Daniel R. DePetris: The Political Docket

Khalid Sheikh Mohammad is Coming to New York

Posted in United States by Dan on December 1, 2009

The decision has been made as to what to do with the status of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM), the operational mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks.  In a controversial move, President Barack Obama has decided to try KSM in a federal U.S. court just blocks away from where the attacks occurred over eight years ago.

In a move that is symbolically reminiscent of President Obama’s foreign-policy in his first year, the order to move KSM into the civilian court system is a quest for legitimacy in the eyes of Muslims worldwide.  Imagine the alternative; KSM and his cronies “tried” and overwhelmingly convicted in a military tribunal, perhaps in Guantanamo Bay or in an overseas facility.  This would not exactly be a morality booster for the United States when the President is attempting to salvage his Middle East policy (Israeli-Palestinian conflict, engagement with Iran, withdrawal from Iraq, etc).

Yet, the families of the September 11 victims are outraged at the move.  They claim that Obama’s decision essentially gives KSM a public forum to spout his apocalyptic propaganda.  Still others are concerned that the KSM trial in New York City could be a national-security disaster…a prime target for homegrown terrorists.

First and foremost, I would hope that we all predicted that KSM & Company would use the American judicial system to target American foreign policy.  Why wouldn’t they?  Everyone knows that KSM was once a prominent member of Al Qaeda Central, and I would think that everyone in this country understands that this man still has an axe-to-grind.  That axe is obviously going to be U.S. foreign policy- the same foreign policy that was a valuable recruitment tool for Islamic terrorists before the September 11 attacks.  In fact, Islamic terrorists still use American foreign-policy as a primary recruitment device.  Young Muslim men- wherever they may reside- are labeling the United States as a “two-faced” nation at an increasing rate.

With regard to a lapse in security, this should not even be an issue.  As they so bravely demonstrated during their search-and-rescue missions in the World Trade Center Towers, the New York City Police Department is the most professional, well-equipped, and ample force in the country.  Blocks around the federal courthouse will probably be cordoned off.  And the FBI will probably assist the NYPD throughout the entire process anyway.

Security fears and the irrational antics of KSM should in no way scare New York Attorney General Holder to reverse his decision.  Trying KSM in federal court, while upsetting to some, is the best decision that the United States could have made.  Military tribunals are pretty much delegitimized in the eyes of the international community…courtesy of Guantanamo Bay.  And generally, it would have been rather difficult to place KSM in a military court, for the U.S. Government does not consider “unlawful combatants” professional soldiers.

Holder is covering his basis.  The best way the victims’ families of September 11 can finally get some closure is through a guilty verdict via a fair, free, open, and public trial.  Doing anything other than that could potentially paint the U.S. as a country that fails to uphold the values of democracy they so often speak of.

Talk about a potential recruitment booster!

-Daniel R. DePetris


8 Responses

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  1. MichaelX said, on December 1, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    I find it odd that admitted, convicted criminals who are not citizens have any rights to make use of our legal system. What part of prisoners of war is not being heard? We have US citizens held in other countries for no reasons, and with no acess to even that contries legal system.

    Why should scum {islam} get that preference? Take em to Texas. They will be tried, hung, and left to rot in the sun for all to see. Thats the only justice they deserve. This Fenster meinker, or whatever, is a jerk, and should be tried along with his new buddies.

  2. Piloto8T said, on December 1, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    Didn’t take long for the sleazy lawyers to make this all about them, and forget the victims in this matter.

    Welcome to law the American way.

  3. joe1022joe said, on December 1, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    Holder, our current Attorney General, made a terrible mistake by deciding to bring those terrorists onto US soil. Of course, he has Obama’s approval to do this, otherwise it wouldn’t happen.

    This will be a disaster. It is very bad for the USA. I expect what results from this very bad decision will cost Obama reelection in 2012.

  4. fieldtheory said, on December 1, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    They have the right to speak. And we have the right to hear what they have to say. Assuming that any of them have the least intelligence, it might be quite enlightening. The family of the victims have no right to dictate what can and can’t be said or heard. They didn’t die — and no one can say what the dead would want.

    A lot of people were responsible for 911, including our government. People didn’t just wake up one day and say, “I don’t have any plans for the day, so I think I’ll commit suicide by attacking the USA.”

    Why do so many people fear what might be said? So what if they rant like idiots — just don’t listen if you don’t want to hear it.

  5. audiq7 said, on December 1, 2009 at 8:16 pm


    Headley maybe an FBI mole gone rogue. He switched loyalties well before americans could learn of 26/11. When will USA learn that terrorism anywhere is a threat to civilized people everywhere?


    “The truth is that the (Pakistan) government arrested various leaders who endorse ‘jehad’ in Kashmir and did so for the sole purpose of pleasing India. These leaders are now enduring in-camera hearings in (an) anti-terrorism court…,” he alleged in a letter written on the first anniversary of the 26/11 attacks to TV anchor Hamid Mir who has often espoused support for groups like JuD.

    This is all a facade, these are all FAKE judges, in FAKE courts. Can you EVER imagine an INDIAN TV ANCHOR SUPPORTING ANY TYPE OF TERROR???? Terrorism is deeply embedded in 70% of Pakistani minds

  6. audiq7 said, on December 1, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Mullah Omar now lives in Karachi. Pakistan will never give up terrorism.

    • Dan said, on December 1, 2009 at 8:17 pm

      Pakistan may never give up terrorism against India, but with respect to Pakistani militant groups in Afghanistan, the United States may be able to convince Islamabad to cut ties…in exchange for some substantial incentives. And sadly, while this would certainly sour relations with Pakistan and India in the long run, Washington can live with anti-Indian terror groups within Pakistan’s tribal frontier. The War in Afghanistan is a vital U.S. security interest; its relationship with India is secondary at this point (although Fareed Zakaria strongly disputes this).

      The only way the U.S. can improve its relationship with India is by first turning the situation in Afghanistan around. And of course, the only way to turn Afghanistan around from the abyss is through the right amount of push-and-pull towards the Pakistani Military. We cannot concentrate on Pakistan’s support for anti-Indian terror groups as long as we find ourselves bogged down in an Afghan insurgency.

      • audiq7 said, on December 1, 2009 at 8:18 pm

        “but with respect to Pakistani militant groups in Afghanistan, the United States may be able to convince Islamabad to cut ties…in exchange for some substantial incentives.”

        I marvel at your naiveté. Has the US not given them plenty of incentives already?

        “Washington can live with anti-Indian terror groups within Pakistan’s tribal frontier. The War in Afghanistan is a vital U.S. security interest; its relationship with India is secondary at this point”

        Afghanistan is the most important national security interest for India more so than it will ever be for US. Dude I feel sorry at your lack of even basic sensibilities, I used to be shocked earlier at how dumb americans can be, but really no more.

        A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist. You think otherwise? Did you not learn your lesson when CIA creation bin Laden bombed your embassies in Africa, the USS Cole in Yemen, and of course 9/11?

        Anti-India groups like LeT, HuM, are the SAME as Taliban. LeT boy David Headley was on his way to blow up Denmark. These groups are inter-dependent on each other for funds, intel, resources, and supply of men. Not to mention the fact that they’re all Pakistani military creations.

        “And of course, the only way to turn Afghanistan around from the abyss is through the right amount of push-and-pull towards the Pakistani Military.”

        Really? I’m sorry, isn’t that what you’re doing now and since last 8 yrs? Listen. Pakistani army is the biggest terrorist organization in the world. Some US admin officials have already reached this conclusion, and are too chicken to openly admit this truth. The moment you leave the region, Pakistan is heading for civil war, thanks to it’s army.

        Kashmir stands decimated in part thanks to USA. Pakistanis are CRAZIES with a self-destructive goal of destabilizing India and maintaining status quo in Afghanistan. The ONLY WAY to turn around Af-Pak is by dismantling Pakistani army, routing out terrorists by sending 500,000 troops deep into the interiors of Af-Pak. SIMULTANEOUSLY INVESTING SUBSTANCIALLY IN PAKISTANI/AFGHAN ECONOMIES DIRECTLY (instead of giving money to their govts). Pakistan should only be allowed to maintain a local police force and India can provide external security. India has several military agreements with other Muslim states.

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