The Corner

Have the Trial in NYC?

Some commentaries, including our own editorial, have suggested that it would be a terrible thing to try the 9/11 plotters here in Manhattan, because that would give the terrorists an opportunity to air Islamofascist propaganda. But let me ask this question: Wouldn’t this, from the standpoint of our national security, be a good thing? It is frequently alleged that the American public, not to mention the public in foreign countries, lacks a serious understanding of the terrorist threat. Wouldn’t having a bunch of coldblooded murderers of 3,000 innocents proclaiming live on TV how proud they are of what they have done, and asserting that what God wants most is for them to get out of prison and murder even more thousands of innocents, be a very effective way of teaching America — and the world — about the true character of our enemies?

Another aspect of this issue that disturbs me is the assertion made by some opponents of this move that America (and specifically New York) is somehow not strong enough to endure the emotional trauma of having this public trial. Now, I don’t want to come across as Mr. More-Patriotic-Than-Thou, or a swaggering NYC guy — I recognize that there are weaknesses in our national character, and the character of our city — but this strikes me as a rather unfair criticism of the American people, and the people of New York. So let me speak only for myself on this: I was an eyewitness of 9/11, and watched the Twin Towers fall; I favor a strong war effort against the terrorists, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and any other place they are hiding; and, again speaking just for myself, I welcome bringing people I believe are among history’s worst villains here to our city to face a jury. Can twelve good people find the truth, and proclaim it to the world? Can the average American rise to this challenge? I urge people to think twice before answering too swiftly with “No.”

There’s another serious issue here, of course, one that I will leave to the experts on intelligence collection and the trial process. I saw Attorney General Holder on TV today saying that parts of the trial will be closed to the public. Will that be enough to safeguard our intelligence sources? I do not want to dismiss lightly the concerns expressed on this score. I think this debate over the trial is, in itself, helpful – because it, too, is an opportunity to discuss the character of the enemy, and that of our own country, in a very public way. In that contrast, America wins.

Most Popular

PC Culture

Revolution and Worse to Come

On the domestic and foreign fronts, the Trump administration has prompted economic growth and restored U.S. deterrence. Polls show increased consumer confidence, and in some, Trump himself has gained ground. Yet good news is bad news to the Resistance and its strange continued efforts to stop an elected president ... Read More
Sports

Hurray for the NBA

Last month, just before the Final Four, I did a Q&A on college basketball with our Theodore Kupfer. Teddy K. is back, by popular demand, joined by two other experts: Vivek Dave, an old friend of mine from Michigan, who has long lived in Chicago, and David French, National Review’s Kentucky Kid, now ... Read More
Economy & Business

Trade Misunderstandings

I was distracted by other policy topics last week but not enough not to notice Peter Navarro’s article in the Wall Street Journal, headlined “China’s Faux Comparative Advantage.” Considering Navarro’s position in the White House, it is unfortunate that it demonstrates some serious misunderstandings ... Read More
Culture

Monday Links

A Supercut of Epic Movie Explosions. Can You Solve These 10 Medieval Riddles? The cost to make a Margherita pizza: $1.77. How much restaurants charge on average for a pizza: $12. The actual costs of restaurant foods. Vintage animation lessons -- how to make things cute. London's "Great ... Read More
World

On Trade, No One Is Waiting for Washington

President Donald Trump’s flips and flops on trade are now as ubiquitous as his 5:00 a.m. tweets. Many predicted that trade-expansion efforts would come to a standstill and world commerce would suffer amidst all the uncertainty. Instead, the precise opposite has happened. In the last few months, it’s become ... Read More