On the Horns of a Dilemma

Posted on 14 November 2009

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Friday the 13th arrived, living up to its reputation.  Yesterday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the man proudly calling himself the mastermind behind 9/11 will be tried not in a military trial, but in a civilian federal court in downtown Manhattan (New York City, for those of you not from the Big Apple).  Holder’s decision dovetails with President Obama’s plan to slam the doors on Gitmo, both literally and as an uncomfortable chapter in U.S. history that the President would rather have gone unwritten.


Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is not the first Guantanamo Bay detainee to face trial in New York City rather than at the hands of the military; one of his cohorts, Ahmed Ghailani, claims that distinction.  However, the administration chose, at the time of Ghailani’s trial, not to seek the death penalty.  One wonders, then, what is to become of the man who alleges to have pitched his evil plan to Osama Bin Laden, negotiated funding from the rebel Afghani leader, trained the assassins, and then blessed the systematic extinction of more than 3,000 innocent American lives.


The ramifications of Holder’s decision are both widespread and complex, and if you are interested in those legalities, start surfing the web.  I am not an attorney or a politician.  I am but a New Yorker whose city has been irrevocably altered by a handful of madmen.


If Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is to attain a fair trial, as is his right under Constitutional Law, will he receive one?  The prosecution will have to journey to a mountain in Tibet to locate a single New Yorker yet to hear of and/or unaffected by the horror and tragedy of 9/11; New Yorkers, of course, do not live in Tibet.  But even if juror objectivity can be established, how can those jurors possibly be Mohammed’s peers, when his peers, by his own admission, are terrorists?


In the days shortly following 9/11, when the Bush administration linked Bin Laden to the fallen Towers and the 3,000-plus cold-blooded murders, I had thoughts of what I’d like to see happen to the terrorists.  At first, I thought it might be fitting to roast Bin Laden and his cronies over the still-smoking embers of Ground Zero; I meant this literally.  I added to this fantasy by envisioning the loved ones of those killed taking a pound of flesh, again literally, from the bastards.  One pound at time, strategically incised, would not kill them outright and would surely not kill them immediately.  They would have died a slow, torturous death. I thought this a fitting end for the filthy lot of them.  With the full knowledge that such fantasies might call bad karma to befall me, I maintained them nonetheless, struggling with my morals as a Christian and with my civic duty as a native New Yorker.


A part of me would still like to see Mohammed and his cohorts let loose into the streets of my city.  If the faint-hearted are afraid to venture there, imagine how the terrorists might feel, facing a righteously enraged mob unrestricted in addressing those who plotted for five years (according to Mohammed) to annihilate their loved ones. And some part of me would dearly love to see these proceedings televised.


The other part of me says that the dirty bastard deserves a fair trial, for that is the only way to preserve what the terrorists sought so hard to destroy and what they still seek to obliterate.   Our justice system only works if it works for all, terrorists or not.  To deny the self-proclaimed architect of 9/11 a fair trial is to negate the tenets underpinning our Constitution.  And the toppling of the Constitution was their ultimate objective, not merely the felling of two mighty skyscrapers and their occupants.


Having said that, I hope the bastards do get the death penalty once they are tried as fairly as we can manage within our system.  And I hope that the executions are televised, to send a small message to every other anti-American murderer, including terrorists-in-the-making.


In the words of Jesus Christ, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.  And render unto God what is God’s.”   The execution of Mohammed and his followers for their crimes of terrorism would kill both of those birds with a single stone.

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52 Responses to “On the Horns of a Dilemma”

  1. Ivana Bothof says:

    Not realistic and a poor piece of unneeded inflammatory journalism.

  2. Salwar Kameez says:

    “Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”–John Maxwell

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