Bad Arguments

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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.

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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