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Bond, Blunt blast Obama over decision to try terrorists in NY court

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 13, 2009 - U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, and the fellow Missouri Republican who seeks to succeed him next year -- U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt -- are both blasting the Obama administration's decision announced today to try in New York courts some terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, including the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Blunt called the decision "short-sighted,'' while Bond -- who appeared on cable news shows today -- accused the administration of "political correctness." Bond also contended the trials will used by the terrorists to "spread their venom."

Both Republicans have prominent roles in the debate. Blunt was a co-sponsor of the law setting up the military tribunals; Bond is vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, among other administration officials, has replied by citing numerous other times when U.S. federal courts successfully have handled terrorism cases, notably the 1993 bombing at the Trade Towers.

Said Blunt in his statement:

“The Obama Administration’s decision to try 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City, a short distance from Ground Zero, is short-sighted. The attack he orchestrated was an act of war that resulted in the deadliest attack on American soil in history.

“Terrorists cannot be treated as common criminals, and Americans should not be endangered by the presence of these terrorists in New York City. These dangerous criminals certainly don’t deserve the protection of the American court system."

“I worked hard to help set up the military tribunal process in 2006 in order to bring accused terrorists to justice. As I’ve said all year, the president’s failed plan to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay must be re-evaluated quickly, as should his administration’s handling of the trial of a man who orchestrated the deaths of nearly 3,000 people.”

Said Bond, in part: “The Obama Justice Department has prioritized political correctness over protecting the citizens of this country,” said Bond. “With today’s announcement, those who voted to support greater privacy and constitutional rights for terrorists are now getting just what they asked for.”

The senator also "called it an insult to the memories of those who were brutally murdered on September 11th that the perpetrators of these cowardly acts of terrorism will sit in a courtroom blocks away from Ground Zero and reap the full benefits and protections of the U.S. Constitution."

Bond also brought up last week's shooting at the Fort Hood military facility, perpetrated by an Army psychiatrist. "Last week’s massacre at Fort Hood reminds us that the threat of terrorism to our safety and way of life has not abated and that we must not let political correctness interfere with our duty to keep Americans safe.” 

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.