Nothing's wrong as far as I can see
We make it harder than it has to be
and I can't tell you why
no, baby, I can't tell you why
--I Can't Tell You Why, The Eagles
Am I my brother’s keeper?
If Cain were Abel
he would give you a flower
In one of our many national divisions, we are riven by how we think terrorists should be adjudicated. Those who know our legal system can prosecute criminals effectively say try them in the Federal court system; opposing them are those who think a terrorist is a new kind of animal, and that we must twist ourselves into contortions in order to deal with them; usually this involves invoking an extrajudicial approach.
President Obama seems to favor the first approach, but he has been ineffective in imposing his view. In his first term he promised to close down the black hole that is Guantanamo Bay, yet it remains an open gulag. "Terrorist Mastermind" Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, he of 183 waterboardings infamy, has still not been tried in court.
Leading the opposition, oddly, is former Prisoner of War and Arizona Rep. Senator John McCain, he who had previously led a principled argument against the use of torture on prisoners in the War on Terror, from both a pragmatic and a moral position. Now he is leading the call for military tribunals for terrorists on the grounds that they be re-branded "illegal enemy combatants", a fuzzy construction conferring a false military quality to their being. This is based in the false presumption that because terrorists are such an aberrant being, we must become aberrant to deal with them.
Fact: The U.S. is not involved in a low-intensity conflict in CONUS, is not in a state of insurgency nor is there a unconventional or guerrilla (UW/GW) warfare scenario either extant or ready to blossom into a full-blown war. There has never been a combat action in the U.S. conducted by terrorists. Terrorists are simple craven criminals.
Sadly for McCain, his current posture directly opposes and perverts his previous objection of torture, namely, it would make us no better than them. It makes him seem disintegrated or worse, forgetful or a madman. Instead, he is probably just pandering to the disjointed madding crowd, which amounts to the same thing.
The provenance of the terrorist is immaterial. Whether U.S.-born, immigrant or foreign national, a terrorist commits homicide, kidnaps, bombs, attempts murder and violates firearms statutes, ergo, they are criminals to be tried by U.S. courts of law. That's simple.
Next: Pt II McCain and Abel