Today's Blogs

Trial Tribulations

Bloggers respond to the capital charges brought against the “Gitmo 6,” Benazir Bhutto’s posthumous memoir, and the Westminster dog show.

Trial tribulations: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, and five others held at Guantanamo Bay prison will go before a military tribunal and will likely face the death penalty. They’re charged with murder and conspiracy “in violation of the law of war,” though details about the method of their prosecution have ignited a firestorm among civil libertarians. For instance, will information gleaned through water-boarding be admissible, and will the defendants’ denial of the right to face their accusers or hear the evidence against them make this more of a show trial than a long overdue execution of justice?

Diane at Cab Drollery writes that: “[T]he White House hopes that such a conviction will cause people to forget the fact that after the last terrorist attack on the World Trade Center the previous administration treated the whole matter as a crime, and stayed within the boundaries of Constitutional guarantees in prosecuting and convicting those who committed that crime.” While David Seth at Daily Kos argues that the charges are timed to benefit the Republican establishment in the time of an election, and that the military tribunal is untested: “The Military Commission system has not yet had a single ‘trial.’ The one case in which there was a disposition, David Hicks, involved a guilty plea.  So nobody knows whether the commission system works or how it works in practice and none of the procedures has been tested in an actual ‘trial.’ And, of course, the decision to seek the death penalty was announced before any of the charges were translated and served on the accused.”

David Vance at A Tangled Web dismisses such concerns as liberal hysteria: “[T]he left-wing MSM has gone into overdrive at the idea that Islamic terrorists may end up being found guilty and then—horror of horrors—paying for their evil with their lives. For YEARS all we have heard from the left is how UNFAIR it is that those in Gitmo are denied a trial. Now they are being given a trial, it’s not the right sort of trial. And even if was the OJ  jury itself that was drafted in to hear the evidence, since there might even still be an outside chance that they might find them guilty, the death penalty is judged by the left as too harsh.”

Rick Moran at the American Thinker submits, while seeking middle ground: “a fair minded person could be troubled by some aspects of the Bush policy—not the least of which is the refusal to allow a defendant to face his accuser in all cases since much of the evidence has been gathered through top secret interrogations of Kahlid Sheik Mohammed among others. At the same time, the idea of granting these terrorists the full panoply of constitutional protections seems ludicrous, even suicidal.”

Read more about the Gitmo 6.

Bhutto’s last words: Slain Pakistani reformist Benazir Bhutto has just had her posthumous memoir, Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West, published. Everyone is reading it as much for its thesis that Islam is compatible with democracy as for clues about who may have been behind her assassination in December of last year.

Walter Isaacson reviews the book at the Huffington Post: “To those, in both the West and the East, who believe that a clash of civilizations is inevitable, Bhutto offers a reasoned alternative vision of what the world could be like. And she wraps it in a personal tale that should inspire readers everywhere. Both her vision and her personal courage are made all the more poignant, and all the more important for people to appreciate, by her tragic murder.”

Adil Najam at All Things Pakistan hasn’t read the book and already “[m]y email in-box is full of messages of all sorts of people claiming how this or that line in the excerpts ‘conclusively’ proves that so-and-so killed her. Even if the book will point towards motivations and even though the extracts released relates to the first attack on her, days before her assassination, such speculations seems presumptuous.”

Which hasn’t stopped State of Pakistan from wondering about one baleful figure in the memoir, Qari Saifullah Akhtar, whom Bhutto calls a “wanted terrorist who had tried to overthrow my second government”: “1. Who is Qari Saifullah Akhtar? Was he involved in the assassination attempt on Benazir Bhutto on October 18, 2007? 2. Is there a connection between his ‘release’ from the custody of the intelligence agencies in May 2007 and the phenomenal rise in bomb attacks during the second half of 2007? 3. Why did the government keep him for nearly three years, first denied he was in its custody and then released him?”

The Sunday Times of London has exclusive excerpts from the book here.

Read more about Bhutto’s book.

A dog’s life: A beagle named Uno is the prize-winning hound at the Westminster dog show, and a standard poodle named Remy is poised to win the whole competition. Admit it, you care.

Brandon Keim at Wired’s Wired Science has big pictures of puppies and a few factoids of note: “Like the English Bulldog, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs nearly vanished—though in their case, a much greater brutality was to blame: World War II. From a population of just five dogs the modern breed was born. Like their larger and more celebrated English counterpart, long hair once kept dust out of their eyes as they drove sheep to market.”

Wag the Dog remarks on the fact that Patty Hearst’s French Bulldog won second place this year: “Obviously distraught from not winning the Best of Breed top prize, Diva reportedly sprang into a rage and attacked the judge, Mr. Fred Bassett, nearly ripping his throat from his neck. After authorities subdued Diva and placed her in a cage, she immediately started to claim her innocence. One onlooker reportedly heard Diva state, “I was kidnapped, given a REALLY stupid long name, and forced to perform in this dog circus against my will.”

And since a dog owner can’t write about the species without a hint of pride, here’s TB’s runway-unready Cocker Spaniel Kingsley, named after Amis. Like his namesake, he’s very funny, prefers drink to food, and practices loose gallantry on the opposite sex.

Read more about Westminster.