Khalid Sheikh Mohammad is Coming to New York
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