February 3rd, 2010
By Richard Cohen, Washignton Post
Obama is not concerned about terrorism
There is almost nothing the Obama administration does regarding terrorism that makes me feel safer. Whether it is guaranteeing captured terrorists that they will not be waterboarded, reciting terrorists their rights, or the legally meandering and confusing rule that some terrorists will be tried in military tribunals and some in civilian courts, what is missing is a firm recognition that what comes first is not the message sent to America’s critics but the message sent to Americans themselves. When, oh when, will this administration wake up?
Bit by bit, circumstances are forcing President Obama and his aides to come to grips with reality. The original plan to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the so-called Sept. 11 mastermind, in New York City has apparently been aborted. It finally occurred to the Justice Department that cordoning off much of Lower Manhattan and placing a security perimeter around the financial district not only would cost something like $200 million a year but also would destroy the economy of the area. A trial there would give KSM, as he is called, a second shot at devastating downtown New York.
It is amazing that no one thought this through. Published reports say that the Justice Department informed Mayor Michael Bloomberg of its plan just about the time it was announced. This alacrity was clearly the product of some excitement down at Justice — yet another chance to show the world that George W. Bush was gone and with him the odious attempts to treat terrorists as if they were, well, terrorists. A civilian trial! Right in the heart of Manhattan! Obama ought to ask his friend Attorney General Eric Holder what in the world he was thinking — just as we might ask Obama why he has such faith in Holder’s judgment.