Friday, June 17, 2011

When Will Conway Take Position on Kentucky Terrorists?

Elected officials across the Commonwealth of Kentucky are opining on where the Bowling Green terrorists should be tried, but no word yet from Attorney General Jack Conway.

Sen. Rand Paul has suggested to WHAS that perhaps the Kentucky terrorists can be detained and tried here in Kentucky, rather than at Gitmo. Paul said,

"I think the people who are on the ground and look at court safety and trials will have to look at that," Paul said, " And I think the only other way to look at it in a logical way would be to look at the other terror trials and - like I say - we've had several hundred terror trials in the U.S."

"I think in this instance, if you capture them here, I think the federal courts probably can take care of them much more swiftly than Guantanamo and actually give them very lengthy sentences if they are found guilty." 

Meanwhile, Gov. Steve Beshear is taking heat from Republican gubernatorial nominee David Williams for failing to call on the Obama administration to move the Kentucky terrorist trials to Gitmo.  To be fair to Beshear, however, he has questioned the safety of trying the two al Qaeda members in Kentucky.

Republican nominee for Attorney General Todd P'Pool, like Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, has demanded the Obama administration move the terrorist trials to Gitmo. McConnell brought up the issue on the Senate floor and later on Fox News, and has been very aggressive on the issue.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder implicitly reacted to McConnell, when Holder addressed the American Constitutional Society (the liberal counterpart to the Federalist Society).  According to the New York Times, Holder

did not mention Mr. McConnell or the Iraqi case. But he defended the executive branch’s prerogative of choosing which venue to try people in. “Decisions about how, where and when to prosecute must be made by prosecutors, not politicians,” he said.

And the attorney general specifically denounced calls to require all terrorism cases to be prosecuted by the military at Guantánamo rather than in the civilian courts, characterizing proponents of that approach as employing “fear-mongering” and “overheated rhetoric that is detached from history — and from the facts.”

Noting that no terrorism suspect arrested on United States soil had been tried by a military commission under either the Bush or the Obama administration, Mr. Holder said hundreds of such defendants had instead been successfully prosecuted in civilian courts. In none of those cases, he said, did a defendant escaped custody or did one of the judicial districts involved suffer retaliatory attacks.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has been curiously silent on the issue. His web site lists "Protecting Our Families" as one of his signature issues, but only refers to prosecuting elder abuse and the like.  Of course, elder abuse should be prosecuted.  But a platform against elder abuse does not bear on protecting Kentuckians from a retaliatory attack from al Qaeda operatives arrested in Bowling Green -- including one terrorist whose fingerprints were found on an IED in Iraq.

Yet in his failed Senate campaign against Rand Paul, Conway called for GITMO to be closed.  In one interview on YouTube, Conway indicated that although he didn't like the idea of terrorists being detained and tried in Kentucky but stated that it might be possible, with the hope that the U.S. military could keep us all safe.  Typical Conway waffle.

Politically, Conway is in the awkward position of crossing either Beshear (who seems to want the terrorists out of here) or the Eric Holder and the Obama administration and their obstinate disregard of the fears of those who will be in harms way if the terrorist are tried here, in a (red) flyover state.

Conway will irritate members of his base no  matter which way he comes out on the issue.

Question for Jack Conway -- and for that matter, Rand Paul:  how would you feel if your wife is called to serve on the jury of the Bowling Green terrorists?  The U.S. military is a mighty force.  But would you really want someone you loved on the jury that passes judgment on an al Qaeda terrorist? It's hard to be a politician's wife if you are in the witness protection program.

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