What the KSM Trial Distracts Us From

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It’s pretty clear by now that the 9/11 terror trials are going to be a media circus. The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the subject today is packed with reporters. But the trial of five 9/11 plotters is, to some extent, a distraction from the larger issue of how we should deal with detainees.

This morning, the Washington Postappears to have broken a significant news story without really knowing it,” writes Marc Ambinder. The Obama administration will continue to detain as many as 75 terrorist suspects without charge. If they think the ACLU and other civil liberties rights groups will be happy with that, they’re dreaming. But the right is going to slam the administration, too: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alab.) is doing that now, saying that Obama’s moves show that “for the US fighting terrorism is not the priority it once was,” and that the administration thinks “we can return to a pre-9/11 mindset.”

The administration has chosen the worst of both worlds: it’s going to get hammered by the right for trying some terrorists and hammered by the left for not trying all of them. It’s not an enviable position, and it doesn’t seem to make much political sense.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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