The Washington Post’s Dueling 9/11-Trial Op-eds, Condensed


Today the Washington Post runs two opposing op-eds on the topic of whether Eric Holder is making a wise decision in bringing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to New York to stand trial. In the interest of your precious time and energy, we've boiled the arguments of columnist Charles Krauthammer and former Bush administration Justice Department officials Jim Comey and Jack Goldsmith into their five most salient points. Memorize them for when the argument inevitably breaks out during Thanksgiving dinner!

Charles Krauthammer (not a fan of the decision):
• KSM has "been presented with the greatest propaganda platform imaginable."
• Holder's certainty that KSM will be convicted makes the trial a farce.
• A conviction was guaranteed in a military tribunal.
• The trial will be a security nightmare — both in terms of protecting the city and the exposure of intelligence secrets.
• It creates an incentive for killing Americans on American soil, by prosecuting such acts in a federal court, as opposed to a military tribunal.

Jim Comey and Jack Goldsmith (they like it):
• New York won't be any more of a target for terrorists than it already is.
• Unlike federal courts, military commissions are fraught with legal uncertainty.
• Federal courts were used to put away "dozens of terrorists," many for life, under the Bush administration.
• Defendants won't be able to make an argument about their legal rights being infringed upon.
• "The potential procedural advantages of military commission trials are relatively unimportant with obviously guilty defendants such as Mohammed."

Travesty in New York [WP]
Holder's reasonable decision [WP]