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Dean Doesn’t Want to “Prejudge” Osama

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In an interview with the Concord Monitor, Howard Dean made it clear that he doesn’t care how much he is mocked and ridiculed for his statement that the capture of Saddam Hussein doesn’t make the US safer—that’s his story and he’s sticking to it: Dean’s secure in his view of Saddam. But even more interesting, because it reveals the gaping chasm between those who believe we’re at war with the Al Qaeda mentality and those who don’t:

The Monitor asked: Where should Osama bin Laden be tried if he’s caught? Dean said he didn’t think it made any difference, and if he were president he would consult with his lawyers for advice on the subject.

But wouldn’t most Americans feel strongly that bin Laden should be tried in America - and put to death?

“I’ve resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found,” Dean said. “I still have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials. So I’m sure that is the correct sentiment of most Americans, but I do think if you’re running for president, or if you are president, it’s best to say that the full range of penalties should be available. But it’s not so great to prejudge the judicial system.” …

Asked how he would beat primary rivals with more experience on foreign policy, Dean said he would keep reminding Democrats that he was the only major candidate who opposed the Iraq war, despite polls showing the vast majority of the American public supporting the invasion at the time.

“The bottom line is, what kind of foreign policy experience do you want in Washington, in the White House?” he said. “Do you want the kind of foreign policy experience that was willing to vote for the Iraq war, or not?”

And how will he convince swing voters who weren’t so opposed to the war to fire President Bush?

“By going after him on terrorism, where he’s really weak,” Dean replied.

It’s an indicator of how loony the base of Howard Dean’s support is, that he thinks it’s a winning position to treat Osama bin Laden as a common criminal who deserves a fair trial (maybe even by Europeans who have no personal stake and won’t impose a death penalty), instead of as an enemy of the United States. In the days and weeks immediately following September 11, this “criminalized” viewpoint of the attacks was a sure sign of moonbattitude; now it’s mainstream Democratic platform stuff.

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