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LETTERS : Justice for 9/11, but where?

November 17, 2009

Re "U.S to hold 9/11 trial in public court," Nov. 14

President Obama's decision to try confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four of his cohorts in a civilian court in New York City is a travesty and worse. Treating these attacks as civilian crimes rather than war crimes prosecuted in a military environment can only do serious damage to our country's war on Islamic terrorism.

Worldwide, terrorists must be celebrating this idiotic decision. In this civil trial, prosecutors will have to lay out classified information about our country's methods of identifying and thwarting terrorist plots. Defense attorneys will press for full disclosure. Irrevocable damage will be done to our intelligence community.

In effect, the United States will be on trial, not the terrorists. Interrogation methods, prisoner rights and "justifiable" retribution by the defendants caused by U.S. foreign policy will be highlighted -- not the murder of nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001.

Obama's decision is clearly a sop to his party's fringe left, meant to appease their displeasure that he is not moving the country to socialism fast enough.

Donald Hirt

Paso Robles

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We are fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Iraq and Afghanistan. If the enemy attacks military targets there and is captured, they are subject to military justice. On the other hand, if Al Qaeda and the Taliban attack civilian targets in the U.S., they are subject to criminal justice, even if the attack is planned like a military operation and results in almost 3,000 deaths. Sounds like tortured logic to me -- and it sets a very dangerous precedent.

Emanuel R. Baker

Los Angeles

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If your senator or representative is one of those having a hissy fit over this trial, please reconsider his or her fitness for continued duty.

Since 9/11, 195 of 214 criminal terrorists who have been brought to trial in the U.S. justice system have been successfully prosecuted. Zero have escaped from the high-security U.S. prisons where they are serving their sentences. Only three Guantanamo detainees ("the worst of the worst") have been successfully prosecuted in military tribunals. More than 500 were released by the previous administration. Their whereabouts are largely unknown.

Where do you think unafraid adults who believe in our system of justice should like to see the prisoners remaining at Guantanamo tried for their crimes?

Richard Green

San Clemente

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