The Boston bombing is so horrific, and the evidence of guilt apparently so overwhelming, that the country might wish to go straight to the punishment stage, but that is not how our system of justice functions.
It seems that the current administration led by President Obama has learned important lessons about not over-reacting, about defeating terrorism through resilience and respect for civil liberties like the right to a trial.
As an experienced and recently retired assault helicopter pilot and mission commander in the Royal Air Force, I spent 20 years working with UK and U.S. special forces in pursuit of terrorists from Northern Ireland to Kosovo and Macedonia to Baghdad.
John McCain's latest war gospel hangs an alarming tale. The rule of law has been dethroned and the president has been endowed with absolute power as the American Empire has eclipsed the American Republic.
The fundamental difference between people like Marc Thiessen and General Hayden and "terrorist sympathizers" like myself is that they seem to feel that detaining dozens of innocent people potentially for decades is acceptable.
Republicans who clamor for Abdulmutallab to be named an "enemy combatant" want him to enter a flawed system that even the Bush administration couldn't successfully use and that hasn't been utilized since 2003.
The Obama administration is following Bush's lead by unilaterally rewriting the Geneva Conventions, presumably to allow it to continue exploiting prisoners of war for their supposed intelligence value.