CAP: New Yorkers are wussies

posted at 12:45 pm on January 30, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Does the Center for American Progress want to alienate New York while the Obama-Pelosi progressive legislative agenda drowns in popular discontent?  Ken Gude, an associate director at CAP for its International Rights and Responsibility Program, tells Politico that he assumed New Yorkers were braver than to complain about the monumental cost and disruption a criminal trial of 9/11 conspirators would heap onto a city that has already bled both money and blood in the war on terror (via Jonah Goldberg at The Corner):

In his State of the Union address, Obama complained broadly about GOP fear-mongering, but he did not mention Guantanamo, the reasons for his preference for trying terrorists in civilian courts, or his plans to bring some prisoners to Illinois for military trials or indefinite detention.

“Let’s put aside the schoolyard taunts about who’s tough,” Obama said. “Let’s reject the false choice between protecting our people and upholding our values.” He said he was working to fill “unacceptable gaps” highlighted by the Christmas Day attack and boasted of aggressive campaigns against al Qaeda across the globe. “In the last year, hundreds of al Qaeda’s fighters and affiliates, including many senior leaders, have been captured or killed — far more than in 2008,” the president said.

Some Democrats want Obama to be even more forceful, including on the importance of civilian trials for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other alleged 9/11 plotters. “Obama and the Department of Justice need to get out there and push back very clearly with the public…Frankly, I thought New Yorkers were made of sterner stuff than this—traffic is going to be disrupted?” said Ken Gude of the liberal Center for American Progress.

Allahpundit knew this was coming, but honestly, I didn’t think the phallus-measuring would start this quickly, nor directed at New Yorkers themselves.  It’s a cheap shot, especially considering the fact that this trial may drag out as long as eighteen months.  When the RNC held its 2004 convention in the Big Apple, the security precautions were enormous and costly, and that only took four days.  New Yorkers complained about that as well, although from my personal experience at the convention, I found New Yorkers to be very gracious and enthusiastic hosts.

If there was no choice in the venue, then Gothamites would suck it up, as they have since 9/11 despite knowing that terrorists have kept a big target on their backs.  But the only people who believe that seem to be people who live in Washington DC or elsewhere.  There are a multitude of options for adjudicating the cases of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed that don’t involve holding the proceedings a few blocks away from a major center of global finance.  That will still be a target regardless of whether KSM ever sets foot in New York, but at least New York can then focus on protecting it rather than dealing with almost two years of disruption in its security protocols.  Gude seems to forget this in his zeal to pass the buck back to New York.

Besides, Congress has twice authorized military commissions to adjudicate the cases of KSM and his cohorts.  We built a facility for that purpose in Guantanamo Bay which remains the best, most secure, and most appropriate venue to proceed.  The commission system allows for appeals to federal court, something that no other commission or tribunal system has ever had, including the oft-praised Nuremberg trials.  The question isn’t whether New Yorkers have the stones to deal with terrorist threats — they’ve been doing it all along.  The question is why we want to disrupt that effort by arbitrarily dropping the consequences of a mistaken decision onto a city that has enough to do as it is, and New Yorkers are correct in demanding an answer to that question.


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