“In what communities in the United States of America are children required to walk by military conveys and snipers on a daily basis on their way to school?” — unidentified lower Manhattan resident, addressing New York City’s Community Board 1 meeting, January 27, 2010, just before the Board voted 42 to 0 to ask the Obama administration to move the 9/11 trials.
Be very skeptical of reports saying the Obama administration is “strongly” considering moving the 9/11 trials out of lower Manhattan. Otherwise, this CBS report fairly describes what is going on. (My fellow co-founders of the 9/11 Never Forget Coalition, Debra Burlingame in cameo and Tim Brown briefly interviewed, appear within it):
Taking on the task of hosting the 9/11 terror trials and housing indefinitely detained terrorists in Newburgh, NY and Thomson, IL, respectively, outwardly appear as economic boons to those desperate economies. Why should the danger just be shifted from Chinatown and lower Manhattan to somewhere else? It would not solve the national security risks of a federal trial. It moves the danger to ill-equipped rural civilian populaces. It does nothing to lower the billion dollar cost for both the trial and detention. (The annual operating cost of the detention facility at Gitmo is $100 million.)
Congress must fix the law. It must restore national security solely to the elected branches, remove judges from the conduct of war, prosecute war criminals while protecting our secrets, detain captured enemies for as long as necessary, and isolate detainees from any civilian populace. Those are the things an overwhelming majority of Americans want done.
Barring those steps being codified in statute, terror trials and detentions should remain at Guantanamo. This is not a pipe dream yet it will not get done if America is lolled back to sleep thinking “we won” because the Obama administration is reportedly “strongly” considering moving the trials. To put it another way, I’ll remind you of an old Army axiom to troops: Stay alert; stay alive.