Just When I Thought There Was Hope for Tom Ridge

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December 29, 2009 6:57 a.m.

Former Homeland Security Advisor and then DHS Secretary Tom Ridge says that it’s some sort of a shande to try Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab in civilian courts. I know a lot of Republicans are making this argument now. But can we at least get some Republicans who didn’t oversee doing exactly the same thing on their watch? Just for consistency’s sake?

Remember, the AbdulMutallab case is virtually identical to the Richard Reid “Shoe Bomber” case from December 2001 — to an uncanny degree. Same explosive, (PETN), same MO (blowing up an airliner bound for the US), same failed attempt.

It’s really about as close to identical cases and you get. And, of course, Reid was tried in civilian courts and is now serving a life sentence. Seemed to work fine in his case. And unless I’m misremembering, I don’t remember anybody criticizing this approach at the time.Most of the criticisms we’re hearing are pretty silly. But that’s where the buck stops. It happened. Obama’s president. It’s natural that the political opposition will try to pin it on him. But can we at least get some demagoguing that isn’t so transparently ridiculous and easily refuted by pointing out the policy the accuser followed when they were in charge?

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