2004 non-fiction book by Philip Nobel
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, will be tried in a Manhattan federal courtroom instead of Guantanamo Bay. There has been much political debate over where the trial would be held.
The idea of trying the accused mastermind of the 9/11 attacks Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his co-conspirators in a civilian courtroom in the heart of New York City is simply outrageous. Attorney General Eric Holder made the decision this past week and critics have been quick to point out the sheer folly of this approach. At the same the American people are clearly uncomfortable with his decision. The latest Rasmussen poll finds that 51% of U.S. voters oppose the idea while only 29% are in favor. By according these defendants a trial in a civilian courtroom Mohammed and his comrades will necessarily be accorded all of the rights and privileges of American citizens. But they are not American citizens and in their gut a majority of Americans find the prospect of such a spectacle to be very ill-advised.
Since the decision was announced a whole host of objections have be raised to this approach. I will attempt to summarize them here:
1) It has been estimated that the trials could take up to four years to conduct and the incessant media coverage will give the terrorists a forum that they will surely avail themselves of to encourage unrest and hatred of the United States in the Muslim world.
2) There would be a dramatically increased risk for violence and/or another terror attack in NYC.
3) Many people continue to argue that the appropriate venue for these trials is in military tribunals. Many such tribunals have already taken place. This is the proper venue for these trials as well. Trying foreign born terrorists in U.S. civilian courts makes a mockery of our legal system.
4) Such trials would risk disclosure of sensitive intelligence information. Under American law the defendants could choose to represent themselves and thus be entitled to see for themselves every scrap of the evidence against them. This obvious breach of security would likely come back to haunt this country in myriad ways in the future.
5) The cost of such a trial would be exorbitant. NYC is in no position to pay for the added security that would be needed and already Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) is calling for the addtional expenses to be paid for by the Federal government. Just in case you haven't noticed our country is bankrupt as well. Furthermore, such trials would cause disruptions in the day-to-day lives of millions of New Yorkers. The added traffic and inevitable delays would be costly and inconvenient both to individual citizens and to those attempting to conduct business on the streets of the city.
6) Despite Eric Holder's assurances to the contrary it is entirely conceivable that another O.J. jury could acquit one or more of these individuals. Or perhaps a judge would decide to drop the charges altogether. I agree with former Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckaby who opined in a recent interview: "God help us if they get off on a technicality because of the way the evidence was gathered." He goes on to say that if such a thing ever happened: "I would tell you not only is the Obama administration finished, I think the Democratic Party is finished."
At the end of the day it would appear that the Attorney General's decision defies all logic. It certainly makes me wonder what the end game is here. As far as I am concerned holding these trials in a civilian courtroom in midtown Manhattan works against the best interests of our nation. Perhaps if enough of us continue to raise valid objections the Administration would be willing to reconsider their approach.
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2004 non-fiction book by Philip Nobel
An African American clergyman, activist and prominent leader …
An American politician.