A New York Times editorial decries the steps leading up to a planned trial of the accused 9/11 terrorists before a military tribunal as “The Road We Need Not Have Traveled.”
Last week, a senior Pentagon official authorized the trial for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the terror attacks, and four co-defendants. It likely will be held at Guantánamo Bay (see Gavel Grab).
The editorial labels the military tribunal as “constitutionally flawed” but devotes more attention to what it considers the mistakes of the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, as well as Congress passing a law “prohibiting the use of federal money to try any Guantánamo prisoner in federal court.” The editorial concludes with a references to a speech delivered last week by Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, the chief military prosecutor:
“We hope General Martins’s commitment to justice will persuade a highly skeptical world to accept the legitimacy of these trials; convicting and executing the prisoners after a tainted trial would be a disaster. But after all that has happened, even the best-managed trial will not be able to change the fact that this country has in the last decade accepted too many damaging and unnecessary changes to its fundamental principles of justice and human rights.”
Since the terrorist attacks of 2001, the USA PATRIOT Act and other policies have weakened the historic power of courts to protect our rights and check possible government abuses, Justice at Stake says on its web site. To learn more, see Justice at Stake’s “Courting Danger” report.