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Video shows Sen. Obama thought a military tribunal was fine for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed

November 18, 2009 |  1:40 pm

As The Ticket reported earlier today in this space, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder was on the Senate Judiciary Committee hot seat defending his decision to bring the alleged 9/11 terrorist masterminds onto U.S. soil for civilian trials instead of keeping them far away in Guantanamo Bay for a military tribunal.

Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, himself a former federal prosecutor, says he's amazed at Holder's simplicity claim and remains unconvinced that such a move, which could make New York City a target for potential new attack, makes any legal sense whatsoever.

Speaking of military tribunals, we went back into the video archives and found this C-SPAN tape below. Holder might want to watch it.

It contains his boss, Barack Obama, a brief member of that same Senate, in 2006 stating that a military tribunal was a perfectly fine way of handling such dangerous individuals as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

Obama said the fight against terrorism was "an extraordinarily difficult war" where terrorists could plot undetected from within our own borders.

The freshman Illinois senator was defending a legislative amendment and pointed out that a military tribunal for Mohammed seemed just fine to him.

"The irony of the underlying bill as it's written is that someone like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is going to get basically a full military trial with all the bells and whistles. He's gonna have counsel. He's gonna be able to present evidence to rebut the government's case.... I think we will convict him. And I think justice will be carried out."

Obama, meanwhile, continued his journeys around Asia and told....

...inquiring reporters that he has never been closer to a strategic decision on what to do next about the deteriorating military situation in Afghanistan.

He also confirmed to Fox News' Major Garrett that the Guantanamo Bay detention facility would not, in fact, be closed by the end of next month as the new president had promised on his first day in office. The latest target is now sometime next year.

In late August the Democratic president received the recommendations of the commanding general in Afghanistan, involving the addition of more U.S. troops to the 68,000 already on the ground from Obama's first troop surge last March.

The general's recommendations reportedly also said that allies had about one year left to save the strategic situation there. Nearly a quarter of that year have passed in deliberations. As The Ticket reported here earlier today, an angry Obama has said that leaks of such contents are firing offenses.

Obama says it might be a few more weeks before he makes his final decision, but that when he did the American people would be clear about it and what his goals were.

As we reported here Tuesday, new polls indicate the American people have moved further along in their decision-making process about the war than the president. And their emerging decision appears to be that the eight-year conflict wasn't and isn't worth the cost.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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