The upcoming trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other Guantanamo Bay detainees has set off the talking heads on the news channels. I thought that I would take this opportunity to go beyond what the left and the right is saying for political points and address several facts that every American should know before they’ve made up their mind on whether Mohammed should be tried or not.
1) Trying Mohammed in New York doesn’t raise the risk of a terrorist attack
Considering that New York City has seen several major terrorist trials, there is no reason to believe that this trial will set off something the other ones didn’t. Security will also be raised.
2) Mohammed will not get off because of waterboarding or a technicality
It is unlikely that the prosecutors will introduce Mohammed’s statements after he was waterboarded and therefore the way that he was treated will likely be irrelevant in the case, certainly not to the point where it will influence a decision.
Also, the government wouldn’t be trying Mohammed if they thought he could get off on a technicality, there are still hundreds of Gitmo detainees that haven’t been tried because of this worry.
3) There is no jury impartial to Mohammed
There is simply no jury that can be found that is not biased towards Mohammed after he’s been on the front pages of newspapers for years.
4) A civilian trial is the only way to convict Mohammed
The military tribunals are largely unconstitutional and Mohammed would not get a conviction that could stand up in a military tribunal after the Supreme Court has ruled on the unconstitutionality of the military courts.
5) Mohammed’s worst enemy is himself
Assuming that Mohammed will do the same thing in civilian court that he has been doing for years, he will be the biggest challenge to his trial. If he turns the trial into a “political theater” and begin to brag about his allegiance with al-Qaeda, he will be all but ensuring himself the death penalty.