MICHAEL GOODWIN: Terror Trials a Reckless Act

New York Governor David Paterson broke ranks with the White House and Mayor Bloomberg in criticizing the decision to hold 9/11 terror trials in New York. He shouldn't have to stand alone.
Whatever his motive and earlier statements, Paterson has ended up on the right side. That's more than we can say for the rest of the vast and quivering political establishment.

Where are our Congressional representatives, council members, borough presidents? What about the comptroller and the army of state leaders?

Where are the social-service groups and education advocates that will see millions diverted to a downtown fortress? Where is the business community?

Silent, shamefully silent.

Too many ordinary New Yorkers are no better. Some are starting to speak out against this dangerous plan. More of us must join them while there is still time.

Every sensible man or woman in the city and region knows this reckless action makes it more likely New York will be attacked again. We already are the No. 1 target, and it is only thanks to the NYPD and federal law enforcement that we have been spared another attack.

Their success in uncovering evil plots to blow up subways, the Brooklyn Bridge and other structures saved thousands more innocents from death. The terrorists are still trying because of what this city represents.

"They always want to come back to New York," one top official conceded to me yesterday. "Of course, the trial will add to it."

The unfinished work of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center begat 9/11. Even now, as rebuilding drags on at Ground Zero, many in law enforcement are certain it is only a matter of time before the site is targeted again.

That's been one factor in the construction holdups: making sure the buildings are blast- proof and that other security features are practical and effective.

How ironic the work would go on even as 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his murderous crew would be blocks away, being treated like bank-robbery suspects.

There are many reasons to argue against the trial, starting with the dopey idea that mass murderers captured on foreign battlefields deserve the presumption of innocence.

They don't. They committed heinous acts of war by killing thousands and terrorizing millions.
A civilian trial also makes no sense, given procedural rules that could endanger national intelligence and its sources. It will put lower Manhattan even deeper into lockdown mode, perhaps for years.

Besides, Attorney General Eric Holder has decided that others captured in similar circumstances will face military tribunals. Certainly the worst of the worst doesn't deserve the best odds of acquittal. They should be tried by the military at Guantanamo Bay.

Yet the greatest argument against the trials is not legal, financial or logistical. It is the commonsense desire to do everything and anything to prevent another attack on our city.
Quite simply, it is unforgivable malpractice for elected officials to support the decision if they believe it raises the risk even a little.

As Paterson said, New York is still coming back from 9/11. Could we come back after another attack?

We are foolish even to take a chance on finding out.

Michael Goodwin is a New York Post columnist and Fox News contributor. Click here to read his complete column.

Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist.