Blitzer was interviewing Nidel Hasan's military lawyer, and posed the usual question, asking how he could defend such a horrible person. At the end of attorney Colonel John Galligan's answer, Blitzer made a terrible mistake, saying:
"I'm sure he will get a much fairer hearing than those 13 Americans who were brutally gunned down the other day. I'm sure he will get all of the rights that are applied by the U.S. Military Code of Justice."Blitzer is completely missing the point.
There's all this ballyhooing about how you're "innocent until proven guilty," which is absolutely true and a foundation of American Democracy. And there's all that stuff about, "Better to let ten guilty men go than convict one innocent man." Also very true, and the sign of a great nation.
But that's not why I want Hasan to have a great lawyer.
I want Colonel Galligan to be the best lawyer in the country. I want the Colonel to put up the best defense any lawyer ever mounted. I want him to poke into every nook and cranny, explore every possibility, grill every single witness ruthlessly. I want Colonel Galligan to really try to get Hasan off the hook.
Because then, when the jury finally pronounces its "Guilty!" verdict, as we all know they will, I want Hasan to go in front of that firing squad without any hope of appeal, and chance of clemency. I want him to be as hopeless and helpless as his victims were. And only Colonel Galligan can make Hasan completely hopeless, by doing his job well. I don't want even a hint of a mistake that could cause a mistrial, or get an appeal granted, or make anyone have any doubts at all. I want him to be found guilty, in spite of the best defense possible. I want him to be utterly and completely without hope when this trial is done.
Wolf Blitzer, you're not seeing this the right way. Let the Colonel do is job, because that is how justice will be served.