Monday, November 16, 2009

Bring It On!

What to make of the cowards like Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin?

The decision to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, admitted mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks, and four other suspects to a New York courtroom, rather than a military tribunal, was described in stark contrasts Sunday by officials on opposing sides of the political spectrum.

Democrats hailed Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to try the men in a civilian court as a demonstration of America's might and moral certainty, while Republicans called it a bad idea based on politics rather than pragmatism.

"We have a judicial system that's the envy of the world," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, said on the CBS program "Face the Nation." "I don't think we should run and hide and cower. Let's use our system."

But Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, speaking on the CNN program "State of the Union," questioned why foreigners who allegedly are terrorists at war with the United States should be given full judicial rights of U.S. citizens.

First, because we can and should. We've done it before and we should do it again.
As a New Yorker, I say "Bring it on!"
We've hosted trials as big, and with even more dangerous men, and survived. We held the trials of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, including Ramzi Yussef, and while the ultimate outcome was the 9/11 tragedy, if we had a Federal government and President who was giving a rat's ass about the safety of US citizens, that would not have happened.
Indeed, 9/11 was the day before the scheduled sentencing of that trial.
We've held the numerous trials of one John Gotti, Mafia mastermind and godfather who had done everything in his power to make the US attorney's office (one Rudolph Giuliani in particular) screw up convictions. This was a man who knew his way around New York City and even knew how to get to a jury.
He was still eventually convicted.
I do not think for one minute there is any danger in a fair trial in a civilian court where Mohammed can avail himself of the best available representation. If we could try the "20th Hijacker," Zacarias Moussaoui, in an open court, then the American people should demand that Mohammed be given a fair trial.
Period. Anything less would be an acknowledgement of the weakness of the American jurisprudence system, and an acknowledgement that the Bush administration fumbled opportunity after opportunity to expose Al Qaeda for what it is: a criminal organization intent not on some zealous defense of Islam, but profit and power in a vacuum that is the secular Muslim world.
Instead, led by Dick Cheney and his ilk, Al Qaeda was quite literally and honestly turned into a scapegoat to further the, well, criminal organization known as the Bush Administration who grabbed for profit and power in the vacuum that was the Western World after 9/11.
Bring the trial to New York City. Televise it. Stream it live on-line to the 'Net. let the world see how a trial in America works. They got a taste of it in the trial of Saddam Hussein, and I'd argue that pageant may have done more to quell misgivings in the Baghdad street about what Americans were up to than any candy our soldiers handed out to children.
Justice? Bring it on.