Venue

Keith Knight’s latest K Chronicles cartoon:

Some recent comments by Barack Obama, and a little joke about them:

In an interview with NBC News, Obama said those offended by the legal privileges given to Mohammed by virtue of getting a civilian trial rather than a military tribunal won’t find it “offensive at all when he’s convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.”

Obama quickly added that he did not mean to suggest he was prejudging the outcome of Mohammed’s trial. “I’m not going to be in that courtroom,” he said. “That’s the job of the prosecutors, the judge and the jury.”

 The president then elaborated: “I’m not going to be on the jury that will report its guilty verdict at 3pm on September 11, 2010, nor will I be the one who administers the lethal injection that will kill Khalid Sheikh Mohammed a week before Election Day 2012.  I used to teach constitutional law, so I can tell you that it would be a violation of due process for me to do those things.”   

In fact, I do believe that they can find an impartial jury in New York City.  I would go so far as to say that Manhattan is probably the one place in the USA where it would be easiest to empanel twelve jurors who can judge the case against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on its merits.  That’s not only because the island is a bastion of liberalism, but also because the further you go from Ground Zero the more Americans you find who feel they have to prove that 9/11 was an event in their own lives and not just something they saw on TV.  If as Knight sarcastically suggests they did set up a temporary courtroom on the former site of the World Trade Center, the attacks would have a definite reality for the jurors- they would be real events, with specific causes, specific consequences, specific forms that could be examined empirically.  Go a thousand miles away, and the attacks become a symbol with an infinite variety of overpowering emotional associations.  That’s part of the reason why the Bush-Cheney administration had an easier time using the attacks to sell its agenda to voters far outside of New York than to those in the city in those first years of the “War on Terror.”

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