The Gitmo Six, the suspects allegedly behind the WTC attacks will finally face trial. And the death penalty has been placed on the table. And I am absolutely frightened. Although it is clear from news broadcasts many Americans are happy to see this, I am terrified. This is the worst news of the past 7 years of bad news. Why? I cannot help but think about how my friends in Malaysia and Indonesia and other Muslims will read this news.

On Sept. 11, 2001, over 3000 American died. A real and honest tragedy – make no mistake about it. And yet, more than 30 times as many Iraqi and Afghan civilians have died as a result of the US responses to the WTC attacks. Don’t forget, we entered Afghanistan to get rid of the Taliban and to hunt Osama, two parties we believed to be directly involved in the attacks. Then we invaded Iraq. We had two reasons at the time: 1) Saddam had WDM, and 2) Saddam and Osama were buddies. American military actions have claimed over 100,000 lives. You would think enough would be enough.

I cannot help but think that this trial will be seen as REVENGE. Oh, I am sure that those involved will do their best to make it a fair trial. After listening to Diane Rehm’s coverage of it, it sounds like the suspects might even have more rights than in a civilian court. I still cannot help but suppose that the perception will be “if the military is conducting it, how can it be a fair trial?” Some of this may have to do with how people perceive their own militaries.

A few things seem to be undeniable in this situation: 1) the military is part of the Executive Branch of the US Government; 2) President Bush (the Chief Executive) is flailing around to find a legacy to leave; 3) the Republicans need a big win on Homeland Security if they have any chance at the White House (the seat of the Executive Branch); 4) the American public may not accept anything less than a guilty verdict and a (public) execution.

Don’t get me wrong. 9/11 was a tragedy beyond imagining. Justice must be served. I even believe that those men and women charged with serving justice will do their damnedest to make sure that it is served.

But this isn’t about facts. It’s about perception. And it is clear to me, that this may be perceived as anything but fair and just. If I may be so bold, the military tribunal should make sure than foreign journalist have access to the trial including those from Arab networks like Al-Jazeera. To reduce the perception of this as a drumhead trial, the process is need to be made as open and transparent as humanly possible.