If the Israelis Could Publicly Try Adolf Eichmann in 1961, Why Can’t the United States Publicly Try Khalid Sheikh Mohammad in 2009?

Yesterday Salon’s Glenn Greenwald succinctly countered the American Right’s fear-stoking with regard to trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammad in New York:

People in capitals all over the world have hosted trials of high-level terrorist suspects using their normal justice system.  They didn’t allow fear to drive them to build island-prisons or create special commissions to depart from their rules of justice.  Spain held an open trial in Madrid for the individuals accused of that country’s 2004 train bombings.  The British put those accused of perpetrating the London subway bombings on trial right in their normal courthouse in London. Indonesia gave public trials using standard court procedures to the individuals who bombed a nightclub in Bali.  India used a Mumbai courtroom to try the sole surviving terrorist who participated in the 2008 massacre of hundreds of residents.  In Argentina, the Israelis captured Adolf Eichmann, one of the most notorious Nazi war criminals, and brought him to Jerusalem to stand trial for his crimes. It’s only America’s Right that is too scared of the Terrorists — or which exploits the fears of their followers — to insist that no regular trials can be held . . .

Public trials display the law being followed and upheld, and show that an orderly system of justice functions and works in the country that was attacked. It keeps a democratic Republic like ours from stooping to the level of its enemies. As usual, for the purpose of scoring cheap points on the Obama Administration, the American Right reacts to a sane decision with hysteria and short sightedness.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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3 Responses to If the Israelis Could Publicly Try Adolf Eichmann in 1961, Why Can’t the United States Publicly Try Khalid Sheikh Mohammad in 2009?

  1. Ben Hoffman says:

    Right-wingers are scared of their own shadows. There’s nothing wrong with trying KSM in a civilian trial. There may be some unpleasant information coming out about the Bush administration during the trial, which may be the main reason right-wingers are against it.

  2. santitafarella says:


    The Bush angle is a good point.


  3. Freidenker says:

    I’m Israeli. Here’s a few possible answers to your question:

    A. Americans were killed in their thousands, Jews were killed in their millions.
    B. There are millions of Jews, there are hundreds of millions of Americans. With all due respect to atrocities committed against US citizens, the American people are were hardly as threatened as the European Jewish community. My people were practically wiped out off of Europe.
    C. It was the 60’s
    D. It was, and still is, the middle east – Israel, like Iran and Syria and Lebanon and Egypt and a host of other countries wouldn’t pass out on an opportunity for such a “take that” piece of publicity.

    This is not to say that I don’t think that wastebag of a human being should not be tried in public.

    By the way, the company I work for today is the same company that transcribed Eichmann’s trial. I’m a scribe for the same company, it’s 48 years old.

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