Those in favor of quietly killing al Qaeda’s leader have argued that a public trial would be dangerous because it would provide bin Laden with a global platform for his views and unleash a wave of terrorist attacks and kidnappings by his comrades in efforts to release him…

Would bin Laden’s capture lead to a spike of attacks against American interests? This is possible to some degree but al Qaeda can hardly be accused of having shown any restraint whatsoever in targeting Americans since it declared global jihad in 1998. Conversely, convicting bin Laden could — in the medium term — lead to a steep drop in al Qaeda violence. While martyrdom would seal bin Laden’s status in the jihadist movement, capture would seriously deflate it…

A trial for bin Laden, undertaken with due process, would not only help the United States take back the moral high ground in the court of global opinion, it would also serve as a powerful counterpoint to the indiscriminate barbarism of bin Laden’s terrorist campaign. The affording of due process, even of the worst of enemies is line with the best instincts of the American people.