As I sit writing today, I am in a state of amazement once again. The reason: our President and another one of his poor choices. The choice is the decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other terror suspects in New York City in a civilian court, rather than in a military tribunal in Guantanamo. This decision showcases another example of bad judgment by President Obama.
I was very dismayed on Friday when I learned that Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, had decided to bring five terrorists to the homeland to stand trial for their terrorist acts. This decision reflects the most flagrant disregard for the families and friends of those lost on the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or KSM, as he is known, is the self-proclaimed mastermind behind 9/11 and should be tried as the terrorist that he is, instead of being granted the rights of an American citizen and being brought to New York to stand trial. Upon his arrest in 2003, he asked for two things: to stand trial in a civilian court and to be brought to New York for that trial; the Obama administration has now decided to grant both of those requests. When did the American President start granting the wishes of terrorists? This decision is completely distasteful to many families of the victims of 9/11 and to the family of Daniel Pearl, the journalist who was beheaded by KSM.
Previously, the Bush administration and now, the Obama administration has created military tribunals for exactly this purpose - trying the detainees at Gitmo - and will be using these tribunals for trials of other suspected terrorists. All this does is grant KSM and the other 9/11 terrorists an opportunity to spew hatred, preach jihad and mock the victims of the attacks in a public forum. This is unacceptable and Obama should demonstrate that he cares more for the rights of the victims and Americans than he does for the rights of terrorists. Although there have been several civilian trials of terror suspects in the past, most of those were prior to the attacks on 9/11. The exception has been the trial of Zacarias Moussai, who was tried in Alexandria, Virginia in 2006 as the "20th hijacker". The important difference in this trial; Moussaui was arrested in Indiana prior to September 11th. The FBI mirandized him and maintained a clear chain of evidence to assure his conviction. This did not happen with the "arrests" of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his cohorts. KSM was detained in a pre-dawn raid in Pakistan and was not read his "Miranda rights" at the time. Also, he has been water boarded 183 times since his arrest and the Obama administration has ruled that water boarding is torture.
Any defense attorney is required to provide the best defense for his client and will most certainly move to have any evidence obtained from "torture" ruled as inadmissible. Also, these men will request access to classified information to help provide for their defense,and in a civilian court, they will most likely be granted this access. This presents a major security concern for the United States and could allow for the media (inadvertently) or the suspects to leak valuable information to our enemies. If evidence is ruled as inadmissible, it is a great possibility that KSM and the four others will walk away as free men from this trial. This would be the greatest travesty in American justice and would be a devastating blow to the families and victims of the 9/11 attacks.
Obama should exercise his leadership as President and overrule Holder by requiring that these murderers be tried in a military court since their "crimes" were not really crimes, but acts of war. This decision has taken us back to a pre-9/11 mindset with regards to terrorism and represents a very dangerous move by this administration. This mindset is what allowed the attacks on our embassies, the USS Cole and the attacks of September 11, 2001. It could even be argued that the Fort Hood massacre could have been prevented if political correctness was not the order of the day when dealing with Islamic extremists, like Major Nidal Hasan.
These trials have the potential to become recruiting grounds for more "jihadis" and to encourage future terrorist attacks on American soil. Let's hope that the administration reconsiders in light of the political backlash and decides to ensure a conviction by keeping these trials private and in the military justice system.