Alex Blaze

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's stand against same-sex marriage

Filed By Alex Blaze | June 10, 2008 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Cuba, foreign policy, Guantanamo Bay, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, KSM, military, same-sex marriage

A few people on the left are wondering how the Religious Right, who hates both Muslims and gays, will reconcile Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's rejection of counsel because of same-sex marriage, either in Massachusetts or California. From the Wall Street Journal:

"I consider all American constitution" evil, he said, because it permits "same-sexual marriage and many other things that are very bad," he told the military judge, Col. Ralph Kohlmann. "Do you understand?"

Of course, the Religious Right isn't going to care about something like this. They're not logical people and they've known for years about how one group of people they hate (Muslim terrorists or Muslim countries, or Middle Easterners, whichever suits their needs) hates another group of people they hate (gays). It was the point of Dinesh D'Souza's latest book and often becomes a talking point from the right to try to get the left involved in "War on Terror" activities.

The right, generally, has cynically used the rights of women and, to a lesser extent, gays as arguments for a human-rights based interventionist foreign-policy in the Middle East for years (that's half the reason Democratic Hawks wanted us in Iraq back in 2003) while not caring at all, domestically, about women's rights or gay rights. It's not that hard to do if you don't have a penchant for consistency or if you don't really care about the rights of women or gays, or women or gays living in Muslim countries, but are just looking for a justification for war that sounds a bit better than "We want oil."

The Religious Right will have no problem absorbing this inconsistency because it's how they've operated all along. They don't view social liberals or Muslims or terrorists or gays or trans-folk or uppity women as literal opposites, rather as outsiders against whom to form their own identities and values.

Besides, most folks who hate gays on the right don't follow foreign policy.

KSM's statement on same-sex marriage isn't interesting as legal analysis. The Cheney administration has sought to deny the man any sort of due process for years, a man who's been tortured for years and who's been isolated from the world for that long, so we shouldn't take his renouncing of the Constitution as a deep analysis of the legal principles behind Goodridge or the marriage cases in California.

The detainees at the accused 9/11 co-conspirators' trial at Gitmo were allowed, last week, after years of solitary confinement and isolation, to talk to each other in open court. KSM convinced/bullied the others on trial to give up their rights to an attorney and become martyrs. The kangaroo court-ness of it all set off the ACLU (via bmaz):

"It hardly comes as any surprise that after being held in solitary confinement for five years and being subjected to torture, these detainees would reject the legal system and offers to represent them. It is highly suspect that the government changed its protocols for the interaction of the defendants on the very day they were arraigned. For several years they've been held separately without communication and yet, on the day of their arraignment, they were allowed to interact with the obvious goal of allowing them to present a unified rejection of legal representation.

The thing was a pony show to get rid of the lawyers of each of the detainees so that torture and due process violations at Gitmo couldn't be documented. Maybe they knew that one or two of the alleged co-conspirators wanted to give up their attorneys and become martyrs, but they need all five to prevent testimony on the abuses going on down there from making it to the record.

What this whole incident shows, though, is that US rhetoric on human rights is worse than empty at this point. This man doesn't have much love for the US Constitution, and I don't see any reason why he should considering the way it's been bent and twisted to create a Kafka-esque reality in which he has no chance to prove his innocence, if he is innocent, that he's deserving of leniency, if he is deserving of leniency, or that he doesn't deserve the death penalty in the end. It's all a show, and the lawyers defending him as much actors in that show, to him, as the prosecutors or judges are.

In other words, the US Constitution and the principles it upholds have done nothing to benefit him in a nominally American legal system, so he's going to use whatever platform he has to speak out against it. And he's far from the only non-American whose experiences with American law have turned him or her off to the Great American Ideals.

If we're actually hoping that a human rights politic based on Western concepts such as rights, due process, liberty, and a fair application of the law spreads to other countries, applying US law fairly even in cases like these is more valuable than a hundred State Department condemnations of the way gays are treated in Iran.

While linking a civil right such as same-sex marriage to a basic human rights violation as it occurs in Gitmo seems trite, his comments do a pretty good job of showing importance of US credibility to advance human rights. Even if KSM specifically is someone who'd never be persuaded, his case does little to sell Western human rights ideals.


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Really good post. Thank you.

Unfortunately, the religious right does not see logical inconsistencies such as this one in the same grave manner as we might. It seems, in a way, that they have their own logical structure with which to justify their perceptions.


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The fundies hate radical Muslims and the Taliban because they're looking at mirror images of themselves.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 10, 2008 10:16 PM

The fact that Khalid Sheik Mohammed is utterly wrong about same sex marriage freedom in America also belies his general lack of understanding of the repression domestically. He obviously has no familiarity with the Constitution of the United States let alone the Bill of Rights.

In that he comes from a world view of women being little more than animals to be beaten, I have no sympathy for him, but that does not alter other facts.

I am ashamed that we are operating concentration camps while we supposedly defend liberty and justice for all.

I am ashamed that the majority of Americans are not aware of how particularly greedy they are, for their comforts, while allowing so much need in the rest of the world.

I am ashamed that my country has pulled a shell game with due process out of fear that evidence obtained under torture would be inadmissible in any other way.

I could go on, but I can only handle so much shame at a time.

The guy wants to showboat in a way that would get a lawyer disbarred. Let him.