When Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he intended to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five other terrorists in a civilian court in New York City rather than in a military tribunal, we here at The Heritage Foundation condemned it as “A Historically Bad Decision.” It may have taken the Obama administration four months to fully realize just how terrible Holder’s judgment was, but today’s story from The Washington Post is great news for the rule of law and national security:
President Obama’s advisers are nearing a recommendation that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, be prosecuted in a military tribunal, administration officials said, a step that would reverse Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s plan to try him in civilian court in New York City.
The Obama administration should be commended for having the courage to reverse themselves on such a high profile and deeply important policy issue. But today’s announcement is not enough. In order to make the military commission system work, the Obama administration must fully and enthusiastically embrace and promote their legitimacy. The best way for them to do start making this commitment is to give the commissions the full resources that they have lacked, including world-class prosecutors and defense counsel.
The Obama administration has matured tremendously on this issue. We sincerely hope they continue to show they have the capacity to transition from their campaign rhetoric to truly protecting the American people.