The Rachel Maddow Show | March 07, 2013
>>> nbc, msnbc senior political strategist. director of the university of chicago 's institute of politics. and of course he's a former senior adviser for president obama . david, once again, thank you for being here.
>> great to be here.
>> guantanamo 's still open. the president wanted to close guantanamo but congress would not let him. still, though, since he has been president nobody has been sent to guantanamo . terrorism suspects have been killed by drones. a lot of them are killed in combat. a lot of them have been arrested by other countries. but today was only the second time in the whole obama presidency that we got word that a dude got captured. it was one guy in 2011 and there's one guy today and that's been it. the guy today is a terrorism suspect, in this case an al qaeda spokesman whose ties to bin laden include marrying a bin laden daughter. picked up in jordan. now apparently he's in jail a few blocks from here downtown. he's been criminally charged. he's going to be seeing a judge tomorrow morning. how is it possible that this has only happened twice in four years? no captures abroad.
>> well, there have been captures on the battlefield but not captures of terrorists in this way because most of them are not crossing the border into turkey as this -- as this man was. that's where he was captured. most of them are hiding in the most remote areas of places like yes, ma'amen and somalia and pakistan. and they're very hard to reach. i think the preference would always be to capture these high-value terrorist suspects because they have information that's useful in thwarting operations. but it's very, very difficult to reach them.
>> you can see the balance change. you see the huge increase in drone strikes killing people and the huge decrease in people being captured abroad. are they related? did we in fact go through a policy shift that we didn't really debate that was to kill rather than capture? i know capturing seems like a better idea, but we really have done none of it.
>> well, look, i'm -- i think that the -- one of the reasons why there's been less of it is because these leaders are on the run. these terrorists are on the run, and they're going to place that's are remote enough that they're hard to find and they're plotting from those locations. and that's the nature -- that's the down side or the upside of the success that we've had in thwarting some of that. by you know, it's a challenging part of the world. and so sometimes reaching them by drone is more -- is the only way to reach them.
>> in terms of this guy now being -- he's in jail in new york tonight. the other guy that was captured in 2011 also in jail in new york tonight. his trial hasn't started yet. the whole original idea , part of the critique of the bush administration when president obama was elected, was that everybody should go on trial. even khalid shaikh mohammed should go on trial.
>> those plans were thwarted by congress freaking out about it. mostly republicans but some democrats too. are we past that now? are we past like the cheney era in republican politics looking at this filibuster yesterday --
>> well, let me say this. if people are serious about bringing these people -- these terrorists to justice, we should be because article 3 courts, civilian courts are the most effective way to bring them to trial and to bring them to justice and to do it swiftly. that's what happened with the times square bomber here, the underwear bomber in detroit. i think there have been 67 successful prosecutions since 9/11 in the civilian courts. only seven in military tribunals. so if your interest is in bringing the terrorists to justice, this is the most efficiency way to do it.
>> it was thwarted before, though, by congress freaking out.
>> it was.
>> including some democrats in congress freaking out. do you think we are past that?
>> well, i hope so. i think there were specific -- there were specific elements around the khalid shaikh mohammed issue that lent itself to that. there hasn't been, so far as i know, a lot of squawking about the two that you mentioned now. so one hopes that we're past that and there is a recognition that you know, this is a really -- this is really a good way to go if we're going to bring these guys to justice and do it in an expeditious way.
>> we know how to prosecute terrorists.
>> we do. that's never been in question. there are hundreds of terrorists in american prisons who were prosecuted in article 3 courts, civilian courts. i have great confidence in our juchl syste justice system . i donate know why those folks don't.
>> it will be fascinating to see how republicans feel about this new guy, the ones who objected to khalid shaikh mohammed being tried. david axelrod , we are lucky to have you.
>> thank you.
>> i hope you enjoy your time here and it's only occasionally uncomfortable.
>> that's fair enough.
>> all right.
>> that's fair enough.
>>> all right. when a space capsule re-enters the earth's atmosphere, temperatures get so incredibly hot that if the capsule did not have a heat shield it would incinerate. same principle also works in political accountability. that's coming up. that's perfect