Are you feeling distracted yet?

Dutifully chasing after any ball thrown to them by the Bush administration, the media is breathlessly reporting that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed has "confessed" to masterminding the 9/11 attacks. See, here's the thing, as pointed out so expertly by Kevin Hayden: this is what we call old news.

Mohammed made his confession at a military tribunal in Guantánamo Bay on Saturday, "according to a transcript released by the Pentagon yesterday"—a transcript we have to trust entirely, since no reporters were allowed inside the courtroom. Mohammed "acknowledged full or partial responsibility for more than 30 other terror attacks or plots," detailing his participation in "a panoply of global terror activities, ranging from plans to bomb landmarks in New York City and London to assassination plots against former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul II," some of which "had not previously been publicly disclosed," but many of which have been reported before, at other times when—someone more cynical than I might suggest—the administration needed to steal the headlines. And although he "indicated in the transcript that some of his earlier statements to CIA interrogators were the result of torture," this time, this confession, this statement "were not made under duress or pressure."

No, of course not. Especially because five years of torture doesn't have any cumulative effect or anything. As long as no one had shoved anything under his fingernails or up his ass that day, he was making a confession of his own free will.

It's probably because he just wants to clear the air after his moving change of heart. This evil al-Qaeda fuck, who masterminded 9/11 and didn't give a rat's ass about taking out civilians, now feels terrible about it. "I'm not happy that 3,000 been killed in America. I feel sorry even. I don't like to kill children and the kids." Better yet, he totally understands why he's been held for five years and tortured: "His actions, he said, were like those of other revolutionaries. Had the British arrested George Washington during the Revolutionary War, Mr. Mohammed said, 'for sure they would consider him enemy combatant'." Wow, what an understanding fella.

The reality is, as so succinctly put by Maha: "Given the nature of the, um, inducements to the confessions, we have no way to know how much is true and how much is I’ll tell you anything you want to hear. All we know for certain is that the Bush Administration is, once again, waving the bloody shirt of 9/11 to distract us from its political problems."

Exactly right. And, while that totally ticks me off, what ticks me off even more is that for me, and lots of other Americans, and most of the rest of the world, there will never be the satisfaction of seeing any real justice in the case of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. The Bush administration, with their secret prisons and extraordinary rendition and enemy combatant exclusions and "extreme interrogation" techniques and military tribunals, have undermined any and all possibility for real justice. Whatever happens now to Mohammed will be viewed as irreparably tainted by the Bush administration's contempt for the law. Worst of all, they have turned Mohammed, who is no doubt a man with murder in his heart, into a sympathetic character whose confession—which surely includes many truths—forces those of us who actually care about how it was evoked to think about what was done to him in our names.

And the truth is, I don't want to have to think about what was done to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed—and if he'd been subjected only to the same rule of law that any criminal in America would/should be, or any prisoner of war, I wouldn't have to think about it. It is the Bush administration who has forced me to take into consideration the mistreatment of a bloody terrorist, while all their mindless, ends-justify-the-means supporters laugh and point at me and go on about what a bleeding heart terrorist sympathizer I am.

Even though my sympathy is not with Mohammed, but with the law. With real justice.

I nearly can't stand it anymore. I nearly can't stand the irony of the Bush administration distracting the nation with this story in particular, to pull our eyes away from the misdoings of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the man who authored the Presidential Order which authorized the use of military tribunals to try terrorist suspects, the man who argued before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Constitution does not explicitly grant the right of habeas corpus, the man who said of the war on terror that "this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."

It's almost too much for me to bear.

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