One of them is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the events that took nearly three thousand lives and proved to be the most devastating attack on America in history.
President Obama has stood by his Attorney General’s decision to grant the enemy combatants the same rights and protections of American citizens and try the terrorists in a civilian court rather than the prescribed military tribunal which is designed and geared toward trying those designated as enemy combatants.
The decision added more salt to the existing wounds of 9/11 by choosing to hold the trial for these five terrorist in Downtown New York City at Daniel Patrick Moynihan Federal Court building , a mere few blocks away from ground zero. The decision sparked outrage from the families of 9/11 victims as well as Americans concerned with any mishandling of the case and most especially, local New Yorkers who would be directly effected by the trial being held in their neighborhood. In addition to that, the increased security challenges and risks that would materialize in such a high profile case would place New Yorkers under an unnecessary, heightened alert and threat of retaliatory attacks taking place in direct response to the trial as it is being conducted.
On Wednesday, after thousands of those residents and merchants near the D.P. Moynihan Federal Court building protested, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who initially approved of this disaster in the making, reversed his decision.
The Mayor sited for his reversal, the inconvenience and burden that the trial would placed on locals and the angst that just the thought of having the trial in NYC caused. He also added that a review of the costs that New York City would incur was at least $1 billion, an astronomical cost burden that, while in the midst of an already severe economic crisis, would help break New York’s bank.
According to Bill Burton, a White House spokesman, the President still stands behind the decision to try the enemy combatants in a civilian court and grant to the terrorists the rights of American citizens but he understands the need to change the venue of the trial.
The White House and Justice Department were reportedly caught by surprise and thrown for a loop by the Mayor’s sudden opposition to the earlier decision and to the amount of shear fury that New Yorker’s demonstrated over the matter.
Clearly, with there being an intense backlash even before the trial begins, the ill advised decision to try the 9/11 terrorist as civilians will have far reaching ramifications. This is especially true given the timing of the trial and its closeness to the 2012 elections.
In a civilian court, one must be read their Miranda rights. As enemy combatants, the five terrorist were captured on foreign soil by our military’s armed forces, personnel which during times of military conflict are not charged with granting foreign enemies American rights and reading them Miranda rights.
This is just one of the reasons why enemy combatants, caught on fields of battle, are tried in military tribunals.
Now, with New York City pulled as a location for the civilian trial of KSM and his fellow conspirators, the Administration is exploring several other New York State locations and given the intense security that will be required during the trial, they are exploring military bases. That brings us back to the prescribed regulations regarding the trials of enemy combatants. Had the President agreed to do what he was suppose to, a military tribunal would have placed the trial on a military base in the first place.
The situation begs us to wonder if we can save ourselves from ourselves. The President’s decision to fight for the rights of terrorists over the security and rights of fellow Americans is despicable and it will come back to haunt him. Hopefully the results of the decision will no be admitted terrorists being let off the hook.