And They Still Haven't Tried KSM
It has been 10 years since one of the most horrific and demonic events in history. We know who did it -- Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, also known as KSM. We have had him in custody since March of 2003. He confessed in March of 2007. And we still do not have a trial date.
I got to thinking about how much things have changed since then, and how in other respects the world had just gone on, impervious to the events of that day. As anyone who has done any air travel knows, flying is a hassle of the first order: baggage inspection, no more than three ounces of liquid in your carry-on, full body scans, and waiting in line. It used to be we could arrive at the airport 20 minutes before the flight took off and run through the airport like OJ jumping over suitcases. Run and jump over anything in the airport now, and you might get shot. And remember when it used to be fun to take someone to the airport or pick him or her up? Waving hello or goodbye at the gate? Peering intently at the passengers as they walked off the ramp from the plane to get first glimpse of your subject and be the first to say, "There they are!" Today there are no children at the gate wondering if dad brought them a surprise. Even when I was traveling alone and had no one picking me up, I used to look for the families awaiting Mom or Dad. That's all gone -- just like that on 9/11. How sad.
If anyone of us stops to think about it, we can detail innumerable things in our lives that are different today than pre 9/11. And we should take the time to do so. Not that I want to dwell on negative things, but forgetting what happened would be to forget the lessons of the day. And, personally, I think it would be disrespectful to the people of the event -- from the Trade Center victims and their families to the firefighters and policemen, and would lessen the value of the heroism and unity that presented itself on that day.
By the way, did I mention that KSM has not been brought to trial yet?
But flying isn't all that's changed. Since 9/11, in order, the Arizona Diamondbacks, Anaheim Angels, Florida Marlins, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox (again), New York Yankees, and the San Francisco Giants have won the World Series. And KSM has not been brought to trial.
Thirteen-year-old children have grown up, attended college, and may have children of their own. Some completed the final year of high school, obtained a college degree, and got a masters degree. And KSM has not been brought to trial.
We invaded Iraq and toppled the regime. We are still fighting a war in Afghanistan. Families have been torn apart by their military husbands and wives leaving to fight and coming home with serious physical and psychological problems, or worse, in a body bag. And KSM has not been brought to trial.
After a brief period, the real estate market boomed and business in the U.S. went on a long tear, creating millionaires and billionaires. And then, abruptly, the bubble burst, reducing fortunes to peanuts. And KSM has still not been brought to trial.
The ball has fallen in Times Square 10 times. Christmas has come and gone 10 times. We have elected the first black man as president of the U.S. And did I mention that KSM has not been brought to trial?
The Lord of the Rings and The King's Speech won Oscars for Best Picture. Johnny Cash and The Stanley Clark Band won Grammies. Lady Gaga burst onto the scene.
After 30 years, we saw the last space shuttle launch in June of this year. The "Arab Spring" broke out in North Africa and the Middle East. The iPhone and iPad were released by Apple and became commonplace. Hurricane Katrina blasted the Gulf Coast. Thirty-three men were trapped, thought to be lost, and then rescued from a mine in Chile.
Certain celebrities (not to be named) gained and lost 50 pounds multiple times. The last episode of Seinfeld was produced. The first episodes of Lost were produced. American Idol came on the air and Larry King went off.
Osama bin Laden was tracked down, killed, and buried at sea.
And KSM has not been brought to trial.
I could certainly go on forever with my list of recollections of what has transpired, but it would be woefully incomplete. Besides, there is no need. If you take some time to contemplate, you will be shocked to realize what historical events have transpired since then. Additionally, you have your own important personal things: kids born, parents passed away, weddings and divorces, new houses and cars, foreclosures, 10 years of life.
We deserved better than this. Sure, it took a few years to catch him and a few years for him to confess. But it has now been four years since his confession. By all accounts, there is conclusive evidence and proof he is guilty. Why the wait? Largely because people disagreed on where and how the trial should be conducted. Political ideology was at war with practical action.
Unfortunately, we do not have the available options we had with the capture and dismissal of OBL. Too bad. But given that, to reasonable people the best choice is a military tribunal. After much political wrangling, a military tribunal has been ordered. Let's hope it moves quickly. After all, KSM deserves a speedy trial.
It has been a long ten years.