Sunday, November 22, 2009

A New York State Of Mind

In a state where it's been impossible to carry out a death penalty sentence since 1963, New Yorkers seem to have no problem doing it for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and the other terrorists that are expected to go on trial in NYC. In fact, 73% think KSM should get the death penalty, and a similar figure believe his four cohorts should also get the death penalty.
An exclusive Daily News/Marist poll found that 77% of New Yorkers agree with President Obama that alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his four cowardly cohorts will be found guilty in a Manhattan federal courtroom.

"If I'm on that jury, there's no doubt they get a conviction - no doubt," said Larry Amandola, 48, an electrician from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and one of a dozen regular New Yorkers interviewed separately by The News. "I had a few friends who died on Sept. 11 and I worked [at Ground Zero] immediately after. The people that suffered through this have a right to judge them."

The poll of 811 city residents, conducted Wednesday and Thursday by The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion for The News, did find New Yorkers more evenly split on some underlying policy issues.

For instance, 47% of New Yorkers said they agreed with Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to try the 9/11 plotters in a civilian court here rather than a military court. Nearly as many - 41% - disagreed with Holder, and 12% said they were unsure. The poll's margin of error was 3.5 percentage points.

That pretty well jibes with my take that the City could handle the trial, though I still believe that since the Administration was pursuing tribunals for some of the terrorists detained that it could have done so for all. Since the tribunal was going to be a planned part of the Administration's proposed way of dealing with detainees, KSM and the rest should have gone that route.

Mind you, this poll also could be spun by KSM's defense team by claiming that the jury pool is prejudiced and that he can't find a fair trial (here, or anywhere else, based on the President's prejudicial statements and those of media outlets, etc.). That too should have played into the role of the tribunals, rather than the federal court trial.

The Administration's statements that regardless of outcome, KSM will never see light of day are the ones that should trouble civil libertarians, since it shows that this Administration is paying lip service to the judicial process and is instead going through the motions to appear as though they're doing something different than the prior administration.

Moroever, Obama's promise to close Gitmo will not happen anytime soon since no country will take in the detainees held there that the US doesn't want to hold on to. The mess with Bermuda and Palau show the limits of which nations are willing to take in detainees, and what could happen down the road (as does the fact that all too many detainees that were released have gone back to the jihad).

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