- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has apparently joined the Khalid Sheikh Muhammed trial NIMBY brigade:
“It would be great if the federal government could find a site that didn’t cost a billion dollars, which using downtown will,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“It’s going to cost an awful lot of money and disturb an awful lot of people,” he said. “Can we provide security? Yes. Could you provide security elsewhere? Yeah, and I mean — the suggestion of a military base is probably a reasonably good one. Relatively easy to supply — to provide security. They tend to be outside of cities so that they don’t disrupt other people.”
It was a marked change from Mr. Bloomberg’s initial reaction to the news, just two months ago, that the trial would be held in Manhattan. ”It is fitting that 9/11 suspects face justice near the World Trade Center site where so many New Yorkers were murdered,” he said at the time.
The New York Times‘s City Room blog reports that the Downtown Manhattan community board and real estate associations are opposed to the trial so Bloomberg may be under local pressure. Governor David Patterson is also against holding the trial in New York. As a former New Yorker I’m definitely sympathetic to the disruptions and commotion this will cause, but this wouldn’t be the first major terrorist trial held in New York and no one’s denying that security can be provided. And holding the trial on a military base would be counterproductive to one of the main goals of the civilian trial, which is showing that the normal U.S. justice system can handle even the worst terrorists.