If you believe, as I do, that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was responsible for the 9/11 Attacks as part of a war waged to forward his brand of Islam, it’s surprising that he’d now call for peace. Yet, in a just-released manifesto – allegedly, the first of three parts that he’s penned behind bars – he’s calling for Muslims to abandon violence as a means of spreading their message.
Of course, it’s a far cry from what he was saying when he was first caught. Then, he claimed that he’d planned the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 innocent Americans and boasted that he personally beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in a sickening attack that can’t be forgotten by anyone who viewed it online. Then, he advocated for Muslims to embrace violence and join in a jihad against the United States. Has he had a sudden change of heart? I don’t believe he has, unless you consider no longer wanting to be a martyr to be a change of heart.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is awaiting a trial that will give him a chance to grandstand and voice his propaganda one last time. In the meantime, he knows that the best way to get attention is to do something completely unexpected, and calling for peace instead of war is just the thing to do the trick.
However, if you look closely at the manifesto, he’s still presenting a view of Americans as inferior to Muslims, he’s ridiculing American soldiers, and is still viewing the Western world with contempt. He says, of his time at Guantanamo Bay, “I am very happy in my cell because my spirit is free even while my body is being held captive.” Though that supposedly comes from a renewed religious awakening, the line of reasoning he uses to separate body from soul is still similar to how jihadist leaders persuade young aspiring terrorists to die for the cause.
At least he won’t be given the megaphone he would have been given had Attorney General Eric Holder gone with his original plan of putting KSM on trial in one of the largest cities in the world. The military commission process – which I believe all enemy combatants should be tried under – is less susceptible to the foibles of a media circus than a public trial, and doesn’t allow for jihadist defendants to as readily use the trial as a platform for propaganda. This manifesto may turn out to be – quite happily, I might add – one of the last times that we’ll ever hear from him.