New York is not afraid of terrorists, we want to confront them, we want to bring them to justice, and we want to hold them accountable for their despicable actions.For too long we have treated the Guantanamo detainees as though they are so dangerous they cannot be allowed on the US mainland. As may be recalled, this was originally done only because the Bush Justice Department mistakenly believed that they would have fewer rights if they were not imprisoned on US soil. Meanwhile many of the Guantanamo prisoners were quietly released by the Bush adminstration because they were found to pose no substantial threat. And we may have difficulty trying many who remain because they were tortured by the prior administration. But the lengthy imprisonment of these detainees has given rise to a common view that the remaining detainees as so dangerous that they must be kept out of the United States forever.
We are already starting to hear the voices of fear and distrust, questioning the Obama administration's decision to treat these characters as ordinary criminals. They would rather have the American people believe that these detainees are super-powerful evil masterminds capable of causing mass destruction as soon as they set foot on US soil. These critics seem to need an all-powerful enemy to justify a continued war-like and vigilant state. They take offense at the suggestion that suicide bombers are weak, pathetic cowards. The best way to counter this kind of fear-mongering is for people to understand that even if Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his associates are found to have plotted the worst villainy ever committed against America, they are still merely ordinary human beings who can be held in ordinary prisons and tried in ordinary courts. It is time to diminish them, not to increase their stature. They should be taken where they belong, to the federal courts of New York City.