Friday, March 5, 2010

Fear May Win Again

The terrorists have already won. Even if any planned terrorist attack is thwarted, just the thought of another possible attack inside the US has so freaked out some of the public and elected officials that they are willing to drop Constitutional rights at the snap of a finger as is being demonstrated with the 9/11 trial location.

In a potential reversal, White House advisers are close to recommending that President Barack Obama opt for military tribunals for self-professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed...
In addition to local opposition to a trial [in New York City due to costs, security and logistical concerns], the administration faces pressure on its goal of closing Guantanamo on another front. Republicans in Congress have proposed barring prosecutions of terrorism defendants in federal courts or in reformed military commissions located in the United States.
...The Obama administration views civilian trials for terrorists as an important demonstration of the U.S. commitment to rule of law. Officials also have cited the numerous terrorism trials already held successfully in U.S. criminal courts.
..."If this stunning reversal comes to pass, President Obama will deal a death blow to his own Justice Department, not to mention American values," said American Civil Liberties Union Anthony D. Romero. "Even with recent improvements, the military commissions system is incapable of handling complicated terrorism cases and achieving reliable results. President Obama must not cave in to political pressure and fear-mongering. He should hold firm and keep these prosecutions in federal court, where they belong."
Agreed. If there is no way to be able to hold this trial in a civilian court because of logistics, then they should at least attempt to have some kind of civilian trial at a military base as an end around to costs and security.

Using the Federal Court System the right thing to do and it's also successful and has been used in over 300 terrorism trials by the previous administration, which has been conveniently forgotten by the opposition party. Not only would this be a political loss for the Obama administration but more importantly, a tragic loss for the rule of law.

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