Published November 17, 2009
The Obama administration grossly underestimated the response of the American people when it announced its intentions last week to try battlefield combatants in criminal courts. We were also not impressed that President Obama ducked responsibility by simply calling it a "prosecutorial" decision. We see the harm the trials could generate by allowing them to proceed.
Yet if all these things are true of Americans at large, the residents of NYC realize them in greater magnification.
On my nationally syndicated radio show this week we asked New Yorkers how they felt about enemy combatants, formerly taken straight from the battlefield, but now being given rights reserved for citizens of the United States. In a non-scientific survey the reaction was fierce 17 to 1 against bringing the terrorists to New York.
Why should 9/11 families, and the rest of us, pay (through our tax dollars) for the court-appointed council of the terrorists?
These trial proceedings will reopen the wounds of 9/11 -- many of which have not yet fully healed. In deciding to make a political pay-off to the far left and the radical Islamic sympathizers they ignorantly embolden, President Obama is renewing the pain all over again. When the attorney general promises cameras in the courtroom, he seems to ignore the possibility that radicals might also shouting inaudible commands and insults at those in the room as well as those sitting in caves across the globe.
The proceedings will paint a fresh bull's-eye on New York City. Terrorists may have been upset over the treatment of their brothers-in-arms at Gitmo, but striking back at the naval base was a logistical impossibility. Not so with a city of endless subway tunnels, elevator shafts, and even a nearby nuclear reactor and an entire island that can be brought to a halt given the right combination of carnage and chaos.
These legal proceedings are also an unnecessary move. With on-the-record confessions, the death penalty for the 9/11 terror suspects was virtually insured through a military tribunal. What New Yorkers are left with now are mere words that Holder will "seek" the death penalty.
President Obama also added his "assurance" that they would receive "the most exacting form of justice" possible. Yet if that was a foregone conclusion, why must he give assurances?
The proceedings are a disguised attempt to throw negative attention on to the previous administration. The real endgame of this matter is to reveal military and intelligence secrets for the public and our enemies to judge for themselves as to their legitimate use.
The goal in essence becomes the re-election campaign for Barack Obama, and to create a way for Bush to still be part of the discussion when the trial finally becomes a reality years from now.
The proceedings are also a move that spends wads of money. The process for these five terrorists now begins all over again. Discovery, testimony, evidence that has all been diligently put in place for trying enemy combatants must now be sifted through a different standard. Depending on the political leanings of the judge assigned the case, it is likely that many gaps will be left in the evidence path, and thus a jury will be instructed not to consider certain sections of otherwise admissible evidence.
I am hesitant to believe that even the Obama administration with all of its harshest left leanings would genuinely want the mastermind of 9/11 to ever walk free. But that possibility exists.
When O.J. Simpson was found innocent back in the last century, prosecutors had his blood, mixed with Nicole Brown Simpson's at the scene and in trails from one room to the next. Yet he walked. Should a similar outcome occur in this case, it would not shock me if we as taxpayers would even be held responsible for the cost of transporting them to their jihadist homelands where they return to work attempting to strike America again.
The average New Yorker understands all of this, as does the average American.
They also clearly see that President Obama and his minions like Holder are willing to play games with national security in order to pander to their base.
This travesty will not sit well in New York elections in 2010 and 2012 and unless President Obama decides to concede these basic concerns as legitimate by those who lost the most in our nation's worst nightmare, he best consider the consequences.
New York City may be a town of full of liberals, but even we New Yorkers, in large numbers, are willing to set aside many other concerns when it comes to the issue of national security in order to insure the safety of our nation and our children.
One last parting note needs to be tucked in the back of the minds of the Obama administration, even if it doesn't give them much comfort.
I know that she was all "take one for the team" on the Sunday talk shows. But if these cases get bungled I do wonder what a Democratic presidential primary candidate in 2012 by the name of Hillary Clinton will have to say to her fellow New Yorkers about such a wrong-headed and utterly foolish gesture.
Stay the course Mr. President, and we might just get an answer to that question.
Kevin McCullough is the nationally syndicated host of "'Baldwin/McCullough Radio" now heard on 197 stations and columnist based in New York. He blogs at www.muscleheadrevolution.com. His second book "The Kind Of MAN Every Man SHOULD Be" is in stores now.