorists as we have treated their counterparts for decades. No one suggested trying the Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, the Lockerbie conspirators or the original World Trade Center bombers in military tribunals. In fact, we usually clamor for other countries to extradite terror suspects to the United States for trial.
-- Our colleague Michelle McCluer (below left), Executive Director of the National Institute of Military Justice, in an op-ed entitled "Civilian court best spot for terror trials," published in The Oklahoman newspaper on Monday, the 15th anniversary of the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. (credit for above-right photo of Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse, Manhattan) Michelle, who's observed GTMO military commissions proceedings along with other NIMJ'ers (including IntLawGrrl Beth Hillman and yours truly), ended her excellent commentary on this succinct note:
Trying detainees in a system that has yielded proven results doesn’t show a lack of understanding of our national security interests; rather, it is a recognition that terrorists are not above the Constitution for which our military members fight. Conservative values demand that terrorists be tried in civilian court, saving taxpayer dollars and providing justice to the victims.