Mukasey’s S&M Fears





, I felt a certain appreciation for

Mukasey’s odd riff

 about how he “kind of hope[s]” the 9/11 plotters don’t get the death penalty because they’re like masochists who want it, which would make the US a sadist in doling it out. First of all, he’s right. And also, if the government executes these men after the coercive interrogation (torture) some of them experienced and all the failings of the this-ride-only military tribunals set up to try them, the damage Guantanamo has done to the reputation of our justice system will be raised by a power of ten. I wonder, though, if in some upside-down way it’s useful that the government is seeking the death penalty. Nothing concentrates the mind like a killing, including, perhaps, the minds of the military appointees and eventually (one hopes) Supreme Court justices who would have to allow these executions to take place. So maybe the threat of the death penalty is the best hope that they will get some semblance of real due process. Distressing as that is, it’s better than the alternative.