Re "Bring Him to Justice in the U.S.," Commentary, Nov. 19: Alan Dershowitz's column makes more good arguments against bringing Osama bin Laden to the U.S. for trial than it does to support the idea. Do the words "dream team" and "O.J. trial" come to mind?
Dershowitz's argument for trying terrorist war criminals in a U.S. court falls short of convincing on two counts. First, I don't believe that the rules of evidence currently followed in the U.S. courts would admit much of the evidence gathered on foreign soil under wartime conditions. Many techniques and technologies used by intelligence-gathering forces are not legal here. Things like theft of information, breaking and entry, bribery and threats to informants and other covert practices and the absence of search warrants might render much of the evidence inadmissible in U.S. courts. The two analogies Dershowitz cites seem inappropriate because most, if not all, of those investigations were conducted on U.S. soil under our legal rules and guidelines.
Second, he seems to dismiss the impact of a not-guilty verdict as if he were invoking Grantland Rice's observation, "not that you won or lost but how you played the game." I don't think the American people will tolerate a loss in this particular case. A military court is an appropriate place to try war criminals.