We have incessantly insisted that the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his 9/11 co-conspirators held at Guantanamo should not take place in federal court in New York. If they are to be tried at all, the trial should be held before a military commission at Guantanamo.
Prominent New York politicians agree with us that KSM’s trial should not take place in New York. The New York Times and other media outlets report that the Obama administration has begun to consider moving the trial out of Manhattan. According to the Times, Obama has left the decision on possible alternate sites to the Justice Department, which was scrambling to assess the options. Why not the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (i.e., Chicago)? Let’s run that one by Mayor Daley and Senator Durbin.
Like picking a new site for the Guantanamo detainees, this is an exercise in stupidity. We don’t need a more convenient federal courtroom; we need a venue that recognizes the status of the defendants as enemy combatants. Gitmo is it.
What we have here is a category error. The perpetrators of 9/11 are not criminals; they are unlawful combatants and enemies of the United States of America. They do not belong in an American courtroom shielded by the protections accorded American citizens under the Constitution of the United States.
The Obama administration seeks to end the war against Islamist terrorism by closing its eyes. No more war against terrorism in word. No more Gitmo in deed. No more military commissions. The higher wisdom operative in the Obama administration takes its cue from the late John Lennon, who proclaimed “WAR IS OVER! (IF YOU WANT IT).” It wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true now.
When he announced that KSM et al. were to be tried in federal court in New York City, Attorney General Holder cited as his support an insane protocol. What is needed in the cae of KSM is not a transfer of venue from one federal court to another, but rather the abandonment of the Obama administration’s framework for conducting the war in which we are engaged.
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