WASHINGTON – There’s been a lot of screaming and finger pointing lately here in Washington about charging the underwear bomber and the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court rather than a military one.
The complaints go something like this: We’re being too soft on terrorism. We’re giving up too much. We’re losing valuable intelligence. These people don’t deserve the same rights as Americans. They should be charged in military courts. Period!
You can’t be totally dismissive of these opinions. But people are missing the point.
This isn’t about bending over backwards to be fair to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It’s not about the underwear man. Frankly, it’s hard to care about either one.
But it is about us as a nation that prides itself on following laws, of due process, of trying to be transparent for the world to see that justice can be achieved in a fair way. A civilian court seems to be the best way to show the world transparency and the American justice system.
We did it with the shoe bomber Richard Reid , we did it with the supposed 20th 9/11 hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui during the Bush years. It worked.
Even in Iraq, a public trial was held for mass murderer Sadaam Hussein. The Americans or the Iraqis certainly could have justified putting a bullet in his head right as he popped his head out of the crawl space. Few would have complained or cared.
But a public trial was held and a just ending resulted. There was something gratifying to see justice work. Don’t we deserve at least the same kind of justice we’ve paid so dearly for to try and have in Iraq?
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