Terror once again struck our shores and our hearts with the bombing earlier this week in Boston. More than a decade ago on September 11, 2001, the attacks killed 2,996 people died and wounded thousands more. Anthrax-laced letters circulated soon thereafter, killing five more. In what seems like an odd coincidence, ricin-laced letters addressed to President Obama and others arrived at the nation’s capitol. Twelve years later, some of those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks are still behind bars, locked away and kept captive in a far-off place known as Gitmo.
The parallels between 9/11 and the bombing earlier this week are clear and alarming. In the aftermath, what alarms me now is that the perpetrator, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, will not be read his MIranda rights. He will not be read his rights because it is imperative that the FBI and police understand the bomber’s motives and try to figure out if others are involved. Meanwhile, Senators McCain, Ayotte, King, and Graham (all Republicans) want him tried as an enemy combatant.
We have heard these arguments before. After 9/11, dozens were locked away, few have been released, and even fewer have had their day in court. The American public will never see nor hear the details of the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed case, as law forbids the the case to be tried in civilian courts. He is being tried right now in a specially-built military court at Gitmo. The trial makes a mockery of justice; while it is entirely unknown who is monitoring the hearings, it is known that somebody outside the courtroom suddenly cut the audio feed. Do the American people not deserve to know the details of the man who is the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and forever altered this nation’s course? Where is the justice in that?
To try Mr. Tsarnaev as we try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (as an enemy combatant) or to treat Mr. Tsnaraev as we do other Gitmo detainees and keep him in a perpetual legal limbo would be an egregious mistake. Instead, he must be dealt with with the full weight of the law, and he must have his day in civil court. The trial must see the light of day, we as a nation must be able to make some sense of this senseless act, and we must be able to make our peace after that.
This country once again stood up to the challenge and to the test of unimaginable terror. In the aftermath of this attack, we should stand up once again to demand fair and transparent justice. We deserve nothing less.