Saturday, January 30, 2010
Change of venue
Here's the lede of a story in the New York Times today:
The Obama administration on Friday gave up on its plan to try the Sept. 11 plotters in Lower Manhattan, bowing to almost unanimous pressure from New York officials and business leaders to move the terrorism trial elsewhere.
Shouldn't that be alleged Sept. 11 plotters? The administration's decision to hold the trial in New York City was a dumb-ass move from the get-go, because the attorneys for the defendants were sure to argue that they couldn't get a fair trial there. And they almost certainly would have been right.
Obama was right to insist that they should be tried in the United States rather than by a military commission in Guantanamo. But by picking a highly controversial place to hold the trial, and then--much worse--giving in to pressure to move it someplace else, Obama has shot himself in both feet.
He has also taken the punch out of what otherwise could have been a good lesson in the principles of American justice, which Americans are sorely in need of.
Obama is making all the wrong moves these days. The joy of having elected a liberal Black Democrat as president didn't last long, which perhaps should not have surprised us. After all, he is still a Democrat.
PS--At some point, on some issue, Obama will have to stand his ground and demonstrate that he can't be pressured. Otherwise he is finished.