- The Washington Times - Friday, November 27, 2009

I had the honor of serving on the Emergency Operations Center staff that assisted in the security and operations at ground zero. There were many Americans who came at their own expense to help in the recovery and healing after the terrorists struck, and only a fraction of those people could be used. A great deal of trauma and even physical aftereffects remain from the violence of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner itemizes with great clarity and insight the reasons not to have a civilian trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in New York City (“Obama retreat on war,” Opinion, Sunday). The reason that cannot be ignored, however, is the public requirement of justice. These terrorists must be judged, and the public must know it has a court system that can administer justice. Children who witnessed the attack are adults now. Without justice administered, can they ever have closure?

This is a defining moment in American history. If the injustices Mr. Kuhner describes prevail, it will send a shock wave through the American legal system, triggering a genuine right-wing revolt.

This is the moment when America must face the nature of its own extremism, whether it is justice run amok in the name of restitution and affirmative action or overzealous prosecution that is simply punitive and vengeful. Failing this, the consequences will be devastating to the jurisprudence system of New York.


Fredericksburg, Va.

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