September 11

U.S. to seek death penalty for September 11 mass murderers

“My opinion is, if the death of 3,000 people isn’t sufficient for a death penalty in this country, then why do we even have the death penalty?” — Debra Burlingame

According to the New York Times, anonymous officials say that, “Military prosecutors have decided to seek the death penalty for six Guantánamo detainees who are to be charged with central roles in the Sept. 11 terror attacks…” and an announcement may come from the Pentagon as soon as today. Those officials said that in addition to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the al Qaeda operations chief and self-described mastermind of the attacks, the death penalty will be sought for these five:

Mohammed al-Qahtani, the man officials have labeled the 20th hijacker; Ramzi bin al-Shibh, said to have been the main intermediary between the hijackers and leaders of Al Qaeda; Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, known as Ammar al-Baluchi, a nephew of Mr. Mohammed, who has been identified as Mr. Mohammed’s lieutenant for the 2001 operation; Mr. al-Baluchi’s assistant, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi; and Walid bin Attash, a detainee known as Khallad, who investigators say selected and trained some of the hijackers.

The Times added:

A Defense Department official said prosecutors were seeking the death penalty because “if any case warrants it, it would be for individuals who were parties to a crime of that scale.” The officials spoke anonymously because no one in the government was authorized to speak about the case.

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These people were not available to comment:

Why we will not vote for John McCain in 2008

When we voted in the 2000 primaries for John McCain, what were we thinking?

Six years earlier, I had completed a twenty-year career serving alongside troops with last names of Hardy, Preston, Mendoza, Price, Jackson, DeLuca, Rose, Houseworth, Muess, Stevens, Smith, Tester, Burks, Butts, Taylor, Ortiz, and Rosenberg, sergeants and officers who led by example, inspiring all around them to lean into our nation’s defense.

In 1994, I stopped dragging my wife all over the world far away from her family, leaving her to fend for herself at each new duty station, and working 100-hour workweeks, away altogether all too often. Patty also loves our country, it had been our honor to do, yet it was time to go home.

Civilian life and peace was our new normal until September 11.

That day, another great soldier I had once worked with was stopping by his Pentagon office, just 19 days short of completing a 30-year Army career himself. At the same time, Patty’s brother was leading firefighters to the 78th floor of the South Tower. Their graves are less than 30 minutes apart, fast as a 757 can fly.

Just down the road a piece from where we live, 40 more angels fought, died, and won the first battle of the War on Terror.

Many have followed, fought bravely, served magnificently, gave all or endured pain and maiming, and still serve at the pointy end of the sword. We salute them, pray for them, and thank them.

Yet since 9/11, John McCain viciously smeared Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, gave Constitutional rights to terrorists, characterized waterboarding — the causing of but a few of the senior-most al Qaeda terrorists to wet themselves in fear and to talk — as torture, and left our borders wide open.

Patty and I will not vote for John McCain in 2008, his campaign promises of both 2000 and 2008 ring hollow in our ears. We have our heroes and, sadly, we no longer count him among them.