Padilla verdict: a resounding defeat for Bush

Jury finds Padilla guilty on terror charges MIAMI, Florida (CNN) — The jury in the Jose Padilla terror trial has found the American guilty of conspiracy to support Islamic terrorism overseas.
art.jose.padilla.ap.jpgJose Padilla was originally accused of planning a “dirty bomb” attack in the U.S.

Padilla’s two co-defendants, Adham Hassoun and Kifan Jayyousi, were also found guilty on the three counts as charged: conspiracy to murder, kidnap, and maim people in a foreign country, conspiracy to provide material support for terrorists, and providing material support for terrorists.

The verdict came after less than two days of deliberations, according to a U.S. District Court official. (Story.)

I’m sure the Dubya Lie Machine is ramping up to claim victory here, but let’s be clear about the truth of things.

Jose Padilla, a native-born American citizen, was nabbed and imprisoned illegally. He was held without due process. And in many ways he came to symbolize this administration’s relentless assault on the Constitution and the civil liberties which flow from it. All of which is unfortunate – martyrdom works best when the victim is innocent.

These crimes against the very integrity of our system of government were committed because our President and the thugs that surround him do not believe that the rule of law can be trusted. There are white hats and black hats, and when you’re the sort who spent too much time watching old Clint Eastwood movies and too little time paying attention in civics class, I guess it’s easy to convince yourself that you can’t count on anybody’s sense of justice but your own.

But today, the very rule of law that Bush has worked so hard to destroy has rendered a verdict: guilty. The criminal will almost certainly spend the rest of his life behind bars where he poses no threat at all to our lives, our liberties, or our individual pursuits of happiness.

In other words, Mr. President, the system worked. Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Mason, and all the other substantial intellects who framed the Constitution and helped adapt it as the world evolved, it turns out they were onto something after all. It turns out that over two centuries of thinkers – real patriots, as opposed to the cynical flag-waving scoundrel sort that currently infests our government – well, Mr. Bush, they were smarter than you, after all.

The. System. Worked.

And no matter how you spin it, no matter how many lies you tell, no matter how much injury your inevitable revisionism inflicts on the truth, today’s verdict, in a court of law, proves that you were wrong.

With luck, that same system is waiting for you and your cronies.

12 replies »

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  2. Sam Smith, I could not have said it better – thank you! As the intended target in this case, who was actually shut out by the US Attorney’s office, the people of the jury were the only people I could depend on to carry out justice. 10 years of fear and living through hell have finally ended. No thanks to Dubya.

  3. Ok. I always thought that Jose Padilla was up to something other than
    being a loyal American. However, this conviction doesn’t change what
    happened to this American citizen in that Navy Brig at Charleston,
    South Carolina.
    We The People need a Congressional investigation of what was done
    to Jose Padilla…..


    Oh, we have light rain!

  4. I am not sure I agree that this is evidence that the system works. After all, Padilla was literally driven insane by something that at least approaches torture, was charged with one thing and tried for another and… The list of abuses goes on an on. He is in jail but I don’t think the evidence against him is particularly strong and will certainly be challenged on appeal. Meanwhile the real criminal conspiracy– the president and his cabal– is unlikely to be punished. In fact, even if any of them are tried by the system Bush will simply pardon them or commute their sentence. The system is profoundly broken.

  5. Ray: I’m not crazy enough to think this is a flawless case by any stretch. And you make a really, REALLY good argument.

    It just seems that, despite all that, we have an argument now against the idea that the system can’t be trusted. Even if you’re completely right, the circumstances now make it harder to argue that torture and suspension of due process are necessary.

  6. Sarge: No doubt at all. Maybe we should kidnap Bush, Cheney and the rest and torture them until they confess?

    Oh, wait – there’s a knock at my door….

  7. Like I said, Sam, I like the way you think. Brilliant reframe.

    Padilla’s lawyers will no doubt appeal this verdict, and the system will work in his favor or disfavor, just as it’s supposed to. I find it very telling that this is being buried in favor of Jenna’s impending nuptials–clearly, this isn’t the victory in the War On Terra that the Bush leaguers were expecting.

  8. It was a major victory when Padilla was stripped of enemy combatant status and put back into the civilian criminal justice system.

    If the system had worked, the government’s case would have been thrown out. After 3 1/2 of torture, Padilla was no longer competent to stand trial. He was cheering on the US government and berating his own lawyers for defending him. He argued that his civilian trial was “unfair” to the POTUS!

    The system might still work, if the charges against Padilla are eventually dropped because numerous basic Constitutional rights were disregarded.

    Unfortunately, even if the system works procedurally, it will probably fail to give Padilla real justice. If he’s guilty, he’ll walk. If he’s innocent, he’ll never get a chance to clear his name.

    If the system works, the charges against Padilla will be dropped and the actual strength of the evidence for or against his guilt will be beside the point.

  9. I wondered where all the good acid went. Seems Sam scarfed it up. The constitution shredded, due process denied in a kangaroo court and habeus corpus killed is victory?

    A Pyrrhic victory is so called after the Greek king Pyrrhus, who, after suffering heavy losses in defeating the Romans in 279 B.C., said to those sent to congratulate him, “Another such victory over the Romans and we are undone.”