The trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man who is accused of plotting the September 11th attacks, will be held before a military commission in Guantanamo Bay instead of in federal court. Why? Because apparently the American criminal justice system is too soft to adequately try a terrorist — a view that is stunningly insulting to our legal system. The Times is right; it’s just cowardice:
The wound inflicted on New York City from Mr. Mohammed’s plot nearly a decade ago will not heal for many lifetimes, yet the city, while still grieving, has thrived. How fitting it would have been to put the plot’s architect on trial a few blocks from the site of the World Trade Center, to force him to submit to the justice of a dozen chosen New Yorkers, to demonstrate to the world that we will not allow fear of terrorism to alter our rule of law.
But, apparently, there are many who continue to cower, who view terrorists as much more fearsome than homegrown American mass murderers and the American civilian jury system as too “soft” to impose needed justice. The administration of George W. Bush encouraged this view for more than seven years, spreading a notion that terror suspects only could be safely held and tried far from our shores at Guantánamo and brought nowhere near an American courthouse. The federal courts have, in fact, convicted hundreds of terrorists since 9/11. And federal prisons safely hold more than 350 of them.
The pandering toward this mentality began as soon as Mr. Holder announced his plan in 2009 to try Mr. Mohammed in Lower Manhattan. A group of senators, including Joseph Lieberman, an independent of Connecticut, complained that it would give terrorists a platform to rally others to their cause. Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, said the trial should be moved elsewhere because New Yorkers didn’t want it, as if prosecutors needed opinion polls to determine where to seek justice.