Who would have thought that Michael Mukasey, attorney general under George W. "How many people can I kill" Bush would come out against imposing the death penalty on the six men accused of being associated with the 9/11 attacks. But he has.
Mukasey's logic is impeccable: "[T]hey would see themselves as martyrs," he told an audience at the London School of Economics. Well, the logic isn't quite perfect: There's no particular reason to care what the men who would be executed think--apart from the fact that they are human beings like the rest of us. It is what millions of other people would think of their deaths, and the effect that such thoughts would have on American policy.
Mukasey's view does not render the proposed proceedings by military commission just, or even constitutional. But they do suggest that he's not as out of touch with reality as his boss, and that's something.