Bad Arguments

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


I’m at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this morning, where Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to testify about his controversial decision to try a handful of 9/11 terrorism suspects in federal court. Red flags the government may have missed leading up to Nidal Hasan’s Fort Hood shooting rampage are also expected to come up. Though conservative groups have been calling on their supporters to protest the hearing all week, there doesn’t seem to be much sign of impending activism. I did, however, overhear hear a few relatives of 9/11 victims speaking to reporters outside the hearing room. One was talking about how the terrorists didn’t give 9/11 victims any civil liberties and therefore don’t deserve any themselves. But this argument applies to all murderers. “Ordinary” murderers don’t give their victims any “civil liberties” before they kill them, and yet they still get access to our justice system. If I was arguing against the trials, I’d spend more time focusing on the fact that KSM et. al. aren’t citizens and less time on the horror of their crimes. Although it does raise an interesting question: Are there some crimes so horrible that the perpetrators don’t deserve trials? Perhaps, but that just brings you back to the Nuremberg trials: what could be worse than what Goering did?

I’ll be providing regular updates from the hearing, so please check back.

Follow Nick Baumann on twitter.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate