Recently, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he had chosen a New York federal district court in Lower Manhattan as the place where 9/ll master mind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four high level al-Qaeda henchmen will be tried as civilians. They are presently incarcerated Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This has caused an uproar, to say the least.

The question is why? In his November 18, 2009 op-ed piece, “Why We Should Put Jihad on Trial,” Steven Simon wrote: “Historically, the public exposure of state-sponsored mass murder of terrorism through a transparent judicial process has strengthened the forces of good and undercut the extremists. The Nuremberg trials were a classic case.” He went on to say that “highlighting the transparency in our judicial process would strengthen America’s reputation just as cracks are beginning to appear in the jihadist base. A growing number of radical Muslim clerics and theoreticians have reversed course in recent years.” Simon is a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The Nuremberg trials were military tribunals conducted in Germany after World War II. The War on Terror, a term not used by the Obama administration, is not over. Attacks are continually being plotted on U.S. soil, and we also know, in Pakistan and other places. The Fort Hood massacre was a terrorist attack. So this is not a time of reflection in which to contemplate our moral superiority and give enemy combatants rights that American service men and women would not enjoy facing a U.S. military tribunal.

One could say that the Nuremberg trials were fair, in that not all of the accused were found guilty and executed. The trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and henchmen, on the other hand, will be an open and shut case, followed by execution. The President has said as much. He was quoted as saying that the critics of the decision to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in civilian court won’t find it “offensive at all when he’s convicted and the death penalty is applied to him.” Realizing his gaffe, President Obama went on to say he didn’t mean to suggest he was prejudging the outcome. At his hearing before a military court on Guantanamo, KSM declared his wishes to die as a martyr. So if we execute him, he will get his wish. As to the difficulty of presenting evidence obtained by waterboarding, Mr. Holder hints at plenty of clean back-up evidence that could keep the al-Qaeda holy warriors tied up in our judicial system till the end of their days—and no doubt costing additional millions of dollars.

The Nuremberg tribunals were show trials, albeit less tawdry than the Soviet show trials of the 1930s. The trial contemplated by Mr. Holder and his team is no less a show trial. That is what is transparent about this entire production, when it takes place. Each defendant will have several lawyers, say, 20 all toll. How long will it take each of them to have his say? When KSM sits in the docket, in a suit and tie and trimmed beard, and is asked by these defense lawyers to describe in detail the horrors of his many waterboardings, will he speak quietly, with great dignity, of his pain, eliciting sympathy from the court? You can bet that these details will come out, for unquestionably this trial will also be about the Bush administration, that authorized waterboarding and enhanced interrogation techniques. The Bush team will be tried in absentia. Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Holder and his ilk, The Bush team was unable to bring al-Qaeda leaders to trial after they surrendered their useful information. Now, the villains are still around to haunt Mr. Holder and the new president.

Mr. Holder has declared that he will take responsibility if the trial somehow goes badly. That’s big of him, but hardly reassuring as much more than his personal reputation is at stake. The New York trial of Ramzi Yousef and blind Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and co-defendants for the 1993 truck bombing of the World Trade Center, which killed six individuals, turned up information to the defendants’ lawyers that may well have proved to be useful to al-Qaeda in the far more deadly September 11, 2001 attack. In 2005, defense lawyer Lynn Stewart, following a nine-month trial and thirteen days of jury deliberations, was found guilty of conspiracy, providing material support to terrorists and defrauding the U.S. government. She has been out on bail since then. On November 17, 2009, the Court of Appeals affirmed her conviction, ordered the district court to revoke her bail immediately, and remanded the case for resentencing. How many lawyers from the show trial team will be similarly inclined to pass along privileged information that could lead to the death of more Americans?

Ramzi Yousef, nephew of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, predicted that the Twin Towers would be attacked again and would fall.

Anyone who worked or lived downtown in the aftermath of the 9/ll attack, will never forget those days, weeks, months. The city from Canal Street south was locked down; there were check points everywhere, police in SWAT gear guarding key buildings, dust and ash covering closed stores along lower Broadway, the sickly sweet odor of cooked flesh in the twisted burning rubble.

The intense security presence cut down on street crime, but reminded us daily of the target we were. Who knows what nuts, home grown terrorists or foreign operatives will come to town during the show trial of the century. What about the unknown perp who tossed a hand grenade into a large flower pot on the sidewalk a couple of years back? Or the “bicycle bomber,” who left a pipe bomb in front of the Army recruiting center in Times Square that destroyed the entrance? Do you think any former radical clerics will show up on the street and denounce Islamic violence? Do you?

New York to Eric Holder: We don’t want you and your gaudy show trial designed to embarrass the president who came to town days after the attack, buoyed our spirits, gave us billions to rebuild, and chased after our enemies. We don’t want it, we don’t need it. We don’t want to hear it on the news, see it on the street, live in fear from it day after day. Just go away.

By Hudson Owen. All Rights Reserved.