Written by Jeff
The decision by the Obama administration (despite Attorney General Holder’s assertions that this was his sole decision) to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed, and his four associates in New York City in a federal courtroom using United States criminal laws is another major mistake that this administration has made. Unlike other mistakes this one may have a security component as well as a monetary one. The alternative is to try these terrorists as war criminals in a military tribunal as has been done with many other terrorists captured in the War on Terror.
The reasons not to do this are many- and most of those are serious issues. The reasons to have the trial in New York City are few and the upside is minuscule as compared to the risks. Attorney General Holder states that having the trial in New York City shows the rest of the world that we value the rights of even the worst of terrorists (my word, not his) and that we will not tolerate the Gitmo treatment of people. He also stated that the citizens of New York City deserve to see the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks tried and convicted within blocks of his handiwork. All well and good.
There are numerous reasons not to. We have the security issue. We have the idea of giving the defense the right to all of our sources, our military secrets and the right to put our prisoner of war treatment policies on trial. Let me not be vague. This trial will sink to the level of putting George Bush and Dick Cheney on trial for their “war crimes”. We will need to name sources of information that led to the capture of these men. (In 1993 when we tried the Blind Sheik for the first World Trade bombing, his defense attorney leaked the names of confidential Iraqi sources- we later found they were killed. The attorney was later sentenced and began her jail term this week.) We will have to divulge CIA secrets and activities so the defense can counter that they were illegal.
The biggest danger (outside of the obvious danger that having these terrorists in NYC may bring other terrorists into the city to try an escape or to try to bring more terror to the city) is the media circus this trial will bring. The terrorists will have what they want; a forum to spew their view of the world and how the United States is the evil one. It gives them a chance to recruit and it makes us look weak in the eyes of our allies, and more importantly, our enemies. I have no interest in showing other countries how “nice” we can be. Let them see how tough we can be so they think twice about attempting another attack like the last one. It is no coincidence that we had no terror attacks planned during the Reagan or George W. Bush administrations. We have seen a terrorist attack early in the Obama Administration (I don’t care how they classify it. The attack on Ft. Hood was clearly a terrorist attack). It is clear to me that our enemies see this administration as weak and easy to manipulate.
President Obama, please rethink this disastrous decision.